Home Destinations Peddling, palm reading, pampering at wellness getaway in Fort Lauderdale

Peddling, palm reading, pampering at wellness getaway in Fort Lauderdale

by Jan Schroder
Living Room at W Fort Lauderale

It wasn’t my typical beach trip. Rather than hang out on the beach, I had my palm read, took a sound and light yoga class and meditated in a sound healing session.

My wellness getaway to Fort Lauderdale also included a bike ride, detox massage and luxury accommodations in the W Fort Lauderdale where I had a view of the ocean and the city’s many waterways that earned it the nickname of Venice of America.

The meals at W Fort Lauderdale, which included a vegan, Mexican and steak restaurants, were a highlight of my visit. 

Wellness activities in Fort Lauderdale

singing bowls from
The singing bowls at our session with Le Sound Temple.

After our group shared some of what we learned during our palm reading sessions at Astrology Crystal Visions,  I tried not to dwell on the fact that everyone else was told they had a long life line. I was not. I consoled myself with the fact that I’m already past the point of dying young anyway.

No matter your beliefs in the mystical arts, a palm reading session is an enjoyable way to have someone other than a doctor focus on you and your wellness. And you don’t have to take your clothes off.

Unlike a palm reading, I had no clue what would happen during the sound healing and meditation class we took with Le Sound Temple. I took my spot on a yoga mat and listened to the melodic sounds emanating from the woman deftly playing the singing crystal bowls interspersed with an occasional sound of gongs behind me.

sound and light yoga class at W Fort Lauderdale
The Sound + Light yoga class was totally groovy.

While I didn’t meditate in colors as some people in the session reported, something I thought you had to take illegal drugs to experience, I did relax and recharge during the hour-long session.

I practice yoga at home but I’d never downward dogged like I did at the Sound + Light Yoga class offered at the W Fort Lauderdale once a month. We took the evening class on the Living Room Terrace. After putting on the headphones handed out by the two teachers, I could hear them playing music and giving instructions. I performed the yoga moves, or my best version of them, while watching a light show projected into the sky and on nearby buildings. I confess I sometimes get bored during longer yoga classes but loved every minute of this one.

group riding bikes at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

W Fort Lauderdale offers sunrise beach yoga every day, included in the resort fee, with all equipment provided. For the more cardio-minded there are Beach Boot Camp classes.

The use of beach cruiser bikes is also included in the resort fee. One beautiful warm sunny afternoon we hopped on bikes and cycled to Hugh Taylor Birch State Park  just down the road. The 180-acre park has miles of trails, meditation garden, mangrove habitat, camping, public boat dock, boat and jet ski rentals.

outdoor seating area at Park and Ocean
The sea grape trees at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Isn’t this a gorgeous setting to enjoy a meal or a drink?

The park is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Intracoastal Waterway on the other. After cycling a while, we stopped at Park and Ocean Restaurant to grab a drink to enjoy underneath the shaded canopies of sea grape trees.

More wellness, relaxation at W Fort Lauderdale

view from W Fort Lauderdale
The view from my room at W Fort Lauderdale.

A highlight of the trip was my stay at the gorgeous W Fort Lauderdale and enjoying the delicious food at the dining venues. And how wonderful is it to have a meal and just hop on an elevator to return to your room.

The hotel, just across A1A from Fort Lauderdale Beach, was built in 2009 and fully renovated in 2017. It has two 27-floor towers with 440 rooms and resident units. Accommodations range from a king room to 2-bedroom penthouse suite.

room at W Fort Lauderdale
I loved how the rooms are set up for the bed to have a view of the ocean. (Photo courtesy of W Fort Lauderdale)

Any time I have a water view I’m happy and my room had an expansive view of the Atlantic Ocean, views of the Intracoastal Waterway and several canals as well. Known for its boating canals, Fort Lauderdale has earned the nickname Venice of America.

Plus, I had a few more of my favorite things – a bathtub (with a view), large balcony, desk area for my laptop and coffee maker.

EWOW suite at W Fort Lauderdale
The EWOW suite at W Fort Lauderdale. (Photo courtesy of W Fort Lauderdale)

I got to tour the EWOW suite on the 24th floor that had two bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, kitchenette and large wraparound deck. It was stunning, good enough apparently for Lady Gaga who has stayed here.

My stay wasn’t all about self-improvement or reflection. I also got pampered with a detox massage at the W Away Spa and spent an afternoon lounging in a cabana at one of the two outdoor heated pools, Wet East, where I ordered a shrimp salad to enjoy poolside. Both of these activities contributed to my feeling of wellness.

Away spa at W Fort Lauderdale
The W Away Spa at W Fort Lauderdale. (Photo courtesy of W Fort Lauderdale)

When I entered the pool area I noticed large containers of sunscreen, a water dispenser and bright green apples. It’s little touches like these that show me the property makes the extra effort to make guests comfortable.

aerial shot of W Fort Lauderdale
An aerial shot that features the pool at Wet East. (Photo by Guido Balestrelli)

I thought about hitting the beach as the resort fee at W Fort Lauderdale covers beach chairs and umbrellas, but I got so comfortable in the shade by the pool I never made it there.

Dining at W Fort Lauderdale

bar at El Vez
The colorful bar area at El Vez. Don’t bright colors just put you in a vacation state of mind?

When I first arrived in Fort Lauderdale, I was happy to leave the cold December weather at home behind and enjoy warm Florida breezes, so I sat outside on the large patio facing the ocean at El Vez, the Mexican restaurant at the hotel. I opted for a lighter lunch and loved the Tostada De Mariscos Grande ceviche with lobster, shrimp, crab and avocado.

El Vez serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, or you can just take a seat at one of the brightly colored chairs at the bar for Happy Hour, Monday through Friday, where you can sip on beer, wine, a classic or frozen blood orange margarita for just $6 while enjoying food specials.

buffalo cauliflower at SoBe Vegan
The buffalo cauliflower at SoBe Vegan.

The funky chairs and brightly colored murals at SoBe Vegan caught my eye as we headed there for lunch. I’m an avowed carnivore but love to eat vegan as well on occasion. The Collaborative Chef is Horacio Rivadero, a semifinalist for the James Beard Award Best Chef and has brought his considerable talent to creating plant-based dishes like jackfruit tacos, mushroom tenders, queso burgers and Thai noodles.

Our table tried several of the light bites and the buffalo cauliflower was my favorite. I devoured most of my bowl of the Thai noodles that included a bunch of yummy stuff like  kale, edamame beans, carrots, sautéed mushrooms and cucumbers.

mural at SoBe Vegan in Fort Lauderdale
I loved this plant-based mural at SoBe Vegan, which has a lot of Instagram-worthy decor.

It took me a minute to enter Steak 954 as I was fascinated by the dozens of jellyfish floating gracefully around in the 2000-gallon, 20-foot-long tank lit by blue LED lights at the entry. It signaled I was in for a special evening.

And wow, the food was amazing, no surprise when you learn James Beard award-winning restaurateur Stephen Starr is the man behind the menu.

the jellyfish tank at Steak 954
The jellyfish in a tank of Steak 954 are mesmerizing. (Photo by Laurie Satran)

We enjoyed a yummy tuna amuse bouche, delicious steaks, prawns, salmon, creamed spinach, tater tots and warm popovers. Dessert was crème brûlée and cheesecake, my two favorites. Steak 954 serves dinner and brunch.

One morning we enjoyed a lavish brunch at WET Deck, a festive feast set up at a long table near the pool. After our evening yoga class we settled in the Living Room, a lively bar area, to indulge in small bites and cocktails.

The hotel also has a grab and go area in the lobby of one of the towers if you want something quick to eat.

Go to Visit Fort Lauderdale for more information on Fort Lauderdale.

– Jan Schroder, Editor-in-chief

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1 comment

Charles McCool March 5, 2024 - 6:57 pm

W looks amazing. I am always on the lookout for fun and relaxed lodging places in South Florida for when I visit my family and friends.


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