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Fort Lauderdale Goes Upscale

The former spring break capital of Fort Lauderdale may have lost the MTV crowd to places like Cancún and the Florida Panhandle, but it is staging a comeback of sorts by going after upscale visitors happy to have left their keg-party days behind them.

On the site of the former Candy Store Lounge, said to be the birthplace of the wet T-shirt contest, a St. Regis Resort is planned to open early next year. It will join the Atlantic, a luxury condominium hotel, which opened in 2004. LXR Luxury Resorts, is spending $20 million to transform the Holiday Inn on North Fort Lauderdale Beach into a new hotel, called Stay Social, scheduled to open next year with a new restaurant designed by Jeffrey Chodorow and China Grill Management. Two condo hotel developments by Donald Trump are planned for Fort Lauderdale Beach in 2008 as well as a W hotel.

Twenty-one years ago we hosted 350,000 college students for spring break, said Nicki E. Grossman, president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau. No one ever thought that 20 years later wed be talking about five-star hotels opening up.

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