It was the weekend before Valentine’s Day. Key West hotel prices had skyrocketed, and every hotel website was saying the same thing: ‘Fully Booked’. I had my parents in town all set for a few days in Key West, and I was panicking.
Enter the ‘surprise hotel deal’.
You know the one: you name your price, and you get a room at an un-named hotel, which is only revealed once the payment has been completed. This is how we ended up staying at the Marriott Beachside hotel, Key West.
I stay in Key West a lot.
Every time I like to try a new boutique hotel, and pick one of the many that are nestled amongst the pretty side streets in the old town. Despite the main street, Duval Street, being incredibly busy come early evening, with visitors and locals alike partying into the early hours, I have always been impressed with how quiet my stay has always been. Most of the boutique hotels I have stayed in have been harbouring their own little oasis away from the bustle, with private courtyards and swimming pools at the back.
So for me, a resort wasn’t really something that appealed. But I am glad I got the chance to compare.
Arriving to the Marriott Beachside hotel, the staff were very friendly and welcoming. The receptionist was incredibly warm and friendly, and I was impressed with the foyer and how grand it seemed despite being small.
We arrived a little early, so wandered to the pool bar to have a drink whilst we waited. I was told to expect a call from reception when my room was ready, and after an hour still nothing. We ended up being given our room key over an hour after check-in time, which was a little disappointing, and meant that we missed the sunset in Mallory Square that we were planning on going to watch.
The room was lovely. I was disappointed that we didn’t have an ocean view, but we got the room at half the cost of what they normally go for, and this was written in the room description, so that was fine.
The bed was large and comfortable, and I liked the clean-cut decor of the room. It had much more detail and character than a lot of the larger chain resorts and hotels I have stayed in, so that was refreshing. There weren’t any ‘little touches’ that you get in a lot of the boutique hotels in Key West, but I was happy so far.
The pool area was really nice, with a hidden spa pool just next to it. The pool had an ocean view, which I really liked, and there is a tiny beach with sun-loungers and chairs. This was all really nice, and due to it not being too large it felt more ’boutique’ than ‘resort’.
My main gripe with the resort was the layout.
The quickest way to get to our room from the entrance/reception was through the multi-storey car park. This was also the only way to get to the pool area and beach from the room. I felt the design of the grounds didn’t really take into consideration that guests would be walking around in swimwear and bathrobes, and it felt gross walking through a car-park in my beach towel.
The same went for at night. We got dressed up, and headed down to get the shuttle from our room. This meant again, you guessed it, walking through the car-park. Not very glamorous.
If I was paying full-whack, and on a vacation or honeymoon, I would of been really disappointed with this. Given that the resort is specifically a ‘beach resort’, which means you envision sleepy days spent from room to beach in kaftans and flip-flops.
We only stayed 2 nights, and were here specifically so I could show my parents Key West, so the resort itself wasn’t a huge part of the experience. However we did enjoy a few night caps in Tavern N Town, the hotels bar and restaurant. We also used the free shuttle service both days.
Tavern N Town
The bar was really nice inside. I was impressed by their ‘happy hour’ which we had no idea even existed until the bar tender asked us if we would like our second drinks yet that were complimentary. I had ordered a pretty expensive cocktail (I think it was around $16) so getting a second free was a nice surprise!
All drinks were two-for-one, including cocktails and top-shelf liquors. Good news for us, bad news for my headache the next morning!
The bar-tender was great, really good at mixing an ‘Old Fashioned’ and really nice to talk to. I was impressed with all the staff at the resort.
The Shuttle service was really good. Every hour on the hour from reception, and every twenty past coming back from Duval Street. The first night home however was a disaster, with guests literally elbowing us to clamber on the shuttle. This meant we couldn’t fit on (being laid-back doesn’t always pay off). However the driver flagged down a cab for us, and told us to get a reimbursment from the hotel reception. Again, great service from the Marriott.
Would I Stay Here Again?
It did feel really nice leaving the craziness of the old town and coming home to a quiet resort at the end of the day. I slept really well, and enjoyed the fact that we could hop on a free shuttle and be in the old town in twenty minutes.
Would I stay here again? Definitely, if I got a great deal. But for the price of the rooms in a sea of so much great competition, both other resorts and boutique hotels? I would say go for the boutique hotel!
This review is in no way influenced or affiliated with Marriott. All views are my own.
We booked on Priceline.com.