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April 11, 2007

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WHERE'S JOHNNY JET?                                 Hollywood Beach Marriott

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I didn't mind that we were a few hours late since for once, I had taken my own advice and arrived a couple of days before my flight to Rio. I checked in to the new, $30 million, 229-room, oceanfront, Hollywood Beach Marriott hotel. It's located directly on the Hollywood Beachfront Broadwalk (not a typo; that's what it's called, which makes sense because it's a broad walkway). The hotel is located between the Fort Lauderdale Airport (FLL), which is 6 miles south, and a $20 taxi away, and Miami International Airport, which is about 24 miles away and a $60 taxi ride. TIP: If you are coming from FLL, make sure the taxi driver does NOT take you the I-95 route, which'll add $15 to your fare.

The rooms at the Marriott are plush, equipped with free high-speed Internet access, a large desk, HD plasma screen TVs with over 70 cable channels, a marble bathroom, balcony, and best of all, Marriott's comfy "Revive" bed. Although I was catching up on my work, the surroundings made me feel like I was still on vacation. There's not a lot going on around the hotel. That's because Hollywood Beach is more like "old-school Florida", where the locals have a sense of community and most landowners have held out from cashing in to developers. So, even though it's quiet, you don't really need anything more because the Marriott has a pool, fitness center, spa (they give chocolate shots before your treatment), an indoor/outdoor restaurant, Starbucks, and of course, a beautiful beach. Don't get me wrong I wouldn't want to spend my one vacation a year here, but it's perfect if you're coming in for a day or two before a cruise or looking for a quick weekend escape from the northeast. Interestingly though, 75% of the Hollywood Beach Marriott's business comes from leisure travelers, but I think its location/facilities make it perfect for business travelers, too. The hotel also offers a club level with free food/drink. If you still want to venture outside of the hotel, then ask James S. Lesnick, the concierge, where to go. He's a member of Les Clefs d'Or (a professional association of concierges) and knows everyone. The closest popular attractions are the dog and horse tracks and the casino sadly made famous by its association with Anna Nicole Smith; all are located about 20 minutes away. If any of you are fans of The Sopranos, you will see the Hollywood Beach Marriott in an upcoming episode. They spent close to a week filming here in January. Room rates begin at $169. Hollywood Beach Marriott, 2501 North Ocean Drive, Hollywood, Florida, tel.: 1-954-924-2202.

INTERNET AT MIAMI AIRPORT: I left the Marriott at 8:30am and it took just 35 minutes to get to MIA. If you're an Internet junkie like me, the Miami airport does have wireless. It costs $4.95 for 30 minutes (25 cents every minute after) or $9.95 for 24 hours. It's slow but at least it's available.

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Pictures From

The Trip


Hollywood Beach Marriott




My Room


Ocean View


Marriott Pool




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