The island of Key West stands as one of the premier locations in a mecca of more than 1,700 islands. First settled in the 1880s and separated from the Florida mainland by 42 bridges, Key West is closer to Havana, Cuba than it is to Miami. Needless to say, the culture is rich, the ocean views are hypnotically beautiful and the drinks are abundant. Serene cascading currents bring soothing waves to the warm sands and carry away all remnants of stress. For two days and two nights, I found myself in the cradle of relaxation and luxury, curated by Casa Marina, 1500 Reynolds St., and The Reach Resort, 1435 Simonton St. (Waldorf Astoria Resorts).
Old Key West and present-day luxury converge to create a signature aesthetic that is transformative to say the least at Casa Marina. Guests dined by the ocean, enjoyed signature cocktails and took full advantage of the two oceanfront pools complete with concierge services. The large hammocks that lined the resort’s private beach, which is the largest privately owned beach in Key West, swayed in the breeze while cradling guests.
As I sat down to fully take in the wondrous view of the resort, I indulged in a few lobster sliders from the resort’s restaurant, Sun-Sun Beach Bar and Grille. It was impossible to not appreciate the resort’s classically luxurious beauty. Built in 1920 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Casa Marina is a private paradise with 311 rooms. If beauty doesn’t win you over, the amenities will.
The beachside Spa al Maré, which offers exotic oils and treatments inspired by the islands, should amaze you. Additional amenities included a fitness center, a lighted tennis court, eco-tours, on-site sailing, snorkeling, scuba diving and Jet Ski excursions. Fostering a true sense of indulgence, the resort also offers a daily breakfast buffet served on the terrace. During my stay, the sweet fruit, freshly prepared omelet and supremely delicious smoothie started my morning off perfectly. Any part of my mind that was trying to fight the idea of completely relaxing was massaged away during my Swedish massage with custom lavender oil at the resort’s beachside spa.
The Reach Resort
Just a few moments away from Casa Marina was The Reach Resort, which has a total of 150 guest rooms, is an intimate oasis for couples and anyone interested in carving out their own little piece of paradise. Equipped with an attentive staff, the only private, natural-sand beach in Key West and a culinary gem—The Strip House— it is no wonder why I saw two weddings taking place during my two-day stay in Key West. The rooms at the resort take on a more contemporary feel with vaulted ceilings, wood accents and furnished balconies. I took full advantage of the iPod dock station in my room and the view while reading my hand-delivered New York Times. Each room offers a mini refrigerator, Nespresso machine and tea maker. And all guests are allowed to utilize and partake in amenities available at Casa Marina.
With each property being very close to Duval Street, I was able to experience Key West in a manner that I never had before. A quick tour of Ernest Hemmingway’s home led to the inevitable exploration of local bars, namely Sloppy Joe’s (201 Duval St). However, one trip to Blue Heaven (729 Thomas St). for the lobster melt and signature key lime pie and I found myself unearthing yet another reason to love Key West. Another tour that I had the pleasure of taking with Historic Tours of America allowed me to fully appreciate the rich and beautiful legacy that belongs to Key West. I learned so much, and there is still more to learn. Needless to say, I can’t wait to return to Key West.