It was 1949 and Fort Lauderdale resorts such as The Riverside closed for the summer. So when Chicago entrepreneur George Gill Jr. built The Escape two blocks from the beach and opened it year round, it was historic.
Seventy-two years later, The Escape has found new life. While many of its contemporaries were razed for more modern and taller luxury hotels, The Escape reopened in April as a boutique called the Kimpton Goodland Beach Fort Lauderdale.
I spent the night at the Kimpton Goodland in June, tucked away in one of the trendy refurbished rooms by the pool. The Goodland is reminiscent of a more innocent time in Florida, when a college swimming competition was still turning into spring break in Fort Lauderdale and President Harry Truman was still playing poker at the Little White House in Key West.
The Kimpton Goodland Fort Lauderdale Beach, built in 1949, has attached windows at the corners for good light. Photo credit: Kimpton Goodland
While Miami Beach became famous for its art deco and modern-style buildings, Fort Lauderdale developed later and has a smaller collection of mid-century modern hotels, with the 96-room Goodland at the avant-garde.
What is so remarkable and pleasing in style is the indoor-outdoor outdoor quality. The resort’s three two-story buildings are all connected by walkways and, on the second floor, by covered bridges to protect guests from the sun and rain.
Clean lines, minimalist decor, and smooth terrazzo floors have a Japanese simplicity that’s emphasized in one of the hotel’s courtyards, where a half-dozen canary-yellow butterfly chairs accent a bamboo-lined Zen garden.
The oval-shaped lobby is lined with floor-to-ceiling glass and suspended from space-age light fixtures. Each bedroom has a diamond-shaped wall sconce next to the door with the room number painted in teal blue numbers.
Inside the mostly white rooms, the lines are just as clean. The butted windows in the corners of the rooms set the tone and let in good light. A 50s-style turquoise mini-fridge characterizes the futuristic decor, reminding guests of the hotel’s heritage while feeling state-of-the-art. A Marshall Bluetooth speaker delivers a retro radio look with contemporary high fidelity. A footrest is shaped like a giant champagne cork.
The three buildings at Kimpton Goodland Fort Lauderdale Beach are connected by walkways. Photo credit: Tom Stieghorst
“The Goodland is ready to bring something new to the Fort Lauderdale vacation experience,” said Nils Bergmann, General Manager of Goodland. “Our property offers a relaxed boutique vibe that blends the past and present of the destination.”
Hard to believe, but pools were a new fixture for Fort Lauderdale travelers when The Escape’s pool debuted. The Goodland’s pool deck is nicely appointed and is served by the blue and white striped Good Bar.
Another swimming pool on the eighth floor of the neighboring Tiffany House apartment hotel is available to Goodland guests and offers truly spectacular views of the beach and the sparkling Intracoastal Waterway.
A proposal for the 12-story, 128-unit Tiffany House would have demolished The Escape, but Fort Lauderdale had designated it historic, so to build the tower, its developers had to restore the hotel. The result is a sheer wall that both houses and submerges the smaller two-story Goodland and can cast some shade over the downstairs pool during the winter months.
Food and drink options at the Goodland, besides the Good Bar, include the Botanic, a restaurant / bar with farm-to-table menus and a few handcrafted cocktails. During my stay, I was able to taste half a dozen libations through straw, including “The Painkiller”, which mixes rum, pineapple, orange and coconut in a shaped glass. pineapple.
A zen garden fills one of the beach courtyards at Kimpton Goodland Fort Lauderdale. Photo credit: Tom Stieghorst
Yellowtail snapper ceviche, pan-seared tuna sliders, and a simple yet satisfying roast chicken are all items I can recommend on the Botanic dinner menu.
Later this year there will be a rooftop Spanish tapas outlet at the Tiffany House pool, as well as a cafe bar.
Customers driving to the Goodland should be aware that parking is valet only and costs $ 44 per night. A resort fee of $ 38 per night includes daily yoga classes, Wi-Fi throughout the property, bottled water, kids’ beach toys, and two lounge chairs on the beach, which are included located two blocks away.
The Goodland is the only Fort Lauderdale hotel affiliated with Kimpton. The chain opened the 96-room Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach in 2020.