At first glance, one might not be aware that the new Conrad Fort Lauderdale Resort and Residences was in fact designed by the dean of the post-modern movement in American architecture, Michael Graves, along with architect-of-record Oscar Garcia. But look closely and signs of the master are everywhere. Huge, porthole-like openings in the façade frame ocean views. Nearby, a classically-inspired colonnade around the pool is lined with tall, slender trees reminding one of the open loggias and colonnades Graves used at his first public commission, the San Juan Capistrano Public Library, now considered a design landmark.
Graves and his team collaborated with Garcia on the conceptual design, the massing and façades, and Michael Graves Associates took primary responsibility for the interiors of the 24-story tower, furnishing the suites with items like his signature windowpane chairs and custom-designed carpeting. Both of the architects seem to have agreed that the building's signature curve at the top – dictated by zoning – recalled the forms of early 20th century ocean-liners, and used that as a logical point of departure for the building's elegant design.
But now that the tower is preparing to open as the five-star Conrad, one of only a handful of properties to house Hilton's global luxury brand, it is Garcia of Garcia Stromberg who is in charge of a $34 million enhancement that is intended to transform this tower into the best address in town. Garcia is designing a glass-enclosed addition to the project as well as an oceanfront dining experience, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a Conrad Spa and more.
The first design element that hints that this project intends to be cutting-edge is the new porte-cochere. Entering just beneath the new addition, guests will be greeted by an organic, sinuous sculpture lit from above by lights hidden in sections of the ceiling that have been sliced away. Requisite at The Conrad, we are assured, are the 24-hour valet and concierge. As this is a residential hotel, unit owners are assured of five-star service, whether they are staying for two days or three months. One of the nicest elements of The Conrad's design is its 6th-level amenities deck for residents and hotel guests.
Actually two decks now, the huge, colonnade-surrounded terrace with its elliptical pool and spa, is completely connected in the new design to the oceanside deck on the project's front building. This new connection allows The Conrad to integrate a generous outside bar and food service under a Garcia-designed elliptical sunshade.
The high-rise building, overlooking the ocean as well as the Intracoastal offers 290 units ranging in size from 499 square foot pied-à-terre style studios to sweeping 1,759 square foot, 3-bedroom, 3.5-bath residences offered on floors 19 and 20. There are just three penthouse units, the largest with over 4,100 square feet of living area and over 1,600 square feet of private terrace. Residences at the Conrad were designed with high-end finishes including full kitchens with Macassar ebony cabinetry topped with polished quartz. Appliances follow this trend towards the best with Sub-Zero refrigerators and Wolf cooktops. Baths feature stone flooring, Kohler fixtures and Waterworks fittings. Master bathrooms feature double vanity, plus separate soaking tub and glass-enclosed shower. Each residence comes completely furnished right down to the dishes, and with hotel services, pool, spa, gourmet market and ocean-view restaurant all just an elevator ride away, we wonder, why would anyone ever want to leave?
Tropic is looking forward to the finished product, one that promises to raise the bar ever higher on a rapidly gentrifying section of Fort Lauderdale Beach.