The Florida Keys’ first-ever ‘all-inclusive’ resort, Bungalows Key Largo, is set to open this summer as the subtropical island chain welcomes 1,500 additional hotel rooms across all-new and fully refurbished properties.
Several iconic properties throughout the island chain, including Hawks Cay Resort and Cheeca Lodge Resort & Spa – which are hugely popular with international travellers – have undergone significant renovations following September 2017’s Hurricane Irma and are also set to debut their new accommodation offerings.
In Key Largo, the adults-only Bungalows Key Largo, a 12-acre 135-unit property billing itself as ‘luxury inclusive,’ is targeting an opening in May as the first all-inclusive resort in the Florida Keys. Most rooms will average about 800 square feet and include private outdoor plunge pools or tubs. The resort will have a ‘Florida Keys chic’ design and offer facilities including two in-ground pools, five indoor and outdoor restaurants, four bars and 1,000 feet of shoreline. Rates will include lodging, food and premium beverages, hotel amenities and activities. The palm-lined bungalow resort is being launched by the developer behind Islamorada’s Cheeca Lodge Resort & Spa.
Looking ahead to autumn, Key Largo will welcome a second new property when Curio Collection by Hilton unveils Baker’s Cay Resort. Set across 13 acres on the site of the former Hilton Key Largo, the property will offer 200 rooms, two swimming pools with a waterfall grotto, a winding nature trail lined with hidden beaches and a beachside tequila and taco venue that will serve house-made hot sauces crafted from peppers grown on-site.
The opening of these two new luxury properties continues the growth of high-end accommodation in Key Largo over the last two years. In late summer 2016, the Playa Largo Resort & Spa opened its doors, becoming the first new-build resort to launch in the Keys’ northernmost district in 21 years. It offers 144 rooms and suites, 10 secluded bungalows and a standalone luxury beach house.
Recovering and relaunching…
The Florida Keys & Key West reopened to visitors on 1 October 2017, just three weeks after Hurricane Irma passed through the island chain. Key Largo and Key West were least impacted by the storm, while other Keys districts had varying degrees of impact.
Six months on from Irma, 80 percent of all lodging units in the Keys are back online with 92 per cent of all properties open in Key West and nearby Stock Island; 76 percent in Key Largo, 70 percent in Islamorada, 64 percent in Marathon and 48 percent between the west end of the Seven Mile Bridge and the Lower Keys’ Big Coppitt Key.
“Lodging properties and other tourism facilities in the Keys have made an amazing rebound since last fall,” said Jim DeKeyrel, director of sales for the Florida Keys & Key West Tourism Council.
With numerous properties having undergone post-Irma renovations and redesigns, visitors to the Keys can look forward to experiencing new and restored facilities at properties including Ocean Pointe Suites at Key Largo, Cheeca Lodge Resort & Spa in Islamorada and Hawks Cay Resort in Marathon.
Reopening this spring, the 60-acre all-suite Ocean Pointe Suites at Key Largo features a newly restored private beach and over-the-water gazebo ideal for intimate weddings.
The iconic, 27-acre, 214-unit Cheeca Lodge Resort & Spa – ranked as one of the world’s top 500 hotels by Travel + Leisure – is to reopen March 30 after undergoing a $25 million renovation. This has seen its 525-foot-long wooden fishing pier rebuilt, its main lodge and guest rooms given a complete redesign and a third restaurant, Mia Cucina – a family-friendly Italian-style Neapolitan pizzeria and pasta bistro – open. Come May, a second oceanfront pool and Tiki bar, South 25, also are scheduled to debut.
Further south on Duck Key, the 60-acre Hawks Cay Resort partially reopened on 16 March with 100 villas and its Calm Waters Spa, Sunset Pool, Coral Cay kids’ activities centre and Angler and Ale restaurant all welcoming guests. The main hotel, with 177 guestrooms, a saltwater lagoon, three pools and three restaurants, will reopen this summer.
In Key West, all properties except three are open. Havana Cabana Key West Hotel, the former Inn at Key West, is scheduled to open on 1 April, while Parrot Key Resort is to reopen on 1 June with a new interior design and Key West Bayside Inn & Suites is targeting an autumn relaunch.
Travel to the Florida Keys: Bon Voyage (0800 316 0194, www.bon-voyage.co.uk) offers seven nights in the Florida Keys & Key West from £2,395 per person for travel in October 2018. The price includes direct flights from LHR to Miami with British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, convertible car hire for the duration and seven nights’ accommodation to include three nights all-inclusive at Bungalows Key Largo, two nights room only at Key West’s Parrot Key and two nights room only at Islamorada’s Cheeca Lodge Resort & Spa. The price is based on two adults travelling and sharing accommodation.
For more information on the Florida Keys: www.fla-keys.co.uk