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“Overrated and Poor Service”
Review of Hawks Cay Resort

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Hawks Cay Resort
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Duck Key
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed December 30, 2012

From check in to check out, this was the most overrated resort we've visited. Maybe the staff was not ready for the holiday rush? Despite booking 2+ months ago using Amex Membership Rewards, the reservation was not in order. Front desk could use some customer service training about pleasing the customer. Was told the resort was sold out and no water view rooms available & was given a dark room overlooking the parking lot. Returned to the front desk immediately and spoke to a different agent who promptly moved us to a "water" (pool) view room, no questions asked (this came back to haunt us later). Towel rack broken in the new room, with a couple of towels piled in the closet. Upon hanging up face towel, the other rack fell off the wall and was never fixed during the stay. First night had a domestic dispute issue in the next room and had to call security keeping us awake from 4AM on. Day 2 housekeeping never showed up despite multiple requests. We were also never warned that everything needed to be booked in advance of arrival so every program/meal was sold out (no fishing, no dolphin experience, no christmas dinner). Kids Putt Putt course is a mess--holes are ripped up, bricks out of place--can't they at least blow the leaves off it? $10 for 30 minutes on a plastic kayak? Really? Ocean Restauant has recently opened and while the food is really good, the kitchen had major issues--we received appetizers, salads and main course at the same time! Great recovery from our server, Beth from Minnesota and the manager, who were very apologetic and took good care of us. Service around the pool for food and drinks was almost non existent. Staff seems to have little leeway to please customers or do "the right thing" (even giving a card for a free cup of coffee required a managers signature for the concierge). Compared to other resorts in the Preferred Hotels collection, Hawks Cay was a real disappointment and fell short across the board.

Room Tip: Don't take the "island view" unless you want to overlook the parking lot and "oce...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank lsfcmh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HawksCayResort, Manager at Hawks Cay Resort, responded to this reviewResponded January 2, 2013

Dear lsfcmh,

Thank you for your detailed review. While I am so sorry that we did not exceed your expectations, your feedback is very much appreciated. I hope that you will contact me directly so that we can appropriately address the issues that you encountered. Again, I apologize for your disappointing time with us and hope that we'll have the chance to earn your loyalty in the future.

Best regards,
Jennifer Dinan
jennifer.dinan@hawkscay.com

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2,888 - 2,894 of 4,849 reviews

Reviewed December 30, 2012

I was hoping, even praying that the poor service reviews on trip advisor were exaggerated but unfortunately people were accurate. We rented a house in the 'Sanctuary' which is supposed to be one of the better locations during the holidays between dec 26th and Jan 1st (yes we are still here!) I have seen the mgmt respond to reviews posted after the fact, let's see if they can improve an experience in real time.

Our home looked perfect for 4 kids (3-10) and two adults with our own pool in the backyard.. So what do you think kids do when they see a pool after coming from a 20 degree climate? Of course they go in.. There are so many service recommendations here I'm just going to list them.

1. Pool towels in units with pools. Seems simple and logical but when I called the 'service' line they told me to use our limited bath towels or walk to a hotel pool to grab some towels. I called to ask for more bath towels (since they won't deliver pool towels) I also asked for more hangers since our closets only had two. After an hour, the towels were delivered but without the hangers.

2. Tram: there are two trams which don't follow a schedule and are supposed to bring people from around the hotel to the distant locations of the property.. Lobby pool, marina & grocery store, kids club, etc. The reality is that the trams don't follow any schedule and actually broke down during our stay. After questioning a bell guy on his backup plan, he started a cart up which could only hold 6 people (lucky for us). They decided to use a single van to replace the missing two trams which could never fill the void. When the trams were running the guys played the music so loud that they missed two different families waiting near trams stops. We had to yell loudly for the driver to hear before he would stop. Process is broken, why do they need to listen to bob marley loudly while trying to look out for guests to ferry?

3. Ocean restaurant: at night after 5pm there are only three restaurants open. Alba is fine dining, $40+ entrees and not appropriate for kids, Ocean is the other which has ~10 tables outside and ~50 inside an acoustically challenged high ceiling cafeteria-like IKEA looking place. Our first night we wanted to eat outside but the wait was 45min. So we went inside and after ordering it literally took 15-20 mins to get bread, we had to ask three waiters. Then it finally took over an hour to get our food. The scallops and fish stew were good but waiting over an hour is ridiculous. It doesn't appear as if the kitchen can accommodate a full house properly. I also ordered two drinks $17 each and virgin smoothies for the kid which was $77 total. They include an 18% gratuity on everything since they know their staff would never live up to it on their own.

The other restaurant is on the marina 'Tio's' which is a typical mexican place. Priced reasonably and near some action which the fish boats returning with their catch.

Maintenance: our back lights at the house were not working and after waiting an hour, I called maintenance back then two people showed up within 5min apart. Apparently our bulbs needed replacing.. But my concern is their process for training and dispatching anyone in their service department. When you are at 100% capacity you need a well oiled machine. This place doesn't seems to have the training to accomplish the task.

Pools: the facility is nice, the pool and lagoon are great and the guy organizing kids activities does a nice job. On the 29th at 4pm with about 50 kids and adults in the main pool they suddenly shut it down. No communication, no reason, no time table as to when it would open back up. So all the kids have to get out and are disappointed. Anyway.. I understand things 'happen' in the pool with kids but why not communicate the issue and the timetable to your guests. I get the feeling the staff just want to get through their day here without interacting with guests. There was a 'pool guy' who came up and suddenly move our umbrella which was covering my 7 yr old daughter. I asked why he was moving it and he said 'it was in the path.' he said it my job to keep the path clear but I explained to him why couldn't you speak to us first, then we could move our chairs and the umbrella with it, still protecting my daughter and keeping the umbrella off the path. He said you need to talk to my supervisor.. I couldn't believe it. So the supervisor came over and I explained it to him and he said ok... No problem... But I asked if he could suggest his staff talk to their guests and communicate before just doing something which would impact them.

Message system: the phone light is blinking, you'd think it's a simple message waiting, press the light indicator and it goes to a busy signal. On the phone there is another instruction to get messages, press # + 1 still goes to a busy signal. So I call the operator.. 'to get messages you need to dial # + 1 + 0. No one bothered to update the phones and who knows how many people call the operator to ask this question. Again the system for improvement or taking systematic errors out of the equation just doesn't happen here.

Coffee: lastly, there is no lobby coffee here.. One Starbucks so unless you're getting breakfast make sure you line up early.

Activities: everything costs money, from getting a kayak to making a t shirt to getting a scoop of ice cream at the indies club. It's nickel and dime on top of the pool fee you pay here... Overall this place it just not worth the investment.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank workhplayh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HawksCayResort, Manager at Hawks Cay Resort, responded to this reviewResponded December 31, 2012

Dear workhplayh,

I am so sorry that you are not having an exceptional experience here. Your review just posted today (December 31) and I am attempting to reach out to you directly via TripAdvisor, as I have no way of knowing your name from your post.

Please respond to me directly so that we can connect and work to address some of your concerns before you leave. I will direct message you as well.

Best regards,
Jennifer Dinan
jennifer.dinan@hawkscay.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2012

Duck Key resort is HUGE, much of it condos. Just walking the perimeter is a major feat. It is hard to imagine anything this resort does not have – except a golf course :-) Sea views around the resort are fantastic – even the Overseas Highway is quite picturesque from a distance :-)

We opted for the cheaper “island view” rooms, which inevitably, as expected, is a euphemism for “car park views”. Check in process was excellent, with a full briefing. Thank-you Amy.

Our ground floor room was a bit dark as a “jungle” obscured the car park. Might have complained if we had felt more strongly about it, but room was comfortable, with a huge bed, nice linen and all the basics – except a microwave. Bathroom was fine, well fitted and had a nice robe and lots of towels. Yes – 1 nice robe! (Why, one asks? Are we meant to share?) We were also on clothes hangar rationing – we had 5 - between us! Quick chat with Amy fixed the robe and hangar deficit.

Maid service left a few things to be desired - floor clearly not hoovered daily and there was no supervision check of the (inadequate) cleaning process at any time during our stay.

What the hotel lacks is a decent restaurant on-site. Plenty of semi-fast food options, but no quality eating. This might change when the “just finishing” new seafood place opens in “Dec”.

Lots of sunbathing options, including large (noisy, child infested) pool area and “lagoon” (man made), plus attractive “tranquility” pool – no kids, music or smoking – YES! Pity about the “aquarobics” hooligans who invaded a couple of times  Loungers were usual “American Basic”, without seat pads. Come on guys! Some cushions would be nice!

Dolphin enclosure was fun to watch, when the encounters were on. We did however, sadly, have a dolphin tragedy on our final day as we watched the show.

Duck Key is comfortable, but certainly not luxurious. It is huge, but still has approachable, helpful staff. Food lets it down somewhat, but Marathon has several nice eating places a few miles away.

Our first time in the Keys, so no complaints and we will certainly return. That said, a couple of other resorts we “checked out” looked very good, so maybe……

Room Tip: Clearly, from my observation, if you complain a lot a check in, they upgrade your room., So, sugges...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank grahamee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HawksCayResort, Manager at Hawks Cay Resort, responded to this reviewResponded January 2, 2013

Dear grahamee,

I'm glad you enjoyed your stay with us and your first of, hopefully, many to the Keys. I apologize for the lack of robe and hangers in your room but am glad that Amy was able to quickly resolve the issue to your satisfaction.

I'm pleased to share that our new restaurant, Ocean, opened on December 19th, and I hope we have the opportunity to host you there in the future.

Thank you, again, for your feedback. Please don't hesitate to contact me directly as you plan your next visit to the Keys.

Best regards,
Jennifer Dinan
jennifer.dinan@hawkscay.com

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Reviewed December 27, 2012

We originally booked our vacation at Tranquility Bay, but checked out after the first night. Hawks Key was very accomodating and we checked in early to a Villa on the Harbor. The villa was lovely and roomy. The families enjoyed all of the activities both around the pool and at the kids club. We were treated really well by the hotel staff and especially the pool staff. They turned a disaster into an excellent vacation. We will definitely come back here again in the future!

Room Tip: We loved the Harbor Villa we stayed in.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled on business
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Thank 560DMich
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HawksCayResort, Manager at Hawks Cay Resort, responded to this reviewResponded January 2, 2013

Dear 560DMich,

I'm so glad that we were able to accommodate you and your family. It's great to hear that you all enjoyed yourselves here so thoroughly. We hope to see you again soon!

Best regards,
Jennifer Dinan
jennifer.dinan@hawkscay.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 27, 2012

We stayed here for the second week of December and it was really sub-tropical. Booked as the second centre with Virgin Holidays (a rest cure after a week at Disney with grandkids).
The resort is beautifully maintained and you could easily spend all your time here. There is a main pool, a Tranquility Pool (no kids), a seawater lagoon with sandy 'beaches', a spa, several restaurants, a marina (with small grocery store), an internal tram service, a sunset cruise - and a dolphin lagoon. The Dolphin Experience is not to be missed.
The staff were all very helpful and pleasant. When the wrong dish was served at one dinner, it was replaced quite quickly, with free wine to compensate for the inconvenience.
(A new restaurant opened on the day we left, so no opinions on this.)
Hawks Cay is not a cheap option and you have to be prepared for 18% gratuity to be added to all the food bills. (I believe there is also a daily 'resort fee' but ours had been pre-paid by Virgin.) Also, being on little, built-up Ducks Key, there are no eating places without driving to another Key - but there are plenty of places in Marathon and Islamorada. I'd recommend the Island Fish Company and the Sunset Grille (the latter with a outdoor area facing the start of Seven Mile Bridge).

Room Tip: If you like peace and quiet, ask for a room overlooking the Tranquility Pool
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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1  Thank ghpSouthampton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HawksCayResort, Manager at Hawks Cay Resort, responded to this reviewResponded January 2, 2013

Dear ghpSouthampton,

Thank you so much for your comments and for your recent visit to Hawks Cay. I'm glad we were able to be your "recovery" vacation after Disney...we hear that more often than you know!

You've given some nice tips for fellow travellers. We hope to have the opportunity to host you again in the future.

Best regards,
Jennifer Dinan
jennifer.dinan@hawkscay.com

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Reviewed December 26, 2012

My wife and i stayed at Hawks Cay Resort for a conference I attended in November. We had a king room on the sunset side of the main building. The room was very nice as were the lobby and pool area. The meeting facilities were adequate and the continental breakfast at our meetings were okay.

We had two lunches on the deck overlooking the dolphin pens. The grilled fish the first lunch was pretty good but the fish tacos the next day weren't that good. Their key lime pie was very good. The other food we had was a cheese and fruit tray at the reception the first evening before the conference started. It was a nice assortment of cheeses, crackers and fruits, but was very pricey.

Hawks Cay is a convenient location in the mid Keys for traveling down to Key West and the other keys.. We ate all of our meals out of the resort based on previous TA reviews. Most of our meals were in Marathon with two dinners in Key West and one evening in Islamorada. I am not into fishing, snorkeling or scuba diving, so after two visits to Key West, one afternoon of golf in Key Colony Beach and one afternoon shopping I ran out of things to do. I ended up laying out at the pool at the resort on the last afternoon of the conference which is unusual for me. At most places my wife and I visit we are out and about doing and seeing things, but we were limited here in the Keys It was a nice place to visit one time, but I doubt that we will return again.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled on business
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Thank Razorfish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HawksCayResort, Manager at Hawks Cay Resort, responded to this reviewResponded December 27, 2012

Dear Razorfish,

Thank you so much for your visit and for your review. I'm glad that you and your wife enjoyed your overall experience not only at Hawks Cay, but throughout the Keys.

I can honestly say I've not yet run into a guest that commented they ran out of things to do. While most activities here at the Resort and throughout the Keys are water-based, there are also a number of activities and siteseeing opportunities that shouldn't be missed. A couple of my personal favorites at the Resort are Calm Waters Spa and kayaking the waters around Duck Key (I realize this is water-based, but it doesn't require you to actually get wet). Locally I love to visit Crane Point Nature Preserve, the Turtle Hospital and Historic Pigeon Key. I'm so sorry that we didn't have the chance to chat before you left, but I hope that we'll have the opportunity to show you all that the Keys have to offer someday in the future.

Thank you, again, and have a very happy New Year!

Jennifer Dinan
jennifer.dinan@hawkscay.com

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Reviewed December 26, 2012

Went to HC on the coldest weekend of the year. Being Florida Residents we were fine with the cool weather. Resort was very nice and we stayed in the Villas. Very clean and well stocked for cooking if that is what you want to do. Had issues with being able to put the heat on the first night which did not work so it was a little COLD in our villa. Not the resorts fault since how often do they actually have to put the heat on. Went to the manager on duty the next morning, a gentleman named Pitpal who was very helpful and apologized and had the maintenance crew there the same day and repalced the heating element so it was available to us that evening. He was nice enough to adjust our rate at checkout. Keep in mind that the resort is great for families with younger children as we had teengaers who they really do not cater to and being so isolated there is nothing that close for them to drive to. The service was not up to the rates that they charged and we felt they were under staffed for this time of year. If you are looking for a decent selection of reasonably priced food this is not the place. Over priced and not that good. Stay far away from Tios, the mexician resatuarant at the marina. Terrible food and terrible service. Stray towards Marathon for eats. About a 10 minute ride south. Good reviews here on TA. Go to The Island Fish Restaurant at MM 54. Worth the 10 minute ride. Great menu and great service. Found out about it from a guest at resort. Wish we knew about it earlier. Would have had every meal there. Serves breakfast as well. Overall a good trip but the amenities dont add up to the rates they charge.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Thank rm10728
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HawksCayResort, Manager at Hawks Cay Resort, responded to this reviewResponded December 27, 2012

Dear rm10728,

Thank you for taking the time to share feedback. It's so nice to hear that you and your family enjoyed your stay with us, despite the unusual cool weather.

While we do check our heating elements regularly, you correctly guessed that we rarely have to use them. I apologize for the issue you encountered with the heater, but it sounds like Pritpal was able to resolve it to your satisfaction.

I am so sorry that the service and availability of food options did not exceed your expectations. I hope that you'll contact me direclty so that we can find out more about your stay.

Thank you, again, for your feedback.

Best regards,
Jennifer Dinan
jennifer.dinan@hawkscay.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hawks Cay Resort

Address: 61 Hawks Cay Boulevard, Duck Key, FL 33050
Location: United States > Florida > Florida Keys > Duck Key
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Duck Key
Price Range: $216 - $570 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Hawks Cay Resort 4*
Number of rooms: 400
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hawks Cay Marina is currently closed for restoration. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hawks Cay Hotel Duck Key
Hawks Cay Duck Key
Duck Key
Hawk Cay Resort
Hawks Key
Hawks Cay Resort Duck Key, Florida

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