In Search of Sandals: An Exploration of All inclusve Resorts in the Florida Keys.
As I sat in my New York City apartment, the city's continuous hum and the incandescent glare of my laptop screen my only company, a sudden longing struck me. I yearned for the calm lull of the ocean, the taste of salty air on my lips, and the comfort of white sand between my toes. And thus, began my quest to discover an all-inclusive paradise reminiscent of the famed Sandals resorts but nestled in the jewel-toned waters of the Florida Keys.
See also Sandals Resorts in Florida
Hitting the road, I embarked on a journey that many of us North Easterners relish - the famed East Coast road trip. Through quaint hamlets and bustling cities, past iconic landmarks, and endless stretches of coastal beauty, I found myself tracing a path towards the southernmost point of the continental United States.
The allure of all-inclusive resorts is undeniable - a stress-free vacation where you're pampered from the moment you step onto the property. Sandals Resorts are synonymous with this all-inclusive luxury, known for their romantic Caribbean beachfront settings. For those seeking a similar experience closer to home, the Florida Keys, with their sparkling waters and vibrant sunsets, offer some exquisite all-inclusive options.
Hawks Cay Resort: All-inclusive Packages with an Adults only Pool Area
My first stop was the enchanting Hawks Cay Resort on Duck Key. Its luxurious rooms, exquisite dining options, and indulgent spa treatments bore a striking resemblance to the legendary Sandals. But it was the resort's lagoon, filled with bottlenose dolphins playfully spinning in the water, which added a touch of magic. This was a place that catered to both the love-struck couples seeking a romantic getaway and the adventure-seekers eager to explore the underwater world.
Hawks Cay Resort, located on Duck Key, blends luxury with adventure. Although not entirely all-inclusive, the resort offers a selection of vacation packages, encompassing meals, drinks, and a host of activities like fishing, snorkeling, and dolphin encounters. The resort boasts a lagoon-style pool, five restaurants, and a full-service marina, providing an array of experiences that Sandals guests would be familiar with.
Driving further down the scenic Overseas Highway, I came across the renowned Cheeca Lodge and Spa in Islamorada. Its West Indies styled cottages, draped by lush palm trees, immediately caught my eye. Yet, it was the wide range of outdoor activities - from world-class fishing to golf - that truly echoed the energy of a Sandals resort. But Cheeca offered a more serene and refined atmosphere, making it a perfect match for those seeking a quiet retreat to unwind and reconnect.
Bungalows Key Largo: top adults-only all-inclusive resort in the Florida Keys
The first and only adults-only all-inclusive resort in the Florida Keys, Bungalows Key Largo exudes luxury and tranquility. Inspired by the elegant beach houses of old Key West, the resort's private bungalows create an intimate, serene atmosphere. Your all-inclusive package will include dining at multiple onsite restaurants, premium beverages, a plethora of water sports, and yoga classes. It's a perfect sanctuary for couples seeking a romantic retreat reminiscent of Sandals Resorts.
In this vlog, the Babs & Boujee Lifestyle takes us on their journey to the Bungalows Key Largo, a resort in Florida. The vlogger, being a lifestyle enthusiast, appreciates the well-decorated rooms and the beautiful resort surroundings. The journey begins with an early morning flight, arriving at the resort for a relaxing shower and dinner. There are plenty of activities to engage in throughout their stay, such as hatha yoga, a tiki cruise, and a birthday celebration. While the resort's all-inclusive nature is appreciated, the vlogger critiques that gratuity isn't included, which adds an unexpected cost. However, the video concludes on a positive note, recommending the resort for various occasions such as a vacation, honeymoon, or family reunion. The Babs & Boujee Lifestyle concludes by saying they'd love to revisit but are also open to exploring other resorts
Little Palm Island Resort & Spa: Most like Sandals
Accessible only by seaplane or boat, the exclusivity of Little Palm Island Resort & Spa rivals any Sandals location. This private island oasis offers a secluded tropical paradise similar to a Caribbean getaway.
While it's not technically all-inclusive, the resort offers a package that includes meals at the award-winning onsite dining room, motor yacht transfers, and a welcome bottle of champagne. The enchanting environment, with its private suites and thatched-roof bungalows, mimics the romance of a Sandals Resort.
Casa Marina Key West, A Waldorf Astoria Resort
Casa Marina, a historic luxury resort dating back to 1920, promises an all-encompassing vacation package that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and select water sports. The resort's private beach, the largest in Key West, along with its oceanfront pools, provide the perfect setting for relaxation and water fun. While not traditionally all-inclusive, the resort's packages cater to those seeking the ease and convenience synonymous with a Sandals vacation.
Southernmost Beach Resort In Key West: Most Southern Point on the Mainland
My journey ended at the Southernmost Beach Resort in Key West, an intimate boutique resort that mirrored the intimate, exclusive feel of the Sandals brand. Here, days melted into each other as I languished by the oceanfront pool, indulged in beachside dining, and watched the sun sink below the horizon in a riot of oranges and purples.
None of these places were an exact replica of the Sandals resorts; each had its unique allure. Yet, they all provided the familiar blend of luxury, adventure, romance, and relaxation that makes an all-inclusive resort a true paradise.
In retrospect, my quest wasn't just about finding a Sandals-like resort. It was about the joy of discovering new places, the thrill of the journey, and the serendipitous moments that come when you allow yourself to step out of the familiar. And if there's one thing I can recommend, it is to embark on such a journey, be it to the Florida Keys or beyond, to uncover your very own slice of paradise.
And for those with a different taste in vacation, perhaps craving a bustling metropolitan vibe rather than laid-back beach serenity? Don't fret. A lively city escape awaits you in the vibrant streets of Miami, just a drive away, with resorts like Fontainebleau or The Miami Beach EDITION offering a stark contrast and variety to cater to your unique preferences.
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The story is a fictionalized account founded on travel expertise, research, and experience. Always refer to recent guest reviews and perform due diligence before booking.
💼 We cherish our independence! ✈️ Our travel recommendations are carefully researched, bias-free, and powered by human expertise by April and Ricky of LRB (we have personally researched and travelled to many of these destinations and researched others thoroughly through first-hand accounts). We also have put in the hard miles, and Ricky has worked for decades for resort and hotel chains Hyatt, Hilton, Shangri-La and Radisson before starting Luxury Resort Bliss in 2007. 🌍✨ Unlike some other resort review websites we are concerned on the guest experience rather than mere corporate interest.
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