Sitting on the balcony of my suite on the top floor of the three-story Ikona Hotel on Fort Lauderdale Beach one evening this December, I looked directly across the street to the much taller W Fort Lauderdale without a twinge of jealously.
Sure, large resorts like the W offer lots of frills, but it's also nice to trade simplicity for glamour sometimes, especially when you give up nothing in comfort.
The 24-room Ikona opened last August just a half block from the beach and a pleasant 15-minute walk from Fort Lauderdale Beach's famous Las Olas dining, shopping and entertainment district. It's part of what will eventually be the Gzella Collection of three boutique hotels, each of which will occupy a remodeled mid-20th century motel.
Gzella's 35-room Fortuna Hotel opened first, in April, and is just two buildings west of Ikona. It offers a whimsical assortment of colorful rooms as well as two pools. The Mira Hotel, located between Fortuna and Ikona, is slated for a late 2017 opening.
Where its sister Fortuna features lots of pastels, Ikona is bathed in more stately whites and is a higher-end product. Rooms at Fortuna started at around $150 during a late December spot check for a midweek late January stay, and rooms at Ikona started at closer to $275.
The two penthouse suites at Ikona feature a tastefully appointed great room compete with dining table, king-size bed, sofa and kitchenette. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Gzella Collection
During my two nights at Ikona, I enjoyed the comforts of a new suite that featured a bedroom with two full beds as well as a great room that contained a king bed, a couch, a dining table and a modern kitchenette. Both rooms connected to a long balcony, from where I looked out over the sea and watched the pedestrians along nearby A1A.
Ikona's rooms surround the attractive courtyard pool area, which is well landscaped and appointed with a combination of Chaise lounges, patio and lounge chairs and even a sofa.
Ikona also has a second floor terrace as well as a homey lounge, where guests can work, grab a cup of coffee or simply relax in front of the television.
The hotel was quiet during my stay, but a receptionist told me that it has been popular with vacationing families, Europeans and business travelers. Indeed, work is what had taken me to Fort Lauderdale Beach in mid-December, and I especially enjoyed my free parking space directly in front of the hotel and the hassle-free access I had in and out of the small lodge as I made way from Ikona to various engagements.
Ikona's small size enabled me to feel far more connected to the surrounding Fort Lauderdale Beach neighborhood than would have been the case in a large resort.
For more information, visit gzellacollection.com.