The Florida Keys, a chain of islands off of the tip of Florida, have accommodations ranging from four-diamond luxury resorts to budget motels along the water. Before you begin your Keys vacation, you must choose the area you wish to stay during your visit. Key Largo, Islamorada, Marathon, Big Pine Key and the nearby Lower Keys, and Key West all have resorts, hotels and motels to consider.
Key Largo Lodging
For oceanfront lodging in Key Largo, Dove Creek Lodge has just 21 rooms, giving guests personalized care during their stay. It has its own marina with boat slips and fish cleaning area, and all rooms have Wi-Fi or cabled high-speed Internet access. If you prefer to swim in fresh water, head to the heated oceanfront pool and hot tub. The resort has both traditional rooms and one or two-bedroom suites, with kitchen facilities available in luxury suites. The Island Bay Resort has its own swimming beach with walk-in access to a private lagoon. It offers its guests 10 island cottages with private wood decks furnished with patio tables and grills. The Kona Kai Resort offers traditional guest rooms and one or two-bedroom suites. Each room has a private entry on ground level, so guests can walk out to enjoy the sunshine each morning. While staying here, bring a book to read in while lounging in one of the beachfront hammocks on the resort’s private stretch of white beach. Other recreation options include a lighted tennis court, shuffleboard court, in-suite or beachfront massage or yoga instruction and onsite paddleboats or kayaks for guests to use.
The Pelican Cove Resort sits on the water on Islamorada, and all guests have ocean-view balconies. The private beach is dotted with hammocks and lounge chairs, and guests can work out in the tennis courts or by swimming in the onsite pool with poolside refreshments. The resort has Wi-Fi access for an additional fee. Guests choose from traditional hotel rooms and efficiencies with full kitchens. These can be combined to create a two- or three-bedroom suite for families traveling together. If you are looking for budget-friendly Islamorada options, the Key Lantern Blue Fin Inn offers standard motel rooms and motel rooms with small kitchenettes. Wi-Fi is available, and rates in 2010 were as low as $39 a night during the week, with weekend rates higher.
Hawks Cay Resort holds AAA Four Diamond status. This luxury resort appeals to the whole family, with kid-friendly features like a pirate-themed swimming area and supervised children and teen programs. Accommodations at Hawks Cay include traditional rooms, spacious suites, two-bedroom villas and two- to three-bedroom private vacation homes with their own swimming pools and backyard facilities. Hawks Cay also has an onsite dolphin research facility, the only one in the continental United States, which allows guests to interact with dolphins in an ocean-fed saltwater lagoon. The Kingsail Motel, also on Marathon, offers standard room and efficiency apartments with small kitchens. This waterfront motel offers simple amenities like a freshwater pool and free Wi-Fi, and it also has its own boat ramp and docking area.
Big Pine and Lower Key Lodging
Parmer’s Resort on Little Torch Key is a member of the Florida Green Lodging Program, giving guests the chance to lower their impact on the environment during their stay through water rationing, recycling programs and energy conserving facilities. Lodging here includes motel rooms, efficiencies and one- to three-bedroom suites, most of which have fully equipped kitchens and porches or decks overlooking the water. The hotel has a pool and three boat basins. It serves a free continental breakfast daily. For budget-friendly accommodations in Big Pine, consider the Big Pine Key Motel, which has 32 efficiencies and apartments. It has a small freshwater pool, but does not serve breakfast. For top-rated accommodations, the Little Palm Island Resort earned Travel and Leisure’s World’s Best award in 2010. This adults-only resort sits on a private island and features 30 oceanfront suites housed in thatched roof bungalows with indoor and outdoor showers. An onsite spa and freshwater pool provide recreation to resort guests.
Key West Lodging
Key West’s Reach Resort has boutique suites and guestrooms at its oceanfront location. It has a pool and private beach access. The famous Strip House restaurant, with its seductive Studio Manasse photographs and signature dishes like truffle creamed spinach and 24-layer chocolate cake, serves guests staying at the Reach. For lodging with a local touch, consider staying in the Southernmost House, a bed and breakfast noted to be the southernmost lodging option in the United States. Its 18 guestrooms and suites sit within walking distance of Duval Street. Amenities include an oceanside zero-entry pool, complimentary breakfast and the option to stay in studios with kitchenettes.
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