When the first words you read on the inn’s outdoor signage are, “NFL HAS-BEEN,” you know you’re in for a good time. Owned by Gary Dunn, former NFL player for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the “OV” as locals call it, might just pleasantly surprise you, if you let it. The Netflix show, Bloodline, filmed many scenes on the property.
YOU SHOULD KNOW There is not an ocean view as the name suggests, but there is an onsite sports pub.
You can’t help but smile when you enter and see the bright comforters, colorful dust ruffles and fun pillows that decorate your bed. It’s all the colors of the Florida Keys. You’ll also get a flat screen TV, mini-fridge, microwave, and your own tropical patio with a plastic table and chairs. A private path from your patio leads to the pool. WiFi is OK and the air conditioner will drown out any road noise.
The lower the room number, the closer to the sports pub, so if you’re sensitive to noise, avoid Room 1 at all costs.
Good size with a tub and/or tiled walk-in shower. Towels are nice and thick; separate towels for the pool. There is no hair dryer but the water pressure is insanely good. Toiletries are provided.
There is no lobby, you'll check in at the bar. The bartender will give you the key to your room – a real key – not a plastic, electronic card. You’ll also get a free drink.
It’s not big but this freshwater freeform pool is heated and has a few tables, chairs, and plastic chaise loungers. A low, white picket fence is the only thing that separates the pool deck from the pub area (which is open to the public) so you might feel uncomfortable sunning or swimming with an audience.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Although the pool is supposed to be for guests only, regulars know they won't be chastised for taking a dip.
No spa onsite.
No gym or fitness center onsite.
You’re in luck as their onsite restaurant is a local favorite because it’s inexpensive and it’s good. Walk over to the pub for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Thursday is steak night - go early because they always sell out.
The popular OV Sports Pub is just steps from your room. Sit inside or outside. TVs are plentiful.
Happy Hour is Monday through Friday from 4pm-7pm but Flip Night is Wednesday -- that's when you call heads or tails and if you call in right, your drink is free.
Don't be surprised by all the white pea rocks in the parking lot and all over the grounds. Grass is a rarity in the Keys. There is a fenced playground for the kids and you can follow the boardwalk through the mangroves to the bay for a great view. You can also see the water from a bar stool, but not from your room. There is a nice fire pit surrounded by colorful Adirondacks.
Like most everywhere else in the Keys, a car makes life really convenient. You can walk to a few places from here, like Theater of the Sea, but wheels are a smarter choice since US1 is a busy road. Ubers and taxis are available to explore locally as well
If you love Italian food, try Ciao Hound (9-minute walk) at the Postcard Inn. For an upscale, pricey steak or seafood dinner, Ziggie and Mad Dog’s (9-minute drive) is an institution. For an all-you-can-eat experience, the brand new Sand Bar at Whale Harbor (2-minute drive) is oceanfront with a rooftop bar.
The world famous Tiki Bar at Holiday Isle (9-minute walk) is where rumrunners were invented. If you're never been, you should go. Hog Heaven (2-minute drive) is a sports bar on the ocean with pool tables, live music and a good bbq sandwich. Catch sunset at the Lorelei (5-minute drive) and enjoy music, a full liquor bar and good appetizers.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The OV is an old-school motel with a popular sports pub on the backside. It can be loud late at night, there might be a few obnoxious partiers, but in the same breath, it’s fun, clean, and inexpensive. This is a good place to stay if you’re a couple or a small group that likes to have a few cocktails, and enjoys meeting and mingling with locals.
If you’re looking for privacy or fancy, you won't find it here. Your place for solitude will be in your room. But if you like socializing and sitting around a fire pit with a cold beer and new-found friends, you will be glad you gave it a whirl.