No matter where you stay in the Florida Keys, you’ll find that your accommodations — like the island chain itself — reflect a colorful diversity of cultural and historic influences.
Eager to discover these influences? You can choose from resort hotels frequented by playwrights and presidents, inns evolved from stately homes that once sheltered cigar barons and shipwreck salvagers, Victorian gems built by merchants and millionaires, or even former fish camps rich in rustic waterfront charm.
In the coming year, nine new properties and many renovated lodgings will be welcoming Keys visitors — each showcasing aspects of the island chain’s attractions and appeal.
And here, for those of you planning upcoming trips, are overviews of five of the new accommodations “stars.”
The first lies at the head of the Keys in Key Largo. The elegant Playa Largo Resort and Spa, the newest hotel to join Marriott’s Autograph Collection, is set to open in summer 2015. And what a property — the 14-acre waterfront resort features 144 luxury rooms and suites.
Amenities include a private marina, multiple bars and restaurants, full-service spa and fitness offerings, a beach house for private or corporate functions, wedding and conference facilities including a ballroom, a secluded white sand beach and much more.
In Islamorada, savvy visitors are awaiting the late 2014 re-launch of the Islamorada Resort (one of the Islamorada Hotel Company’s properties) as Amara Cay Resort, an upscale boutique hotel. Renovations include increasing the number of rooms and suites to 105, updating outdoor amenities and creating an Italian-style eatery. Guests can anticipate daily food and beverage experiences and a Mercedes shuttle (yes, really!) to Islamorada’s most popular locales.
You should be able to spot one of Marathon’s new properties easily: its focal point has been a Middle Keys landmark since the 1950s. Earlier this year construction began on the Faro Blanco Resort & Yacht Club — incorporating the famed Faro Blanco lighthouse and set to open in December 2014.
With the lighthouse as its “beacon,” the new property features an upscale 125-room Hyatt Place hotel with two pools, a fitness center, meeting space and a waterfront restaurant and outdoor bar called (appropriately) Lighthouse Grill. And boaters will find a 74-slip state-of-the art marina capable of handling vessels up to 100 feet long.
At the southernmost tip of the Keys island chain lies eclectic, artistic Key West — and you’ll soon be welcomed at the island’s entrance by The Gates Hotel Key West. Projected to open Feb. 1, 2015, the new 100-room boutique hotel blends luxury, minimalist design, artwork, food and music into a chic, comfortable lodging experience.
Guest rooms feature whitewashed beams, custom cypress platform beds and photography from an exclusive local gallery.
Other highlights include the Rum Row bar and small-plates café, a large swimming pool with cabanas and daybeds, and an atmosphere that recalls “old Key West.”
The southernmost city’s Historic Seaport, one of its most popular hotspots, houses a lively group of restaurants, shops and attractions. The district’s newest gem is The Marker Waterfront Resort, a two-acre luxury property debuting in late 2014.
The 96-room resort combines a modern, timeless look with the free spirit and tropical nature of the Key West community. Four room categories are available — offering marina, pool, garden and Old Town views.
Surrounded by lush landscaping, you can relax and swim at multiple pools (complete with poolside cocktail service) savor Cali-Mex–inspired cuisine at the on-site Cero Bodega or enjoy the ocean view.
The 125-mile Florida Keys island chain is characterized by a rich natural environment, flourishing creative community, balmy subtropical climate, and a friendly laidback vibe that seems worlds away from everyday cares. These new properties — with their differing designs, amenities, prices and location — will add their own unique flavors to the intriguing mix as they welcome visitors eager to experience and explore the Keys.