Unable to resist the affordable flights to visit Florida this fall, Fort Lauderdale was the perfect beach destination for our annual mother-daughter trip. Since we were short on time and wanted to make the most of our weekend getaway, we looked for hotels and resorts close to all the action near Fort Lauderdale Beach. You can imagine how excited we were when we found out that Ocean Manor Beach Resort offered everything we were looking for at an affordable price.
Ocean Manor Beach Resort Review
Ocean Manor Beach Resort is a lively beachfront resort on Galt Ocean Drive near downtown Fort Lauderdale. It offers vacation goers and beach enthusiasts a variety of onsite amenities including a full-service salon, a coffee shop in the lobby, tiki bar and more. Shopping, restaurants, and nightlife are also within walking distance. Close to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, it took less than half an hour for us to get to Ocean Manor Beach Resort via a cheap Uber ride.
Walking through the front doors, Ocean Manor’s crisp white lobby had chandeliers and tasteful art pieces which made an impressive statement. Recently celebrating its 60th anniversary, Ocean Manor is a historic hotel. It was the first high-rise hotel built on Fort Lauderdale Beach and in the 60s and 70s it was a famous hangout spot for celebrities.
Although our “Efficiency Suite” had a mini kitchen, it honestly was not what we were expecting. Overall, the room was dated so mom and I called reception and asked for another room. The reception specialist was nice enough to upgrade us to a room that better suited our needs.
Our “City View” room had two comfortable queen beds. The full bathroom had a large shower, complimentary lathering soap and plenty of towels. The room was spacious and featured amenities like a mini fridge, a safe for valuables and a full-length mirror. Our large balcony had lounge chairs perfect for reading and enjoying some fresh air.
However, unlike the first room, we did not have a mini kitchen. We were also given a key instead of a key card – this is something I have never seen before at other resorts.
Bamboo Beach Club & Tiki Bar
We started our day with a delicious breakfast at Bamboo Beach Club & Tiki Bar. Open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m., Bamboo Beach Club is the only tiki bar on Fort Lauderdale Beach. It serves delicious food and tropical drinks all day and night. Known throughout South Florida for its colorful frozen drinks, it’s always cocktail hour here!
Mom and I grabbed seats at the large outdoor hut where we had partial views of Fort Lauderdale Beach. There’s also seating by the pool and private cabanas with waiter service if you’d like to indulge.
The morning crowd at Bamboo was laid back and included hotel guests as well as tourists and locals. Beachgoers also stopped in for a bite to eat before retreating back to Fort Lauderdale’s white sand beach.
Our waiter was friendly and attentive. We later shared a few laughs when I returned to the bar for an afternoon cocktail.
For breakfast, I ordered “Beach Style”, two golden brown buttermilk pancakes with a side of scrambled eggs and cheese. Mom ordered “Bamboo Style”, scrambled eggs, wheat toast, french fries and a side of spinach – unfortunately, they ran out of home fries by the time we arrived at 11 a.m.
Breakfast was filling and I especially loved that we did not have to leave the resort to grab a bite to eat. After having our fill, we walked a few steps to the beach to relax for a bit.
Casa Calabria – The Soul of Italy
Hearing so many wonderful things about Casa Calabria, mom and I decided to make dinner reservations. Casa Calabria is an authentic family-run Italian restaurant conveniently located in Ocean Manor Beach Resort.
From the resort lobby, the restaurant staff greeted us at the door with a friendly “Ciao” (that’s hello in Italian). We sat at a large wooden table in the back with high-top seating.
The restaurant was dimly lit and there was a large piano bar in the middle. Scattered throughout the restaurant, large flat T.V. screens displayed Italy’s breathtaking natural scenery.
Sharing the owner Frank Talerico’s family history, the menu shares how Papalo, Frank’s father, a shepherd from Calabria, a region in Southern Italy, decided to move to America with his family to pursue a better life. Staying true to his Italian roots, Casa Calabria pays tribute to Talerico’s family traditions. Here you can taste Mamma’s Southern Italian dishes and passed down recipes.
Our Dining Experience
Casa Calabria’s complimentary freshly baked bread accompanied with minced sundried tomato and marinara sauce was delicious. I loved it so much that I ordered a second batch!
That night the chef made his way around the restaurant to introduce himself and made sure that all of his guests were happy with the food and service.
I ordered the Fettuccine Alfredo pasta dish. The creamy white Alfredo sauce was flavorful and the freshly grated cheese and minced red pepper added a bit of spice. The portion size was hearty which meant that at the end of the night, I asked to take my leftovers with me in a doggie bag.
While mom and I dined, we enjoyed the live music. Every song ended in a roaring ovation. Tunes varied from classic Italian opera to newer pop songs from Justin Bieber. Although mom and I did not dance, some folks weren’t too shy to break a sweat.
Overall, Ocean Manor Beach Resort is a fun hotel in Fort Lauderdale for those looking for an easing going vacation in the Fort Lauderdale area. With access to the beach and the convenience of an on-site restaurant and a tiki bar, you do not have to go far to have a good time. Mom and I had so much fun on this mother-daughter trip that we are looking forward to another trip to South Florida soon.
A special thank you to Ocean Manor Beach Resort for hosting my stay. All opinions expressed are my own.
Danielle Desir is a financially savvy traveler, 5x author, and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast here.