In the 24 years that we have owned property in Florida we have never made it to the Keys. Hard to believe. The plan was to stay at potential stopping spots for a trip by boat next year. So our stops were at Resorts that had their own Marina and were pet friendly. The objective was to have many potential ports that were not too far apart for easy access.
The first port of call was Ft. Lauderdale. We stayed at the Hilton but also checked out the Regency Hyatt Pier 66 across the intracoastal waterway as well. What I found out was, the same company manages both Marinas. The Hilton Marina is smaller and more protected. That day there was a typical easterly wind blowing about 20 mph and the buildings at the Hilton helped to block it. We had a room with a view and Tinker was able to enjoy the pool atmosphere. The room was quite nice and we enjoyed the poolside restaurant.
Our second port of call was Key Largo. The Marina there has several choices of hotel. We stayed at the Marriott Courtyard. We checked out Marina Del Mar Resort and the Holiday Inn, which also border the Marina. The Marina is managed by Candy, from the Marina Del Mar Resort. Of the Hotels, the Marriott Courtyard is the newest. The Marina Del Mar has a restaurant on the water called ŇCoconutsÓ. They have live entertainment nightly that we enjoyed from our balcony on the Marina. The food was good too.
We also tried some of the local restaurants, The Key Largo Conch House and The Fish House. We enjoyed the Marriott Courtyard as it was clean and they put out popcorn, apples, bottled water and fresh baked cookies in the lobby everyday. Diane enjoyed the Health Club and we both used the pool.
Our next port of call was the Postcard Inn at Holiday Isle in Islamorada.
At the time we were there, there were plenty of slips available in their first come first served Marina. This is home to the world famous Tiki Bar. The room we had was right on the beach and newly decorated. The air conditioning through the wall unit didnŐt have any thermostat. So it was either on or off. If you turned it off the moisture would condensate in pools on the floor as the rooms adjacent were cooling full blast as well. We eventually settled on a fan only setting and it was fine. It rained on the day we were there so there was no pool time. We did enjoy the SchulaŐs restaurant located at the resort, the Green Turtle Inn and the Kaiyo Grill. We of course enjoyed Sandal World, Shell World and T-Shirt World.
Our next port of call was Hawks Cay Resort on Duck Key the building on the left is the Villa we stayed in. Very nice! We were right on the Marina and close to everything. Diane was excited to have a full kitchen and a washer and dryer. Our first trip was to the local grocer.
We enjoyed the Adult only pool. The cabanas were wonderful and allowed you to get out of the sun. It was nice to get into the pool to cool off though. The entire facility was first class. We really enjoyed our stay. Diane even had a massage at the local spa. After our trip to the grocer we didnŐt leave the premises. They have wonderful restaurants both poolside and at the Marina. The food was excellent. We had fresh fish everyday. It was always good. It was quite a resort.
Our last port of call was Key West. We stayed at the Westin which has its own Marina and is located in the old part of town near Duval street. Our first stop was the famous Sloppy Joes. We took a trolley tour that was hop on, hop off but we didnŐt do any hopping. Much like the old French Quarter in New Orleans there is more than one bar you can choose from.
The Hotel was very nice and our room overlooked the Marina. We watched the cruise ships glide silently in and out of the dock, always being gone by sunset. The highlight of the stay was our dinner at the Westin Sunset Key restaurant on Tank Key. A Westin Restaurant, it was excellent. The view and the food were both memorable. It was a great ending to a wonderful vacation.
In retrospect, I am very glad we went. Will I go back? Probably not. If I get home sick for the keys I can drive up US 1 to Hobe Sound. What we have in Tequesta is just as good if not better. In addition to the food and the sunny beaches, which we have, we have golf, tennis, our own boat and good friends, without leaving the comfort of home.
After the Keys we took advantage of a reciprocal arrangement we have with Turtle Creek Country Club. We are able to play their golf course and use their dinning room. Diane played with Lynn Weber one time and we played together another time. We find the back nine to be a challenge and so we played it twice in the same round. We just love the Turtle Creek course.
The last couple of days were spent cleaning, hurricane proofing the boat and closing up the townhouse. It was a great season! We love Florida but we love Naperville too.