The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa, conveniently located between Ft. Lauderdale beach and Miami Beach, is a destination with two very different ambiances. The beachfront hotel, with almost 1,000 rooms and over 200,000 square feet of meeting space, is an ideal location for conventions and conferences. It also has several pools and a wonderful Kid’s Club that attracts families. In contrast, the , 60 rooms, located near the resort’s 18 hole golf course, tennis courts and 30,000 square foot spa (with fresh water chlorine free swimming pool), offers guests a more intimate low key experience. Regardless of your accommodations, you can shuttle back and forth every half hour to enjoy the best of both worlds.
My spacious beachfront suite with a terrace that runs the length of the bedroom and living room, has a direct view of the Atlantic Ocean.
My room key gives me access to the 33 floor VIP lounge for a complimentary breakfast buffet and cocktails from 5 to 7:30.
The January sea is invigorating, as is my long walk on the powdery sand. I settle into a seat atSplash Restaurant on the edge of the beach, and order the mahi mahi wrap; tangy and spicy, it is a perfect afternoon snack.
At night, we cross the walkway to Diplomat Landing. Reservations have been made for Aizia, the hotel’s Pan Asian Restaurant, serving a fusion of dishes influenced by the cuisines of China, Thailand and Japan. We are seated on the edge of the Intercoastal Waterway. Small boats and large yachts pass by as we feast on a delectable array of appetizers and house specialties, creatively plated and served with a theatrical flair that reflects Executive Chef Mauricio Gutierrez’s passion for food and art.
AiZiA is not just fine waterfront dining; it is an exciting show of fire, ice, smoke and lights. .Meals is served engulfed in flames, “floating” on smoke or in a delicate ice bowl. Wild salmon arrives on a flaming cedar plank … smoky Szechwan seared scallops are nestled under a glass dome … and the crispy whole snapper is garnished to perfection. As a food writer, I am rarely as wowed as I was with chef’s imaginative, innovative and creative masterpieces: the halibut is moist and flaky … short ribs over rice porridge, cooked for 36 hours, falls off the bone … and the Kurobuta Char Sui Pork Belly, served with sour apples, candied ginger and steamed bok choy, raises my palate to new highs.
Chef Mauricio, originally from Colombia, tells me: “I wanted to create a place where guests could engage all of their senses in their dining experience. It’s not just about the taste. Regardless of what our guests order, by the time they begin eating we have already aroused their senses of sight, sound and smell.”
I take the 11:00 A.M. shuttle over to the white tea scented spa for my Signature Zen Ritual … aGreen Tea Scrub and Massage. The atmosphere is pleasant, tranquil and reassuring. Lucia, a seasoned professional, is my therapist, and I am most impressed with her meticulous and methodical approach to wellness. My treatment is full of surprises, including: the hot towel roll placed under my neck and the hot blanket on my back.
Wrapped in a robe, I move out to the pool, relax in a lounge, and order a healthy shrimp and avocado salad. On the shuttle back to the beach, a guest who also had a treatment with Lucia tells me: “she had the right touch, so professional; it was exactly what I wanted”.
Dinner in the hotel’s Hollywood Prime, presided over by Chef de Cuisine Will Biscoe and South Florida’s only AAA Four Diamond rated steak house, hits yet another culinary high note. The house selection of wines also won it Wine Spectators 2011 Award for Excellence. Chef sends out a zingy dip made with chopped cheddar, roasted red peppers, mayo and spices, as part of bread service along with homemade crackers, followed by melt-in-your- mouth. Kobe beef kebobs. My New York strip steak, served with sides of garlic mashed potatoes, succulent sautéed mushrooms and anisette flavored creamed spinach is a testimony to Chef Will Biscoe’s’sexperimental personality and flair for mixing seasonings into unique flavors.
Old-Fashioned Pimento Cheese Spread Recipe
makes about one pound
In a mixing bowl beat together:
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or cubed
½ teaspoon Coleman’s English Mustard Powder
2 teaspoons of your favorite hot sauce, chef prefer Sri Racha
When cheese is completely crumbled beat in:
1 cup of Hellman’s or Duke’s mayonnaise
4 ounces of chopped pimento or a chopped roasted pepper
You can add more or less mayo to taste; .a little onion, Worcestershire sauce and/or finely diced jalapeno.
less for a stiffer spread and more for something decadent and super-creamy.
The Westin Diplomat, Resort & Spa, celebrating its 10th Anniversary, is a great destination, any time of the year, but especially when it’s snowing up north
For further information, contact The Westin Diplomat sales office at 954-602-8600 or visit online at www.DiplomatResort.com