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Hawks Cay Resort
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Reviewed January 23, 2013

We were very disappointed with our room at the resort which was right next to the elevator. We were kept up half the night because the elevator was so noisy. Even during the day when my husband was in the room doing work, the noise drove him crazy. After the first night, I asked the front desk to move us to another room but was told that the resort was full and they could not accommodate us. We were not offered any type of resort or room credit for the inconvenience. We also had a nice secluded little porch, but it only had one chair so my husband and I could not even sit out there together to escape the noise. Ironically, there was a note left in our room about trying to be “green” and to hang up our towels in order to save water. I would have been happy to comply, however there were no towel racks in the bathroom on which to hang the towels .Our daughter was staying with friends in a villa and they had ordered two cribs when they made their reservation months ago. Not only were the cribs not there upon arrival, but it took three separate phone calls over a period of a few hours before they received two pack-n-plays which they had to set up themselves. With the prices that they charge, we were certainly expecting a much better experience.

Room Tip: Do not get next to the elevator!
  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank clb581
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HawksCayResort, Director of Marketing at Hawks Cay Resort, responded to this reviewResponded January 24, 2013

Dear clb581,

I sincerely appreciate the feedback from your holiday weekend stay with us and truly apologize for the noise issues that you experienced in your room. I hope that you'll contact me direclty so that we can look into and address the items you mention.

Thank you, again, for taking the time to share your feedback.

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

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2013

This was an OK place to stay, but not worth the money, in my opinion. I don't like to say bad things about businesses, but want to inform others so they can make an informed decision. We stayed here January, 2013. When we arrived at 6:30PM, our unit, as well as many others, was not ready to be occupied, even though check-in time was 4:00PM. Apparently, there was a staffing issue and they were running WAY behind. Being a business owner dealing with personnel issues, I can relate. I was offered a few drinks while we waited for our unit to be prepared, which was fine. After over an hour went by with no indication as to how much longer it would take, we were offered dinner on the house. GREAT! We ate at Almas. Food was OK, not great. But when the bill came (we had to sign for it, but was then taken off our bill at the end) the total came to $300 for a family of 4!!!!!! YIKES!!! If I had had to spend $100 for the same dinner out of pocket, I would still have been disappointed. We decided that we would not be eating at any of the restaurants on site the rest of our stay due to the price. During the mayhem of everybody being told their units were not ready, and in the presence of some truly evil customers, Ariel and Rochelle shined with their customer service skills. I cannot believe how nasty some people can be when something doesn't work out the way they want. When our villa was finally ready, (sunset village), I was surprised at the condition. There was a large bag of dirty linens just outside the door which set the tone. When we entered, the unit, (#850?), which was clean, overall, but several noteworthy items stood out. We found some mold growing on the ceiling, someone had dropped paint, or something that had tumbled all the way down the stairs, splattering it on the walls and ceiling and leaving a big carpet stain. The unit needed paint, badly. (I am now sounding like some of those big-time whiners that complain about finding one human hair in the bathroom; sorry.) The wifi was a nice thought, useless, good thing I have wireless hotspot on my phone, or we would have been internetless. It was still faster than the provided wifi, even with 4 people hooked up to the hot spot. The kitchen, bedrooms, living room, and bathrooms were spotless. I never felt grossed out by anything. The TV's were nice, but had no HD. Kind of weird watching a football game on a widescreen LCD TV in standard def. Having laundry facilities in the unit was great, (soap provided; thanks Hawks Cay!) but the dryer vented into the bedroom instead of outside, making the guest bedroom uninhabitable when doing laundry due to the heat, smell, and humidity associated with clothes drying. We did not take advantage of many of the amenities of the resort as we only stayed three nights. But one thing that did stand out was the fact that you could not get out and swim/snorkel in the ocean from anywhere on the property. You were confined to the lagoon, which was pretty cool, or the pools, or go elsewhere. Overall, I believe the service and product are good here, despite the difficulties. I would stay here again, but will check rates beforehand. I think I would be willing to pay $250/night for the 2BR sunset village villa (I paid $475/night on this trip) But it was not worth what I paid. The staff are top-notched, though and treated us well.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank Eyefixer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2013

That's what it says on the room key - The only key you'll need. And they mean it. The resort offers several fab restaurants, activities ranging from fishing to catamaran cruises to jet skiing to dolphin experiences all right on property, not to mention family pools, an adult pool, a marina, and waterfront access. No wonder since the property covers 90% of Duck Key. The staff is fabulously friendly and there was no need they couldn't meet. I was there with colleagues. But I cannot wait to take my family there.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled on business
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Thank TravelerBlock
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2013

My husband and I visited in December and had a great time. Staying in Duck Key gave us the opportunity to visit the different keys with a nice home base at Hawks Cay. The staff was very, very friendly and helpful. The hotel was on the "empty side" when we there. I would rate this a 3 star hotel but a definite 3 star plus (4 star is a Ritz). The decor in the lobby is lovely and the outdoor decor is pretty. It is more suited to families than couples but we took the sunset cruise on the catamarran, and it was wonderful. Our captains, Jason and Freddie (horror film names!) made the excursion fun, rewarding and a hoot - little things that make it extra special. Room service was great. My husband enjoyed the gym too. Not much beach front if you are looking for sand - more of a pool place.

Room Tip: Ask for a corner southern corner room so you can see the sunset best and be removed from the noise, the pool activity day and night and get the best view of the water.
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank KatMom419
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 22, 2013

Overall, this was a good trip and I would recommend it to friends with a flexible budget.

The problems I had were early in the trip, so my review will follow a somewhat chronological path. I booked my stay through a high-end hotel discounter as a last-minute getaway for my family (parents and sister, mid 50's and mid 20's). As a result, I paid about 30% less than the rack rate, as a disclaimer. We booked a 2b/2ba Sunset Villa, and communicated through my 3rd-party booker that I preferred a 1 queen, 2 twin set-up with non-down bedding.

I emailed a staff member who appeared to be the manager that handles guest satisfaction before hand with a few questions and concerns, but the email went unanswered by that person or anyone else it may have been forwarded to, so I was a bit disappointed with that up front.

We arrived at about 1am, and check-in was friendly and efficient. The lobby had a neat blend of modern and island style. However, when we got to the villa, it was clear that my requests had not been met. I was willing to sleep on the pull-out for the evening since we only had 2 beds, but there was no bedding available for it. The bigger problem was the down bedding that 3 of us were significantly allergic to. I called to the desk, and while apologetic, they said there was no one that could come change out the bedding. I found it very odd and frustrating that a 4-diamond property with several hundred rooms did not have an overnight housekeeper that could bring me bedding that wouldn't make my eyes swell shut. The answer was that I was pretty much stuck until the morning. The phones weren't working either, so I had to call via my cell phone.
Come morning, I spoke to someone at the desk (young Jamaican girl, don't remember her name). Apparently, my account was not noted with any special requests, which means it was likely my booker's fault and not the Resort's but the fact that there was no short-term solution to my predicament was frustrating (and extremely uncomfortable, on account of the allergies). But she was very helpful and put us in for a new villa with the bed types we wanted and a request for hypoallergenic products, and told us she would call when it was ready. My sister and I took kiteboarding lessons (oTHErside boardsports, reviewed separately) and my parents explored the resort a little, and we were conveniently called with the new room when our lesson ended. My mother griped a little bit when we checked out (they insisted on footing the bill for most of it) and they knocked off dinner one night, which I thought was adequate.

The villa we ended up staying in (5083) was very nice, and in slightly better condition than the one we came from. It opened right up to the Sunset pool. I wouldn't quite call it luxurious, but definitely upscale. Marble counters, quality furniture, comfortable bedding (mine seemed to be a firm mattress with a very plush cover.) In contrast with some other reviewers, I found it to be very clean. Housekeeping is not daily with the villas, but we received occasional 'tidying' throughout our stay. Trash changed one day, beds made up the next, which I wasn't expecting.

After getting our new room, we ventured out for a quick lunch at Seaside Dawgz and Beef in nearby Marathon and then visited a small park just over the 7-mile bridge where you could walk way out into the water, and then to Bahia Honda state park, which is well worth a visit.
That evening, my mom, sister, and I ate dinner at Ocean. We happened upon the shuttle and took a ride to the main building. My mom had called ahead for seating (through the desk), and that information never made it. The host (a charming Peruvian kid who I saw several other times throughout our stay) got his manager (a girl from Chicago, clearly I'm bad with names, but I loved the 'place of origin' on the name tags) and she was overly apologetic and got us seated very quickly outside so we could see the fire and hear the musical entertainment for the evening.
The food was great for everyone, and worth the typically inflated resort pricing. The server team was also very gracious and helpful, and definitely earned the 18% that is added on to all food and beverage charges at the resort.
Day 2, we started with breakfast at Ocean. The buffet was excellent, as was our server. She was an older lady, local to Duck Key, and was very relaxed and friendly while still providing great service. 18% seems high for a buffet, but we were still confident it was well-earned. The buffet was well-tended with good food throughout, and at $19/pp, was priced on par with the similarly expansive and popular buffet we offer at my own resort. The service staff was locked in an entertaining eternal battle with the local seagull population in the outside seating area.
My mom and sister were intent on relaxing by the lagoon all day, and my dad and I went fishing. The resort offers their own private charters, but my frugal parents were enticed by an ad for SeaDog Charters in Marathon (reviewed separately). It was clearly downmarket from Hawks Cay, but we enjoyed it. Picked up some seasoning from the Winn-Dixie in Marathon on the way back and cooked up dinner with the villa's adequately equipped kitchen, though the restaurants on site will do this for you if you'd prefer.
Day 3, we began with a light breakfast en-suite, and headed over to the Dolphin Connection (reviewed separately). The four of us then headed to SeaSide Dawgz for a quick lunch before going to Hall's for snorkeling (recommended to us by a local, also reviewed separately). Had a late dinner at the Island Fish Company after getting cleaned up. I stopped by the bar to check it out, but was disappointed that it lacked any real distinguishing characteristics or products. The bartender (guy from DC) did his best to accommodate me with something unique, and gave me a tasty twist on a traditional daiquiri. Pool-hopped for a little (they were all virtually empty, which was great), Watched some TV in our living room, then headed to bed. In the morning we leisurely got packed up, and bid farewell. We stopped at Robbie's Marina in Islamorada on the way out and fed our leftover fish to the birds and tarpon. It was a cool spot and worth the stop, and we got to see a social manatee who floated up to the dock. In Key Largo, we dropped in the Key Lime Cafe for some token goodies before the mainland.

I've never been a supporter of resort fees, purely for the psychological aspect of it. By paying a higher flat rate up front (at this price range, it's not knocking anything into a different price point), these added conveniences then feel like bonuses instead of something you had to pay extra for. It was convenient to not have to worry about tips, or a shuttle pass, or valet fees, and so forth, but just make it a part of the rate so it doesn't feel as much like everything costs something. That being said, the things they lumped under the resort fee were all beneficial services, and it was better than having to pay a la carte for them.
Service across the board was very good, very 4-star, and the only reason I docked a point was for the inavailability of it at that crucial point our first night there. I thought it was a fairly good value, even when looking at full price and not my own, but the additional activities were all very pricey and bring that down just a little bit. Everything was very clean from what I saw, so full points there. The island itself was very beautiful, navigable, and well-maintained, but it wasn't terribly convenient to outside attractions.

Overall, a good stay, and I would recommend. I like variety, so I'm not prone to staying the same place twice, but if I return to the middle Keys, I would be happy to stay there again. Just wasn't quite good enough for top marks.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank TheExBellman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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