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Ocean Key Resort
This is our page dedicated to our experiences while staying
at The Ocean Key Resort, Key West, Florida in December, 2004.
The accommodations did indeed look like the representations on the website. The colors were bold and eclectic and the furnishings were rich and expensive. We had a large balcony that overlooked the water and the Sunset Pier (the resort’s own outdoor restaurant/bar that jutted out over the water). There were comfortable furnishings on the balcony and it was nice just to watch the boats go past. Our first night, we watched a boat parade with boats lit up with Christmas lights. We were also able to see sunsets from our balcony. We had been upgraded since the resort was doing some upgrading of their accommodations (we could see some construction equipment when we went to and from our room but it did not interrupt our stay at all). We found the accommodations to be spectacular yet comfortable and we would definitely stay there again.
The number one resort amenity we have to mention is the location! It doesn’t get any better than “Zero Duval.” Ocean Key is on a prime piece of real estate – right on the water yet at the top end of the main drag for all the craziness that is Key West. A spa opened at the resort a couple months after we visited, so we can’t provide any feedback on that. The resort’s pool is at a prime location – overlooking the water. It is heated, which was perfect when we visited in December (there were a couple chilly days). The pool was clean and there were numerous lounge chairs with extra thick cushions. Plenty of fresh beach towels are provided daily for guests. Food and drink service is provided from the Sunset Pier outdoor restaurant by very friendly servers. There is no lifeguard so it is recommended that children be closely watched. The resort pumped in a nice selection of adult/alternative music in the pool area which was the perfect accompaniment to the setting. There were few children under the age of 12 at the resort while we were there (the week before Christmas), which is understandable – there aren’t a lot of activities in Key West for children (it is really more of an adult playground).
The resort has two restaurants: Sunset Pier (a casual outdoor pool/restaurant) and Hot Tin Roof (more upscale). We did not eat at Hot Tin Roof. We did have some appetizers and drinks – both at Sunset Pier and while we were by the pool. The service was good, the food was slightly above average (typical bar food selections), and the drinks were good. One warning: the Sunset Pier things were quite pricey. Lori had a glass of white wine and selected one of the more upscale wines, and it cost $10 a glass. After that, we decided not to purchase wine by the glass at the resort. On our last morning, we had a room service breakfast (we put our selections outside the door the night before). The food was fresh, prepared as we requested, and delivered on time by a smiling server. It was obvious we were staying at an upscale resort, as the servers clearly concentrated on making sure the guests were having a good time.
Sunset Pier (the outside restaurant) had a hexagon-shaped covered bar (with plastic that could be rolled down to protect against the elements when necessary). We had a few drinks there and lunch one day. The bartenders are very friendly, there is music playing, TVs are available (we were focused on football games, since it was the end of the season). The drinks were good, but pricey.
Ocean Key truly shines in its service. When we arrived at the front door via taxi, we were smilingly greeted by personnel who helped us check in, then took us to our room, explaining where everything was and taking the time to show us around our suite. They didn’t seem to mind answering any questions. Every time we went through the lobby we were greeted with smiles. It is not a cheap place to stay, but you definitely get what you pay for. We have stayed at another Noble House property (Hotel Edgewater in Seattle, WA) and had a very good experience, so we had high hopes for this hotel. We were not disappointed.
In spite of a recent special on the Travel channel decrying on of Key West’s beaches as the top ten in the U.S., we don’t really believe people go to Key West for the beaches. (It’s just our own opinion.) We find Key West attractive for the following reasons: the weather, the laid-back atmosphere, the sunsets, the nightlife, the live music, and the cuisine (it had been 7 ½ years since we had been to Key West and this time around we found the fine dining we sorely missed in 1997). There is also great fishing if you are into that, as well as snorkeling and sunset cruises.
Bagatelle - 115 Duval Street, 305-296-6609
Mangia Mangia - Southard Street 305-294-2469
Alice's Key West Restaurant - 1114 Duval Street 305-292-5733
Grand Cafe - 314 Duval Street 305-292-4740
A & B Lobster House - 700 Front Street 305-294-5880
Margaritaville Cafe - 500 Duval Street 305-292-1435
Key West is known for its nightlife! The bars stay open until 4 a.m., so be sure to rest up first. There are far too many bars to mention here, but here is a selection of places we hit.
Two Friends Patio Restaurant - 512 Front Street 305-296-3124
Hog's Breath Saloon - 400 Front Street 800-826-6969
Bear Bottom Beach Club - – 218 Duval Street
It’s Key West, so it’s hot, right? Well, not if you’re there the week before Christmas (at least, that’s what we found out). The humidity was low – as we suspected – and so were the temperatures some of the time. On the chilliest day, it only went up into the 60s and went down into the high 40s at night. Of course, we had no clue, so we were running around in shorts and sweatshirts. Rest assured we still got our requisite middle-of-winter-and-we-were-in-the-Keys tans. Just because it’s chilly doesn’t mean you can’t get a sunburn. We did have some beautiful days with temperatures in the 70s, but it’s safe to say that at no time were we overheated.
Unless you are on the outer rim of the island, save yourself some money and hassle and walk everywhere (besides, it helps to burn off the calories you drink and eat while there). Remember your sun protection. Key West is casual – shorts are acceptable everywhere and even flip flops seem to be the choice of footwear. We learned quickly that the drinks outside of the resort are just as good and a heckuva lot cheaper. It’s Key West, so make sure you are well-rested before you go and check your liver at the door!