So I am going to share all the highlights and drawbacks of Tranquility Bay as a resort for a wedding, or family vacation. My husband and I wanted a destination wedding, but knew that going out of the country would be difficult for some family members with obtaining passports or traveling with small children etc. Since we had about 40 people who wanted to join us, we decided the Florida Keys was a great compromise. The keys offer a beachy Caribbean setting while still in the US. I did a lot of research on resorts in the area, and was leaning toward something centrally located so guests could also explore places like Islamorada, or travel down to Key West. Because the resort is so highly rated, I thought it would be perfect. We truly did enjoy ourselves, but I think there are a few things people should know before booking or spending thousands on a wedding there.
1. The resort is very well maintained, and the grounds are lovely. Beautiful trees, plants, and flowers create a lush landscape that is enjoyable to walk around.
2. The rooms are updated and very clean and tidy upon arrival. The accommodations are also very comfortable and the beds lend themselves to a good nights sleep.
3. For the most part, it is very quiet and tranquil around the resort. I was able to relax comfortably most days by the pool or waterfront.
4. Location is central to many other activities in the Keys area. It was only about 45 min. to Isamorada and about the same or slightly more to Key West.
5. Wedding coordinator was very efficient in organizing the event PRIOR to the ceremony.
1. Daily service to your room declines after you arrive. Towels are not replenished regularly, and if you want something cleaned or changed like the sheets, it is considered an extra that they tried to charge us for. The cleaning staff was pleasant, but again, did not go above and beyond.
2. The cost of a wedding is outrageous for what you get. It is not an unpleasant experience, but for an exorbitant price you get just the bare minimum. Here is the breakdown. $1500 just to get married outside in a gazebo by the water for 30 min. and you pay for your own officiant. I get charging for chair set up and removal but wow that is some fee. Note: anything you book there is subject to a 21% service charge along with tax, so it actually cost us about $1900 to just have the ceremony under their gazebo. The location for cocktail hour was by the pool and for another $2000 or so, we were able to sit there and eat hors'deovores for about 45 min. We then had our actual reception in the Butterfly Cafe for another almost $2000, which was nice, but for just locations alone brought us to a grand total of about $6000 or so.
3. Food was good during our reception, especially the appetizers. The main meal was just ok. For $95 a person, we had a choice of two meat carving stations, and one pasta station. There was not bread or salad on the table, because if you wanted that it would be another $9 per person. So our $12,000 reception gave our 40 guests appetizers, a meat, and a pasta side dish. Nothing more. I must say too, the beef was pretty well done for my taste, and the pasta station was run by only one person, so it took forever to get through the line and your meat was cold by the time you did. To our big Italian family a real meal is more than meat and a side, and I'm sure most weddings you go to at least offer soup or salad, and maybe a veggie on the side. Not at Tranquility Bay, you are paying top dollar for the absolute bare minimum.
4. Everything at the resort must be shut down by 10:00 pm. On one hand I understand that there are town ordinances, and families staying there, but on the other hand there isn't a bar or restaurant that allows patrons to be social and linger around into the evening. There should be some nightlife, but sadly even the Tiki Bar is closed promptly by ten. If this was truly a family resort, then there would be more activities for families, but there really is nothing for either adults or kids. For social or adventure activities, you really have to leave the resort at which point you will be spending more money on top of the $350ish daily rate you are already spending.
5. Once the wedding was over, we called and emailed the wedding coordinator a few times just to inquire about other local activities or restaurants that she might recommend. Once the ceremony is over, and you have paid your fee, don't expect anyone to notice you exist. I wasn't asking for a kidney or anything, I was just looking for a little advice on where to take family and friends in the area. Advice from locals is always appreciated. I guess that doesn't fall into her job description as she never returned any calls or emails.
6. Here is a big drawback...for all the rules that are imposed upon check in (no smoking, no children at the adult pool, no glass bottles, etc.) NOTHING is enforced. One day there was a large family at the adult pool with infants running around, and kids screaming and doing cannonballs in the pool. Not exactly tranquil. No one ever walks around the resort to see if people are adhering to the rules. One evening when we went to the pool after dinner, one of my bridesmaids cut her foot in the water on the broken glass at the bottom of the pool. And on the last day we were there, there was another huge wedding party there partying and being ridiculously loud at the family pool along with drinking beer out of glass bottles. Real safe around small children!
7. The spa services are only in room services, so you don't get a "spa experience" if that is what you are looking for. I didn't bother with this, and instead drove 20 min. to Hawks Cay Resort (which is probably where we should have stayed to begin with) to have a fun spa day with the girls. Well worth the trip.
8. One other note that they don't tell you, which is absurd, all couches in each unit pull out into full size beds so you can actually accommodate 6 people in a two bedroom unit rather than just 4. I mean come on, you are already charging over $300 a night in most cases, you can't tell people that they can comfortably accommodate another couple? That is so lame. If I went back I would book with two other couples and split the cost three ways. It would certainly make up for the other areas that are lacking.
9. One last little tidbit. If you think stocking your kitchens from the local Publix and cooking on some nights will save money you are probably right, but good luck preparing food with one casserole dish, one pot, a couple of utensils and enough plates and bowls for 4. We had to buy aluminum pans and other cookware in order to have a family dinner.
So overall, I would say this is a nice resort, I enjoyed the time here, our guests enjoyed their stay, but if you are truly looking for luxury you will be disappointed here. Everything you receive for your money is nice, but again is top dollar for the absolute bare minimum. If we had more time during the planning process (we were also selling houses, moving out of town, etc.) we would have made a better choice for a wedding venue. Most will probably have a great experience, but just look into all the costs and what you actually get for your money before booking. If you are not a seasoned traveler who knows what luxury actually looks like then you will think this is great. If you have been in many resorts in and out of the country and are a little more discriminating, then look elsewhere.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome to Tranquility Bay Beach House Resort located in Marathon Florida, the heart of the Florida Keys. Here you will find more than unrivaled peace and seclusion on your Florida Keys resort vacation, while overlooking the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Sink into serenity with one of our unique two or three bedroom beach houses. Our spacious Marathon Florida resort beach houses have 2 or 3 bedrooms, 2 plus baths, gourmet kitchens, expansive porches overlooking the water, flat screen TVs, and handmade furniture, offering an idyllic Florida Keys resort experience nestled in a tropical oasis of calm and ease. Now you can also discover the addition of luxury single-level "Tropical Garden Guestrooms" which offer more intimate accommodations than the resort's larger beach houses. Enjoy all of the amenities of Tranquility Bay Resort with more affordable luxury in mind, and tropical garden views.Next, try award winning dining at Butterfly Cafe, a 2.5 acre white sand beach, world class fishing, diving, snorkeling and water sports, three tropical swimming pools, and our beachfront TJ's Tiki Bar, all framed by 12 acres of picturesque gardens. Located just 90 miles south of Miami and 45 miles north of historic Key West, Tranquility Bay Beach House Resort is easily reached by car or plane. Boasting delicious dining, Florida Keys' attractions, plus a nearby Championship 18-hole golf course, tennis courts, state parks with incredible beaches, protected waters for diving and some of the best sport fishing in the world, you can define your own paradise at our unique vacation destination in the Florida Keys. Find your center in the Middle Keys at Tranquility Bay Resort. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Tranquility Bay Beach House Hotel Marathon
- Tranquility Bay Beach Resort
- Tranquility Bay Beach Hotel