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Amara Cay Resort
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Reviewed January 20, 2014

This was the best deal we could find on a place where we could stay for just two nights at this time of year in the Keys. We had a pleasant surprise when we arrived, learning that we were "the guest of day." We had booked a one bedroom suite, and they upgraded us to a two bedroom, poolside suite. In addition, we were given a coupon for two cocktails or an appetizer at the tiki bar. How nice!

The service was excellent at the front desk, where the people were very friendly and helpful. They don't mind when you ask for extra blankets, laundry bags, etc, and are very prompt in taking care of those things. The people who were setting up the continental breakfast did a good job, and refilled things quickly. One of them seemed rather annoyed with some of the guests, but overall, they were efficient. In addition, the service in the hotel's boutique was good. The owners are friendly and were so nice to my girls, who were using their spending money. They were helpful when I asked for restaurant suggestions, too, and shared info regarding the keys. At the front desk, they will supply you with ice for your cooler, which would be especially helpful for those who come here to fish.

The value is average. Places in the keys are pretty expensive. This was a good bit...we found the best online deal through expedia, and searched a lot of sites for different places. You can get a South beach hotel for $100 sometimes, or an Orlando place for $70 on special, so it seemed to be rather pricey. However, having the beachfront and water views, and the location in the keys was really nice. In addition, the room size is fairly large.

We slept really well. The beds were comfortable, and the duvets are always a plus. There were lots of pillows. The bedding was soft and clean smelling. My son said that the sleeper sofa was okay...a 7 out of 10. The only issue with sleeping that we would have had was the noise from the tiki bar. They have live music every night, I guess. On Saturday night, the music played until 10. If you want to go to bed early, it may keep you awake. It seemed to stop much earlier on Sunday night. We didn't plan to go to bed before 10, so it wasn't an issue in regard to sleeping.

The place was very clean. Our room was clean, and the maid service did an excellent job of cleaning it both days. The hotel itself was nice and clean, all around. There's this lady that comes out and mops the floors in the common areas quite a bit, and it makes a difference. The pool was sparkling clean, as well.

This is a very good location. It's about a one hour and fifteen minute drive from Key West. Islamorada is absolutely lovely. The ocean water is calm and clear. This would be a great place to snorkel. We saw lots of people on kayaks in the water, and if it were warmer, we would have snorkeled. There were quite a few interesting fish. There is a "beach" but it is not the type of beach that you can just walk right into the ocean. There's actually a seawall over the water, and you walk down the steps into the water. If you have a toddler, keep a close eye on them around that seawall. I was nervous at first about my 7 year old tumbling in. She probably would be okay, but I'm always nervous. There is a really nice dock, but a sign is posted that you can NOT fish off of it. People walked out there, and I saw people sunning on there. If you look at photos (aerial view) of the hotel, it appears that there's a wonderful fishing dock, so be forewarned that there is not. However, my husband just fished off of the edge of the beach area and it was fine. The hotel is right on the main road, but don't realize it when out at the pool or on the water. Our room was poolside and we had a view of the ocean; it was actually a pretty nice view. Oh, and if you need to stock up on groceries because you are flying in from out of town, swing by the Publix on your way in, or Winn-Dixie. They are several miles north, but typically have good deals. Publix has the BEST subs from a grocery store and has excellent bogo deals. I think that we passed one Publix when driving down into the keys. If you are coming from Key West, you can stock up at a Publix in Key West.

Rooms are large. The decor is rather dated. If you want granite counter tops and chic sleek furniture, then this may not be for you. It's very clean, though, including the carpet. I can't stand staying in places with dirty carpets. My socks didn't get dirty from the carpet...whew! Like I said, we were in a two bedroom suite. Each bedroom has a double, or perhaps it's queen, actually sized bed with duvets and three pillows. There are nightstands on either side with phone and alarm clock. There is a small dresser across from each bed with a nice flat screen television. There's a decent selection of channels for your viewing pleasure. I had brought some DVDs and the girls and I watched a movie on our computer. I wish I had brought a cord to play from the computer to the television, but it worked for us. There is also an armoire type of piece of furniture in each room with luggage rack, hanging rack and hangers, as well as ironing board and iron. There are two bathrooms that were well stocked with linens and a hair dryer. The fan was pretty loud in one of the bathrooms.

There's a nice sized living area with sofa bed and chair and ottoman, as well as coffee table, end tables and television. The kitchenette is pretty small but really makes a big difference for convenience. There is a full sized frig with freezer and ice maker. Be sure to turn the ice maker on when you get there. You have a sink, two burner stove top, toaster, coffee maker, dishwasher, and several cabinets. They provide some soap for dishes, as well as dish washer detergent. There is not an oven. I think that there were enough dishes, bowls, cups and glasses and silverware for 4-6 people. There were two small pots and one that was larger. They have a sign asking you to NOT fry stuff on the stove...fire hazard, I would guess. Oh, there is a microwave. It's nice because you can make very basic easy food and don't have to go searching for a place to eat every meal, and can save money in that area if you wish. There is a little eating area with a couple of chairs right off of the kitchenette area.

The breakfast here is served from 6-10. We ate around 8 each morning because our kids were awake and ready to go. They have apples and bananas and mixed fruit, four kinds of juice from one of those machines, (two are "cocktail" variety), five cereals including Raisin Bran and Special K, and skim and 2 percent milk. There are plain bagels (which seemed very fresh), english muffins, raisin bagels, wheat bread and butter, cream cheese and margarine. You can also have a couple of warm things. There were eggs and sausage one day. My husband said that the eggs were so-so. They had little egg "omelettes" and he said they were pretty good. You can make your own waffles, which he really liked. Just be sure to read and follow the directions. There are also some sweet things like "bear claws", muffins and other danishes. Oh, and my favorite...yogurt. My kids enjoyed the fact that there's always coffee and hot water set up. They made themselves hot tea and hot chocolate in the evenings. The breakfast was good.

Room Tip: high poolside rooms may have good ocean views poolside rooms will hear the evening music more loud music in elevator areas; avoid rooms close to elevators because of this
  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
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7  Thank MommyTess
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
A TripAdvisor Member
11
Reviewed January 19, 2014

Great place to stay. Clean and comfortable. Located in the middle of the Keys. Many good restaurants in the area. The staff was very good and helpful. Breakfast was good and they even pack you a to go breakfast if you have to leave early.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Review collected in partnership with Hampton
1  Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 18, 2014

The entire staff, from the front desk (who gave us an upgrade upon check in) , to the gift shop, the dive shop, and the housekeeping staff were friendly, accommodating, and courteous! We enjoyed every minute we stayed here! The rooms were spacious and comfortable. The service was wonderful. If we travel to this area again- this hotel would be at the top of the list. Rooms are a little dated but then again- so is my house.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Review collected in partnership with Hampton
2  Thank NYTravelmom2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2014 via mobile

Disappointed in hotel value for the money $189 plus taxes. Room only so-so for a deluxe room. Beach area and pool very nice.
Breakfast area not well stocked and to ask to replenish items both mornings
However the staff was excellent. Very friendly and helpful. Local dining recommendations were perfect

Stayed: January 2014, traveled as a couple
Thank Cynthia C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 12, 2014

Hampton Inns for the most part are 'cookie cutter' hotels. Once you've been to one, all the rest are pretty similar. This location is top notch, on the Atlantic Ocean, nice beach area. The staff is very friendly, gracious and professional. The breakfast was expect fare with a stay at a Hampton Inn. The room on the other hand, even though we were given an "upgrade" to a suite, was a disappointment. The a/c return look like it had not bee cleaned in months, the bathroom was in need of a real scrubbing, and the windows, well just say it was hard to see out! I don't think I would stay here a second time.

  • Stayed: January 2014, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank Cheryl U
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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