THE DIPLOMAT BEACH RESORT - A FAMILY-FRIENDLY HOTEL IN SOUTH FLORIDA
My husband is a teacher, so the end of the school year is always a bit stressful for our family. We always look forward to the extra family time we’ll get to spend together, but we know we have to get through a few busy weeks of meetings, field trips, ceremonies, etc.
Knowing this, I booked a weekend for our family at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida on the very first free weekend of the summer. I figured we’d be able to relax and spend some quality family time together while I scoped out the area for some blog posts and travel articles.
Unfortunately, we didn’t end up getting the entire family there. My husband ended up having some last-minute work stuff come up, so we made the executive decision to split up. I took the older 2 kids with me while he stayed home with the 2-year-old who is currently a terror to bring in public.
The “big kids” (they’re only 6 and 3 - almost 4) and I ended up having the time of our lives and the most relaxing weekend. We were sad the whole family couldn’t be together, but there’s something about being off toddler duty that makes you appreciate pool and beach time a little more.
The Diplomat hotel in Hollywood was the perfect setting for a family weekend getaway.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary stay and food and beverage credit at the Diplomat Beach Resort in exchange for consideration in my article. All opinions are my own. I only recommend destinations and hotels I really and truly love, and this one is at the top of my list of recommendations!
ABOUT THE DIPLOMAT
The Diplomat Beach Resort is a member of the Hilton family. As part of the Curio Collection, it still retains the look and feel of an independent hotel, but with the support of the Hilton chain.
It is located in Hollywood, FL, a city in between Fort Lauderdale and Miami. You could easily day trip to either of those locations. Fort Lauderdale is only about 15 minutes away, while Miami is closer to a 30 minute drive.
Related: What to Do in Miami with Kids
The Diplomat meshes Old Florida charm with modern luxury. The lobby is covered in palm trees and plants with a glass ceiling, lots of chic seating areas, and natural materials like wicker and wood.
The rooms have smart TVs, so you can log into your Netflix, Hulu, or whatever streaming service you use, and continue watching your favorite series when you want to unwind at night.
Each room also has a Nespresso coffee machine with easy instructions for how to use it.
There are 8 culinary concepts on property. You can tell the Diplomat takes its food seriously, but they’re not at all pretentious. We are NOT foodies, but we didn’t feel out of place at all. There’s something for everyone.
THINGS MY KIDS LOVED ABOUT THE DIPLOMAT BEACH RESORT
The very first thing we did after checking into our room was head out to the balcony to stare at the ocean. For the rest of the weekend we were out there every chance we got. We ate our meals out there, we relaxed out there, and we watched the sunrise out there.
The kids made a game out of seeing what color the ocean would turn at different times of the day. There were 2 comfortable chairs (which the kids claimed) that had tables next to them, and a spacious lounge chair for me, we basically made that balcony our second home.
We were lucky enough to have a corner suite, so I loved that the view of Hollywood and the Intracoastal Waterway out the bedroom window was just as beautiful as the ocean view.
Ok, nothing actually beats an ocean view. But it was really lovely to look at.
THE POOL AREA
This is a no-brainer. The way the kids’ eyes widened when they saw the infinity pool stretched over the top of the lagoon pool next to a splash pad and water slide just for kids…they were in heaven!
Since I had been to the Diplomat once before, I knew the kids would want to spend a whole day at the pool and beach, so I purposely arrived early enough on Friday that we could check in and go exploring around Hollywood. That left all day Saturday free for us to be beach bums.
We ended up preferring the infinity pool to the lagoon pool for a few reasons:
1. It was heated. Seems ridiculous that we would prefer a heated pool in South Florida in summer, but hear me out. It was cloudy for most of the day and we’ve become complete babies about cold temperatures.
2. It was zero-entry, and had a very convenient and large shallow end for kids and families.
My 6-year-old, Pippa, spent quite a bit of time playing on the water slide and in the splash pad. Teddy, the 3-year-old, was a bit nervous about trying the water slide, so he stayed by my side. It’s not super tall or scary, so I think most 3-year-olds would be ok. Honestly, my 2-year-old probably would have loved it.
The Diplomat was so generous and provided us with a poolside cabana for the day. Pippa and Teddy couldn’t get enough of this little luxury! There was a couch, a mini fridge with water bottles, and a tv with cable inside the cabana. Just outside there were 2 lounge chairs that overlooked the pool.
It was perfect for getting a break from the midday sunshine without the hassle of going back up to our room to change. We could get poolside service from Playa, the hotel’s beachfront bar and grill, if we wanted it, though we chose to go eat at the restaurant itself. It was also nice to have a place to store our things if we wanted to set them down for awhile.
THE KIDS TOYS ON THE BEACH
The guests at the Diplomat have beach access with lots of umbrellas and lounge chairs to choose from. We skipped those and headed straight for the cache of beach toys in the shade. The kids spend quite a long time building sand castles and digging holes while I just relaxed and scrolled on my phone. Paradise? I think so.
THE ICE CREAM
We make it our mission to find the best ice cream wherever we go. Lucky for us, the Diplomat has its own ice cream and sweets shop right on property called Candy & Cones. You enter from the pool area, so it’s easy to spend the day splashing around the pool, take a quick ice cream break, then head right back out to swim some more.
We went back to Counter Point, the coffee shop/bakery/sandwich/juice shop located in the lobby over and over for most of our meals. Our favorites were the individual pizzas we were buy to go for dinner, which we would then bring up to our room to enjoy on the balcony.
We also hit up Counter Point for coffee, pastries, and smoothies for breakfast. This little shop is going to be your best friend if you visit the Diplomat hotel in Hollywood.
THE BUFFET BREAKFAST AT POINT ROYAL
For one of our breakfasts we actually ventured out of our room to the nicer sit-down restaurant Point Royal by celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian.
Here’s the thing about our family and fancy restaurants…we don’t do them a lot. I’m all about teaching our kids to be well-behaved in public, but it’s a learning process. And I don’t want to practice in a restaurant where people are there for an upscale experience. Usually Pippa (6) and Teddy (3) are fine. They know how to sit nicely and wait patiently. Our youngest, Lewis (2) is tougher to take to restaurants right now, as he thinks throwing things on the floor is a fun game and unleashes a high-pitched scream when he doesn’t get what he wants.
Anyway, since Lewis wasn’t with us this time, I figured it was safe to try Point Royal, but was still a bit nervous that bringing kids in would be frowned upon.
I WAS SO WRONG. There were so many families in the restaurant for breakfast, and the staff was very friendly and accommodating to the kids. There was a copious breakfast buffet with tons of options for my slightly picky children. It was the best experience, and I would highly recommend this option to families.
INTERACTING WITH HOTEL STAFF
You know you’re going to love a hotel experience when the staff greets your kids before they even greet you! We parked our car and headed inside to hit the restrooms before we even checked in. On our way to the bathroom we were intercepted by a wonderful woman who worked at the concierge desk. She looked delighted to see the kids and asked them if they had gotten a prize from her treasure box yet.
She made it a priority to take us over to her desk and let the kids pick out a toy. It set the tone for our whole weekend. The kids couldn’t wait to call Dad and let him know what they got. That small gesture meant so much to them, and it made me happy to see a hotel so welcoming to families.
THE SPACIOUS ROOMS
We were originally supposed to be visiting with our whole family (2 adults, 3 children), so the Diplomat had us booked in a corner suite. it only ended up being the 2 older kids and me, but even so, it’s always nice to have some extra space when kids are around.
We had a living area with a large sofa, flat screen tv, comfortable chair, and coffee table which opened up into a large open space, then a hightop dining table in the corner. The balcony was a wraparound one, then there was a separate room with a king size bed. The room was huge with tons of space around the bed for our luggage, a comfortable oversized chair, and end tables on both sides of the bed. The bathroom and toilet were separated by a door so someone can get ready while someone else is using the toilet.
We were very happy with our accommodations and super comfortable - it almost made it hard for us to leave during the day because we kind of just wanted to stay and relax in the room!
THE BEST SOUTH FLORIDA RESORT
We’ve stayed at a hotel in Miami, and while it was stunning and surrounded by life and energy, it was also impossible to find parking, and you felt a bit suffocated at times.
The Diplomat has the best of both worlds - big hotel name, but small hotel attention to detail and interactions with guests. Great location, but a little bit removed from the hustle and noise of Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and even Hollywood Beach.
We absolutely loved our stay at the Diplomat, and I truly think it’s the perfect getaway for families looking to relax and enjoy the sun, sand, and pools, but also be close enough to larger cities with tons to do for kids if you’re in need of a day out.