For the first time in 40 years, Downtown Hollywood has gotten a new hotel: CIRC Hotel. The 111-room modern boutique building sits a stone’s throw away from Young Circle and the blossoming neighborhood scene. For visitors and locals alike, CIRC is a welcome sight.
We recently spent a weekend at CIRC, and we can’t help but reiterate all the rave reviews: It’s gorgeous inside and out, and the on-site properties inject Downtown with new life — Miami better watch out.
So what you can expect?
“Chic” or “Contemporary” would probably be the first adjectives that come to mind upon entering one of CIRC’s many rooms. The rooms are just so calming: Whites and blues are the more common colors you’ll encounter, whether you’re in a Deluxe Queen or something a little more luxurious like a Superior Corner King with Balcony.
Having stayed in the latter, we suggest you splurge on the best room you can afford. When we vacation, we typically like to explore and eat in the area around us; after all, we are a food blog. But the last thing we wanted to do was explore — we just wanted to wrap ourselves in a cocoon and stay in bed all day. When we say this was one of the most comfortable beds we’ve ever slept in, we mean it.
Besides the 300-thread-count linens and heavenly bed, the Superior Corner King also included a 50-inch plasma television and free WI-FI (always a plus). And that full balcony gave us a great view of the Fort Lauderdale skyline and airport. On a clear day, you’ll likely spend a good chunk of time lounging around.
On the first floor, guests have two dining options: Presto and Olivia. The former is a cozy café that serves up Koffee Kult coffee along with an assortment of pastries and breakfast fares like bagels, croissants and the like. We can see Presto being more popular with businesspeople and those who’d rather grab and go. With that said, there is limited seating available if you do want to hang out and not rush in the morning. Service is nice and fast, and the team can brew a mean cappuccino. Presto is open from 6:00 am to 5:00 pm. every day.
Before we dive into Olivia, there’s something you should know: We love Italian food. It’s our favorite cuisine, and we’ve had our fair share of not-so-good, good and great experiences. Olivia falls into that last category. In our experience, hotel restaurants have been typically nothing to write home about. Management tends to be more concerned about other aspects of one’s stay like the rooms or the spa. Not here, though — the kitchen talent is exceptional.
Restauranteurs Piero Filipi (Carpaccio at Bal Harbour Shops) and Marcelo Sindoni have a hit on their hands, judging by the immense Saturday night crowd at Olivia. That should come as no surprise, as the hefty portions and ample selections are worth every penny. Word of advice: Order one of Olivia’s signature carpaccios to start your meal. The salmon one, in particular, is a favorite; thin slices of oh-so-tasty salmon whet your palate for the meal to come.
Olivia prides itself on its Mozzarella bar, and it should: Four different options are available, and there’s really no wrong answer. Since we were on a fish kick, we again opted for salmon — this time, the Scottish and smoked type. If you were to look up the word “freshness” in the dictionary, there would be a photo of this dish. The only downside to this plate was that it had to end.
We learned firsthand that diets don’t exist at Olivia. “Let’s get a pasta to share,” we said. We didn’t realize we’d be sharing it well after our meal. The portions of pasta are huge, particularly the tortellini alfredo. Super rich, creamy and delicious, it was dreamy. Needless to say, we couldn’t finish it then and there, but we ended up eating the remainder later.
In addition to the regular menu items, there are a ton of specials available. Make sure to hear your server out, as you might discover something that piques your interest. That’s what happened to us when our server mentioned a succulent ossobuco and risotto dish. Same went for dessert: We saw only two listed on the dinner menu, but it turns out there were more. Get the Napoleon dessert — trust us.
Aside from the restaurants downstairs, CIRC also features a rooftop bar called The Muse. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t exactly the most cooperative during our stay, so we didn’t have a chance to check it out. With that said, the bar serves fun libations and bar bites until 11 p.m., and we hear the view alone is worth the visit.
Because there are so many temptations on-site, we were also happy to find a fitness center with bikes and other brand-new equipment to help us burn off the calories. That’s the beauty of CIRC: Everything is right here. You literally don’t have to leave — there’s even a Publix next door. That’s why the next time you plan a visit to Downtown Hollywood for business or pleasure, don’t even consider any other hotel. CIRC has all that you need.
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Geoffrey Anderson Jr.