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“No Corners Cut” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Island Bay Resort

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Island Bay Resort
92530 Overseas Highway, Tavernier, Key Largo, FL 33070   |  
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Hotel website
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 4 hotels in Tavernier
GreenLeadersSilver level
Miami Beach, Florida
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
“No Corners Cut”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2012 via mobile

I booked this room on New Years Eve after finding out my office was closed that Monday. Our goal was to get something cute, clean, and most importantly... available.

Via Trip Advisor, I found this little spot with cottage style rooms and a private beach. My thought after seeing the photos was that it would be comfortable enough for a last minute trip from Miami. My girlfriend and I were prepared for your typical Key West eclectic motel style accommodations... WRONG. This place is PERFECT!

When we arrived, the charm was overwhelming.. I felt immediately transported into a little slice of heaven.

Every single detail is on point from the brand name clock radio to the flat screen tv, to the fixtures in the bathroom. There are great books to read if you forget to bring your own and a white chocolate conch shell on the bed. The kayaks are free of charge, the outdoor furniture is perfect, and there's a private boat for hire if you feel like diving. Everywhere you turn, there was some kind of hand picked accessory that made you smile.

As a manufacturer in the Hospitality Industry, I can tell you that the Island Bay Resort passes every standard of quality. With nothing to focus on but my beautiful girlfriend, I couldn't have asked for anything better.


  • Stayed January 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (104)
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English first
Painter, Virginia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2012

My wife and I had the pleasure of staying at the Island Bay Resort twice during our 2-week vacation to the FL Keys. Initially, we had planned on simply flying into Miami picking up our rental car, loading it with our bags and dive gear and heading into the FL Keys with no plan whatsoever other than to dive our way to the southernmost and back. As we have visited the keys many times before for highly planned vacations, there was no reason for worry. However, as our departure date approached, I decided to visit Trip Advisor and take down some info on a number of places to stay depending on where we found ourselves. Running a search for Key Largo and Tavernier brought up the #1 member rated Island Bay Resort. Per the title of this review … There’s a reason Island Bay is rated #1.

Long story short, read through all of the positive reviews on this little island gem as well as mine… 180+ reviews can’t be wrong and I will do my best to explain why they aren’t. I wouldn’t post such a review were I not truly impressed. Rest assured, my bashing review of the dump we stayed at in SOBE Miami will be coming!

We booked our first 4 nights in the Keys at the Island Bay Resort based on the positive reviews on Trip Advisor and to eliminate any stress that may have surfaced with regard to where we would stay our first few nights… After all, one comes to the Keys to leave any and all stress on the mainland. I am pleased to report that the owners (Mike and Carol) are some of the nicest hosts you will encounter anywhere. In pursuit of their joint dream, they purchased this little circa 1960ish gem (if I were to guess - perhaps they can update when it was actually built) about 10 years ago when it was run down (so I was told by some locals who asked where we were staying). With dedication and hard work they have restored a piece of FL Keys history to its prior glory. Furthermore, it has been fully updated and modernized to accommodate the modern tourist and traveler alike. Rest assured, Mike and Carol will do everything in their power to see that you not only enjoy your stay within the bounds of their resort but throughout the FL Keys as a whole. In my personal opinion, if anyone claims they failed to have a great time at this resort or throughout the Keys, I’d say they forgot to pack their meds.

First, there is no need to stay in Miami even if you have a late afternoon/ early evening flight arrival. We landed in Miami around 4PM, picked up our rental car, and were pulling into the IBR around 6:00PM. (Just be sure to pre-book your rental car with a co. such as Alamo where you can bypass the long lines, head right to the kiosk with your credit card, print out your pick-up papers and then walk to pick-up). Fail to do that and you’ll have an hour long wait in line.

The front office of the IBR closes around 6:00-6:30 and the No Vacancy light gets illuminated. After all, the owners of this place have lives too. If you are going to be arriving late just let Carol know and she will accommodate your late arrival as she did ours. It was dark upon our arrival that evening and we were pleased to see that all of the resort’s parking is located directly across the gravel drive that runs through it from the road straight to its dead end where the private beach resides. No hauling bags and gear far as you can sit on each unit’s private deck and toss a tennis ball underhand that would bounce off the trunk of your car. We just loved that… Easy and the car is always in sight and a few steps away.

Upon entering our room, the AC was set to the perfect level, a few lights were turned on in anticipation of our later arrival, the ceiling fan was turning on low speed, and the bedside sound system was playing some Jimmy Buffet. If that doesn’t set the stage for a great stay I don’t know what does! Further discoveries were the locally made chocolates with key lime infusion that greeted us, a nice selection of reading material, and a folder that contained Mike and Carol’s honest reviews (and rated them ) of all the local attractions and experiences the Keys has to offer within an easy driving distance. Of further note, each unit has its own theme with the walls adorned with the owners’ personal photography throughout the keys. We stayed in #4 Bridges on the way down and #3 Flora and Fauna on the way back. Mike and Carol’s extensive hospitality experience combined with their desire to deliver the best experience possible for their guests is readily evident everywhere you turn and every time you run into them as they are working (or playing) about their property.

The grounds are immaculately maintained with mature swaying palms and lush, yet highly manicured, tropical foliage throughout. Whether you want to relax on the resort’s private beach with a book on one of those great teak lounges with cushions/shared table/umbrella, dine on your private deck with table, chairs and umbrella, or recline on one of the numerous inviting lounges that seem to meet you at every turn, you can rest assured that if you look up you’ll be met with the perfect blend of sun, blue sky and shade provided by these mature palms. Simply spectacular! This resort represents the best of what the FL Keys used to be... A time before large resorts were built with all of their palms and foliage stuffed into pots or so called “container gardens”. Those palms are skinny and die after a few years only to be replaced again and the entire grounds are fake like a visit to Disney World. This little resort lets you experience and enjoy the keys as they were meant to be enjoyed… at their best with mature, natural fauna.

SO WHAT WAS THE BEST AMENITY THIS RESORT OFFERED? For us, it was the private and dedicated Webber Grill that resided in the grass beside our private deck. Each unit has its own Webber grill. I’ll admit, I’m a Weber guy and little can top my great day better than a great steak coming off a searing hot charcoal grill after a few cocktails. Mike and Carol informed us that the Winn Dixie super market was just 2 miles down on our right where found great steaks, burgers, potatoes, corn on the cob, breakfast items and snacks, a bag of match light charcoal, etc. (as well as a liquor store for those inclined).

The efficiencies the resort offers caters to those who like their space and freedom to kick back, enjoy a few cocktails at their leisure, light the grill and then enjoy a great dinner on their private deck. When thinking about the price of accommodations, the ability to enjoy great steaks and drinks on your own time, at supermarket prices, with everything you need provided in your efficiency, is a nice bonus and obviously an experience others rate highly as well. You can spend $100 on drinks and diner at a local restaurant or you can spend a lot less enjoying the same on your own time at the IBR. I would in no way classify this as a “Campy” resort but just one that offers freedom. “Campy” has many connotations that go with it and not all are positive. This is a resort where you are free to make of it what you will. From pick-up trucks to rental cars to those enjoying a tour of the keys in their convertible Porsches are all equally welcome, at home , and will find themselves among friends with the common interest of enjoying the FL Keys as we did.

Many tourists to the FL Keys have one thing in mind… Get to Key West and let the party begin! However, travelers know the Keys have so much more to offer and this is a great home base from which to experience the keys. After having visited the FL keys and Key West numerous times, we actually wil now spend more time in the laid back mid & upper keys. Of course, we’ll always save a few nights for Key West and that crazy/fun experience only Key West can offer but we’re going to spend more and more of our time on the mid and upper keys which I am learning has the best the Keys has to offer.

With regard to your departure out of Miami if you are flying in and out… We wanted to be close to the airport so we decided to stay in South Beach again and get another dose of the night life offered. Ummm… Just a hint… If you haven’t been to South Beach Art Deco district in a while (about 8 years for us) and if you aren’t prepared to pay $200+ for a semi-acceptable room plus dealing with parking your car or paying $30 valet, $10-$20 a drink, and a fortune for a dinner… SKIP IT! South Beach is now priced on par with the best of the best and it shouldn’t be priced as such… It just isn’t that great and can’t compare to the best of San Francisco, NY, Boston, New Orleans, etc. SOBE offers great night life but that can be had in Key West at a fraction of the price and without the see-and-be-seen attitude which we could care less about.

Without a doubt… We’ll be back. The Island Bay Resort has made our “must stay” list on all returns to the FL Keys.

Happy Travels!

Room Tip: Each is different and all are great. The best unit is the end right on the beach a deck that direct...
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lutz, Florida
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 30, 2011

We just returned from at week in the Keys, using the Island Bay Resort (IBR) as a base for us as we traveled up and down the Keys (worked great). This is a quiet and charming personal resort that features guest cottages that are very well appointed for comfort and convenience. The resort has a private beach that is perfect for watching fantastic sunsets. Each cottage has a kitchenette, an outside grill and a patio with table and chairs. The grounds are beautifully landscaped and carefully maintained. The cottages are kept perfectly cleaned and very well maintained. Also of note are the owner hosts, Carol & Mike. As true excellent hosts they go out of their way to make you stay comfortable and to offer advice re. sights to see and places to eat. I found all of their recommendations to be spot-on. We will absolutely be back! Great value for the vacation dollar here.

Room Tip: Cottages 1-5 are closer to the beach, although we stayed in Cottage 10 and were perfectly happy with...
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  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 9
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Maine
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2011

From the day we made our reservations, through check-in, our four night stay to our check-out we always felt like we were being welcomed by friends. The cottages are tiny and the kitchenettes aren't exactly meant to make large gourmet meals, but then again you're on vacation so cooking should be kept to a minimum. We got to our room much later then planned and were very surprised to hear Caribbean themed Christmas music playing when we walked in. The bed was comfy, the cottage immaculate and the decorations fit with the theme of the cottage. I loved that there were books on Keys diving and snorkeling spots in our room. It was just prior to Christmas and the property was decorated with lights and stockings. I can't say enough good things about Island Bay, we hope to return in late summer. Thank you Mike, Carol and staff for a relaxing time.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2011 via mobile

This is a lovely little resort to stay in-we used it as our base for a 3 day trip to the Keys and it was perfect for chilling out between drives up and down the Keys. We could have sat all night on the chairs by the little beach and watched the storms rolling past and the sun setting. The rooms were clean and had a good little kitchenette and fridge which allowed us to do a bit of basic self-catering, and the air conditioning was particularly welcome (and suitably cold for the mid August humidity!). All in all, definitely a recommendation, particularly compared to some of the other accommodation and towns we saw when driving down the Keys.

  • Stayed August 2011
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cleveland, Ohio
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 24, 2011

This was the perfect spot for a trip to Key Largo. The owners are great and very helpful with food and activities. Very clean rooms with a personal touch. The owners go out of the way to make sure your stay is perfect. This is very hard to find at many other hotels. The conch key room also had a kitchenette which was great. They have a great view of the bay that is very relaxing (chairs, hammock, tables). Keep up the good work Mike!

Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alexandria, VA
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2011

If you are looking for a quiet and relaxed few days, Island Bay Resort is a great place to go. A beautiful spot with its own little beach, nearby snorkeling and scuba diving. Mike and Carol are great hosts and have done a tremendous job transforming their little resort into a little piece of paradise. We spent several lovely days there and will be happy to go again any time.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Island Bay Resort

Address: 92530 Overseas Highway, Tavernier, Key Largo, FL 33070
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Florida Keys > Key Largo > Tavernier
Amenities:
Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 4 hotels in Tavernier
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Island Bay Resort provides you with a total "Florida Keys experience." Our hotel is centrally located between Key Largo and Islamorada and just two hours from Key West. Enjoying your Florida vacation is easy. Swimming, snorkeling, boating and beach sunbathing can all be enjoyed from our resort’s beaches. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Island Bay Hotel Tavernier
Island Bay Tavernier
Island Bay Resort Key Largo/Tavernier

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