This is a tough place to review because it has pros and cons. We loved it, and will definitely go back. A lot of our friends will also love it, but not everyone will.
First: We like small places with personality---no concrete high-rise boxes or acres of asphalt---and the grounds here are beautiful. Plenty of thick green grass, shade trees, ferns and flowers, and open space. The grounds really are like a park.
And we wanted waterfront----not just a boat ramp, or a seawall (which is what you get in a lot of Keys places thjat advertise "waterfront") --but a real sandy "beach" area you can lie on and access the water from. It's right here.
Here's the big surprise that was really great: the snorkeling off the beach rivals the reefs. Amazing tropical fish and sea life right there. Even the few Keys places that do have a beach usually just have an empty sandy bottom---sure, you can see bottom, but there's nothing to look at. Here, there are docks and other structures that provide shelter and attract fish, so the snorkeling is just terrific.
They also have paddleboats and bikes guests can use at no extra charge, any time.
Here's the down side: the interiors are old and tired. They are spotlessly clean, and everything works, and the kitchen has everything you need (or at least everything I can imagine needing; their web site is more detailed about what's there or not).
But things are definitely tired and show signs of wear. Just a few new fixtures and some minor fix-up of dings and dents would make a world of difference.
If you're looking for a place featured in a design magazine, or for a rocking bar scene and crowds, then this is not the place for you.
You also need to take whatever personal items you want with you, or drive about 3 miles to the nearest stores, bars and restaurants. We had no problem at all, going by their own website and just asking before arrival, knowing what we needed to take and doing so.
In short, if you're looking for trendy luxury, bars and service, you probably won't like this.
But if you want a quiet, uncrowded green spot with terrific snorkeling and pet-friendly, this might be the place for you. It definitely was for us.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- A quiet, secluded getaway, where Pets are always welcome. Only 7 units on 3 acres of tropical beauty, with old time charm and modern comfort. 220 Feet of private white-sanded beach area, free dockage, great snorkeling and night fishing, complimentary beach towels, free use of Kayaks and bicycles. BBQ grills for each unit, filtered water supplied for each refrigerator, fully equipped kitchens and more. Personalized attention, great hospitality. We have a brand new Dock!! ... more less
- Also Known As:
- White Gate Court Hotel Islamorada