We booked the deck house for three nights in August and travelled with two teenagers and two tweens. Our initial thought when pulling up into the property was, "what the...?" The main thing that catches your eye at first is that the resort is in the same parking lot and shares the general area with an RV park / resort with about five RVs/trailers and a few houseboats. The house also was not exactly "luxury," more like a 70s-80s cabin. The master suite had an old, creaky bed; there was a separate bedroom (which shares a wall with the master) with two old twins. The master bath has a giant hottub which is used in the colder months only. There is also a fold-out couch (poor quality) in the living room and a futon in the hall. Needless to say, I would not recommend this place for "romance," especially if the kids are there (the super-squeaky bed alone might ruin you).
So...I got all the bad stuff out of the way. Here are the good things that made the stay overall positive (my kids really like it and thought it was very cool). First, it's a very quiet place, at least when we were there. There are two other smaller villas in the "resort" and they were both filled by small, nice families from Florida. It's quite peaceful overall. Second, and if you've been to big resorts in the keys you'll appreciate this, they have multiple kayaks and a canoe which are available 24/7 and don't have restrictions (e.g. another place we stayed required you to be 18, you could only take them out for an hour, and they were only available 9-4). We kayaked quite a bit, including to a neat little mangrove island a few minutes away. Third, despite the previous reviewers disdain for the "beach," it's actually the best set-up of the other three resorts we've stayed at in the Keys. Most places don't have an easily accessible bit of water (usually, you have to climb down rocks). Here, there is a nice sandy place for the kids to play (with interesting snorkeling right there with starfish and such) or to launch a small boat. There is a very tropical vista right there with mature palm trees and tropical chairs that is quite beautiful. My two little kids stayed down there for hours. Near the beach, there is a clean bathroom area for the houseboat people or for others hanging out. Fourth, there is a giant cement dock that wraps around and provides a nice place to hang out, take pictures, or chill.
The location is very near all the main things in Key Largo (you could easily walk to the scuba diving section and several restaurants) but is far enough from the highway that you don't have much traffic noise (another big plus in the Keys). It is also next to several cool, quiet resorts (such as Key Lime Sailing Club) and there are numerous sailboats in that area to add to the ambience.
We had interactions with two of the employees, a nice gentleman who's the groundskeeper, and one of the managers who lives in a houseboat. He's English, very friendly, and extremely mellow and accomodating. All in all, it's just a laid back place.
Would I go there again? Probably not, but I'm glad we ended up there and gave it a try. I definitely wouldn't want to go there for a romantic weekend, so buyer beware. But, with kids or teenagers, it's a pretty sweet place. FYI, the Key Largo Hilton is right down the road and seems to be a very nice, romantic place, but is pretty crowded and I'm sure they nickel-and-dime you (kayaks are like $23 an hour!). They have a great property, though, so I'd probably go there for a nice weekend without the kids.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Dream Bay Resort is a small, family-owned resort and marina located in Key Largo, Florida. We offer a limited number of vacation rentals with dockage and spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico. For many of our guests, one of the truly memorable parts of their vacation at Dream Bay is meeting all of the colorful locals that reside here. Friendships are made and guests often wish to stay in contact. Pets are welcome, trailer parking, and boat slips on site. Wireless internet is also available on the entire property, including the beach.Our friendly "compound" includes four rental houses, plus a small marina, which allows for a boat to kept here at no additional charge. A fishing jetty, tiki, picnic tables, and a small assortment of other residents and guests add to the laid-back, "keysey" charm. We are also convenient to Key Largo's main attractions, like John Pennekamp Park, many fine restaurants, sport fishing fleet and shopping. ... more less