Hotel Room Block
We decided on the Residence Inn Marriott Fort Lauderdale Intracoastal Il Lugano.
After over-researching (because that's what I do) the Il Lugano won the bid. It might not be perfect, but it's the perfect option for our group and in no specific order, here's why:
1.) I was hoping to find a chain hotel brand.
2.) Our guests budgets are of such a wide range so I wanted to find something reasonably priced yet offer some perks for those who have higher budgets.
3.) Every room has a balcony with a water view, either intracoastal or ocean.
4.) The customer service the Sales Coordinator was great. She was on top of it from the initial email. (More on her later.)
5.) The group rate was almost $100/night less then that regular rate.
6.) It is a Residence hotel so all of the rooms offer full kitchens for cooking (great for those on a budget).
7.) All rooms have a washer & dryer.
8.) They offer complimentary breakfast consisting of 2 hot items (usually eggs and a breakfast meat) hot and cold cereal, a waffle bar, fresh fruit and yogurt, pastries, bagels breakfast breads, as well as coffee, tea, milk and juice.
9.) $10/night valet parking for the nights of the room block vs. their standard $18/night.
10.) For us, the Bride and Groom, they upgrade our room to one of the Grand Suites and present us with champagne and chocolates upon arrival.
11.) The location. Within walking distance there are some great looking restaurants/bars which will be convenient for a pre-cruise gathering.
12.) There's a pool.
13.) Some of the rooms have been updated/renovated.
We went with 15 rooms: 10 Executive Studio Suites and 5 One Bedroom Intracoastal View Suites.
They had us sign a contract saying we'd book at least 80% of the rooms, and if not, we'd have to pay the difference of occupancy minimum of the 80%.
One thing that made me hesitant about booking this hotel was the location in proximity to the airport (FLL) and the cruise port (Port Everglades). After doing lots of research, I realized that it wasn't very easy to find a chain hotel that offered complimentary transportation from the hotel to either of these places. I looked into getting a bus to transport my guests and it just wasn't practical because I know not everyone will want to go to the port at the same time; as some will have early boarding and others won't. I decided to just go with this hotel because it offered so many things that I was looking for and we then encouraged our guests to use Uber. (Our wedding website, AppyCouple, gives first time Uber'ers a coupon code.)
I'm going to take a minute to give our Sales Coordinator a pat on the back. Talia Caparelli was pretty great. Very informative, helpful, prompt, and she was very professional and friendly. I've had some guests call and book their rooms through her and they also gave her rave reviews. So thank you, Talia, for making this part of the planning so easy!!