19/01/2011 10:56 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Hotel Review: The Westin Beach Resort &Amp; Spa, Fort Lauderdale, Florida

With nearby Miami tempting most tourists to Florida, it's worth venturing further afield to the Westin Beach Resort & Spa in Fort Lauderdale, for its beachside chic with a hint of 50s retro.

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The USP: The newly redecorated Westin couldn't be closer to the beach without actually being in the middle of a sandcastle, plus there's a rooftop pool if you want some sun-worshipping without sand – and the swaying palm trees and aqua exterior are perfect for some old-style Americana glamour.

Book it now if: You fancy a beach and shopping break – you can take a shuttle from the hotel to one of the nearby major malls, or there's an elevated walkway from the pool over the road to the beach so you needn't dodge the traffic. Even in winter, the temperatures are in the mid 20s, and it's a great stop-off if you're joining one of the cruises which leave from the Florida port.

Bedding down: Although the Westin is part of a chain, the king-size bedrooms have been newly renovated to add a subtle splash of personality, all in neutral shades of green and brown as well as ocean blues. There's 433 rooms in total split over the two towers, from the Traditional rooms with their city view to the Deluxe and Premium Ocean front rooms looking out over the water. At the pricier end of the scale there's five Premium Lanai rooms and suites. The hotel's spa toiletries are in the bathroom – which is separated from the main bedroom by an open hatchway with wooden shutters, something privacy-lovers might not find quite as fun.

Feed me: The hotel's restaurant is where it really wows – portions are US sized, so expect to need a doggy bag at Shula's on the Beach. Steaks start at around 16oz, and there's fish and seafood plus a view out to the ocean from the patio tables. Breakfast is pricy, so even if you have a voucher to set against the total, it's worth watching the cost – although the pancakes are worth every cent. No chance of caffeine withdrawal either, with a Starbucks on the ground floor and their coffee in your room.

Easily bored: As well as wandering along the beach, where turtles lay their eggs at certain times of the year, you can head to Las Olas Boulevard for the bars and boutiques. Hop on the water taxi to see the city's candy coloured buildings from a boat, or go alligator spotting in the Everglades, a short journey away, with an air boat tour with Billie Swamp Safari.

What's the damage: Rooms cost from around £165 per night, based on two sharing, including taxes.

Point me in the right direction: The Westin Beach Resort & Spa, Fort Lauderdale, 321 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33304 (+954 467 1111/

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