Hawks Cay is an island unto itself, a sprawling playground for adults and families alike. Swim with dolphins, charter a boat, expand your palate in a variety of restaurants, or do nothing but soak in the views.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Families love Hawks Cay, however, if you don’t have kids, you may prefer to visit when school is in session.
There are rooms to fit every budget and need, from good-sized hotel rooms to spacious multi-bedrooms villas with a private pool, but each is decorated in a similar Caribbean flair. Buttercream-colored walls, dark wood furnishings, upscale designer touches, some even have a fully equipped kitchen with stainless appliances. All have a balcony with seating.
YOU SHOULD KNOW While plantation-style blinds are aesthetically pleasing, they are brutal on those who wake or can’t sleep when light peeks through. And it will peek through. Bring an eye mask.
Depends on your choice of accommodations, but overall, you'll find tumbled marble, new vanities, soothing colors, and some even provide a built-in vanity area with a stool for the ladies, and samplings of their private key lime products.
It’s a little like grand central station. Since the lobby building is your gateway to pools, restaurants, the tropical lagoon, and other venues (including Starbucks), it's usually buzzing with guests. It is lovely though, with vaulted tray ceilings, stylish rotating ceiling fans, chandeliers, large sofa seatings, and oversized displays of red ginger blooms and tropical foliage (gorgeous!).
YOU SHOULD KNOW You'll be hit with a $39 a day resort fee, so don't be shocked. It includes things like Wi-Fi, transportation, and use of the tennis courts.
In total, there are five pools, so you’ll have to find your favorite, but they range from the main resort pool with a long line of chocolate brown loungers and bright umbrellas to a pirate ship pool experience for the kids. Adults, have no fear, the Tranquility Pool was designed with you mind (ages 21+) and you can indulge in poolside food and drink service. The saltwater lagoon counts as another swimming option.
If you dream of vacationing in Florida with your own private pool, you can do it here. Book your accommodations in The Sanctuary and swim in your own backyard.
If you long to be pampered, make an appointment at the renovated Calm Waters Spa. It's 7,000 square feet of relaxation and indulgence with 8 treatment rooms, tranquil and modern relaxation rooms, and all the spa bells and whistles you'd expect. We recommend trying the Key Lime Mojito. No, it’s not a cocktail--it’s a decadent head-to-toe treatment that involves key lime oils. The aroma is intoxicating.
What are you in the mood for? You'll find several different culinary experiences, from fine dining to casual fare--five venues in total and one adjective that they all have in common is "pricey." Play dress-up one evening at Alma and treat yourself to elegantly prepared fresh catch of the day ($35+). Or, come as you are to Angler & Ale. Burgers start at $14 but at least they’re big and tasty.
Take a stroll at Marina Walk, a dockside destination where you'll find food, drinks, ice cream, local art, and entertainment. This is where you'll find Angler & Ale. If you don't want a full meal, at least pop in for a drink and their near-famous tuna nachos.
Coral Cay Activities & Adventure is where kids (ages 5-12) and teens (ages 13-17) can have a blast without their parents. Pay for a half- or full-day and they'll get to do all kinds of cool things, like make shark tooth necklaces, play sports, eat popcorn, create art, swim, snorkel, or just hang out playing Wii, Xbox, and Playstation. It's all supervised so you can relax and go have fun, too. No wonder it's been named Best Hotel Kids Program.
First, you’ll have to master just getting around all of Hawk’s Cay. You can rent a golf cart, or there is a shuttle, but it’s not without its flaws (be prepared to wait or be altogether forgotten). To leave Duck Key, you’ll need a car or you can take an Uber.
If you want to escape Hawks Cay, just drive south toward Marathon. For adults, a must-try is the Hideaway Café (7-minute drive); their escargot in cognac cream will blow you away, as will the hogfish. Herbie’s (16-minute drive) is a local institution as is their conch chowder. For casual seafood, Fish Tales Market & Eatery is your best bet.
It’s a long way to drive back for libations, so an Uber or taxi is highly recommended. Sit at the bar or get a table dockside at Sparky’s Landing (13-minute drive). Tarpon Creek Bar & Grill (13-minute drive) is a huge tiki hut on the bay with happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunset Grille & Raw Bar (23-minute drive) is yet another huge tiki on the water, this time oceanside; on Sundays, come for the pool party and BBQ.
WHY WE LIKE IT
It’s easy to please everyone at Hawks Cay, because there is something for every age and activity level. If you only have a few days to spend, you can get the full Keys experience without ever leaving the property. Even their short list of things to do is long: fishing, snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, jet ski tours, kayaks, boat rentals (take a breath!) spa for pampering, kids club for escaping, and a fitness center to work off all that fabulous, budget-breaking food… This is why we love Hawks Cay Resort.