Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale 17th Street Review – 5 Things We Love & 2 We Don’t
If you’ve booked a Caribbean cruise from Fort Lauderdale or the surrounding areas, chances are, you’ll need a pre-cruise hotel the night before your departure. Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale 17th Street has been a favorite pre-cruise hotel property for cruise passengers sailing from the Fort Lauderdale area for years. It’s sort of a cult favorite – and cruise travelers book it year after year. It’s located just a short drive from both the Fort Lauderdale airport and the Port Everglades cruise port and has a nightly happy hour with free drinks and snacks. The rooms and suites are oversized, and the pool gets you into that cruise mood.
In recent years, we’ve found that this hotel gets mixed reviews from cruise travelers. It’s not perfect. It’s not new. It’s not fancy.
Regardless, we find ourselves booking this property cruise after cruise, probably because it’s comfortable and reasonable and we know what to expect. Here are 6 things we love about the Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale, and 2 things that are, well…not so great. Watch for the HOT TIPS throughout this article, to make the most of your stay.
Here’s What We love:
Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale is super easy to access from the Fort Lauderdale airport. Whether you choose to take a taxi, ride share service (Lyft/Uber), or a shuttle, you’re less than 10 minutes, with light traffic from the airport. Very nice after a long travel day! Also, the cruise port is less than 2 miles from the hotel (on paper, it’s just 6 blocks), so on cruise day, you’re only about a 6-10 minute ride from your ship. The hotel DOES offer a shuttle to the port, for a small charge. We opt for Uber/Lyft because it offers more flexibility around when we leave the hotel.
There are many conveniences within walking distance of Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale, too. You’ll find coffee shops, spas, a grocery store (Publix), and even a wine store (if you’re taking wine onboard).
HOT TIP: To find the Uber/Lyft pickup area at FLL airport, pass through baggage claim and follow the “ride-share” signs.
Our community shared that the pool area is a standout reason they return to Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale time and time again. There’s one pool, a hot tub, and plenty of loungers for sunning (or relaxing in the shade). The pool area is green and lushly landscaped with a combination of palm trees and gorgeous greenery. We particularly enjoy watching the lizards and iguanas in the greenery, and the waterfall grotto feature on one side of the pool makes the area feel extra inviting. The pool ranges from 3 to 6 feet in depth, and it’s comfortable for light lap swimming or standing in the shallow end enjoying a tropical Mai Tai to get into the cruise spirit.
You’ll also find plenty of high and low-top tables for enjoying poolside eats, and the restaurant staff passes by on occasion to take drink and food orders. Food prices are steep, with Nachos being about $19.00 in 2023. But, it does the trick, and hey- it’s South Florida. Nothing is cheap!
Also good to know- the pool area is also very communal, and it’s likely you’ll meet other cruise passengers enjoying themselves before or after their cruise.
Free drinks & breakfast
This perk is probably *reason number one* that cruisers flock to the Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale. Each evening, between 5 pm and 6:30 pm, the bar in the E-Spot restaurant transforms into the nightly reception venue. Simply show up with your free drink tickets, and enjoy 2 free drinks of choice (alcohol, or non-alcoholic). The freebies are house brands of wine, beer, and spirits only, and premium beer and spirit upgrades cost a bit extra.
I’ll be honest, while this DID make my list of reasons we love the hotel, the evening reception isn’t my favorite event. Some bar staff seem frustrated to repeat *which* beers, wines, and liquors are available, and quite a crowd can form for the bar drinks. It can take on kind of a frenzied feel when the hotel is busy, and you might consider just waiting until after 6:30 pm, and buying a bar drink. My $15.00 martini was well worth it, and it was more peaceful in the bar when the frenzy died down. HOT TIP: Show up to the evening reception RIGHT when they open at 5:00 p.m. It’s less crowded.
While we’re on the topic of “free drinks”. nothing irks me more than having to schlep to the lobby for my morning coffee in a hotel. We LOVE the included Keurig set up in the room and asked for extra K-cups to be brought to our room (of course, we tipped housekeeping when making this request!).
Oh, and there are some free snacks at the evening reception. Just don’t come looking for filling/hot food from the freebie table. Expect items like: potato chips, veggies & ranch, and fruit slices. You’re still gonna need dinner after this “snack session”, trust me. For something more substantial, grab a table at the restaurant, and enjoy a burger, salad, or pizza. The restaurant food is pretty good!
How about the breakfast? Well, the same frenzy vibe applies, but I added this to the “things we love” column because there are some filing options (omelets, etc), and it’s included with the room price. HOT TIP: Try the omelets, they are freshly cooked and delicious!
Depending on the time of year you visit, you may find the Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale prices to be competitively priced, for what you get. Because of the aforementioned free breakfast and drinks, you may find you spend less on outside food and drink, too. Because the hotel is not located on prime (read PRICEY) beachfront property, the prices tend to be manageable. If you’re a Hilton Honors or AAA member, be sure to click “special rates” when pricing out your stay to see if you can score some discounts.
HOT TIP: Book a refundable fare in advance! This can be a great way to save, and you can always cancel and reprice later.
This value really comes into play if you need a bit of extra space, which we’ll cover next.
Large guest rooms
Embassy Suites’ “all suites” approach means you’ll get more living and sleeping space square footage than the average hotel. This is GREAT for families or for those considering a longer stay. We reserved a two-room premium suite and took full advantage of ordering DoorDash to enjoy comfortably seated at the large in-room dining table. While our stay was only for two nights, we used the fridge and microwave in our room and the extra room – complete with a sofa bed, where our son slept.
Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale offers many types of guest rooms, from standard suites, to a wide variety of accessible rooms, and even “Presidential Suites”. Views vary by floor, and of course, the side of the building you’re on. We requested a room with a view of the cruise ships, but pool-view rooms are nice too.
HOT TIP: Watch your email for room upgrades. They can help you score a higher floor at Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale or a more desirable room for a very small upcharge.
Nearly every employee we encountered at Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale – from the front desk staff to the bartenders, and housekeeping staff was pleasant and eager to please. Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale really shines in this area. The staff was friendly but laid back & willing to assist. When we hit the restaurant after closing hours, the friendly manager suggested several nearby restaurants and went out of his way to share local knowledge. Our poolside lunch waitress brought us extra paper plates and utensils, as well as timely drink refills.
Now, for the not-so-great:
Lack of upkeep
Unfortunately, cruise passengers are reporting that the Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale 17th Street is showing its age. During our recent stay, we found this to be the case, too. Furniture was scuffed, carpet stained in some areas, and the guestrooms are dated. In our room, some wallpaper was pulling away from the wall in our bathroom, and the room, while clean, just felt OLD. Poolside, some of the lounge chairs were falling apart, and it was obvious that the area hadn’t been swept lately.
And, it’s just DATED.
Mustard yellow walls, popcorn ceilings, and an overall “dark” feel in the hotel rooms make the room feel old and out of date, but if you can overlook this (to us, it’s minor), the hotel represents a great value, and the rooms are very spacious, compared to others in the area.
Limited dining hours
As mentioned earlier, the hotel’s complimentary breakfast hours are from 7am to 10am on weekends and holidays, and 6am to 9am weekdays. Additionally, the onsite restaurant, the E-Spot is open from noon to 8pm daily. There’s no room service available (something we’re seeing more and more at Hilton properties), so that leaves some gaps in food service after breakfast, and in the evening hours, which some may find inconvenient.
If you miss breakfast, the restaurant onsite doesn’t open until noon, so there’s a three-hour window where there’s no food on the property (except the lobby snacks).
If you check into the hotel late, perhaps because your flight arrives in the evening, you may be forced off-property to find something to eat. Thankfully, there are lots of restaurants within walking distance, and a brochure should list those in your room. HOT TIP: if the weather is good, head outside and walk around the property. You’ll see restaurants and shops you may enjoy for a meal!
More helpful info for your Caribbean Cruise!
Our Caribbean Cruise Packing do’s and don’ts list will help you pack with ease! Also includes a cruise packing list!
How to Pack for a Royal Caribbean Cruise (Video).
Our Caribbean/Panama Canal Cruise Vlog, featuring the property. This video is a few years old, but the Embassy Suites Fort Lauderdale is in a similar condition.
Best (and worst) months to cruise to the Caribbean.
Read more articles here.
Cruise like a PRO!
Download our shore day bag checklist, and more cruise packing and planning checklists & videos by joining the CruiseTipsTV Academy. We have a special discount code for our readers on this Intro to Cruising Master Class.
To redeem the $5.00 discount on our master class enter code ALLABOARD here, and, welcome to the Academy!
Need a Travel Advisor?
Contact our travel agency partner, Montebello Dream Vacations: Let Wendy know you were referred by CruiseTipsTV when you call. Wendy will match you with the best agent for your needs, and an agent will give you a call back! Phone number is on the website.