Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Riverside Hotel for history, atmosphere, and people watching in Fort Lauderdale

For more history about Fort Lauderdale/Miami, visit:

Riverside Hotel
620 E. Las Olas Blvd.
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

By Jane Feehan

The Riverside Hotel, currently the only hotel on Las Olas Boulevard, attracts locals who appreciate its history as well as tourists who seek the cultural, entertainment and business center of Fort Lauderdale.

The Riverside opened as Hotel Champ Carr in 1936. Preston and John Wells, wealthy Chicagoans, met Champ Carr when he worked on a fishing boat they chartered, the story goes. They liked him so much that when they decided to build the hotel, they named it after Champ Carr, who they tapped as its first manager. The hotel was designed by Fort Lauderdale’s leading architect, Francis Abreu and constructed by contractor George Young. The three-story, 80-room hotel drew business types and tourists in its early days, including a member of the DuPont family and Ronald Reagan. Carr left in 1947 and the name was changed to the Riverside Hotel.

Today, the hotel has expanded to 214 rooms. It maintains that old Florida feeling with Spanish tiled floors in the lobby, dark wood molding and doors, and a mix of blue, dark green and orange hues throughout many of its hallways and attractive guest rooms. 
Singer at Indigo on a Sunday afternoon

Preston’s Lobby Lounge hosts a happy hour with a piano player Monday through Friday. A short walk across the lobby sits the sophisticated Golden Lyon Pub, and Indigo restaurant. Indigo serves breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week. Food is secondary here; tradition, atmosphere, and people watching from its sidewalk dining area is what Indigo is all about. A ten-dollar summer lunch menu served with a bit of live blues/soul music makes for a great afternoon in Fort Lauderdale. Meeting rooms are available to accommodate business functions, and special events, including weddings. Service: very good.
McIver, Stuart. Glimpses of South Florida History. Miami: Florida Flair Books, 1988.

Tags: Fort Lauderdale dining, breakfast in Fort Lauderdale, pre-theater dining in Fort Lauderdale, hotels in Fort Lauderdale, Las Olas Boulevard hotel and dining, restaurants in Fort Lauderdale. Indigo.

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