Imagine a beloved resort built in 1950, on 20+ oceanfront acres. Now, imagine updated, comfortable rooms, private screened porches, two pools, a beach bar and restaurant, and lots of activities for every age. You’re starting to get the picture.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The resort is pet-friendly, however, there is a $75 one-time charge. You’ll have to decide if bringing your dog friend is worth it.
You’ve got a few options, but with their one-bedroom oceanfront suite, you’ll get the beachside cottage vibe as soon as you enter. Painted wood furniture, shutter-style headboards, colorful walls and curtains, a full kitchen with coffee pot/coffee/flavored creamers, and lots of Guy Harvey artwork and fabrics.
Buildings 110, 210, 310, 410, and 510 are closest to the water.
More bright paint, updated vanities, no modern tile or tubs--just a clean shower curtain. But, you do get Bath & Body Works products. This resort strives for conservation efforts so do your share and reuse your towels.
YOU SHOULD KNOW If you have guests on your sofa bed, they’ll have to walk into the bedroom to get to the bathroom.
It’s quite the welcome. Guy Harvey-painted walls with marlin and sailfish decorate the lobby entrance. Inside it’s bright and cheery with more artwork, wood beamed ceilings, tropical ceiling fans, seating areas, and a big, mounted sailfish. The Outfitter Shop is here, too. Purchase everything from clothing to reef-safe sunscreen.
Take your pick: freshwater or saltwater. Both are seaside with fantastic views. There’s also a bubbling hot tub. The freshwater pool is the largest of the two, freeform in shape with zero-entry. Pool towels are in your room.
YOU SHOULD KNOW While the pool is for guests’ use only, the bar and restaurant is open to the public. A wristband system is in place to keep locals out of the water.
No spa onsite.
Just the walk to the fitness center is a workout if you’re staying by the water as it’s in the very front of the property. It’s nothing special, just a few treadmills and a bike. And, to gain entry, you need to get a key from the front desk.
Guy’s Beachside Bar & Grill overlooks the pool and the ocean and their menu will please everyone in your party. Sit at the bar or get a table by the pool for lunch or dinner. We love the mango shrimp tacos and their house-made smoked wahoo paté is what the Keys is all about. For breakfast, head to Bonefish Flats for the breakfast buffet. It’s open 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Guy's Beachside Bar & Grill has a full liquor bar and plenty of seats and tables. They're open till 11 p.m.
The manmade ‘beach’ is enormous, but you can only access the water on the far side by their 200’ private fishing pier (that is gorgeous at night). You should also know that the sand is course and the ground is hard. This is not the resort’s fault. Beaches in the Keys are made of crushed coral because of the offshore reefs.
Set around the property are picnic tables, bbq grills, hammocks, a volleyball and basketball court and inspirational signage with quotes about conservation. Their Discovery Center showcases a variety of interesting exhibits.
Lots of activities for all levels. Rent a bike, play shuffleboard, volleyball or basketball or head over to the onsite concessioner, Islander Watersports. Rent a paddle board, kayak, water trike (so fun!), snorkel gear, sail boat, or even a power boat.
Rent a bike, do a little walking, drive your own car, or call a taxi. You’ve got lots of options since this property is in the heart of Islamorada. In the heat of summer, you’ll want an air conditioned vehicle.
Reservations are needed at upscale Chef Michael’s (3-minute drive) but their Keys-inspired seafood and prime steaks are quite exceptional--and pricey. Come for the gumbo and daily fish specials at Ma’s Fish Camp (3-minute drive). And save room for dessert. The Green Turtle (4-minute drive) has been around since 1947 and their conch steak is something you can write home about.
The Hungry Tarpon (8-minute drive) has an outdoor bar beneath the mangrove trees and their Bloody Mary has beef jerky straws! Lorelei’s Cabana Bar (5-minute walk) is thee place for sunset, fun, libations and live music. Morada Bay Beach Cafe (2-minute drive) is on the bay, and you can sit in an Adirondack chair on the sand and catch the sunset.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Since 1950, The Islander has been a landmark in Islamorada. We love that it’s been given some love yet still manages to keep an old-school feel. There is so much to do onsite, from lounging by the pool to sailing away in a catamaran.
Just know that this place is family friendly, so families come here by the droves. That means that both pools can be loud. Of course, you always go explore the island. This location is so central, you have to take advantage and go see all you can see.