Gas prices got you down? Tired of fuel and extra baggage charges from the airlines? These days it isn't easy to get away with the family.
However, we all need some time away. We need and deserve some rest and relaxation away from the lawn, the house and the office. Fortunately we live within a couple hours drive of some wonderful places. A couple of weeks ago, I found one such place.
Located in Hallandale, right on the Atlantic Ocean sits the breathtaking Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa. Opening in 2002, this gleaming 39-story hotel is a far cry from the original humble 150-room hotel that originally opened in 1958. While the original Diplomat Hotel may not have been as big, its list of guests and dignitaries reads like a "who's who" of the day's entertainment and political world.
The Diplomat was a magnet for stars such as Bob Hope, Sammy Davis, Jr., Judy Garland, Jackie Gleason, Frank Sinatra and the list goes on. The hotel played host to heads of state, including presidents from Truman to Clinton.
Today's Diplomat Resort and Spa welcomes everyone with its legendary hospitality. Nearly every room offers either Intracoastal Waterway or Atlantic Ocean views. Our room, situated high above the beach and on the corner of the hotel, provided a beautiful balcony view of both.
Below us was the outdoor-bridged pool with infinity edge, a see-through bottom and waterfalls flowing into the 240-foot lagoon style pool below. Over the course of the weekend, I found it difficult to get the kids out of the pools.
The Diplomat features nine restaurants, including the Splash Bar and Grill located poolside on the ocean. For the workout nuts, there is a huge fitness center equipped with LifeFitness and Precor machines and workout experts to help keep guests in shape.
For smaller guests the Diplomat offers the Westin Kids Club. The Destination Discovery program is packed with activities that entertains and engages both mind and body. They even offer a Kids Night Out so that parents can enjoy their own night out or in.
A quick five-minute trek away sits the Diplomat Golf Resort and Spa. It was here that we teed it up for a wonderful round of golf. The course, designed by Joe Lee and managed by Troon Golf, is a beautiful and challenging course that once hosted the same entertainers who stayed across the intracoastal.
The course has abundant palm trees, tropical foliage, white sand bunkers, eight acres of lakes, and a magnificent, signature-hole island green... A hole that I managed to birdie by the way.
Encompassing 155 acres, with no buildings cluttering up the course, there is plenty of room for golfers of all abilities to enjoy their round. Carts are equipped with GPS so there is no guessing on yardages, and you can even place food and drink orders while waiting on your partner to play his or her shot.
There are four sets of tees and a nice variety of holes. Two of the par-5s come in at over 555 yards each. There is a nice short par-3, which my son managed to hit the flagstick on, and a long, challenging one as well. We found the course to be in fantastic shape. The greens held the ball nicely, and rolled true and fast.
After a round of golf, time at the beach and in the pool, shopping and walking around the area, my family had worked up quite an appetite.
Across the street from the Diplomat Hotel, with a beautiful location on the intracoastal, sits the resort's Rivals Waterfront Sports Grille. It was here that we enjoyed one of the best meals our family has ever had. The menu features a huge variety of choices; this is especially good when dining with my kids.
The parents enjoyed an adult beverage before dinner, and a wonderful bottle of wine with our meal. Making good use of our server's advice we all found something we enjoyed. Between the Key West chicken wings, the Mexican layer dip, baby back ribs, Kobe burger patty melt, churrasco beef tenderloins, Corona lime shrimp, Philly cheese steak sliders, and more, our taste buds were nearly overwhelmed. We did, however, find just enough room for dessert.
If you're looking for a great getaway without the hassle of traveling too far, the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa is just the place. To make your own reservations or find out more, please call my friends there at (954) 602-6000 or (888) 627-9057 or visit them on the web at www.diplomatresort.com.
James Stammer has been an avid golfer and golf enthusiast for nearly 40 years. He hosts the Thursday Night Golf Show on WSTU 1450-AM. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.