Casa Marina Resort & Beach Club, Key West, Florida $$$$
Key West , Florida
Tel: 866 397 6342 (toll-free)
Tel: 305 296 3535
Fax: 305 296 4633
Concierge.com's insider take:
Originally built in 1920 by railway magnate Henry Flagler, Casa Marina reopened in December 2007 after a $43 million makeover and is now part of Hilton's Waldorf-Astoria Collection. The renovation was a stunning feat, restoring the place to its Golden Era glamour. (Sadly, the coffered wooden ceiling in the lobby is a reproduction: Ferocious termites chomped through the original.) The 311 rooms are now airy and loftlike, with dark woods, crisp white sheets, and ceramic tile floors. Rooms in the original building are the best, for their idiosyncratic layout and 15 rooms with large balconies. The nickel-and-diming on the small print (in addition to a $20 resort fee tacked on each day, Internet access costs $12) is irritating, but there are also unexpected free flourishes, like in-room Nespresso makers, hallway tables piled with copies of The New York Times, and pool attendants doling out gratis ice pops.
The Reach is Casa Marina's sister hotel, though it's on an entirely separate lot five minutes' walk away along the backstreets (1435 Simonton St.; 305-296-5000; www.reachresort.com). There's little difference between them in amenities or price: The Casa complex is a little more grand, though the 150 rooms at the Reach are more colorful, with bright accents like throw pillows in red and yellow. The clientele at both is Key West's most jet-set (expect to hear Italian, French, and German), though the pools at Casa Marina make it more popular with families.
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