Florida, stuck in the '70s
Large, comfortable beds. Aircon of decent quality. Views not so great. Beech section of hotel very poor. Food at pool bar of average standard. Service is OK. This is supposedly a 4* hotel, it is probably a decent 3*. Probably not the worst place to stay in Key Largo, but hope it is not the best! Pretty average
Location, location, location...
Just returned from a six-night stay at the Marriott Key Largo over spring break with my wife and two boys, 15 and 12. Overall, we had a wonderful time. The Keys provided the perfect laid-back, relaxed, natural experience we were looking for.
In short, it took a few days to come to appreciate this Marriott location. We have stayed on numerous occasions at the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort in Ft. Lauderdale and, let me tell you, 'this ain't the Harbor Beach'. This property is very plain, a little run down (our building's elevator looked like a service elevator), and - at first - disappointing. But, after getting immersed in the unique culture of the Keys, I realized that the Harbor Beach would be out of place in the Keys. Way out of place! This property actually reflects the local culture quite well.
I just wish they didn't charge so much. In addition to using Stay Anytime Marriott Reward points, they added on an additional $60 per night charge for the room. But, being the Keys and being spring break, it all comes down to location, location, location. We got the last room at the resort.
Overall, I recommend this property but with these caveats:
- the pool is small and disappointing. My kids, after first jumping into the cloudy water, thought it was a saltwater pool. We asked. It wasn't. Ick!
- the beach is very small and not conducive to swimming.
- the rooms are very plain, but nice. As pointed out in another review, no pictures on the walls and limited accessory furniture (e.g. extra chairs, table, etc.)
Regarding the on-site restaurant, Gus', we thought it was terrific. The sunsets at the outdoor balcony tables are especially good. The fish was awesome (although the local Fish House was even better) and the buffet breakfast (at least they included this with our room) always was delicious. They even cooked some speckled trout we caught one afternoon in the Everglades on a charter booked through the on-site It's A Dive. Delicious...and fun! HINT: If you order the breakfast buffet, you can special request smoked lox, made-to-order omelettes, waffles, and more from the kitchen. Nice touch!
ANOTHER HINT: They bring our great homemade cookies and lemonade every afternoon around 3:00 p.m. in the front lobby. Don't miss them...they're awesome.
Conclusion, at the end of our six-night stay we were converts to the Key's experience. We were sad to leave the Keys AND the Marriott. Again, it's a good - not great - property that definitely is in keeping with the local culture.
Again - and again - I just wish they didn't charge so much!
Great Hotel Relaxing Time
During the first part of June 2005 we were on a driving trip through southern Florida with another couple. We started in the St. Pete beach area then, after an interesting drive through the Everglades area, ended up at Marriott Key Largo resort for three nights. We all agreed that we wished we had spent all of our vacation at this hotel (we ended the trip with 2 nights at Ft Lauderdale). The Marriott Key Largo was excellent in every respect except for one minor exception (see below).
Let me start by saying that my wife and I are very experienced travelers, and have stayed at many resorts throughout the Caribbean, Mexico beach areas, and the US (including other Florida Keys properties). We have stayed at both all-inclusive and non-inclusive resorts and in chain hotels and small privately owned lodges/inns. We rate the Key Largo Marriott as one of the most pleasant places we have stayed. I have seen the negative reports on this site about this hotel and find them puzzling, but must say that perhaps these people are either super picky or were unlucky enough to have stayed in a room that was not updated. It is obvious from the work going on that the hotel is being renovated from top to bottom. One area of the parking garage is being used as a “staging” area for the new furniture and equipment (but is in an unobtrusive area) so it is easy to see that some rooms are yet to be done.
Our room was on the top floor and was completely brand new. Every piece of furniture, all flooring, both carpet and tile, and the bathroom was spanking brand-new. The shower in the bathroom was all marble, with huge sliding doors (there was no tub which some might object to). The room had a huge balcony, accessed by large sliders, which had very nice heavy patio furniture. It was easy to tell that the room re-do was still in progress as the artwork had not yet been hung. Another nice touch was the in-room safe at no charge and which operated with any card that had a magnetic strip (not the room key), such as your driver license of a credit card. All in all, a very comfortable room with excellent bedding.
The other couple's room was similar to ours except that it did not have a balcony, but it too was all brand new inside and quite nice. It did have a tub/shower combo rather than shower only. This room also had the same safe installed.
The hotel is built in an open-air style, so that the floors surround an atrium (which is open to the sky). Our atrium had a large palm tree that grew up through the opening and at the base was a very nice fountain area. Very attractive. There was also a good laundry facility on the ground floor of the building that contained washers and dryers ($2 to wash a load and $1 to dry) which we took advantage of. The elevator at the beach end of the floor took us directly to the pool/beach area, which was convenient (stairs of course were available as well, which was good since the lift could be busy and thus slow).
The grounds of the hotel are very nicely done up. There is one large pool for the entire hotel but it never seemed crowded. There is a hot tub at the pool and be warned that is indeed HOT! Just below the pool is a very nice small man made beach, with good sand, lots of loungers, and a good place to get into the water. There is a swimming platform out maybe 75 yards or less. The water is not deep, even at platform no more than waist deep. I did find the snorkeling to be pretty good in this little bay, seeing barracuda, many crabs, some jelly fish (non-stingers) and lots small fish. The water in both the pool and the bay was quite warm. The pool is heated. We never had a problem getting loungers at the pool or the beach.
There is nice pool/beach bar located right at the end of the pool that is open during the daytime hours. Drinks are well made and considering that this is a Marriott not badly priced. Food is also available from the beach bar (same menu that is available through out the resort). The food is quite good and again not surprisingly priced. All seemed within reason for a resort type hotel. In fact, we found that prices at the hotel were no higher than going off site to other bars/dining in the area.
In addition to the beach bar there is another bar toward the north end of the property that is connected to Gus’s Grille by an elevated walkway. This is called Breezers and every evening they have happy hour that includes some food items and drink specials. They also have an all day deal that is a bucket of Coronas (5) for $10. The drinks are very good and the food is as well. On some evenings there is live entertainment. Breezers is a nice place to spend some time in the evenings. We did not eat at Gus’s but the menu looked good and as mentioned earlier their pricing was not out of line with places around the resort. Since all the food comes out of the same kitchen it can be assumed that it would be as good or better then the food we ate in the bars. It would have been a great place to have dinner as the sun sets as the dining room has large windows facing west over the water.
Also on site is a dive/snorkel center that conducts diving and snorkeling trips, a spa, water sports vendor, and a gift shop. We did not book our snorkeling through this shop as we had been recommended to use another operator in Key Largo called Keys Divers. The reef at the state park off the coast is awesome and the snorkeling is supreme. Keys Divers offers an afternoon trip from 1 to 5ish that provides three snorkel stops on the reef. Excellent operation and I was impressed with how safety obsessed they are. One of the absolute best operations I have ever snorkeled with.
Now for the one and only down side to the Marriott Key Largo….the parking, most of which is located under the buildings, can be tricky. Since we were with a person that qualifies for handicapped parking we were not as hard pressed as some, but even the handicapped spaces filled up quickly. This is not a major issue as there is a large lot over by Breezers, but if one had to park there it would be pretty good hike to the room blocks. However, this minor item did not spoil the enjoyment of this resort.
There are lots and lots of dining options in the area. We tried a few and did not have any bad meals. Lots of good seafood and good conch dishes. We did have breakfast at a small little Cuban place just south (do not recall name but is in a blue and white building, sort of dumpy looking) and it was fantastic. They also serve lunch and dinner but we did not make it back for those.
All in all we were very happy with this resort. We all regretted that we just did not spend our entire vacation here. It was our favorite of all the places we stayed. I highly recommend this resort.
My family and another family just returned from a five day stay at the Key Largo Marriott. We have stayed at many Marriott resorts all over the country and if you are looking for a plush, pampered experience, this is not the hotel for you. However, if you are looking for a real "Keys" laid back experience, I would highly recommend this property. We were traveling with three boys (13,12 and 10) and the property was small and secure enough that the boys were able to have freedom. There were activities around the property and it was very quiet. We pretty much had the pool to ourselves. The hotel employees were around, but not hovering. The property was clean, but not immaculate.. Our rooms were fine. We didn't spend much time in them because we stayed really active in and around the Keys. For us, it was the perfect property, small and private. If you're looking for the "resort experience" this is not the property for you..
Beautiful Property but...
We just returned from a 5 day stay at the Key Largo Marriott. We stayed in one of their two buildings that overlook the bay with beautiful views. Our room contained two queen size beds and was very nice. We had our two sons, ages 10 and 12 and the room was plenty big for all four of us. The Marriott is a beautiful resort but did fall short. We payed approx. $350/nt. for our room and were disappointed in its furnishings. The room was nice but short on amenities. There wasn't one picture hung in our room, there was one lamp, no ceiling fans, and one extra chair (besides the beds) to sit on. The hotel also offers two room suites which seemed to be the way to go.
Gus's Restaurant is onsite with wonderful water views. The food however, was pretty bad. For having such an abundance of fresh fish available, the food was overcooked and cold. The wait staff was very nice and service was slow as they were definitely short staffed. Breezer's is the other bar onsite that looks like it has the potential to be a lot of fun though only the bar area was open during our stay.
We all had a wonderful time at the resort though. All watersports are readily available at the hotel, the pool was great and they have a small beach. You can purchase or rent rafts at the resort for $14 a day (or go to the grocery store down the street and buy your own for $3) and keep them with you during your stay. Ours kids were never bored. We would definitely go back but definitely would not eat there. The pool bar was great (again, very pricey for food, e.g. $6 hot dogs) but laying under the palm trees on the beach in March definitely made it all worthwhile.
Not worth the money - you'd be better in a Best Western!
I have stayed in different Marriott hotels around the world and was shocked at the low standard of this Marriott. It is more in the nature of a 3 star Marriott courtyard. It gets its rating by virtue of facilities it has which are all a bit tired.
If you are looking for a diving holiday it is all very convenient, but other than that a three star hotel masquerading as a 4 star and very expensive!