Best Resort Motel - 1999
Tropi Rock Resort
The mosaic ribbon of mugs, saucers, ceramic suns, and glints of mirror that wraps around the front wall is the first hint that Tropi Rock is a world away from the neighboring cookie-cutter motels on the blocks extending west from Fort Lauderdale beach. The exterior of each room is painted with a colorful window border and an animal scene above the door, and the interiors are outfitted with modern Mexican or rustic Caribbean furniture and artwork set against sherbet-color walls. Manager Markus Schaerf says his father, an interior designer and former Latin music producer, describes the two-year-old resort motel's decorating theme as "Latin fusion." The Tropi Rock asserts its individuality in every nook: a sun deck with crocheted hammocks; a fountain with large, broken pottery at its bottom; a small orange bar embedded with photographs, postcards, a Pulp Fiction CD cover, and a condom wrapper; and several party areas outfitted with barbecue grills and other eclectic accouterments. In addition to two tennis courts, a shuffleboard court, and Ping-Pong table outside, Tropi Rock has a basement -- a rarity in South Florida -- with a fitness room, game room, and laundry facilities. Even the concrete border of the pool is painted charcoal, rather than left plain. Now that's attention to detail.