Like stepping stones falling into the Gulf of Mexico, the Florida Keys are a collection of coral-fringed islands exuding enchantment. Each Key, from scuba diving-friendly Key Largo to fishing-friendly Islamorada to sunset-friendly Key West, provides variant romantic themes. And each destination offers its own romantic hotel where guests can enjoy each other's company.
Azul del Mar -- Key Largo
Azul del Mar, a luxury boutique property tucked away in a tropical garden, may be Key Largo's most romantic destination. The six suites are housed in a pearly white Art Deco building reminiscent of Miami's Old World hotels. The rooms are brilliant, with white linens, panoramic windows opening to the ocean and outdoor lounges. Other in-room amenities include kitchenette, outdoor barbecue, robes, beach towels, flat-screen television and DVD player. The waterfront grounds of the hotel feature a small, private beach, a thatched gazebo and a manicured lawn and garden. Azul del Mar is an adult-only hotel.
The Moorings Village -- Islamorada
Midway between Key Largo and Key West is an old coconut plantation that has been transformed into a romantic collection of 18 cottages. The Moorings Village, located on Islamorada, captures traditional Florida Keys lifestyle, namely lazy days interspersed with fishing. The property feels more like a small community than a resort. Each cottage is self-contained, with one, two or three bedrooms, a full kitchen and private grounds. The property features a private sugar-white beach, two pools and a tennis court. Cottages are rented on a weekly basis.
Little Palm Island Resort & Spa -- Little Torch Key
Occupying its own island near Little Torch Key, Little Palm Island Resort & Spa is described as "Florida's . . . most romantic retreat" by Travel + Leisure. It's certainly an escape, as televisions, alarm clocks and even cell phones are forbidden in common areas. The resort is awash in tropical beauty, from the seashell walkways crisscrossing the island to thatched-roof bungalows fronting the impossibly blue ocean. The bungalow suites provide luxurious beds, indoor and outdoor showers and private waterfront balconies. The property features a French/Latin-inspired restaurant, spa, dive shop and marina and offers "romantic turn-down" services.
Marquesa Hotel -- Key West
Steps from renowned Duval Street, tucked into a historic neighborhood, is a conch-inspired compound of late 19th-century buildings. The Marquesa Hotel was one of only two Key West hotels selected for Travel + Leisure's 500 World's Best Hotels 2010. Each airy room provides guests with marble bath, robes and turn-down service and is decorated in distinctive Key West fashion. The compound has two pools surrounded by a tropical garden with waterfall and fountain. Cafe Marquesa, the hotel's street-side restaurant, serves American cuisine and specializes in locally harvested seafood.
Casa Marina Resort -- Key West
Resting on Key West's Atlantic shore is Casa Marina Resort, a Waldorf Astoria property. Built in the 1920s, the hotel has a historical ambiance that is evident in the antique-furnished lobby, polished floors and original paintings. Described by Fodor's as "Key West's nicest resort beach," the hotel provides guests with two crisp pools, a private palm-fringed beach, a pier and water sport rentals. Guestrooms and suites, renovated in 2008, are resplendent with dark wood furnishings offset by white linens and drapes. The resort provides room service, flat-screen television, robes, mini-fridge and Wi-Fi, as well as a spa, two restaurants and a lounge.
- Florida Keys Beach Bridge in Background image by pelvee from Fotolia.com