Two restaurants offer varied options in the ultra-contemporary hotel. There’s a rooftop bar with ocean views, 2,400 feet of event and meeting space and in general, plenty of luxury.
The Cambria Hotel Fort Lauderdale Beach is esteemed hotel brand Cambria’s fifth hotel in Florida. It opened earlier this year on the west side of A1A, north of the Pelican Grand and walkable to the north end of the main bit of Fort Lauderdale Beach. It bills itself as an upmarket, modern place. And getting it to opening day was something of a journey.
For developer and owner Jai Motwani, the hotel marks a journey two decades in the making from when the old Lafayette Hotel was acquired. The immediate goal was redevelopment into a high-end boutique hotel. “There was nothing new that was upper scale, high end, on the north end,” Motwani says.
Their site plan made it through planning and zoning but not the Fort Lauderdale City Commission, where commissioners said the site was too small for what they were trying to develop.
“The north side, they were very protective about,” Motwani says. “They really saw it as the last developable part of the beach.
“I take my hat off to the city, they were very outspoken about how they wanted projects developed in the area.”
Over the next decade and a half, the developer bought more parcels around the original patch. “In the end, we ended up acquiring four different parcels,” Motwani says. They went back to the city in 2017 and eventually won approval for a six-story, 97-room luxury hotel.
It is, Motwani says, entirely modern. He notes the European-style energy efficiency thanks to a building management system geared to energy conservation. Hotel patrons “turn on” rooms with their key card; they are then monitored for usage, and the room turns off what’s not needed. The air conditioning goes up when not in use. Lights and TVs turn off automatically when guests leave. And when they walk back in, the TV greets them by name.
The technology’s not cheap to put in, Motwani says, but it offers about a 17 percent savings on energy bills.
Part of it might be consummately contemporary, but Motwani’s also proud of the way it fits into the neighborhood – and gives locals a place for guests to stay nearby.
“Our first customers came from the Auberge,” he says of one neighbor, the new luxury beachfront condo. “They’ve been very receptive to us.
“People needed to have a new, modern place to put their (visiting) family. We’re kind of woven into the DNA of the neighborhood.”