While most of the U.S. is still experiencing the long, frigid days of winter, temps in the Florida Keys are pleasantly mild — with sunny skies and warm island breezes just perfect for a satisfying getaway.
For those of you looking to escape yet another cold grey winter, the Keys have some ultra-luxury oceanfront resorts ready to pamper you with subtropical sun and serenity.
So in this blog, I’m sharing three of my all-time favorite Keys resorts. Experience them, and you’ll be blown away by the beauty of their picturesque settings and award-winning qualities that attract so many visitors each year (including quite a few celebrities).
When I’m on vacation, I love to use those handy resort charge cards provided at check-in. However, given my fondness for charging poolside cocktails, I always have to take a deep breath at check-out when I view my final bill.
Want a check-out experience free of surprises like that? Then the gorgeous Bungalows Key Largo is for you. The luxury adults-only 12-acre property — the first and ONLY all-inclusive resort in the Florida Keys — reopened in December 2019 after significant renovations. Located at mile marker 99 bayside, the boutique waterfront resort features 135 exclusive bungalows that average a spacious 900 square feet — each with its own bougainvillea-draped veranda, oversized soaking tub and outdoor garden shower.
The resort also offers three delectable dining experiences — Fish Tales, Bogie & Bacall’s and Sea Señor — as well as Larry Largo’s food truck, two on-site bars and two six-seat floating Tiki boats. You’ll also find two pools, two Jacuzzi tubs, 1,000 feet of stunning shoreline with very comfy beach cabanas, the full-service Zen Garden Spa with a Himalayan salt room and a eucalyptus steam room, a fitness Tiki hut with Peloton equipment, watersports, and sailing and catamaran boats. All-inclusive rates include lodging, 24-hour golf cart pickup and drop-off, meals, premium beverages, water toys, sunset happy hours and activities such as morning yoga and classes in cooking and mixology. As if that’s not enough, special packages are offered through April to further entice you to make that dream spring vacation a reality.
In the Lower Keys, the 5.5-acre Little Palm Island Resort & Spa, a super-luxurious private island resort, is scheduled to reopen March 1 with 30 total suites in 15 redesigned thatched-roof bungalows — some with outdoor copper soaking tubs and private outdoor showers. The Dining Room, with indoor and outdoor dining and sweeping ocean views, will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner, Sunday brunch, full moon dinners and winemaker events.
The Monkey Hut lounge and Palapa Bar, where you can enjoy your favorite libations beachside, are also fully restored. And Little Palm’s spa has a soaring two-story atrium with carved architectural details and a beautifully handcrafted tile fountain. The secluded island resort, open to adults age 18 and older, is located three miles off Little Torch Key. It’s easily accessible via a complimentary motor yacht shuttle from the Welcome Station at 28500 Overseas Highway.
My next favorite luxury accommodations can be found on an exclusive 27-acre island located just 500 yards from Key West (it’s only accessible via a complimentary ferry whose trip takes just seven minutes). Sunset Key Cottages is a spectacular property with one- to four-bedroom garden view or oceanfront/view cottages with luxurious interiors.
The resort grounds are meticulously maintained, and the spa and Latitudes Restaurant have impeccable service levels. Both the award-winning restaurant and spa are open to the public, providing a terrific way to experience a bit of luxury even if you can’t stay on the island (please note: reservations are required to access the boat launch). My favorite time to visit the restaurant is at sunset — and be sure to ask for a table on the beach for the ultimate dining experience and stunning sunset views.
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