If you are giving any thought to battling the TSA at U.S. airport security so you can head to the Caribbean this winter, I have a better idea. Instead, make a reservation at the nicest resort in the Florida Keys.
For my 70th birthday, Debbie surprised me with a stay at Westin’s Sunset Key Guest Cottages (reserve at 800-937-8461). The resort has received a major-league facelift since our last visit. Previously, I felt that the resort, while certainly nice, was overrated. Well, I no longer think so. There is no better high-end resort in the Keys. And since the Keys offer the only subtropical weather in America, if you are as thin-blooded as I am, they’re a great place to stay warm. Florida has a number of temperature zones. In January, it can easily be 20 degrees cooler in northern Florida than in Key West.
Now I do not recommend Sunset Key Guest Cottages as a bargain getaway. Quite the contrary. You won’t pay as much as you would for a stay at, say, The Inn at Little Washington, but your Amex Platinum Card will take a hard hit nonetheless. But cheap is cheap, isn’t it? And just think of all those bonus points you will rack up. Meanwhile, you will have eschewed the hassle and expense of an annoying foray to some offshore retreat. You will also save a couple of travel days in the bargain. If you have not been here before, you may enjoy flying into Miami, renting a car, and driving the 145 miles or so down the Keys. It is a pretty ride over the nearly 50 causeways and bridges that run through the ocean on your way down to Key West. On a nice day, it can be fun. Stop for lunch at the World Wide Sportsman at mile marker 81 on your right. It’s hard to miss. You can enjoy the massive Sportsman department store before wandering down to the water and having lunch at the tiki hut restaurant.
If you decide that a car schlep down the Keys is not your cup of tea, we now have three jet options: Delta, US Airways, and AirTran. A car in Key West is not necessary as walking the streets and alleys is part of Old Town’s appeal. From the airport, your colorful Key West cabbie will take you directly to the reservation desk at the Westin, where you will check in and be given walking directions to the Sunset Key launch, which will ferry you over to the private island retreat in minutes. The launch runs every half hour, so when you are ready to come back to Key West to shop at Blue or Besame Mucho and have lunch at La Crêperie (kitty-corner from Besame Mucho), you will be all set.
Sunset Key offers you beautiful dining and bars both inside and outside, along with a nifty outdoor grill around its beautiful pool. We loved our two-bedroom, three-bath cottage with an efficiency kitchen. Sunset Key is perfect for a family or friends getaway or a small corporate retreat. Sunset Key also has a number of high-end, Victorian-style private residences if you are interested in real estate.
OK then, off you go to the Keys. And if you are like me and don’t want to fuss with travel details, simply click to my recommendation of Ryland Stacy. Ryland will do all the heavy lifting for you. Ryland was responsible for making Debbie’s and my trip to France such a booming success. I would not make a move without her, and I do not recommend many folk on any front, period. Have a great time in the Keys. I will be adding additional Keys features over the winter. You can already click to Lifestyle on my home page for lots of initial ideas. Good luck.