8 Great Florida Keys Openings & Renovations

Throughout the Keys, resorts are undergoing refurbishments and upgrades to enhance visitors’ experiences and stays

The Keys are known as a destination for fishing, boating, snorkeling, and scuba diving. The Keys have many resorts, including high-end hotels, boutique hotels, and all-inclusive resorts. Here are eight properties that are opening or undergoing renovations to make sure the Keys experience stays great.

The beachfront Islander Resort Islamorada, undergoing a multi-phased renovation, recently unveiled refurbished guest rooms, amenities and new resort activities. Highlights include fully renovated bungalows featuring oceanside rooms and suites with updated furniture and interiors and a calm color palette of creams, whites, soft pinks and light blues. Refreshed interiors complement each room’s private patio and lush, manicured foliage. The resort’s renovated Bayside Villas at Islander Resort, at 81450 Overseas Highway, offer townhome-style accommodations redone in the same aesthetic with refurbished kitchens. Bayside Villas offer a private marina, bayfront pool and access to all resort amenities. Islander Resort’s activities now include yoga, shell jewelry making, Beach Movie Night on Fridays, live music, Moonrise Bonfires on Saturdays, complimentary loungers and rentable beach cabanas. Guests also can enjoy the resort’s saltwater pool, freshwater pool and hot tub. Additional renovations are soon to include upgrades to three on-site dining options: Tides Beachside Bar & Grill, offering lunch, dinner and cocktails with poolside and beachside service; Elements Restaurant, serving breakfast; and the Oasis oceanfront food truck with fresh seafood. A new beachside dining pavilion and redesigned menus at each venue are to be added at 82100 Overseas Highway.

Islamorada Resort Collection is to offer 379 guest rooms,12 dining outlets, 80,000 square feet of meeting space and a world-class fishing fleet when its newest resort in Islamorada is unveiled this summer with 214 rooms. Culinary experiences are to include an island-style pizza restaurant, a new signature restaurant featuring wood-fired fare and an outdoor venue with Central American cuisine; two retail shops; a water taxi for guests and a full-service marina; and renovated Tiki Bar. The Collection currently includes the 110-room Amara Cay Resort and the 55-unit La Siesta Resort & Villas. Activities are to include offshore and backcountry fishing and ocean adventures by Spray Watersports, with a 26-mile jet ski tour of backcountry mangroves and wildlife preserves.

On Duck Key, Hawks Cay Resort has launched a pup-friendly “Vacay Pup” program with a planner concierge; menu items such as roasted pig ears, a “quarter hounder” burger and “dog beer;” and doggie activities, including a new Pup Paradise Park with artificial turf and native shade trees, for guests with furry friends. “Becoming pet-friendly is a significant enhancement for both new and returning guests,” said Tiffiany Holmes, resort director. Guests can register pets at check-in and get a Pup Pass bandana. Amenity packages feature a “pup nap time” door sign, in-room dog bowl, relief bags, VIP (Very Important Pups) play ball and dog beds on request. Dogs must be leashed at all times; nightly fees apply. The resort is located at 61 Hawks Cay Blvd. 

The 125-unit Faro Blanco Resort & Yacht Club, located at Marathon’s iconic 1950s lighthouse, is undergoing conversion as the Faro Blanco Resort & Yacht Club, Curio Collection by Hilton. The conversion is scheduled for completion this summer. On the resort’s third floor, premium king and queen rooms are now renovated with new furniture with light wood tones, natural textures and Keys-inspired tropical art. All guest rooms are to undergo renovations in upcoming months. The property is to include over 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space, one- and two-story bungalows, a new multilevel pool deck with bar and infinity pool, two-story poolside cabanas and an all-new spa and fitness center. Adjacent to the resort, located at 1996 Overseas Highway, is the 74-slip Faro Blanco Marina.

On Sugarloaf Key in the Lower Keys, the 44-unit, all-suite Sugarloaf Key Hotel at the Sugarloaf Key/Key West KOA Resort is now open. Guests can enjoy KOA resort amenities including boat rentals, poolside pub and café, scheduled weekly activities and events such as trivia nights and live music, ice cream and s’mores socials. Well-appointed hotel suites can accommodate up to six guests and include private outdoor decks overlooking the property, kitchens with dishwasher and full-size washer and dryer, and separate living room and bedroom. Unveiled in December 2023, the new hotel is located at 251 State Road 939.

In Key West, the newly independent Key West Historic Inns — a portfolio of five historic boutique properties in the Old Town district — is now under new management with Pivot, the lifestyle operating vertical division of Davidson Hospitality Group. The five inns include Ella’s Cottages, Fitch Lodge, Lighthouse Hotel, Ridley House and Winslow’s Bungalows. The Davidson portfolio also includes Islamorada Resort Collection in Islamorada and Baker’s Cay Resort in Key Largo.

The Key West Marriott Beachside Resort has been rebranded as the 222-room Beachside Resort & Residences by Spottswood Companies, based in Key West. Its management company Brightwild, which connects guests to local culture, offers guest experiences, managers and city guides to customize visitor experiences like those enjoyed by residents. “Over the years, our journey with legacy brands like Marriott, Hyatt and IGH has shown us that the transition to a model like Brightwild is precisely what Beachside Resort needs to ensure that we remain one of the best resorts in Key West,” said Robert Spottswood Jr., president of Spottswood Companies and co-founder of Brightwild.

Key West’s Southernmost Beach Resort has unveiled its newly renovated guest houses, four restored 19th-century Victorian homes for adult-only accommodations. The guest houses — Avalon, Dewey, Duval Gardens and La Mer — blend intimate charms of bed-and-breakfast properties with a modern resort’s amenities and services. Fostering a sense of community, they include shared spaces such as the beachfront Dewey Deck and the new Parlour Bar at Avalon, offering an array of hand-crafted cocktails and local beers and an extensive wine list. Guests have access to amenities including three pools, bars, a spa, private Atlantic Ocean beach and the Southernmost Beach Cafe. Southernmost Beach Resort, located at 1319 Duval St., offers live entertainment, group yoga classes, and programming including cocktail tastings and trivia activities

Any thoughts, opinions, or news? Please share them with me at vince@meetingsevents.com.

Photo by Amber Kipp on Unsplash

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