The Birch Pointe Condos sit right on the edge of the Intracoastal waterway right at the Seville stop for the Water Taxi. It doesn't get much better than that.
Parking is secured and under the building so your vehicles are protected as well as can be during Florida's infamous hurricane season. The building is also more secure than most as your elevator key will only take you to your own condo.
You see, the condos here are huge. Each one takes up half the floor, so there are two condos on each floor. I believe the spaces are 4,000 sq ft.... they all have huge balconies and wonderful water views.
Now, these are all private dwellings so you do have to be an owner or a guest of an owner in residence to stay here, but it's one of the better investments currently in the area.
The building manager is an big extra in this case too. He doesn't mind playing taxi service to and from the airport for the owners, washing their cars for a little extra cash, or any number of things you might want done. Whenever there is a hurricane heading this way, he is more than willing to go in and secure the hurricane shutters to your unit for you if you call him.
Investments down here have almost doubled in value in the past year and a half. If you can get one in this building, go for it.
PROS: Excellent investment property
CONS: high dollar, but worth it
Unlike a lot of the Condominium buildings in the beach area, Seasons actually does have many owners who rent their units on a monthly basis. You can get a list of what's available for temporary renting from the little gal that manages the building. She's very nice and easy to talk to so don't be shy about asking her anything you want to know.
The building is in a great location being right there on the beach and next door to Casablanca Cafe. A few block south is the main action of the beach, but those few blocks means that you can easily go party and have a good time, then go home and get away from all the noise when you're done. Also, the Water Taxi stops just a block back from the condo. Excellent location.
The apartments themselves are kept in good shape and are really quite nice. You can get them furnished, or if you arrange to stay long term they will store the furniture so you can bring your own in.
They do allow pets. Many don't, so this is need to know info for you vacationing pet owners. Walking that dog here is a pleasure with the wonderful scenery.
So, if you're looking at an investment, this would be a great bet. Property along here rises in value almost on a daily basis at the moment. And if you're just looking for a long vacation, this is a great way to go.
PROS: Excellent location, pets are allowed
CONS: Well, it's expensive being right on the beach...
I love this shop. It isn't the biggest, or the cheapest, on the beach... but it has the greatest staff ever. Now, the sign outside says "New Edition", but they are incorporated as Y & L Hot Stuff for some reason. I run into this a lot with small retail stores. Whatever, they rawk.
It's a small place on A1A northbound just past Las Olas Blvd. They have all kinds of beach wear just like every other shop along the strand, and on a few things they are a few dollars higher than elswhere. But, they have the most amazing skirts and beach wraps around. If you wander towards the back of the place you'll see several round racks of discounted stuff too. This is where you want to look to find some killer deals. Right now they have two full racks of "any three for $10." Can't beat that. This is the stuff that's gotten on the floor somehow and needs cleaned. Hey, If I can grab 3 $30 items for 10 bucks, I won't mind doing some laundry, yanno?
They also have the best selection of sandals on the strand. I made the mistake of stopping in again last night and was immediately grabbed by one of my favorite sales guys and shown what they just got in. Evil. Just evil. My CC company loves this place...
The main thing I love here though is the staff. These guys are always happy and joking around. They have a warped sense of humor to match my own and they make shelling out the bucks for that cute new skirt way less painless because of it.
Do stop in here. It's a shopping experience.
PROS: Fantastic staff, cute clothes
CONS: Well, a tad higher than other places on a few things
On the odd day that I get out of bed before noon and wake up hungry, I always seem to find myself craving those delicate French pastries and some wonderful Mocha Capuccino. The best place I've found in the Lauderdale area to get both of these delights in the Eurobread & Cafe on the corner of Seminole and Sunrise (just on the inland side of the bridge).
One of my personal faves is this huge number with a half-apricot on each side of the delicate flaky knot. This thing practically melts in your mouth. It's rare to find a regular ol' donut here. This is a good thing. Try one of the many different Croissants. You'll never go back to the Starbucks across the way again. And the Cookies! My gawd they're like little thick cakes or something.. so fresh! So soft! Soooo tasty! Something as simple as a butter cookie becomes a work of art in these folk's hands.
Miss breakfast and in the mood for lunch? Stop on in. Their list of Les Sandwiches is very good too. Have a Brie Sandwich for $6.95 or as a Wrap for for the same price. They have both in Pate, Salami, Smoked Salmon, Roast Beef... well just a ton of choices at good prices. The wraps are served with Spinach, plain, or with sundried tomatoes and the sandwiches come on a nice French Baguette.
Great. Now I'm hungry and they're closed for the day.
PROS: To-die-for goodness
CONS: Not a thing
If you go anywhere on the Water Taxi (which I suggest you do) they will likely give you a coupon for a free appetizer at Charley's Crab, which is the number 1 stop on their route, next to Shooters.
This tells you that the restaurant is on the water. It's a beautiful place to dine. Very romantic even. And although it's fairly upscale, you will not feel out of place in your walking shorts.
The staff is very good here. You won't wait long at all to get service, and they will all be smiling. That's because they know you are about to drop a nice chunk of change.
You see, a pound of Crab Legs here will run you a cool $44. Yes, I said $44. And no, as a matter of fact they are not any better than what you can get inland at those $13 all-you-can-eat buffets. So you're paying approx. $31 extra for the setting, and less food.
Now, the appetizer of Dynamite Scallops for $12 I have to say was pretty durn good. No, I'll go ahead and say awsome even... but the portion was a bit scant for the price.
The Florida Black Grouper for $24 is plentiful, but extremely rich. The Crab Stuffed Shrimp ($22.00) was tough and very fishy... like the shrimp was old. Ick. Skip both these items.
In fact, really, if you want more than just a quick appetizer before heading back out on the Water Taxi, well, go somewhere else. This place is all ambience and no follow-through for the big bucks.
PROS: Wonderful setting
CONS: Rip off on the food
Ok now look. I know that touristy places tend to have a high mark up. I expect this and have come to terms with it. I know when to buy, pretty much, and when to wait and look elswhere to find a better deal. Mark ups happen where tourists are involved.. but there's a limit, folks, and Maui Nix has crossed it majorly.
You'll find this place in a coveted corner of Beach Place just smack dab in the middle of the action on the beach. I imagine that's premium rent for that space and they have to recoup the overhead somehow, but come on! Are people really paying these outrageous prices for a beach towel? I guess someone is...
Nix has all kinds of surfer clothing and paraphernalia from board shorts to surf board wax. What struck me the most was that a t-shirt that sells for $11 on their very own website was priced at over $20 in this store. What is up with that? And I'm sorry, I'm just not paying $30 for a beach towel when I can get one a block away for $12... or even next door at Lulu's Bait Shack for $10.
No folks. Stay away from Maui Nix... unless you just like bragging about paying far too much for stuff.
PROS: Cool stuff
CONS: Way, WAY too high priced
Next to Cafe Del Mar on the main strand of Lauderdale Beach is the biggest of the touristy shops along the beach. Now, when I first arrived down here I wasn't too thrilled with them. I was mainly in there to buy convenience items like shampoo and what have you because at that time I didn't care for the brand the hotel had. Wipeout was way over-priced on that kind of stuff. They still are. Heck, water will run ya about $2.50 here. Crazyness.
However, I've spent time looking around them more and have grown to like them. They have an enormous selection here. Everything from beach towels to swim suits to funny t-shirts to cover-ups to hand-made clothes by local designers. And ya know what? Their prices on all that kind of stuff is pretty good.
They aren't just limited to the clothing and sundries though either. You can stock up on all those silly tourist knick-knacks here too like Lauderdale glasses and ashtrays and pot holders and sea shells and all that usual schlock that I'm such a sucker for.
The staff has gotten much friendlier over the years too. Big smiles on everyone and they're happy to answer any questions you might have.
Even a year ago I would have told you to not bother. Now I'm giving them 4 stars and telling you this one of the places to stop in and browse while you duck out of the hot afternoon sun.
PROS: Large selection, decent prices on the clothing
CONS: Horribly high on sundries and sodas
See The Sun is yet another real small swimsuit shop along the strand on the southern part of Lauderdale Beach. It's really, really small... but they pack in the swimsuits on every inch of it. Seriously, there's barely room to maneuver in here.
Now, this is one of the two places on the strand that does actually have some top of the line suits if you know the difference. They also have the everyday suits that you can find everywhere else on the beach... but this place puts the same price tags on those as they do the stuff that's really worth it.
Now, once in awhile you can catch them with the half off everything deal going on, usually during the off season of April-Oct. That's the time to shop here. But during high season? No way. Not unless you can easily tell what's worth the big bucks and what's not.
PROS: Some nice stuff
CONS: Some way over-priced stuff mixed in
The Clothes Connection is at the southern end of the main strip ending at Las Olas Blvd. Just like many others, they specialize in high priced swimwear. Now, I am giving them 3 stars because some of their suits really are worth the money and not the same stuff you can find for less all along the beach, but some are. heh. You have to be careful here.
The staff is very pushy here. They'll tell you things look maaahvelous bay-beee even if you look like a cow in that g-string. I know, I put them through their paces one day. heh.
Pretty much all they have is swimsuits in this one. If you know the difference between the mass-marketed suits and the good stuff, then go right in. You can find some nice stuff here.... but if not, avoid it or you'll get talked into something you can find for much less and will look horrible on you.
PROS: They do have some nice swimsuits
CONS: They also have cheap ones for the same prices...
Holiday Shops is one of the numerous beach shops here which charge outrageous amounts for the same beachwear you can find elsewhere for half the price.
This is a small-ish shop with swimwear, boogie boards, cover-ups, cute little beach dresses and gauze skirts. They figure since they have a prestigious Las Olas Blvd address, they can charge Las Olas prices, but they aren't part of the Las Olas shopping area at all. They are across the bridge from that and a block off the strand.
Not only will they charge you $40 for a $20 skirt, but the staff is a little too uppity for their own good. Very stand off-ish. They could care less if you buy anything at all.
Nope. Go back up to the strand for better pricing on the same exact items.
PROS: Nothing really
CONS: Unfriendly staff, high prices