Popp’s is a quiet little place perfect for escaping the modern world and going off the grid. It’s all about simple pleasures here--like playing shuffleboard on a faded court, swimming in the bay, enjoying the views, and counting shooting stars. Rooms are simple, too, adding to the nostalgia.
If you appreciate vintage, you’ll love it. The largest unit (the honeymoon suite) has a king bed, while others have a queen or two doubles. Everyone gets either a full kitchen or kitchenette. Each rooms has its own theme, furnishings, and color (think bright orange for sunset or pink for seashells). A flat screen TV is the only touch of modern amid the original (and rare) Dade-County pine paneling, wall AC units, and jalousie windows.
You just can’t find bathrooms like this anymore. Small, poor lighting, shower curtains, original 1950s tile, funky layout…it is uncomfortable and awesome all at the same time. The water pressure is good though, and it's clean.
Don’t let it scare you, your room will be nothing like the lobby, which is cluttered with stuff inside and out, and has the aroma of animals. Strict office hours are 10 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Of course there is no spa, but you can get a little pumice action on your feet from the sand on their private beach.
No dining onsite but you have your own kitchen and a charcoal bar-be-que grill. The motel supplies charcoal and lighter fluid, just ask.
No bar onsite, but you are welcome to bring your own.
You’ll really need a car to get anywhere except for Harriette’s restaurant. You can also call a taxi.
Harriette’s (1-minute walk) is another Key Largo institution, open for breakfast and lunch. You must walk over and try their homemade muffins, soups, and conch burgers. The Fish House (9-minute drive) is a fish market and restaurant with outstanding seafood entrees (like Mahi-mahi Matecumbe) and excellent key lime pie. Num Thai (9-minute drive) is a local favorite for Thai and sushi.
Skipper’s Dockside (6-minute drive) has an outdoor Tiki bar on the marina and an indoor sports bar/restaurant. Their wall of TVs is impressive but their fish sandwich and cold drinks will keep you coming back. Snapper’s Oceanfront (4-minute drive) is thee place for Sunday Brunch and a Bloody Mary bar. Live music, on the water, good drinks, it’s a favorite. Snook’s Bayside (5-minute drive) has an enormous Grand Tiki and tables on the sand where you can enjoy cocktails, waterfront.
WHY WE LIKE IT
For those who remember the Florida Keys of yesteryear, this motel is the real deal. If you haven’t ever experienced authentic wood paneling, noisy wall AC units, and meek accommodations, your stay here could go either way--really good or really bad.
Just remember, in the Florida Keys, it’s all about being outside or in the water. You can accomplish both of those goals here. Get in the sea, get some sun, lounge on the sand beneath the palms… you’ll soon see why most think Popp’s Motel is an unpretentious slice of paradise.