When new to a city and wondering what there is to do or where to eat, ask one of the top experts around—your hotel concierge. Where South Florida recently talked to the well-informed and seasoned concierge of the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six in Fort Lauderdale, David F. Ivy. Here are some of his tips for visiting South Florida:
How long have you been in the industry?
I have enjoyed a long career and have been a concierge for 12 years.
What is your favorite part of being a concierge at your hotel?
I love interacting with our guests who come from all over the globe and guiding them to the fantastic things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
What are some hidden treasures of your hotel/area?
The Hyatt Pier 66 has many games and events that both adults and children can participate in daily. There is a game room for kids, and out on the lawn by the pool, there are games for adults and kids.
As to the treasures of the area, there are many, including airboat rides in the Everglades and the water taxi that will take you around town all day for a reasonable rate. The Sun Trolley for $3 is a good bargain.
What is your best recommendation for couples who are looking for romantic things to do?
My best tips for couples is consider a beautiful ride on the gondola from downtown Fort Lauderdale; to escape on a catamaran ride into the ocean to watch the sun set; or rent their own private boat, with a captain of course, at a reasonable rate, and explore the area via the intercostal waterways, stopping to have dinner along the way.
Can you give us a few family-friendly recommendations?
Activities that I believe the whole family would enjoy include the very exciting airboat rides in the Everglades; the Jungle Queen, which explores the waterways of Fort Lauderdale, showcasing all the beautiful homes along the way. And last, but not least, there are also a lot of water activities such as jet skis and parasailing they can do together.
What are your favorite restaurants?
There are too numerous to mention; however, I keep a list handy of those restaurants that offer both a good prices and great fare. For example: Grille 66 on the Hyatt property; Bistro Mezzaluna, a Northern Italian restaurant with excellent service and food; Catalina, very much geared to the area as it is Cuban, Spanish and features excellent dishes representing those areas. For those on a family budget, on a lesser-dollar scale, there is Bimini Boatyard and Southport Raw Bar.