Based on some earlier negative reviews I read on Trip Advisor, we've avoided staying here. In fact, we stayed at the Hampton Inn 3 times (also in Key Largo, part of the Hilton chain) because their reviews were much better on average AND it's a pleasant property. Well, boy were we wrong!!!
This is a lovely property, on a long, if narrow stretch of waterfront, with great staff, beautiful grounds, delicious breakfast, and perfectly nice rooms. I've stayed in the Keys in many properties, from hotel chains to expensive small hideaways, and the Hilton should be much higher than #11 in Key Largo. Not sure what is going on?
a) Long stretch of waterfront -- NOT a wide beach, because of course as we all know most of the Keys don't have naturally occurring beaches, as they're formed from ancient coral rock and limestone. (If you want a wide beach with tons of sand, visit my home spot of Miami) For the Keys, their beach rocks. But tiny compared to Miami or Sarasota, for example.
b) Tropical hammock -- long ago, south Florida was covered in lush tropical jungle, i.e., hammock. This Hilton should be commended for preserving their hammock. It also preserves the coastline and keeps the shoreline from eroding further. If you don't like mangroves, tropical trees, birds, etc., partially blocking the view (floors 1 & 2), better stay elsewhere.
c) Fantastic staff. Everyone was nice. Smiled, greeted us. (Sure, we tend to smile and say hello, too. Maybe people are friendly to people who are friendly?)
d) Great buffet breakfast. Yes, it's about $16 per person. It's big with lots of good food, from pancakes to bacon to fresh melon. If that seems high (doesn't to me, seems typical of resort buffets), head to Mrs. Mac's, about 5 minutes north, for local Keys flavor and lower prices.
e) Nice stretch of sandy beach, on north side of hotel, with about 4 rows of beach chairs for lounging. Also, Caribbean watersports rents kayaks, paddleboards, Hobie sailboats, etc. Can arrange for eco tours of Florida Bay.
f) Friendly beach bar with amazing frozen margaritas!
g) Long dock for fishing and docking your boat
h) A family pool (for kids) and an adult pool, plus a nice bar/lunch place. With waterfalls. And a hot tub.
i) Nicely surfaced tennis courts (where we played) and a gym with excellent equipment
j) Perfect Bayside spot to watch the famous sunset
k) Beautiful, sleek restaurant with beautiful view. Did not eat dinner here, partially based on reviews. But the breakfast tasted terrific. Good coffee.
l) Nice room, very clean. (Yes, a couple of worn spots on a dresser edge, that another guest photographed in a previous review. Honestly, who cares. Do you expect them to replace the dresser every year? I mean, seriously, folks.) Everything else, curtains, lamps, linens, towels, great. Comfortable bed. Flat screen TV. Also a bathtub!! Thank goodness. So tired of no tubs. Terrific balcony. Refrigerator, coffee maker. Not a luxury room, but hey, this is the Keys. Luxury here is $400-500 a night, no joke. For the cost and for the location, very nice. Was surprised.
m) Sleek lobby area with a useful gift shop.
n) A treasure hunt (for plastic bracelets) that took children throughout the property. Great idea. Gets them exploring, walking, away from electronic devices! My child loved it. Big hit.
o) Nature! Fish you can see right off the dock. Needlefish! And birds. Pelicans, egrets, cardinals, etc. Clear water off the hotel so you can even snorkel a bit here.
Hardly anything to mention.
Yes, if you get a room on the 1st or 2nd floor trees (at least on the south side of the property) will mostly block your water view. For that reason, it may make sense to call the hotel before you book online and clarify your options.
Also, some rooms, along the parking lot, overlook a) the parking lot b) the jungle-y area behind the parking lot c) an interior courtyard with trees AND a hallway through which guests walk... We did not stay in one of these rooms. I assume they're cheaper. But if that doesn't appeal to you, again, I'd call and ensure I'm not getting a room in that location.
Based on some complaints I read on Trip Advisor, I was expecting a dated, run down property. Instead, I found a place that seemed wonderfully maintained. Paths raked and blown free of leaves. Corridors cleaned. Good housekeeping (NOT late in the day for us.) And while the room was not swanky or gorgeous, it was in fact attractive if simple. Neat. Pleasant.
I am so glad we finally stayed here. Plus, it's further down the island chain, away from the 4 lane hustle and bustle of Key Largo, closer to Tavernier and Islamorada. Highly recommend this Hilton!! And my husband, who travels the world for business, was also very happy with the experience. Could not understand some of the negative feedback. Either people had bad luck, or just unrealistic expectations. The Keys are VERY expensive. The beaches are tiny or nonexistent. You go to fish, boat, snorkel, Scuba, kayak, etc. It's a place to get out on the water and see tropical fish, basically. (We live in Miami, and if we want to just spread out on a huge beach, we go to Key Biscayne or South Beach. We come to the Keys for nature and a laid-back, low key atmosphere.)
This Hilton is terrific, and honestly, better than the last Hilton I stayed at (in the Caribbean).
We will definitely return soon.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- No other hotel offers a Florida Keys vacation experience quite like the Hilton Key Largo. This pristine, 13-acre resort sits on the best private beach in the upper Keys — and while it’s only an hour from Miami, you’ll feel worlds away, thanks to the sparkling white sand, lush tropical greenery and exciting outdoor activities.Guests at the Hilton Key Largo can enjoy as much excitement or relaxation as they like. Activities include world-class fishing and water sports, jet skis, wave runners, and para sailing. Nearby attractions include Dolphin Cove and the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, which is home to the only live coral reef in the continental United States. Kids love the hotel’s Scout About children’s program, and the whole family can enjoy the two heated swimming pools, fitness center and lighted tennis courts. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with spending hours just relaxing on the gorgeous beach and swimming in the crystal clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Or enjoying quiet moments in the handsomely appointed guest rooms, each of which is graced with a private balcony — opt for a water-view room and you’ll have a front-row seat for Key Largo’s spectacular sunsets. This is paradise, made easy. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hilton Key Largo Hotel Key Largo
- Hilton Hotels Key Largo
- Hilton Hotel Key Largo
- Key Largo Grande Resort Beach Club