It’s not on the water and it doesn’t offer a view, but the location is so central and the rooms so squeaky clean, you won’t even miss the ocean breeze. Another bonus--the owners know the hotel business like few do, and it shows in every little detail, especially the customer service.
There is no resort fee--ever!
It's old-school Keys' style with a hand-painted room number plaque, rattan furniture, and pastel textured walls that highlight colorful all-local art. Outlets are easily accessible by each bed and plantation blinds almost keep the morning sun at bay. Floors are tiled and a small fridge, microwave, coffee maker, and flat screen comes standard. The big bonus is this little motel has the fastest Internet in the Keys--no kidding.
Rooms are nicely sound-proofed so getting a room nearest the road won't matter, and you’ll be closer to the pool, office, ice machine, and laundry. Rooms 14, 15, and 16 are furthest from the highway.
Some units still have the fantastic retro tile, from the bullnose to the flooring. Sinks and toilets are updated, and all the bath supplies you need are replenished daily. A small hairdryer hangs on the wall. Showers and/or tubs have a simple curtain.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Pedestal sinks offer no space to hold your stuff, but there is a shelf above the sink.
It’s right up front, well marked, and the staff is so friendly, they could teach a hospitality course on how to make your guests feel welcome. A hand-painted undersea mural adorns one wall, and a panoramic historic photo of Henry Flagler's railroad adorns another. Upon check in, you’ll be given a thoughtful, detailed description of local restaurants. Someone is always at the front desk until midnight.
There's a rack of pamphlets to help you plan any local adventures (the ones on the top shelf are their personal recommendations).
The only negative about this rectangular, heated AND cooled pool is that it’s at the front of the property, near the highway. But it’s mostly hidden by huge traveler palms, pink xioras, and other tropical foliage. Bright blue and white loungers are set around the deck.
Borrow pool towels from the office.
No spa onsite.
No gym onsite.
No dining onsite but there are BBQ grills and many restaurants within walking distance.
No drinking venue on site.
There's not much to explore but you will find picnic tables, charcoal grills, a guest laundry, a small lily pond, and a painted mural by known Keys' artist, O'Farrill.
You can get change for laundry machines and purchase soap in the office.
You can walk to many shops, restaurants, and bars from the Sea Dell. To explore beyond the neighborhood, you'll need a vehicle or a taxi.
Cracked Conch (1-minute walk) serves a hearty breakfast, lunch or dinner and they specialize in… conch, of course. Try it marsala style or francaise. Keys Fisheries (3-minute drive) is home of the famous Lobster Reuben sandwich. It's on the water and the seafood is fresh and cooked right. For Italian dishes made to order, Frank's Grill (4-minute drive) can't be beat. The homemade bread keeps customers coming back.
Hang with the locals at Hurricane Bar & Grill (4-minute walk). Thursday is Wing Night but every night is: fun! Porky's Bayside (3-minute drive) is a funky outdoor bar and restaurant on a marina. Many famous faces have raised a glass here (including Hemingway). Sunset Grille & Raw Bar (5-minute drive) is the place to party on Sundays. You can't miss the big Tiki at the foot of the 7-Mile Bridge, and if you do miss it, there's no turning around until you reach the other side of the bridge!
WHY WE LIKE IT
There's something to be said about staying in the heart of the Keys, close to most everything, for a fair price. You can walk to many popular restaurants in Marathon, or be there by car in just minutes. Even Key West is only an hour away.
Yes, this is a simple side-of-the-road motel. Some might say it's Keys kitschy, but let them talk. You'll be comfortable, have money left in your pocket, and will be treated better than family by every member of their staff. Forgo the pomp and see how convenient the Sea Dell Motel can be.