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Soul-Centered Wellness Attracts Meetings in the Florida Keys & Key West

FLORIDA KEYS — The 125-mile-long island chain of the Florida Keys & Key West offers nearly endless opportunities for rejuvenation and wellness — seamlessly blending work with play in soothing outdoor spaces framed by stunning seascapes and landscapes.

The Keys are ideal for a business meeting or incentive retreat that can also be a soul-centered getaway. The island chain is easily accessible with  a variety of convenient, stress-free nonstop flights for meetings that typically include 15 to 100 attendees.

"The Florida Keys offer a vast array of soul-centered activities with opportunities for personal renewal, wellness, mindful activities and enriching experiences that nurture body, mind and spirit," said Jack Meier, group sales manager for the Keys' Monroe County Tourist Development Council.

"The Keys' open-air scenic landscapes, sunsets, vast seascapes and unique hotel offerings are refreshing antidotes to the hectic challenges of mainstream everyday life," Meier said.

Among wellness and transportation options for participants attending meetings and incentive group events in the Florida Keys:

Keys Airlift

Key West International Airport is beginning construction on its two-year, $100 million Concourse A terminal expansion, with targeted completion in late 2024. The new 48,000-square-foot, second-level concourse is to include a spacious departure and additional baggage areas, seven passenger boarding jet bridges, an expanded security checkpoint to support up to four security lanes and an extended passenger bridge connecting the existing terminal building with the new concourse. Currently, six carriers — Allegiant, American, Delta, Jet Blue, Silver and United — serve the airport with daily nonstop flights. Visit eyw.com or call 305-809-5200.

In the Middle Keys, a colorful new 60-passenger tram, sporting a locomotive front and two 30-passenger coaches, transports visitors along a 2.2-mile span of the historic Old Seven Mile Bridge to the tiny island of Pigeon Key. The section of the bridge nicknamed "Old Seven" reopened to pedestrian recreation in January. Old Seven was originally the centerpiece of railroad magnate Henry Flagler's Florida Keys Over-Sea Railroad, which debuted in 1912 and connected the Keys with each other and mainland Florida for the first time. Pigeon Key, a 5-acre island nestled beneath the bridge, was once home to about 400 workers constructing the railroad. Visit pigeonkey.net or call 305-743-5999.

Keys Accommodations

The private Ocean Reef Club, set among 2,500 acres in northern Key Largo with a 28,000-square-foot spa and fitness building, features wellness offerings such as sunrise and sunset beach yoga, standup paddleboard yoga and Lifebreath sessions helping to loosen and release stored emotions and tensions. Its Ocean Reef Signature Massage, with a seawater crystal and marine exfoliation, uses targeted massage techniques and energy work. Its Rose Quartz, Collagen Infusion and Hydrafacial facials help to tighten, hydrate and firm the skin. A Fitness Café has healthy food and drink options. Programs can help develop muscle tone, strength and balance, breathwork, myofascial release, posture correction and meditation. The resort has an eight-lane fitness pool, aquatic classes and a master swim class taught by five-time Olympian Jon Olsen. A resort naturalist guides eco paddleboard and kayak tours. Racquet and family sports and diving, snorkeling and fishing are offered on-site. Visit meetingsatoceanreef.com or call 800-741-7333.

In Key Largo, at Playa Largo Resort & Spa, an Autograph Collection Hotel, the resort’s 6,000-square-foot Ocean Spa features six treatment rooms and products made from foods high in antioxidants and amino acids to support skin health. The spa — Key Largo’s first full-service spa when it opened in 2016 — sources its wellness products from tropical fruits such as pineapples and coconuts, and marine algae. When the sun goes down, guests are invited by the ringing of the Eventide Bell, celebrating the transition from day to night, to head to the “Drift Table” to document in writing any worries, anxieties and stresses. Guests then release negative energy by tossing the paper into a bonfire, with its remnants carried in a boat into Florida Bay. The resort has 178 rooms including The Hammocks, a private enclave of 10 two-story bungalows, and a three-bedroom beach house. Visit playalargoresort.com or call 305-853-1001.

Set on a 15-acre nature sanctuary, the 200-room Baker's Cay Resort Key Largo, a Curio Collection by Hilton, has unveiled Ooh la la at The Cay, the resort’s new wellness salon. Ooh la la incorporates natural, plant-based, cruelty-free and sustainably sourced and packaged products into hair, body and skincare therapies. The wellness salon provides treatments for hair, nails, lashes and makeup sessions, Hydrafacials and spray tanning. The resort also offers nature-based activities such as outdoor yoga, walking trails and watersports. Group teambuilding opportunities are offered. Visit bakerscay.com/salon or call 305-602-7988.

In Islamorada, the 24-acre, 114-room Islander Resort features cottage-style suites with sleek contemporary décor, screened lanais and upscale in-room amenities. Among the resort offerings are two saltwater pools, a hot tub and family splash pad, and watersports such as snorkeling, sand bar and eco tours, bicycling and boating. Yoga on the resort’s expansive Great Lawn is offered at 10 a.m. Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and full moon yoga takes place during the appropriate lunar phase. Visit islanderfloridakeys.com or call 305-664-2031.

Hawks Cay Resort on Duck Key, promoted as the largest Keys resort with 117 hotel guest rooms and 250 two- and three-bedroom townhome-style villas, offers a 7,000-square-foot Calm Waters Spa with Elemis products, eight treatment rooms and a tropical rain room with Vichy shower. The spa also has a fitness room with group exercise classes, candlelit whirlpool, relaxation and eucalyptus steam rooms and a dry sauna. Its Elemis Cellutox Aroma Spa Ocean Wrap — with rich marine algae, detoxifying juniper and lemon — helps refine the appearance of cellulite and relieve fluid retention. Guests can also enjoy offshore, flats and backcountry fishing; diving, kayaking and standup paddleboarding; a Cliff Drysdale tennis program; and the only resort-based Dolphin Connection program with complimentary daily viewings in the continental U.S.Visit hawkscay.com or call 855-395-5539.

In Marathon the 24-acre, 199-unit Isla Bella Beach Resort, near the famed Seven Mile Bridge, has more than 24,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meetings function space and a 4,000-square-foot full-service spa with five treatment rooms. Signature spa treatments include the Earth to Heaven Massage, a hot oil scalp massage and spa facial. Skincare products are by Dr. Dennis Gross, who formulates cruelty-free offerings through science and nature to fight lines, wrinkles, dry skin and acne. Scheduled weekly activities highlight Spa Flights, welcoming guests for champagne, fresh fruit and sampling of skincare products with a hand massage and spa tour. A 1,000-square-foot workout center adjacent to the spa is outfitted with Peloton treadmills and bicycles and other equipment. Visit islabellabeachresort.com or call 305-481-9451.

On Stock Island the 20-acre Oceans Edge Key West Resort & Marina has 175 suites and rooms, each with waterfront balconies, ranging from 382 to 575 square feet. Wellness offerings include poolside massages, poolside complimentary yoga sessions on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 8:30 a.m.; paddleboard fitness classes on Mondays and Fridays at 8:30 a.m.; and kayak and bike rentals, complimentary for the first two hours. Outdoor event space overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and oceanside marina can accommodate up to 100 people for receptions or events. Visit oceansedgekeywest.com or call 786-862-6300.

Sunset Key Cottages, an Opal Collection property with 40 two-, three- and four-bedroom cottages on the island of Sunset Key just 500 yards off Key West, offers The Spa at Sunset Key’s signature treatments such as the Quenching Aloe Wrap with organic aloe vera, algae, chamomile and a lavender dry oil. A Signature Bliss Journey is a head-to-toe treatment utilizing an exfoliating mineral scrub of wild lavender, basil, eucalyptus and warm Swedish rose porphyry stones. Guests can choose an area of treatment: pain and inflammation, detoxing and slimming, nourishing and hydrating, or sleep and relax. Oils include ginger for pain, grapefruit and black pepper for detox, lavender for relaxation and neroli for nourishment. Opal Collection’s spa philosophy is based on Swedish skincare company Kerstin Florian, which considers spa treatments essential to health maintenance. Custom treatment tables feature vibroacoustic technology promoting relaxation and stress management. Trina Jefferson, Opal Collection’s vice president of spa and wellness, is integrating the Florian approach and products into Opal Collection’s spas. Opal Collection’s Keys meeting properties include the Reefhouse Resort & Marina in Key Largo and Opal Key Resort & Marina and The Capitana in Key West. Visit sunsetkeycottages.com and opalcollection.com or call 855-335-1009.

Casa Marina Key West, Curio Collection by Hilton, has hosted top Key West meetings and conferences since 1920 with more than 11,000 square feet of indoor event space. Secluded on the island’s largest private beach, the 311-room resort offers island relaxation and wellness experiences. Spa Al Mare features healing properties with extensive indoor-outdoor treatments including massages in a private cabana near the Atlantic Ocean, a collagen-boosting Luzern Oxygen Facial, custom-blend aromatherapy and cannabidiol, or CBD, integrations. The resort offers group wellness activities including private beach yoga. Visit casamarinaresort.com or call 305-296-3535.

The 150-room The Reach Key West, Curio Collection by Hilton, located on Key West's only private natural sand beach, caters to small groups and retreats with over 4,000 square feet of indoor event space. Guests can experience wellness through immersive outdoor and ocean experiences including paddleboards, ocean bikes, private jet ski tours, boat charters with snorkeling and sunset sails and coral reef exploration. The resort also keeps groups active through sand sculpting with a resident professional sculptor, bocce and a giant chess set. Visit reachresort.com or call 305-296-5000.

“We’re open and welcoming all visitors,” Meier said.

An aerial view off Key West, Fla., shows uninhabited islands of the Lower Florida Keys at sunset. The Lower Keys are renowned for their eco-attractions and pristine natural environment. (Rob O'Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau)

An aerial view off Key West, Fla., shows uninhabited islands of the Lower Florida Keys at sunset. The Lower Keys are renowned for their eco-attractions and pristine natural environment. (Rob O'Neal/Florida Keys News Bureau)

In the Middle Keys, a colorful new 60-passenger tram, sporting a locomotive front and two 30-passenger coaches, transports visitors along a 2.2-mile span of the historic Old Seven Mile Bridge to the tiny island of Pigeon Key.

In the Middle Keys, a colorful new 60-passenger tram, sporting a locomotive front and two 30-passenger coaches, transports visitors along a 2.2-mile span of the historic Old Seven Mile Bridge to the tiny island of Pigeon Key.

Hawk's Cay Resort, the largest resort in the Florida Keys.

Hawk's Cay Resort, the largest resort in the Florida Keys.

This article was updated on October 10, 2022 at 2:12 PM
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