Pelican Grand Beach Resort
Courtesy of Pelican Grand Hotel

Lots of hotels are on Fort Lauderdale Beach... but how many of them are actually on the oceanfront? (None of that across-the-street nonsense here.) Lots of hotels have restaurants inside... but how many have an old-fashioned ice cream shop? And lots of hotels have pools... but how many of them have a Lazy River? The Pelican Grand's location (just out of earshot of the strip's loud bars), its old-fashioned Southern-style veranda, and most of all, its superwarm hospitality make this place deliciously, languidly out of place. Though we generally despise corporate takeovers, the fact that the Pelican was assumed by the Noble House brand of luxury boutique hotels means it is constantly being upgraded and will have to live up to the chain's high standards. Sign in, unpack, and have the bartender sling you one of his amazing cocktails. (Pelican Brief, anyone?) Pro tip: The hotel has about 25 rooms that are privately owned by individuals (like condos), and if you score one of these (ask for a manager when you book), you can sometimes save $100 per night (though housekeeping may cost extra).

LF Las Olas

Toward the end of each season, early in the morning, around 8, you'll see a line start to form outside a small boutique called LF (named after owner Laurie Furst) on Las Olas Boulevard. On end-of-season sale day, at about 9 a.m., the salespeople take a deep breath (betraying both dread and anticipation), brace themselves, and open the door for wolfish shoppers who will inevitably destroy the store in search of bargains on the usually very expensive (dare we say overpriced?) merchandise. The store carries young, fresh styles — all unique because the brands are exclusive to the store (plus a few fashion lines from London and Paris). The first weekend is by invitation-only to customers who have bought something before (afterward, anyone can get what's left); and while not officially recognized, the first day of the sale is an unequivocal holiday for the fashionably inclined youth around these parts. Girls skip school to spend the day rummaging with their moms. They trudge through the bodies, picking off shirts and pants and skirts, which, after an hour, hang limply on the disheveled shelves and racks. The scene takes on a macabre-party vibe, with shoppers resembling vultures as they pick at goods left after a fashion explosion. The little room's air conditioner can't handle the pressure, and sometimes the heat becomes unbearable. But brave girls and moms don't care. After all, beauty is pain, right?

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