When you first drive into Casa Morada, you may think you've made a mistake. The entrance to the property is, for want of a better word, unimpressive (another reviewer called it dumpy), which is unusual given the cost of rooms here. But as soon as you make your way around the first building to register, you'll discover that the unassuming entrance is apparently just there to disguise the entrance to paradise. The grounds are beautifully laid out and landscaped, and things just keep getting better as you walk down to the waterfront, where you're greeted with a picture postcard perfect view of blue waters and swaying palm trees. Stunning view.
Our room (Shangri-La) was beautiful. It was quite large and was decorated in airy white fabrics that gave the room a real island feel. The bed and chairs were both comfortable. Although we didn't spend much time inside the room, the time we did spend their was great -- it was light, comfortable, and spacious.
Breakfast was included and was much more impressive than I expected. The breakfast is open seating, buffet style, so you can have an early breakfast, wander around for a while, and come back for a late morning snack. The breakfast buffet included fruits, cereals, breads, hard-boiled eggs, etc. Lunch is served until about 5:00 at the beach area. It's a small, light menu, but the selections are excellent.
Service was very good. In particular, the attendant at the beach area bar (who also delivered room service food and drinks) was great.
The beach area is very nice, with a bar/dining area, hammocks, beach chairs, and a nifty raised "lookout tower" with great cushioned space for two inside. The beach area is actually several feet above the water and built on a platform, since the island doesn't have traditional sandy beaches like Miami or Naples. If you plan on sitting, the area is beautiful; but if you're planning on taking long walks on the beach, and dipping your toes in the surf, this isn't the right location.
With all of these positives, Casa Morada could be paradise. But a few issues (which could be fixed) made our stay less than perfect. The most important issue had to do with breakfast. On vacation, I'd like to be able to sleep in occasionally. But the 7:00-11:00 breakfast was served on the deck adjacent to our room. And the buffet was set up on a long shelf that was actually bolted to the south wall of our room. The server started setting up breakfast about 6:15 each morning, and every time he dropped another heavy item on the counter, it sounded like someone was pounding on our wall, making it impossible to sleep in. Moreover, the wall separating our private balcony from the breakfast area turned into a half-height wall about half way down the balcony. Each morning, breakfast guests would come lean on the wall to enjoy the view, which meant they were also leaning into and staring across our balcony. Some even chose this spot to take phone calls, so that they didn't disturb their breakfast companions. It meant that our private balcony was rather public.
The other issues were less significant, but worth noting. First, our room was not designed for open-window ventilation, so running the mini-split ductless air conditioning was mandatory. It would have been nice to enjoy the breezes in the morning. Second, although the resort does not allow children, it does allow pets, and our neighbors' dog barked morning and night. I love dogs, and the resort couldn't control this dog's behavior, but the pet-friendly policy is something to think about if you're looking for a peaceful retreat from sounds of the city. Third, unlike some resorts that discourage smoking on the patios/balconies, this resort puts out ashtrays, which can be an issue of the neighbors below/beside you are heavy smokers (ours were).
As I said at the outset, this is a great resort, with beautifully decorated rooms set on a beautifully landscaped property with a picture-perfect beachfront area and terrific service. The issues that made it less than perfect for us may have been unique to our room. At the very least, they're worth considering in selecting your room.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Casa Morada is an upscale sixteen suite privately owned hotel inspired by the informal character of the Caribbean. The atmosphere is private, peaceful, and serene. The staff is known for their warmth and attentiveness. Raymond Jungles, a renowned Miami Landscape Architect known for his natural lush landscapes, designed the award-winning garden spaces throughout the property. The highlight of the resort is Casa Morada's spectacular private island. The island is accessed by a dramatic footbridge and features a fresh water pool, secluded cabana and the Sunset Gazebo bar with stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico. Casa Morada is a 90 minute drive south from Miami International airport and 90 minutes north of Key West. Guests of Casa Morada may also arrive to the hotel by boat. Casa Morada is a pet-friendly hotel and welcomes children 16 and older. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Casa Morada Hotel Islamorada