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“Not exactly what you think...”
Review of Ocean House

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Ocean House
Ranked #1 of 19 Hotels in Islamorada
Certificate of Excellence
Kansas City, Missouri
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Not exactly what you think...”
Reviewed August 14, 2013

We spent the last part of our honeymoon at Ocean House, coming back from 5 days down in Key West. When we first pulled up, we were a bit disappointed with the scenery and room. It is very quiet, small and there is no beach area (only an area to lay out). There are no restaurants within walking distance and you are not allowed to ride the bikes at night. We had no idea about this which was our disappointment on the first night. During the day, it was peaceful and relaxing as we were the only ones at the pool all day. You can go hours without seeing anyone! That night we had dinner in the cabana and they turned down our room with roses on the bed- which was a nice surprise. It ended up being a fun, romantic weekend but just beware of how isolated it is and that there is nothing around!

Room Tip: All of the rooms are facing the ocean... we had the Ocean Dawn room which had the big bathroom and j...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank SC1307
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
keystothegarden, Owner at Ocean House, responded to this review, August 18, 2013
Congratulations on your marriage. Key West is certainly a great place to honeymoon with lots of night life and non-stop activities. However, Islamorada, and Ocean House in particular, has always been more laid back, offering a nice contrast to Key West. If you read through our reviews you'll notice that our guests are primarily looking for a quiet romantic experience. We realize it's not for everyone, but that's exactly the kind of experience we aim to deliver. Your comments are helpful for those who desire a less romantic stay to consider other options. If you choose to stay with us again, I would suggest having our staff assist you in programing your stay to include some of the many activities in and around Islamorda. Thanks again for your comments.
Mona
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (131)
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English first
United States
Level Contributor
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed August 10, 2013

We recently stayed at Ocean House and were pleased to have it exceed our expectations. With only a handful of suites on the property, even when fully booked Ocean House has an exclusive feel, as if you and a lucky group of friends got take over Hemingway's getaway for a bit.

Everything here is small but extremely well-maintained. The saline pool is a heavenly temperature and you can hang out over the small infinity edge and watch the ocean.

Another reviewer mentioned that there isn't a "beach" and this is a good thing for folks who are unfamiliar with the Keys to know when coming. Sandy stretches of beach aren't as common here, but Ocean House has given you that "beach" feel with a small waterside beach featuring a two person hammock and a row of chairs. See my pics for the view. It feels like the end of the Earth...in a good way.

The other best thing? This "all inclusive" place really is so in that there are complimentary, first-come, first-serve bicycles, kayaks, snorkeling equipment, gas grill, and CABANAS. Most places with sweet cabanas charge you a fortune for them. Not Ocean House.

Oh, and as everyone has mentioned the service is amazing, really above and beyond, imho. We had a friend join us on a whim and though they did not have a cot, they MOVED A COUCH with pull out bed into our suite for the night. Wow.

The property does not have its own bar or restaurant BUT you can BYOwhatever (full fridge in suites) and you can get lunch or dinner catered in from Chef Michael's, which is EXCELLENT. We are serious foodies and everything we had over three meals was fresh and delicious. They even set us up to have dinner by the pool, overlooking the water, in the CABANA with the catered meal. Charge for the location? Nothing. Just ask. (Obviously meals have an additional cost, but not having them set the meal up for us in the cabana.)

We had a great time and will return.

Room Tip: All rooms face the ocean but those on the 2nd floor have a better view.
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
2 Thank RachelG3538EW
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
keystothegarden, Owner at Ocean House, responded to this review, August 13, 2013
After reading your review (along with others) we are satisfied with our decision to include the amenities such as the cabanas, kayaks etc. in the price of the suite. Most large resorts charge a resort fee leaving the guest feeling like they are being nickeled and dimed to death. Ocean House seems to be fitting the needs of a special group of people who want a more upscale experience within an intimate setting. Thanks for your great comments and we would love to see you come back to OH.
Mona
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed August 10, 2013

My husband and I took this trip for our 25th wedding anniversary and we couldn't have picked a better place! The room was very clean upon arrival and every day thereafter it looked like we had just arrived. The entire staff from grounds keepers to management was extremely polite and helpful in any way. It made you feel so comfortable. The grounds were perfectly landscaped and so well designed you felt you were in your own little romantic world! Kayaks and snorkeling gear ready to use, a saline pool available 24/7, a jacuzzi, a large tiki hut to relax and get out of the sun in. So many ways to just start your day at the resort, go about sightseeing in the Keys and then come back to this little paradise and enjoy your evening by the pool or fire or on your private patio. Each morning was started with a delicious contenential breakfast served on our patio - or anywhere on the grounds that we preferred. We stayed for 4
nights and would definately go back for longer!

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank MJS7988JDS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
keystothegarden, Owner at Ocean House, responded to this review, August 13, 2013
It is wonderful to hear and confirm that our staff truly goes above and beyond in service. We have finally found the right people who work together so well and understand the experience that Ocean House expects for it's guests. Your review is very much appreciated and we look forward to your return.
Mona
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Long Valley, New Jersey
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed August 5, 2013

My husband and I traveled to the Keyes for the first time. We spent 2 nights in Miami Beach and drove down to Ocean House. I picked this place based on these reviews and was not disappointed. The hotel has 8 rooms in one building. Upon arrival we were greeted by Jennifer and offered a cocktail of wine or beer. (Very nice touch) the room, Purple Isle, was on the ground floor. It was large, clean, and well appointed. Outside our patio were beautifully manicured grounds and 2 small waterfalls. The pool was small but just enough for the number of guests. The only disappointment for me was there were only 2 cabanas. I can't sit in the sun too long so we went to the beach and sat under a palm tree. Since this was our first time to the Keyes, I too was unaware that there is no real beach here. There is a nice sand area with chairs, but the water is rocky and mucky. We did use the kayaks and enjoyed being on the water. Jennifer was very helpful with restaurant recommendations and with where to go snorkeling. I would recommend this place to anyone who wants a 5 star experience in a small intimate setting.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank JaneB1977
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
keystothegarden, Owner at Ocean House, responded to this review, August 13, 2013
We are happy to see guests taking advantage of the cabanas. We thought two would be plenty with only eight suites. You must have come when most guests were staying on premise enjoying the property. Usually there is no problem with getting a cabana. Jennifer is a wonderful caring person. I am sure she appreciates your comments, as do I. Thank you for coming and for your kinds words.
Mona
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York City, New York
Level Contributor
46 reviews
42 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
Reviewed August 2, 2013

Yes, this is a lovely property. Yes, it is quiet, private, and beautifully maintained. The rooms are ok. But what's the big deal?

The breakfast is almost embarrassing - undoubtedly over 100 grams of sugar (orange juice, fruit, sugary yogurt and some carby "treat" such as a giant cinnamon roll). We asked for non-dairy milk for our coffee both days.... Nope! The snacks in the room are total junk food..... mmkayy.

The screen door was broken and kept detaching. When someone came to "fix" it, they just placed it upright and it fell as soon as we opened it again. We arrived past 8pm on Friday and when we asked for a noon check-out on Sunday (noon - not 3 or 4pm), the hotel declined. We left an entire folder of pretty important documents in the room by mistake. I was sure the housekeeper would have kept it.... Nope!

I'm not saying it's not a nice place, but exceptional it is certainly not.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank Alexia R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
keystothegarden, Owner at Ocean House, responded to this review, August 13, 2013
We are sorry your stay wasn't up to your standards. Frankly, your first sentence precisely summerizes the "big deal" and the kind of experiece our guests are looking for as compared to larger and less intimate hotels. However, we also pride ourselves on going above and beyond for our guests. The issues you pointed out are currently being addressed with staff. Regarding the continental breakfast, we tried switching the yogurt to Greek which is much healthier, but no one was eating it. We do not have a full kitchen which makes our options limited. We try our best to provide the best breakfast within the economic constraints of an eight suite, boutique hotel. Almost all of our pastries are baked fresh on property. The fruit is cut fresh that morning. Actually, most of the breakfast trays coming back are empty which indicates guests are enjoying it. I am a bit of a health nut and totally agree with your assessment of it. We have tweaked our breakfast for several years and believe it's of a quality that satisfies the vast majority of our guests. Your review is appreciated and all comments taken into consideration.
Mona
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wilton, CT
Level Contributor
61 reviews
25 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
Reviewed July 29, 2013

First off, let me say that the service at the Ocean House is worthy of the highest rating -- and 11 out of 10. Everyone we encountered was both friendly and helpful, a pleasure to interact with. Also, the grounds are lovely -- beautifully landscaped and maintained. And the continental breakfasts, brought to your room or the pool or the beach, were delicious (pastry of the day, fresh fruit salad and orange juice, and fruit yogurt), albeit a bit on the sweet side.

Just one problem: if you are a light sleeper -- need dark and quiet to fall asleep and stay asleep (like I and many other people do) -- this is not the hotel for you. While our room was a good size and attractive, and the beds (queens) were very comfortable, it was bombarded with bright lights at night -- megawatt bulbs just outside the front (glass) door and the large sliding doors in back, both of which had shades that did nothing to block the light from getting in. There were also bright lights on the phone, coffee maker, TV, and other appliances that lit up the room around the clock. It was like sleeping on a casino floor.

We unplugged as much as we could and wore sleeping masks, but the light still got in. Though when we told the manager on duty about the problem, she immediately installed a blackout shade on the front door, which improved things. Similarly, the room was very noisy when we checked in. Sounded like we were still on the runway at the airport thanks to an air conditioner with a blown motor and a loud refrigerator, which was right underneath the AC. You could also hear other guests. We informed the manager on duty the morning after our first night, and she immediately got the AC people to fix the problem. (Did I mention the customer service is fabulous?) That also helped, a lot, but you could still hear loud guests (or their TV) at times.

One final note of caution: While the grounds are indeed lovely (the pool, though on the small side, is the perfect temperature and beautifully landscaped), there is no real beach to speak of. There is a little area with sand and beach chairs, which is very pretty, but it isn't a real beach. People who are familiar with the Florida Keys probably know there aren't sand beaches in the Keys, but those who did not and were expecting a traditional sandy beach might be disappointed.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JustJ33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
keystothegarden, Owner at Ocean House, responded to this review, August 1, 2013
Your comments are greatly appreciated. The items that you have pointed out as being negatives have been noted by us in the past. We are in the process of correcting the acoustical issue by closing down in September. We will be working on the floors, taking out the adjoining doors between the rooms as well as other items to help make OH as soundproof as we can. Unfortunately, that air conditioner had a problem which required a part to be ordered. Fortunately, we received it the day after your arrival and were able to fix it. I am not sure if there is a fix on the refrigerator situation as people have raved about having a full size unit in their room. While we are closed in September, new blackout curtains will be installed as well. I have not had a complaint about the front door blinds, and will be looking at that as long as you have brought it to my attention. We have new telephones that do produce more light than my liking. Will look into that as well. We take your review to heart and know that we are working on it. OH continues to get better and better as time goes by. We hope you will come back again after we have a chance to rectify the issues.
Mona
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cold Spring, New York
Level Contributor
36 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed July 25, 2013 via mobile

We stayed at Ocean House based on the glowing reviews on Trip Advisor and we were not disappointed at all. Upon checking in, we were greeted by Brian who took our bags to the room and Todd who graciously offered us refreshments as he checked us in and gave us a tour of the beautiful grounds. The grounds are beautiful and instantly make you feel like you are in a tropical oasis paradise. It is quiet and small, and you feel like you are on your own tropical island.

Ocean House is located in Islamorda which we found to be a perfect location for seeing all that the Keys have to offer. The Everglades or Key West are a day trip away. You can easily keep yourself busy with all that the Keys have to offer and the Ocean House staff are more than happy to help you with anything during you stay.

We stayed in the Ocean Dawn room which had a great whirlpool tub, view of the gardens, as well as a small ocean view. It was beautiful and incredibly clean. The bed was very comfortable and soft and the kitchen appliances were all brand new. We just used the kitchen for lunch (the cvs across the road made stocking the kitchen easy). Breakfast was served each morning simply by calling the front desk and telling them where you would like it delivered. We had breakfast out on our patio every morning. It consisted of a sweet bread, fruit, yogurt, and orange juice. They also provide freshly ground Starbucks coffee and tea. It was a perfect beginning to every day.

While there are many thing to do in the Keys we found that Ocean House had many different activities for us to enjoy. We spent mornings hanging out in a poolside cabana, enjoying their great pool, taking advantage of the kayaks and snorkeling off their beach, and playing boardgames under the patio. At night, the staff lights the fire pit and you can enjoy the glow of the fire by the sea.

If you ever wanted to take a vacation that gave you the wonderful luxury amenities of a high class resort, but with the intimate attention of a bed an breakfast, the Ocean House is the perfect choice!

  • Stayed July 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank tinkerbell71888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
keystothegarden, Owner at Ocean House, responded to this review, August 1, 2013
The last statement in your review is exactly what OH is all about. While being small and intimate, we aim to provide the amenities along with attention to detail of a five star hotel. OH really is a cross between the two. We are also perfectly located to take full advantage of the entire Keys and Everglades experience. Thanks for your wonderful review and please come back again.
Mona
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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 Ocean House

Property: Ocean House
Address: 82885 Old Hwy, Islamorada, FL 33036-3658 (Formerly Ocean Dawn Suites)
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Florida Keys > Islamorada
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Islamorada
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Ocean House 2.5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This intimate, upscale, and adult only hotel and resort houses eight luxurious suites. The right choice for those wanting to getaway and just relax. A perfect location for small weddings and groups. Newly renovated with a pool, beach, spa, cabanas and fire pit. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ocean House Hotel Islamorada

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