The Sunshine State is ready to sizzle again this summer: refurbished resorts in the Florida Keys and Key West are reopening in the coming months, as the regions continues to recover from Hurricane Irma.
The Florida Keys reopened to visitors on 1 October 2017, just three weeks after Hurricane Irma devastated the island chain. Key Largo and Key West were least impacted by the storm, while other Keys districts had varying degrees of impact.
Six months on from Irma, 80% of all lodging units in the Keys are back online with 92% of all properties open in Key West and nearby Stock Island; 76% in Key Largo, 70% in Islamorada, 64% in Marathon and 48% between the west end of the Seven Mile Bridge and the Lower Keys’ Big Coppitt Key.
With numerous properties having undergone post-Irma renovations and redesigns, visitors to the Keys can look forward to experiencing new and restored facilities at properties.
Bungalows Key Largo
In Key Largo, the 12-acre 135-unit and adults-only Bungalows Key Largo is targeting an opening in May as the first all-inclusive resort in the Florida Keys.
Rooms will average about 800 square feet in size and include private outdoor plunge pools or tubs. The resort will have a ‘Florida Keys chic’ design and offer facilities including two in-ground pools, five indoor and outdoor restaurants, four bars and 1,000 feet of shoreline. Rates will include lodging, food and premium beverages, hotel amenities and activities.
Cheeca Lodge & Spa
The 27-acre, 214-unit Cheeca Lodge Resort & Spa – ranked as one of the world’s top 500 hotels by Travel + Leisure – is to reopen March 30 after undergoing a US$25 million renovation.
It has seen its 525-foot-long wooden fishing pier rebuilt, its main lodge and guest rooms given a complete redesign and a third restaurant, Mia Cucina – a family-friendly Italian-style Neapolitan pizzeria and pasta bistro – open. Come May, a second oceanfront pool and Tiki bar, South 25, are also scheduled to debut.
Hawks Cay Resort
Further south on Duck Key, the 60-acre Hawks Cay Resort partially reopened on 16 March with 100 villas and its Calm Waters Spa, Sunset Pool, Coral Cay kids’ activities centre and Angler and Ale restaurant all welcoming guests. The main hotel, with 177 guestrooms, a saltwater lagoon, three pools and three restaurants, will reopen this summer.
Baker’s Cay Resort
Looking ahead to autumn, Key Largo will welcome a second new property when Curio Collection by Hilton unveils Baker’s Cay Resort.
Set across 13 acres on the site of the former Hilton Key Largo, the property will offer 200 rooms, two swimming pools with a waterfall grotto, a winding nature trail lined with hidden beaches and a beachside tequila and taco venue that will serve house-made hot sauces crafted from peppers grown on-site.
“Lodging properties in the Keys have made an amazing rebound”
All properties in Key West are now open except three: Havana Cabana Key West Hotel, the former Inn at Key West is scheduled to open on 1 April, while Parrot Key Resort is to reopen on 1 June with a new interior design and Key West Bayside Inn & Suites is targeting an autumn re-launch.
“Lodging properties and other tourism facilities in the Keys have made an amazing rebound since last fall,” said Jim DeKeyrel, director of sales for the Florida Keys & Key West Tourism Council.