Resort, Spa, and Country Club: Two New Diplomats To Choose

By Elaine Gallant, Contributor

HOLLYWOOD/HALLANDALE, FL -- All the rave in Hollywood is over the new Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa -- a modern, 39-story, ultra-deluxe tribute to the sea. Its connecting twin towers resemble sails. Its lobby fountains and cascading waterfalls mimic subtle currents. And its beckoning pools, with one crossing over the other, guide you toward the unending horizon of the Atlantic Ocean.

Inside, it's all a glitter with a curious blend of giant, freeze-dried palm trees, a towering glass ceiling, and a touch of South Beach flair that at night, pairs martinis with Caribbean, Asian and expertly aged prime beef or single malts with pre-embargo Cuban cigars. By day, beachgoers and conventioneers co-exist outdoors and in, confirming that business and pleasure certainly do mix.

With 998 rooms, it's a happening place indeed and definitely worthy of all the excitement it generates, but it doesn't end there. More can be found in the nearby city of Hallandale along the Intracoastal Waterway where The Westin showcases its luxury collection of 60 Italian-villa estate rooms as well as its 30,000 square-foot spa at The Diplomat Country Club & Spa. Here's where you'll also find its marina with 60 slips, its 10-clay court tennis center and 18 dreamy holes of Joe Lee inspired golf.

"We consider this our home," says Matthew Greene, General Manager of The Country Club. "Guests come here and are just blown away with everything, from the details and the aesthetics, to the quality of the service and food. There's really no stone left unturned."

This includes a total reconstruction of Robert von Hagge's 1957 golf course from 1997 to 2000 by architect Joe Lee, making The Diplomat of today, a true contender. It now measures 6,728 yards and offers a full-practice facility with professional instruction. The course meanders through a multitude of banyan, gumbo limbo, and native Florida palm trees and features nearly eight acres of water. The only dry holes are numbers 10 and 11 with the wettest being the signature hole at number 2, a 385-yard par 4 that, without your best drive, could leave a long iron to the island green.

Stunningly beautiful, the course appears harmless but is bewitching from the very start. Number 1 is a 504-yard, double dogleg left, then right with water off the tee and again on the approach. Birdie is possible, but bogey or worse is more likely. Next is the "into the wind" island green that's every bit the number 1 handicapped hole.

"If you're a little bit right or a little bit left off the tee, you're not going to be able to go for the green," says Tom Donahue, Head Golf Professional. "Everybody is so intimidated by the second shot because most island greens are a par 3."

From here, the water-enhanced holes are a sweet combination that is more strategic than penalizing. Not many are water carries, except on the 528-yard, number 4 where a meandering pond breaks the fairway at about 165 yards leaving a difficult lay up if you don't hit it over in two, and on number 8, if your landing finds the left instead of center right on this 397-yard par 4.

Dry at the turn, it's grip it and rip it. Both the 380-yard number 10 and the 555-yard number 11 are easily manageable despite the bordering tree lines and associated bunkers. But by number 14 beware, because the tension is mounting again.

According to Donahue, fourteen from the tips is the hardest hole on the course. One, because of its length at 412 yards and two, because the wind gives you so much trouble.

"If it's left to right strong, don't go over the water," he suggests. "Of course, if you start it down the middle and the wind takes it right, you're in the coquina rock and that's loaded with palm trees."

The wind can actually be a constant factor all the way to the finish especially at the 410-yard number 18 where, with a stiff downwind, even Donahue is tempted to fly the pond to below the 100-yard mark landing area. But it's so risk/reward that he feels it's just not advisable.

What is recommended after you play your round, however, is to "take a Kur" at the spa -- an organic mud body-wrap treatment, then mineral bath and massage followed by fine dining at The Country Club's Royal Palm. Alternately if you prefer, go beachside to The Westin's signature steakhouse, Hollywood Prime, or enjoy International cuisine and late-night dancing at Satine's.

"We are a five-star, five-diamond resort with all the amenities," says Greene. "And you'll see that the amenities, as well as the ambassadors who work here, really try to exceed your expectations. When you leave here, you'll say, 'Wow, that was an experience.'"

So whether you stay at the new Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa or the more luxurious Diplomat Country Club & Spa, you can expect equal treatment, including signing privileges and complimentary shuttle service between the two properties. They also have ample state-of-the-art meeting and convention space - 209,000 square feet with a Great Hall, multiple ballrooms and a multilevel parking garage adjacent to The Westin, and 8,000 square feet at The Country Club.

Both are managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. and can be found about 10 minutes south of the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport or 30 minutes north of the Miami International Airport. Each is only 15 minutes from Port Everglades International Cruise Terminal.

The Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa
3555 South Ocean Drive
Hollywood, FL 33019
954-602-6000 Phone
954-602-8275 Fax


The Diplomat Country Club & Spa
501 Diplomat Parkway
Hallandale Beach, FL 33009
954-457-2000 Phone
954-457-2045 Fax
954-883-4444 Tee Times

All Reservations: 888-627-9057
Web site:

Elaine GallantElaine Gallant, Contributor

Elaine Gallant is a freelance writer specializing in golf, tennis, and travel. Her many experiences with travel and golf have taken her around the Untied States, Europe, Greece, the Caribbean, Mexico, Hawaiian Islands, Australia and points in between.

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