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Inn of the Month: The Pillars, Fort Lauderdale

Having put aside its days of collegiate carousing, Fort Lauderdale, once the ultimate spring break destination, is finally all grown up. Where best to soak up this newfound sophistication?The Pillars, a plantation-style inn just west of the beach, overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway.

Beyond the columned porch that lends the inn its name and the elegant Greek key molding framing the front door, a calm graciousness, more Southern than strictly Floridian, hangs in the air. Wood blinds, multiple pillows, and high thread counts make the 23 rooms and suites soothing and restful. Robes are thick and towels are plentiful. Iced tea—herbal or black—is always available by the kidney-shaped pool, where clusters of palms create pockets of privacy for guests and hideouts for darting lizards. The full-service concierge can arrange for a poolside massage or a lunch of Caribbean jerk shrimp and sweet plantain flan from Max's Beach Place just down the street. As condo giants rise nearby on sites once devoted to lovely 1920's-era villas, Pillars' value grows as a reminder of old-fashioned hospitality—pure, but more than simple.

Pillars at New River Sound, 111 N. Birch Rd., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; 800/800-7666, fax 954/ 763-2845; doubles from $189. —Heather Smith MacIsaac

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