Accommodation options in the Florida Keys, like the island chain itself, are rich in atmosphere and appeal. Over the last 12 months and continuing into 2016, eight new properties — comprising just over 1,000 rooms — have opened or are planning to open from Key Largo to Key West. In addition, a number of meticulously renovated lodgings are welcoming visitors. Each one joins existing accommodations in showcasing aspects of the Keys’ character, culture and historic influences.
In spring 2016 Key Largo will see the opening of the elegant Playa Largo Resort & Spa, which will become the latest hotel to join Marriott’s Autograph Collection. Set across 14.5-acres, the waterfront resort will feature 144 luxury rooms and suites, 10 private bungalows and a three-bedroom beach house ideal for private or corporate events. Facilities will also include multiple bars and gourmet restaurants, a full-service spa, fitness offerings and a wide range of watersports plus a secluded white sand beach. www.playalargoresort.com.
Four leading hotels – the Postcard Inn Beach Resort at Holiday Isle, La Siesta Resort, the Islamorada Resort (now Amara Cay Resort) and Pelican Cove Resort and Marina – now comprise the Islamorada Resort Company and each has been undergoing significant enhancements. Renovations at La Siesta Resort will be completed by late 2015.
The first to complete renovations was the Pelican Cove Resort and Marina, which reopened in early 2015 in Islamorada. Each of its 63 waterfront guestrooms and suites were redecorated with a contemporary coastal design and upgraded with modern amenities. In addition to enhancements to the meeting areas, pool and restaurant, Pelican Cove now offers a variety of programs including yoga, sunset paddle boarding, sunrise oil painting and a macramé beading class. www.pelicancovehotel.com.
Having taken the place of The Islamorada Resort, Amara Cay Resort is the newest upscale boutique hotel in Islamorada and its renovations have included increasing the number of rooms and suites to 110, updating outdoor amenities and creating an Italian-style eatery. Guests can also make use of a Mercedes-Benz shuttle to the area’s most popular locations. www.amaracayresort.com.
Following a year-long multimillion-dollar renovation, Islander Resort has joined the expanding collection of Guy Harvey Outpost Resorts. Renovations include upgrades and new amenities throughout both the main 114-unit ocean side property and the 25-unit bay side marina townhouse compound. The small collection of Guy Harvey Outpost resorts and lodges showcase Harvey’s marine wildlife art, scientific research and conservation advocacy. www.guyharveyoutpostislamorada.com.
In the Middle Keys at mile marker 49.5, Banana Bay Resort & Marina is set to conclude numerous renovations this autumn. Situated across 10 acres, the resort features 59 newly renovated deluxe guestrooms, a remodelled lobby and a restored pool area. Additional amenities include a poolside tiki bar, heated freshwater pool, outdoor whirlpool, garden tennis court, marina and boat launching ramp. www.bananabay.com.
Lower Florida Keys
Little Palm Island, an award-winning luxury private island resort in the Lower Florida Keys, is set to see enhancements this autumn. Located three miles off Little Torch Key in the Atlantic Ocean, accessible only by boat or seaplane, the 5.5-acre property is upgrading six bungalow-style suites to become ‘Romance Suites.’ All are to be enhanced with private decks, hot tubs and access to their own private beach area. The extravagant resort’s 30 guest rooms will also be upgraded with new furniture, artwork and other room features. In addition, renovations also are being made to the island’s pool and outdoor bar area. www.littlepalmisland.com.
The Gates Hotel debuted its initial building in spring 2015 and plans to open a second building in spring 2016. The new 245-room hotel blends refined luxury, minimalist design, artwork, food and music into a chic and comfortable lodging experience. Highlights include the Rum Row bar, two large swimming pools with cabanas and daybeds and a distinctive atmosphere reminiscent of ‘old Key West.’ www.gateshotelkeywest.com.
The second Keys Collection property, The Fairfield Inn and Suites, opened its doors in May 2015 with 133 rooms including 17 suites. Amenities include poolside cabanas and daily complimentary breakfast. www.marriott.com.
The critically acclaimed Southernmost on the Beach, La Mer and the Dewey House are now united into one resort named Southernmost Beach Resort Key West. Spanning more than 6 acres, the property is situated in Key West’s Old Town, where visitors can enjoy beachfront views of the Atlantic Ocean. Guests can find a variety of accommodation types and styles at the newly rebranded resort as well as three swimming pools, four bars, an on-site restaurant, a spa, private pier and sandy beaches. Each of the Southernmost Beach Resort’s 261 guest rooms features contemporary Key West style and upscale amenities. www.southernmostbeachresort.com.
In Old Town Key West the property formerly known as the Southern Cross Hotel was purchased in early 2015 and has been transformed and rebranded into the Saint Hotel Key West. The historic two-story building features 37 renovated guest rooms and six suites. Offerings include a large landscaped pool, cabana area, sprawling lobby bar and a balcony overlooking Duval Street that can accommodate up to 75 people. www.thesainthotelkeywest.com.
Nearby the Ocean Breeze Inn and Southwinds Motel have been combined into one entity that now operates as the Southwinds Motel. The 32-room budget-friendly property has undergone renovations and upgrades to its appearance including landscaping, painting and enhancements to all guestrooms. www.keywestsouthwinds.com.
Expected to open in early 2016, the Hilton Garden Inn is to complete the trio of Keys Collection properties. The hotel is to have 141 new rooms, some featuring balconies. The property’s on-site amenities will include an outdoor resort-style swimming pool with poolside service, a restaurant open daily for breakfast and a lobby bar. Guests also will have access to 24-hour business and fitness centres. www3.hilton.com.
The Spindrift Motel is to be transformed into H2O Suites, a luxury accommodation featuring 22 one-bedroom suites. Plans call for 11 of the suites to have private plunge pools, while the resort will also feature a rooftop swimming pool for all its guests. H2O Suites is set to open in summer 2016.
For further information on the Florida Keys & Key West, visit www.fla-keys.co.uk.