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“Great Stay at the Holiday Inn Marina Marathon, FL”

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The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Marathon
Ranked #5 of 16 Hotels in Marathon
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 5, 2008

Myself, my wife and our 6-year old daughter stayed Friday, May 2 - Sunday, May 4 at the Holiday Inn Marina in Marathon, Florida.

After reading many of the reviews here I was less than enthusiastic about the quality of the property. We were more than pleasantly surprised at the excellent quality of the room and this property.

I had been reading about the surly front desk staff here not allowing any early checkins. My wife (who was already in the keys for business was meeting us driving down from Orlando). My wife transferred her luggage from the Banana Bay Resort in Marathon where she had stayed most of the week already (she was less than impressed with that room and rate at that place btw).

After tellling the front desk staff of our plans, she was allowed to check in more than 2 hours in advance of the stated 4pm check in time. This made it very convienient for her to change and sit at the fantastic Holiday Inn pool and wait for us to arrive an hour later!

Our room was directly across from the pool for a fantastic rate of $118 per night plus tax. The room was excellent and clean. We had two double beds with clean, fresh sheets. The air condition worked fabulously (although I did see one a/c unit sitting outside a room that wasn't working but it was being replaced quickly by maintenance). The room had cable tv and a remote (both of which worked great) and a weird thing that resembled a refrigerator but we couldn't turn it on. My wife called the front desk and they said it was a 'cooler' and advised that we place an ice bucket in it to keep it cool (we didn't). We weren't charged any extra charges for the 'cooler' however so it wasn't an issue.

Our nights were quiet at the Holiday Inn. Posted pool hours are 7am - 10pm and no one violated this thankfully. I guess we were lucky because there was no noise whatsoever at night. We didn't expect this either so we were very surprised and grateful even for a 'sold out' Saturday night in the Keys due to a fishing tournament being held in Marathon that weekend.

The front desk staff were courteous if not overly friendly. The Holiday Inn Marina offers free coffee and treats (chocolate chip cookies and muffins) in the lobby daily. The only issue I had was trying to check out where the only front desk lady was attempting to help a foreign tourist (French i believe) calling her rental car company to explain what charges had been placed on her credit card while I as a Priority Club member had to stand 15 minutes to wait for this call to end. It is not the duty of the Holiday Inn staff to book or negotiate car rental charges for hotel guests but I guess the front desk clerk was trying to 'go the extra mile' which was admirable.

The ice machine in the hallway worked great and allowed me to replenish my twin coolers, a neccessity in the Keys heat!! There is also a gas station in the adjacent parking lot that has a convienience store (Publix and Winn Dixie grocery stores are 5 miles away south toward Marathon).

The tiki bar by the large and clean pool offers free live 'entertainment' from 5-7pm on Fridays and offers an accompanying happy hour with $1 beer and $2 well drinks. The bar does not serve food at any time (a disappointment) and the Holiday Inn restaurant is only open for breakfast. The tiki bar was more like a morgue early Friday afternoon but became more populated closer to 7pm by older people. I wouldn't call the local 'band' 'entertainment' by any means though. They obviously play there every Friday and draw a regular crowd of locals (average age we saw was 70 i guessed) to come up and sing songs along with them.

One well lubricated old man sang some song he ad libbed with the words 'I hate you [-]!' over and over while my 6 year old was playing in the pool. Oh well we laughed at him and his crappy singing anyway (it is the Keys you know). NOTE: Parents, you will see/hear/experience some very distasteful things in the Florida Keys (especially in the Key West streets) that you will have to explain to young children so be prepared.

The Holiday Inn Marina is still closed or being renovated or something. It resembled a floating ghost town with piers. The only inhabitants of the Marina now are the large native iguanas which also swim in the canal adjacent to the hotel. My daughter enjoyed watching and taking pictures of them, and it was an educational experience anyway.

Please note, this hotel IS NOT ON ANY BEACH NOR DOES IT OFFER A DIRECT OCEAN VIEW. The Holiday Inn is located on the Oceanside (not Gulf of Mexico 'bayside') of US1. The property does not advertise this though some people expect everything in the Keys to be directly on the ocean with a sandy beach (real 'beaches' are rare in the Keys so don't expect a Daytona or Miami equivalent).

If sunsets are your thing, you can walk across the street and stand on the side of the road for free and watch the always lovely sunset over the Gulf of Mexico or eat at the highly expensive 'The Island' restaurant. We got in the car and drove 6 miles north and parked on the side of the road at a nature site and watched the sunset also....a fantastic, natural experience.

Marathon offers the best of the 'family' environment in the Florida Keys. The Dolphin Research Center is 5 miles north in Grassy Key, FL and takes about 10 minutes to get to (their dolphin programs are quite pricey for what you receive however). Seven Mile Bridge and Bahia Honda State Park are 10 miles south of the property going through the Marathon City limits.

I also recommend going to nearby Sombrero Beach, a City park that offers a clean, relaxed atmosphere with children play equipment, bathrooms, and great views. Bravo to Marathon for providing such a great place for its residents!!!

We also drove down to Key West (a 55 mile trip) for dinner and just to let my daughter experience Mallory Square. She had a blast watching the street performers (including the famous 'cat man') juggle, act, mime, and otherwise blatantly ask for money (she wanted to give them all our money LOL). The later it got, we quickly retreated from the increasingly drunken young crowd back to the safe retreat of the Holiday Inn Marathon, where it seems the city shuts down after sunset. Fine with us!

All in all I think I made out like a bandit for $118 per night poolside at the Holiday Inn Marina Marathon and i'm already ready to return. I hope others experience the same treat we did at this property. I almost want to keep it a secret all to myself and not write this review!

We considered booking a more expensive room at Islamorada, FL at the Holiday Isle 'resort' but thanks to Tripadvisor I read tons of bad reviews of that place...When we were driving home to Orlando we saw about 1,000 motorcycles parked there and people stumbling all over the place. I can only imagine the noise and the human flotsam and jetsom that was staying there all weekend. Glad we chose the Holiday Inn Marathon!!!!!!

  • Stayed: May 2008, traveled with family
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3  Thank Floridaroadtrip
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,242 - 1,248 of 1,534 reviews

Reviewed March 24, 2008

Chose to stay here instead of spending $200+/night in Key West about 1 hour drive south.
Plusses: Set back from highway, quiet, clean room w/ comfortable beds & pillows, good shower, plenty of warm water. Reasonable price ($169/night) considering we visited during spring break. Nice clean pool area w/ Tiki Bar-fun but not too rowdy crowd on Friday night. Originally reserved 1 night; asked for 2 additional & got it even though desk clerk told us they were booked solid; she "checked" again & said "guess we didn't overbook after all".
Excellent seafood restaurant "Island Fish Co"across road from hotel-very fresh food, great beer & wine selections, on the water, outdoor seating, good service despite how full restaurant was.
Another good restaurant, Annette's, about 10 minute drive south. Steakhouse atmosphere, pleasant service, good food, though dark for sunny south Florida.
Minuses: Restaurant closed for all meals Sunday & Monday (of course when we were there) would not have known if we didn't ask. Mini fridge in room was extra $5 fee for length of stay (also would not have known if we didn't ask & look at hotel services book in our room) These details are not listed in AAA TourBook.
There are no restaurants close by for breakfast. We pulled in to a Burger King in Marathon for breakfast-stay away! Dirty, one server working the drive thru. No one at the counter. We left. McDonald's a short drive down the road at least had counter service.
Asked desk clerk at checkin about the "Seafood Festival" happening that weekend in Marathon town park was like; she didn't know. If you're properly prepared, Holiday Inn Marathon is a pleasant place to stay. Just don't expect the in room fridge to work unless you pay for it & plan your breakfast especially if you are early risers like us!

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank vineyardchick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 21, 2008

Lots of tiny bugs all over the sink area that wouldn't go away. I reported to the front desk & they said they would send maintenance (like...whatever).

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank 2LiveAloha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 14, 2008

This facility is below Holiday Inn standards. It's older, but it's also run down outside. It is advertised as having a marina, the marina is falling apart and no longer in service. The room was reasonably clean but noisey and we were kept awake by toilets flushing all nite and conversations in other rooms as well as televisions. Perhaps the worst part about this motel were the bedbugs, fruit flies and mosquitos in the room. This is totally unacceptable in Holiday Inn or any hotel or motel. This is easily the worst motel I have ever stayed in.

  • Stayed: March 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank koolfool
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2008

After staying at this hotel (to get the HI points and WIFI) almost every month for a year, I have had it. While the rooms have been renovated, the property is still lacking. The AC/Heat "window" units make way too much noise-turning on and off all night; the small refrigerators do not cool; and the bathroom amenities are sparse to say the least.

The service has been mixed--some of the staff are very nice; others are are not.

The final straw, however, was the attitude of management on my last stay. I arrived early as I have for the past year, but for the first time was told there were no clean rooms and that check in was at 4:00. I was also told to check back at 2:30, which I did, but my room was till not ready. I came back a thrid time at 3:40 and was told there were still no clean rooms. There were two couples waiting in the "lobby" who had been told the same thing. To kill time (and because I was sceptical), I walked around the property. I found between 25 and 30 rooms with the curtains open, which were clean and apparently unoccupied. I returned to the "lobb" and asked to speak to a manager--I told te manager that there appeared there were lots of clean rooms and asked why we were all being told we had to wait. (I understand that the hote policy was "4:00" check in, but I also understand that most hotels, including this one for the past year, allow people to check in early if a room is avaialbe). At first the manager said no room was available was because I had asked for a particular room location and the room designated for me wasn't clean yet. When I told the manager I would take any room, she told me that house keeping had not entered any clean rooms into the computer, apparently forgetting that I had just told her there were obvisoulsy lots of clean rooms. At that point I gave up--it was obvious 4:00 would arrive before the manager did anything but tell me "there are no clean rooms."

When the 4:00 p.m. check in time passed, I was given a room on the second floor overlooking the pool. No surprise to me, the room was one of the 25 to 30 rooms that had been ready when I checked earlier!

Bottom line: I have to retrun to Marathon at least once a month on business (in March I will be there for almost two weeks) and, unless this hotel is the ONLY hotel with rooms available, I will not stay here again.

  • Stayed: February 2008, traveled on business
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Thank C56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 2, 2008

Our check-in at this property was handled unacceptably, and, this impacted how we felt about our stay.

Three desk clerks checked us in, one apparently being trained; each time the phone rang, all three stopped while responding to the call, and check-in felt interminable. We were assigned a second floor room, and when I asked if one on the first floor were available, we were told this was impossible; the hotel was fully booked. This subsequently proved untrue, as they reassigned us twice. The desk clerks were remarkably unhelpful. They offered no directions to the room, for example, and never mentioned that this two story, outside-corridor, property had an elevator. I had to present my I.D. twice because they realized they had not made a copy after handing it back. After I complained about the room, the manager had me come back to the office to produce my government ID, to document I qualified for the rate I'd booked, presumably in the hope I didn't have it and could be charged a higher rate. Lastly, despite having presented my current credit card at check-in, when we checked out I was told the charge had been refused; it turned out they had charged the credit card I'd used when making the reservation and which had subsequently been replaced. When I pointed this out, the clerk apoligised that whoever had checked me in had done so incorrectly. He never realized that he had been that person.

We'd had a confirmed reservation (from the HI Priority Club website) for a no-smoking room. The first room to which we were assigned had no signs designating it no-smoking and it smelled very strongly of smoke. (Other nearby rooms did have no-smoking signs on their doors.) We phoned the office to complain. The desk clerk responded that it was a no-smoking room even if there were no signs, and that, in any case, "People always smoke in no-smoking rooms anyway." When I complained to the manager on duty, she indicated the only no-smoking room available was an accessible room on the 1st floor, which we accepted. That room also had no indication it was a no-smoking room and smelled of smoke, but much less so than the first, and we decided we could make do. When I told the office this, the manager offered us another non-smoking room, also on the first floor. This, again, was not designated no-smoking, and contained an ash tray, but it did not smell of smoke, so we happily accepted it.

This property was, apparently, affected by a storm a few years ago that flooded much of Marathon; one of its two buildings was out of use as of our stay. We had stayed there subsequent to the storm damage and had made allowances for their difficulties recovering. To be fair, the room we finally occupied had been renovated and was in acceptable condition, and the property, despite its non-functioning marina and empty second building, is basically attractive, with a nicely landscaped pool and adjacent bar. We thought it a shame that it was so poorly run.
After our return from our trip, I communicated the above to Holiday Inns. I received an apologetic response and was told that the property would be refunding one of our two night's stay, which they have, in fact, refunded to my credit card. I appreciated this, and told them so.

Nonetheless, we will avoid this property until we read further reviews indicating management of the property and supervision of the staff has improved significantly, which we hope will be the case.

  • Stayed: January 2008, traveled as a couple
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Thank Rags2006
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 17, 2007

We stayed here one night when passing through. While checking in the clerk took several lengthy phone calls, prolonging the transaction. To make amends, he offered room upgrade at no charge, saying it was one of the better rooms. I'd hate to see what he had planned to give us. (He did say, however, that they would be remodeling in the future to put in queen beds.) We got a marina view room, that is, a view of a dead marina with yellow tape wrapped around the docks. The dive shops which had been here have relocated. The room had 2 entrances, but the doors only shut if you threw your body against them. The double beds were as hard as the floor, but the sheets were clean. The only thing we liked were the feral iguanas roaming about outside our room. There were a few small ones, but there were also several the size of small dogs. We stayed at the Ramada Inn in Key Largo for several nights, for a much better rate, and the room was spacious, clean, and comfy.

  • Stayed: August 2007, traveled with family
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3  Thank potterCouple
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Marathon

Address: 13201 Overseas Highway, Mm 53.5, Marathon, FL 33050-3548
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Florida Keys > Marathon
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 16 Hotels in Marathon
Price Range: $169 - $375 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Marathon 2.5*
Number of rooms: 113
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
We invite you for a fun-loving tropical vacation at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in the fabulous Florida Keys. Stay with us for fun in the sun and the convenience of local businesses, the Florida Keys Marathon Airport (MTH), and local island attractions. Our hotel is pet-friendly and 100% smoke free.The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Marathon is located in the heart of the Florida Keys; a short drive from Key West. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Holiday Inn Express And Suites Marathon
The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Marathon Hotel Marathon
Holiday Inn Marathon
Marathon Holiday Inn

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