If there's one thing I learned during our trip to the Keys, it's that the place makes the experience- the right hotel and/or resort can be the difference between relaxation and stress. When we extended our trip an additional day and moved hotels for our final night, well, it just didn't hold up compared to the first two resorts. It's not that it was a dump or anything, it just didn't match what was really working for us.


Luckily for you, regardless of your reason for visiting, the Florida Keys has plenty of options to match your experience with your expectations along the entire stretch of 42 bridges. For our part, we got a little of everything with each stop and I highly recommend you plan your trip around these sweet spots in The Florida Keys. 

 To simplify things, I think it makes it easier if you break up your stay into the Upper Keys and Key West. In the upper keys, you have a chance relax and spread out in a secluded bungalow you can find in Key Largo and Islamorada. Whereas Key West is dense and happening; and because of the history can be culturally enriching and educational. There's really a lot going on!

Whether you're in need of a couple's retreat or just some peace and quiet, this is the place for you. Truth: I see myself going back to Kona Kai (at the very least) annually for some good old fashioned R&R. Tucked away in a lush botanical garden the beautifully manicured property caters to an adults only crowd (16yrs+). The only ambient noise you'll be hearing in this little slice of heaven is the birds, if that. Which up until now, I didn't realize I desperately needed. Don't get me wrong, I love my brood of boys. But a few days of peace and quiet, while they vacationed with their grandparents, was exactly what the doctor ordered after a long summer of constant entertaining. 


The staff is incredibly accommodating and even has a resident mascot (cutest pup ever), Mr. Cinnamon. The beach-inspired decorated rooms are huge, clean and welcoming; each named after a tropical fruit. Our room, Breadfruit, came with a giant walk-in closet, full kitchen, dining table and couch. I didn't love having to pack everything back up on our last day because, let's be honest, a city girl could get used to all this space. Wake up in the coziest of beds to palm trees & bright blue skies and twinkling green waters peaking in from the blinds. Sip your coffee and work up an appetite for the complimentary breakfast in the main area. Enjoy fresh fruit *cut right from the resort's own trees (!), yogurt, pastries and oatmeal while you plan out your day.


Kona Kai is one of those places you don't have to leave during your stay if you don't want to. It has a lot to offer. The waterfront, temperature controlled pool comes equipped with a poolside cooler with fresh cut fruit and chilled bottle water, stocked throughout the day. Take a dip and soak up the sun before trying your hand at Paddleboarding straight from the private little beach. They also have kayaks and a paddleboat available from sunrise to about sunset. It's all first-come first-serve, but there was always something available when the mood struck. Catch the most breathtaking instagram-ready sunsets straight from the dock; swing in the hammocks and lounge chairs while you make friends with one of the large iguanas roaming the property. 


Noteworthy On-Site Amenities include: Paddleboarding, Paddleboating, & Kayaking. Botanical Garden, Art Gallery, Pool & Jacuzzi. Free Wifi. On-site grilling (the grills were SPOTLESS, btw- incredible!). 


Key West: The Marker Resort 

Located smack dab in the middle of the Historic Seaport of Key West, The Marker offers more than just gorgeous views and the convenience of being in the middle of it all. The luxurious family-friendly waterfront resort has three pools, a pool-side restaurant and bar, state of the art fitness center and concierge to help plan your adventure in Historic Key West.


The rooms were large and bright. Ours came with a phenomenal view of the seaport from our porch. The bathroom came with a separate shower and jacuzzi tub (with bath bombs for optimal relaxation at the end of the day). The staff was incredibly friendly and accommodating to families. Our valet, Ivan, was incredible and took care of everything, from bringing us our car, to luggage and little things here and there. He even let the kids bend his ear with their constant talking. While I noticed that the first two pools located to near the Bar and Restaurant was semi-opened to the public, everyone was extremely considerate to those around them. There is an additional adults-only pool on the other side of the resort that I highly recommend if you're looking for a moment of seclusion. Furthermore, all of our water excursions, including sunset cruises, parasailing and so much more, were just steps away.


If you're looking for a spot in Key West that offers luxury and convenience in the heart of it all,  I highly recommend The Marker Resort. I loved every second of our stay; you won't be disappointed.

I was a guest of The Florida Keys Tourism Board. All opinions are my own.