I’ve been reading some of the negative reviews of ‘Rock Reef Resort’ on Tripadvisor and I’m flabbergasted: can these guys have been visiting the same place? It’s a small, independently-run establishment in Key Largo consisting of a modestly-sized, two-storey (ie. ground and first floor) main accommodation block and number of little beach-side cabins, all set in thoroughly nicely landscaped and very well-maintained grounds, with its own (small) private sandy beach and ocean access to the Keys - the beauty of the view from which alone I would’ve said constitutes complete and absolute seaside idyll. When I think where I want to go on holiday next the answer’s always ‘Florida’ and what I have in head when I think about what's so good about going there is a picture of this place - I thought it was utterly charming throughout.
We stayed in a ground-floor, self-catering room in the main block. It had a fully-equipped (ie. with cutlery, proper kitchen knives etc. and drinking ware and plates) kitchenette, large fridge and freezer and a nice, tiled floor, which is eminently suitable in the situation given that this is guest accommodation close to its own sandy beach. The only very slight but completely liveable-with downsides I noticed in our room were firstly the size of the bathroom – which was perfectly fine but it is quite compact. I should also perhaps mention here that I have stayed at similar independent resorts in the Keys before, where I have found it bordering on difficult to take a proper shower, as sometimes, for ‘ecological reasons’ the water pressure isn’t brilliant. Quite to the contrary, at Rock Reef Resort , the water pressure in the shower etc. were all excellent throughout our stay, so that more than compensated for any lack of space. The only other slight downside I noted was that the room had been ‘freshened’ with an ‘Ambi-pur’ type plug-in air-freshener which it didn’t really need because it was clean and nicely-maintained in any case; I complain about this minor point only because after having lived in a shared house with an Ambi-pur addict, I really, really, hate this type of product (happily the smell wears off soon after you disconnect it.) The main accommodation block has one side that faces the garden / car-park area bordering the main road (but is mostly screened from it by big trees), while the other side looks out on the gardens that border the sea. Given the way the accommodation block’s arranged There are also a couple of rooms that look out ‘sideways’ onto darkish, narrow corridors; I have to say I’d have been very disappointed if I’d been allocated one of those rooms, but the management do seem quite amenable to moving guests to alternate accommodation within the resort once this becomes available - and perhaps the poor outlook of those corridor-rooms is reflected in the price. I can’t comment on this, because I had a lovely ground-floor room looking out on the seaside garden. I’m a terrible skinflint and this place was expensive – we turned up on spec during high tourist season and hadn’t pre-booked – but I was still happy to pay for a second night.
As for amenities, the resort has a couple of one-man canoes and a paddle-boat – maybe not in its first flush of youth, but still in perfect working order when we visited - that guests can take out (and I should perhaps mention that they warn you repeatedly, by word of mouth and by means of signs affixed to the various water-craft, not to paddle too far out in them). When we stayed , they ‘made’ (ie. required) you wear life-jackets too, which is also eminently sensible in health and safety terms if a bit of a pain in practice. There are immaculately-maintained hammocks strung over the lawns between the beautifully-kept trees, and a very nice and cleanly-kept communal barbeque area nearby. There’s a hot-tub, which we didn’t have time to try, but it looked to be in excellent condition, and down by the sea-front a good number – a very good number indeed - of spotless, new-looking out-door chairs and sun-loungers – basically, in every location you could conveniently think of situating a deck chair or a sun-lounger, without seeming to be cluttering up the place. What there isn’t is a swimming pool – and I can’t quite understand why somebody holidaying at a small, independent resort in the Florida Keys would want to demand a concrete pool to swim in, when they have, a literal stone’s throw away, all the wonder and beauty, warm, shallow water and luxuriant sea-grass beds to swim over in THE SEA, RIGHT NEXT TO them.
I can’t understand the mindset of a person who would complain about this small, charming, independently-run resort. So it’s not all gleaming infinity pools and fluffy white guest-robes; you’re not in bloody Dubai and it’s not that type of place. I’m a pretty pernickety hotel guest and am almost never satisfied with holiday accommodation - but I thought this place was marvellous.
Ask for a beach-facing room - or at least one facing the car-park - which has trees and a bit of gar...
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.