If you are like me, you've read all the negative reviews of this place and if you are thinking of booking, you aren't sure whether its worth the money. I will try to explain both the good and bad about this hotel, but in my opinion, the positives far outweigh the negatives in this lovely resort.
Even the nastiest review admits the grounds here are gorgeous, so clearly, positive number one is how lovely this hotel is. What I didnt know was how historical this place is, that it was built by the legendary Mr. Flagler himself, that the design mimics his overseas railroad and that several presidents and notables have stayed and partied at Casa Marina - if you stay here, you are truly geting some lovely Key West history for your money. There are gorgeous, gleaming hardwood floors and lovely, bahama-style decor throughout the common areas, two large outdoor pools and a gorgeous walkway to the beach with reflecting pools. Bear in mind, the beach entry here is coral, so if you plan on going swimming, bring your aqua socks or walk over to the Reach, which is a sister property and has a sandier, beach. Now for a negative - we stayed in the "newer" section of the hotel (which I think was built in the 1970s) and our room was entirely lacking any of these charms. It literally had a cold tile floor (and not italian, marble style, more institutional in nature), four white walls and a motel feel. Now, I am pretty sure we got the worst class room as I used my Hilton points for our stay and while I could complain (as many others have), that I wasnt treated fairly as a "gold" member, I wont. The housekeeping service is fantastic (they come twice a day), the bathroom was pretty updated, and there wasnt anything wrong with the room - it just doesnt match the rest of the place. (My note to management - why dont you put up some crown molding, paint it a historic color scheme and maybe add a little carpet around the bedroom?). My advice is try to stay in the older sections of the resort.
The next part of the hotel I think worth detailing is the fantastic service you get at this resort - I honestly don't know how anyone can complain about the service anywhere. The front desk is very pleasant, the pool guys are super helpful (it was sold out the week we were there but they will help you get chairs by the beach or pool), the valets were nice and as I mentioned, housekeeping was excellent - they were running a free kids program when we were there and my son had a blast making necklaces, swimming in a "race", hunting for shells and playing on the lawn (Thank you Vivian, you were wonderful). While I am on the subject, this hotel is super kid-friendly - they have a little scavenger hunt the kids can do on their own where they collect bands by using a treasure map, then when they get them all, they get a free gelato in the gift shop. One thing I noticed was a lack of bars and restaurants, but since you are in Key West, getting something to drink and eat is not a problem (and famous Louie's Backyard is very walkable). The pool area has a bar and outdoor restaurant and we enjoyed the food and drinks there (my husband was a particular fan of the Mumbai splash), but I noticed the lobby bar was empty - a shame because its a lovely little spot and had bottles lined up, but there was never a worker there (and since we were there on a sold out week, I suspect its only used for private affairs).
If you aren't familiar with the layout of Key West, let me explain this location. Its near the Southern end of the island, very close to the Southernmost Point, the Butterfly Museum (which is a must-do in Key West, in my opinion) and near Smathers Beach, but relatively (like 1.5 miles away) from Mallory Square and the craziness of Duvall Street. It is so worth it to be on the beach and be able to see both sunrises and sunsets (I mean seriously, name another hotel where you can do that). The Old Town Trolley makes a stop at this hotel (although I think you are better off taking a cab to the other side for about ten dollars) and there is generally plenty to walk around and do from this place. We rented one of those elecric cars (which was insanely expensive in my view - about $250 for two days, but my kids loved it) and the valets charged it up for us at night.
Lastly, for all the comments about how this place is too expensive - I think a standard room was about $450 per night (even though we used points), so I am hard-pressed to argue with them, but then again, Key West is an insanely expensive place to begin with. I have stayed at several B and Bs in Key West and Casa Marina is on par with the expensive ones - you can stay at a decent one (like the Eden House) and save yourself $75 or so a night, but there are not a lot of good hotels on the island - B and Bs are a great way to experience Key West (not for those of you with kids, however), but they don't offer a gym, large pools, and all the other amenities you get at a full resort like this - the bottom line is, if you want a great, historic hotel with unbeatable service, you reallyshould give Casa Marina a try.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- With a $43 million renovation complete, this Mediterranean-inspired resort sits on a 1,100-foot private beach. The historic beachfront resort, combines 1920s ambiance with a chic, contemporary flair, features sophisticated new accommodations, complete with LCD televisions, iPod docking stations, and an in-room espresso, coffee, and tea maker. Amenities include: two tropical pools, water-sports activities, spa services, poolside cabanas, Sun/Sun Bar & Grill serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and The Lobby Lounge for tapas and libations. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Casa Marina, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel Key West
- Waldorf Astoria Key West
- The Waldorf Astoria Collection
- Casa Marina Resort Key West
- Casa Marina Key West