Fort Lauderdale, Florida offers beautiful views, upscale shopping, fishing and watersports, several tourist attractions, and a bevvy of resorts and hotels to fit budgets and accommodation preferences. If you can’t afford the 5-star luxury of Ritz Carlton or Lago Mar but the 2-star rating of Comfort Suites seems a little TOO frugal; luckily there are several middle ground hotels to choose from – among them, Ocean Sky Resort on Galt Drive.
Like any hotel, it has its pluses and minuses, which mostly depend on personal expectations. What one person views as a positive aspect, another may view as a negative. Ocean Sky is no different. However, most visitors will likely agree that calling it a ‘resort’ is a bit of a stretch. It is a hotel. Formerly the Ramada Plaza, it has been updated to include a few added new amenities in an attempt to compete with surrounding resorts.
Only 20 minutes from the airport, Ocean Sky is conveniently located within a short drive to anything you might need – Port Everglades for a cruise, Las Olas Blvd for some shopping, and a wide array of restaurants. The hotel has a beachfront café and pool, dining room, a watersports facility for kayak and jet ski rentals, and on-site mini-golf located on the second floor, overlooking the pool deck and outdoor Jacuzzi. It also has a business center, a fitness center, Tiki bar, coin-operated laundry, game room, and gift shop.
Accommodations offer the choice of a standard room with a King bed or 2 Double beds, or there is an option for a suite equipped with a living area and kitchenette. Both feature very plain and minimal furniture and decor. However, the latter is deceiving as most guests would envision this to mean the living and kitchenette were in a separate area, when, in fact, they are right next to the bed. Handy? Yes. Visually appealing? No. Not to mention that it doesn’t exactly afford extra space.
Both layouts contain small balconies and partial ocean views. Yes – partial. Although the hotel is oceanfront, the building sits perpendicular to beach such that all rooms line up on the sides of the hotel and overlook the neighboring condo properties. To see the beach and ocean and get a glimpse of the pool, guests need to access the balcony. But be warned that they are not entirely private. The balconies are separated only by an opaque blue panel, so it feels as though you’re sharing a balcony with neighboring guests, especially if you’re both outside at once.
The pool deck offers easy access to the beach and a palm tree-lined view of the ocean. No doubt, it’s beautiful. However, the pool is on the small side, so it stands to reason that the lounge area around it is also limited. Instead, lounges are set out in long rows to the right of the pool with a walkway to the ocean set between.
PROS: The location definitely is a plus, and this property is one of few Fort Lauderdale hotels that is actually on the beach as opposed to across the street from it. Rates are reasonable and the hotel is family-friendly.
CONS: Rooms are in dire need of an update, the pool is small, and the poolside cafe is expensive.
Bottom Line – Ocean Sky is a great place to stay if you’re visiting Fort Lauderdale and want something that is convenient and affordably priced. The food is good, the tropical drinks are delicious, and the beachfront and the pool deck area are gorgeous. However, visitors might wish that the rooms and bathrooms were as stylish, inviting and up-to-date as the lobby is because the check-in area tends to give a more upscale impression of the hotel upon arrival.