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This summer we ventured out to Key Largo by boat. I read all about Playa Largo Resort & Spa, Autograph Collection by Marriott and we couldn’t wait to visit it. Here’s my brief review of the resort, getting there by boat and what I would have done differently.
Getting down there took about 3.5 hours because we stopped in Miami and went by Stiltsville to show the kids the famous “floating bungalows”:
The ride to Key Largo was very enjoyable. We had perfect weather, the seas were calm and the kids didn’t get in a fight, so that’s a plus.
Although this was our first trip with no land in sight, they were very calm and fully confident we knew what we were doing.
Ignorance Innocence is bliss!
Seeing Miami being left behind was bittersweet. You are excited to embark on a new adventure with your family but constantly checking on the radio, gas gauge and making sure the kids’ lifejackets are properly tied. And that’s when my face froze: our VHF radio had stopped working!! WHAT THE….??? OK, we can’t turn around now because we are half way there and maybe it’s just a glitch, after all this boat is not even 2 years old. At this point I had two choices: freak the heck out, or open the cooler, enjoy a beer and rely on our engine. Beer it is!
Look how relaxed we look! At this point we had no idea our radio had stopped working. We were about to leave the Intracoastal (ICW) and looked ready to face whatever came our way.
Going down to the Keys make sure your Depth Finder is working. There are many sand bars in the middle of nowhere and our Charts kept showing areas that were 0′-2′ deep and some were poorly surveyed. Stay away from those. You will often see Channel Markers, these are like Nautical Fairy Godmothers. They indicate navigable waters so you don’t have to worry about depth or other hazards. Go right between them and it’s full speed from here on out. It’s as if Moses parted the seas for boats 😉
Look at these two, getting further and further away from land, and still happy to be on the boat. Do you see the colors of the water? That’s how shallow the waters are.
For this trip I carried extra waters and extra snacks. Kids can’t differentiate between hunger and boredom, so every 5 minutes they ask for a snack or claim they are thirstier than a dromedary.
At this point we are in the middle of nowhere and Reagan is concerned about her ring pop while I am praying to all gods for nothing to happen since our radio decided to take the day off. On the bright side, we would most likely be stranded in 2′ of water until help came by, which wouldn’t take that long since we saw boats everywhere at all times.
As we were exiting one of the channels, Reagan yelled “I hear music!!” as if we had been away from civilization for over a year. The boat ride from Key Biscayne to Key Largo was about an hour long and these two are acting as if they found Wilson.
The beauty about The Keys is that you’re still in the United States but feels like you are in the Caribbean. I couldn’t love my State any more than I already do. #FloridaForever
Since we were coming by boat, I had reserved a dock through Dockwa. If you are going to the Keys by boat make sure your hotel offers a marina or there’s one nearby. Although Playa Largo Resort does have a dock, it does not belong to Marriott, so be sure to make your reservation with Karen via Dockwa. Also, when docking your boat watch out for snorkelers. They are everywhere and most of them already had a piña colada or two, so they do not see you coming in.
Once we arrived to the dock, we immediately headed to lunch at Sol By The Sea. The food was great and our view was unbelievable. We could see our boat from our table. I had lobster cakes, David had a grilled grouper sandwich and the kids shared a cheeseburger. Everything was delicious!
Shortly after lunch, they called my phone to let me know the room was ready. We headed over to unpack, change clothes and hit the pool. The pool is really nice but it was crowded on Saturday. On Sunday and weekdays was much better.
Now here’s where the real fun begins at this resort. Every night they have a sunset party, I believe it’s called Tidevent. Best thing ever! They ring a bell when the sun goes down and play live music in steel drums, have a sand bar with pineapple drinks (both alcoholic and virgin), have large fire pits by the water, and you get to enjoy the most amazing sunset barefoot.
These events are held nightly and you should attend every single of them. They are relaxing, priceless and truly romantic.
Throughout our stay we took the boat to John Pennekamp for snorkeling. Although we forgot some of the snorkeling gear at home. Don’t ask…
Here’s more pictures of our stay.
- Do buy the breakfast package. There’s only one restaurant that offers breakfast, La Marea, and the La Carte is rather expensive. Prepay for the breakfast buffet, it’s actually very reasonable.
- Do reserve a dock if you are coming in by boat via Dockwa.
- Do reserve the Sunset Summer Nights at the Sand Bar. It’s about $50 for a S’mores Kit. You will get your own chimney, two lounges chairs on the sand, two blankets and priceless memories.
- Do review the leaflet they hand you at the check-in. It’s a calendar of activities throughout the week that includes sales, like half off wine bottles and charcuterie boards.
- Do plan on being at the sand right before sunset so you can enjoy the full event: the bell ringing, the live music and the kayak bringing fire to the ocean.
- Do Not book the King Bedroom if you have kids. Jude and Reagan complained of the sofa bed springs. Book the Two Queen Beds if available.
- Do Not pack heels if you are not leaving the resort. Not even wedges. Everyone walks around barefoot or in flip flops. Most of the time you are standing in sand.
- Do Not pack your fancy dress as you will have nowhere to wear it. It’s The Keys.
- Do Not check-in on a Friday or Saturday if possible. The resort was less crowded on Sunday and weekdays.
- Do Not sit by the live music band. They offer a few tables nearby but it’s really loud. We did that mistake on our first night. The music is to be heard throughout the entire resort, so it’s unbearably loud.
At the end of the day, I highly recommend this resort and we will be back for sure. The kids had a wonderful time and we did too!
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