Greater Fort Lauderdale’s convention package is about to get a major boost. When the 801-room Omni Fort Lauderdale opens in late fall 2025/early 2026, the property will add up to another 640 peak nights to the the current inventory of 1,000 rooms within walking distance of the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center. The property, which will directly connect to the center, overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway and also offers easy access to cruise terminals at nearby Port Everglades — a major appeal for attendees looking to add leisure experiences to their trip. Add to that a well-rounded amenity package that includes a spa and several options for dining and imbibing, and planners can count on a crowd-pleasing combination that works for citywide conventions, corporate events, and myriad other types of business events.
“It’s a very unique setup here,” said Michael Pouey, Visit Lauderdale’s vice president of business development and sales operations. “Being adjacent to the cruise port and so close to the airport and the beach — it’s not going to be your typical convention center hotel.”
The Omni brand has Pouey excited about the long-awaited headquarters hotel, which appointed Aaron Weegar as director of sales and marketing earlier this year. “Omni has a stellar reputation among clients for delivering great service and beautiful facilities,” Pouey said. “Weegar is a seasoned professional who’s got great experience. His whole background is groups and conventions.”
The Omni hotel, projected to top out at 29 floors, is part of the second phase of a $1.3-billion expansion of the convention center campus. Phase one, which wrapped up last October, expanded the center’s exhibition space from 200,000 square feet to 350,000 square feet. Renamed the West Wing, the new space is certified LEED Gold and will soon be joined by the new East Wing as part of phase two, which will feature a 65,000-square-foot waterfront ballroom. The East Wing and the Omni are expected to earn LEED Gold certification as well.
Last, but certainly not least, the project will create a new six-acre waterfront plaza, complete with dining, entertainment, and tropical stylings to complement its location overlooking the cruise port and Intracoastal Waterway. The new outdoor space will have capacity to host several thousand attendees, including space for a 30,000-square-foot tent and a dedicated dock for the city’s water taxi service — “a very functional setup,” Pouey said, “that will add a lot of value.”
Upgrades like these will make it even easier for attendees to squeeze in some of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s most popular experiences — in particular, its 24 miles of beaches and 300-plus miles of navigable, yacht-lined waterways, which have earned it the titles of “Yachting Capital of the World” and “Venice of America.”