Located at one end of Duval Street in the heart of Key West’s bustling tourism center, the aptly-named Ocean Key Resort & Spa – a Noble House Hotels & Resorts property – makes for an easy walk to many of the area’s most historic landmarks, museums, restaurants, bars and nightclubs.
Parking is taken care of curbside by friendly valets in T-shirt and shorts leaving one to simply step inside and browse the eclectic, rectangular-shaped, varnished wood-floor lobby with a small, informal reception desk at one end and a boutique shop selling easy-wear clothes and everyday knickknacks such as souvenirs, books and sunglasses at the other.
An abundant overhead canopy of foliage and flowers, trellis dividers and colorful wooden deckchairs decorate the area immediately behind the lobby where many of the rooms are located. Even the elevators reflect the playful persona of Key West, emanating from its notorious bohemian past, with colorful paintings of toucans and pineapples adorning the sliding doors, amplifying the hotel’s boast of presenting ‘an elegant West Indies style with a palette of turquoise, indigo and lime for a Florida Keys twist.’
Suites have a railed patio-cum-veranda overlooking the dipping pool, Jacuzzi and cabanas and past swaying palm trees to the shops lining the pier and the Gulf of Mexico coastline from where cruise liners and leisure craft docked and departed. In this respect, guests are advised to choose an ocean-side room on a higher floor where street noise is negligible and viewing more advantageous.
Swing doors separates the living-room area, with furnishings that include a lengthy, well-padded, blue and lime-green striped sofa, a television, several wing-back chairs and varnished-wood, round tables positioned just inside the veranda, from the bedroom with an old-fashioned, king-size, two-poster bed of burnished wood.
Overhead, a rotating fan harkened back to a bygone era when Hemingway and cohorts waxed poetic after consuming large quantities of ‘Papa Dobles’ and ran amok here (aged rum, grapefruit juice, maraschino liquor, lime and sugar, for those who wish to try it).
Hotel guests can pamper themselves at Spa Terre, which specializes in Asian-style body and beauty treatments, or enjoy a work out in the fitness center. A water sports center can arrange snorkeling and fishing charters, parasailing and boat or jet-ski rentals. Drinks can best be enjoyed down at the Sunset Pier Bar, a collection of colorful, macaroon-shaped chairs aligned along the private pier.
Credit goes to friendly, efficient restaurant manager Joseph Lyles, and the creativity of the chef, for a dining experience at the Hot Tin Roof that might just be the highlight of a stay at the Ocean Key Resort & Spa.
Located right at the edge of the water, the restaurant presents an intimate but lively atmosphere with small lamps hanging from white-painted wood walls and tables set close together cossetted in candlelight. Thin window drapes fluttered in the ocean breeze. The restaurant’s design is classic Key West – a combination of Victorian, Bahamian and New England. Lighting being low, special illuminated menus are innovative and most helpful.