Best Hotels in the Keys with Teenagers

Old Jan 17th, 2006, 05:45 PM
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Best Hotels in the Keys with Teenagers

We are going to be in the Florida Keys for a few days in the last week of May with our two kids aged 12 (boy) and 14 (girl). We are pretty adventurous and the kids have traveled a great deal. We would appreciate some suggestions for best the hotels for families with teens. Trouble is, most of the "family friendly" hotels I read about seem to be focused on younger kids. Our kids are too old for the kids clubs in most places. We are looking for places where the kids can "do" things (as opposed to "see" things) and meet other kids their around their ages. Good pools would be a BIG plus, as would activities like kayaking, hiking, snorkeling, etc.

We are thinking about spending one night in Key West (yes, we have read many posts about why we shouldn't take teens to Key West, but we are going to go anyway!) and 2-3 days somewhere else. It wouldn't hurt to find a place with a decent pub or two nearby as well!

Thanks,
Dave
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Old Jan 17th, 2006, 08:32 PM
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Dave - you are not going to find a hotel in Key West that offers the full resort experience with planned activities for your teens... the best you can do is put yourself in the location nearest to the activities and book them yourself... I would recommend the Ocean Key at the foot of Duval... Its right on Mallory Square, offers ocean view rooms, walking distance to seadoo, charters, snorkeling tours, sunset cat trips, a tiki bar, restaurants, the marina and several pub type spots for you... next door is the Pier House which is a step up in quality but a bit less family...

on Islamorada, consider the Hampton Inn for a decent hotel for the money, or Cheeca Lodge for higher price with more activities for the kids... good luck in your research...
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 02:54 AM
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Thanks garyt. Ocean Key looks like a great place with a great locaton, The price is a little on the high side, but I am willing to pay it if everything else seems right. Do you think the sunset pier would make the rooms overly noisy at night?

I also looked at the Cheeca Lodge online, which seems to be just what we are lookng for. Aside from the activities at the hotel, is there much to do nearby (I think it is on Islamorada)?

Overall, I am surprised at how expensive rooms are in the Keys. Cheeca wants over $500, and Ocean Key wants about $450. I find myself rethinking our destination. I can get a room at Atlantis on Paradise Island as well as the Hyatt on Seven Mile Beach at Grand Cayman for about this moch money. Is it worth it to choose the Keys instead?

Thanks,
Dave
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 04:54 AM
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Atlantis is a Disneyfied version of the Bahamas and I'm not a fan. Love the Out Islands tho. If you go to the Bahamas, go to Green Turtle. Make sure you rent a boat.

Whether it is worth it or not to choose the keys is up to you. There are cheaper places to stay than Cheeca Lodge and Ocean Key.

The Hampton Inn in Islamorada is more like a resort than a Hampton Inn.

The Pines and Palms in Islamorada is an outstanding place to stay.

Also, Casa Morada and the Moorings are both very nice but probably on par price wise with Cheeca Lodge.

In Key West, either the Wyndham Casa Marina or Wyndham Reach Resort are both ocean front and you can use the facilities at both if you stay at one.
 
Old Jan 18th, 2006, 06:49 AM
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I'm a grandmother who thinks Key West is a great place for visitors of ALL ages. The Ocean Key is a wonderful hotel and I disagree that the Pier House is a step up. You might also check prices at the Hyatt Resort and Marina, which is next door to the Pier House, and the Galleon (galleonresort.com), which is next to the Hyatt. The Galleon is a timeshare that rents to non-owners and has fully equipped condos with washing machines and dryers. The location of all these is exceptional, and will put you within walking distance of the sunset celebrations, tourist activities, water sports and lots of great restaurants. Still another option is the Hyatt Sunset Harbor - also a timeshare. Do NOT book one of the other Hyatt properties as they're in inconvenient locations.

It's been years since we stayed at Cheeca Lodge, but it was very nice...probably not worth $500 a night, but then nothing really is, is it?

The Wyndham Casa Marina took quite a hit from the last hurricane and I've heard several complaints about it.
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 08:00 AM
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Dave - Once the sun sets, the crowd disperses and you are on the water in your room with a small lanai and a couple of beers... the kids can walk safely around the area and you are within a block of a dozen great bars... keep in mind that Key West is about people, noise, partying, and a tropical laid back feel... If that's what you are looking for...KW is the place... and the Ocean Key is worth every penny because it puts you right into the action for your one night...

Atlantis is Disney world and has that "plastic" vacation feel... I would never go back there....

Overall, if price scares you, then consider an all inclusive such as Beaches in Jamaica, where the activities are included as well as food, family stuff and beautiful beaches... have fun

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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 10:09 AM
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Thanks for the informative and helpful responses. I think I will make reservations at the Cheeca and Ocean Key based on your feedback.

Any ideas for teen-oriented activities, particularly in Key West?

Thanks,
Dave
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 05:05 PM
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Dave - check out keywest.com for lots of available activities. Your kids would probably like snorkeling (I recommend Floridays) or a glass-bottom boat ride (I recommend NOT going on a catamaran, where sea-sickness can be a problem). For cheesy but fun stuff, there's a Ripley's Believe it or Not on lower Duval.

There's also the Island T'ing, which I've heard was wonderful, but I'm not sure it'd be great for kids. You might look into it, though - it's a 6 hour day trip that includes sailing, kayaking and snorkeling.

Your kids might consider this corny, but I think the Butterfly Conservatory is really fun. And hey, I forgot the most "Key West" event - the sunset celebration. That's something everyone needs to experience at least once!

This is only the beginning...I hope you and your family love Key West!
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Old Jan 18th, 2006, 10:17 PM
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The Ocean Key is a great place to stay, and it has a nice pool overlooking the water. There is a nice Fort within walking distance too, and it has a decent beach for swimming.
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