Key West for Families

Bruges, Belgium
Bruges, Belgium // Photo by KavalenkavaVolha/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images
Casa Marina has many rooms that overlook the resort’s private beach as well as its oceanfront pools.
Casa Marina has many rooms that overlook the resort’s private beach as well as its oceanfront pools.

Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort has one of the highest swank factors in the Florida Keys. Families checking in will want to book a two-bedroom Ocean Vista Suite, which is one of the most requested rooms. These two-bedroom, two-bathroom suites have furnished balconies with views of the Atlantic Ocean and the resort’s pools. The suites have a loft with one queen-sized bed, and a downstairs master bedroom with a king-sized bed. There is also a living room with sofa bed and two full bathrooms. Up to six guests can fit in these 900-square-foot suites. To book, reach out to Jenny Moran, rooms control manager ([email protected]).

Nice touch: The VIP Manager is on hand to help craft a great family getaway. He or she acts as a first impression of the resort by contacting guests prior to their arrival and arranging the rooms based on their needs.

Should you want to make your visit extra special, contact Niall Geoghegan, the concierge director, who has been known to cook up excursions like private charters, jet ski tours, sunset sails and parasailing ([email protected]; 305-296-1500).

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While visiting the resort, families can enjoy a wealth of togetherness activities, from two outdoor oceanfront pools to ocean activities. On-site equipment rentals include bicycles, mopeds and sports gear, along with waverunners, kayaks, fun boats, scooters and sun cat loungers. Water enthusiasts will love the resort’s location to top snorkel territory. Be sure to arrange a two-hour reef snorkeling trip complete with snorkel gear, instruction and refreshments.

Cheeca Lodge’s (above) Spa has an Adults-Only Lap Pool as part of the many different amenities it offers.
Cheeca Lodge’s Spa has an Adults-Only Lap Pool as part of the many different amenities it offers.

Parents looking for downtime can check out the Spa Al Mare, which has both indoor and outdoor treatment areas overlooking the ocean. Be sure to ask about the Refreshing Hydration Facials. Couples with nannies in tow can find time to sneak off together to enjoy a Couples Massage on the beach. For arrangements reach out to Graziella Gaspari, director of spa services ([email protected]; 305-296-1500 (ext. 7785)).

Getting there: Travelers can fly into Key West International Airport, which is just two miles from the resort. VIP clients can arrange for a private car service.

Another top hotel for VIPs and their families is the Sunset Key Guest Cottages, a Westin Resort. No doubt the best accommodation for families here is Paradise, a three-bedroom deluxe oceanfront cottage. This cottage has an upgraded kitchen, living & dining area. All bedrooms are oceanfront, and there is plenty of outdoor living area. The cottages are also outfitted with flat screen cable televisions, CD players, stereo, DVD and VCRs. Guests will find complimentary Wi-Fi access, along with complimentary breakfast baskets filled with freshly baked muffins, orange juice and other bakery specialties. Good to know: The cottage can also be stocked pre-arrival with selected food and beverage items for purchase. Private butler service is offered upon request for an additional charge.

For bookings reach out to Resort Manager Justin Earle ([email protected]).

Families will love the grounds of the resort, which has a zero-degree entry tropical swimming pool with two whirlpools, attended beach and pool service, two tennis courts, 24-hour boat transportation to and from sister resort, The Westin Key West Resort & Spa, and a private dock for boats up to 250 feet.

Casa Marina has the largest private beach on the island of Key West, perfect for oceanside activities of all kinds.

Casa Marina has the largest private beach on the island of Key West, perfect for oceanside activities of all kinds.

Traveling with tweens? Not a problem. Sunset Key is one of the only resorts in the country to offer a program designed exclusively for the nine-to-12-year-old set and their parents. The Tweencation is packed with age-specific activities and amenities, including a local volunteerism opportunity.

The resort is intimate, with just 40 cottages, which is a unique experience unto itself, though if your family wants something over-the-top (think a Key West treasure hunt), reach out to [email protected].

Be sure to request some alone time at The Spa, which has three treatment suites, each with private bathroom and private terrace. We hear the Custom Facial and Therapeutic Massage with self-heated mud is tops. All experiences at the spa are customized and begin with a pre-treatment consultation. Tip: For a killer facial be sure to book Maggie. Massage therapists Jessica, Chanelle and Christine also come highly recommended. Contact Tracy McClellan, spa director, for bookings ([email protected]; 305-292-5370).

Nice touch: Families don’t have to split up to enjoy time at the spa. Treatments are available for children and young adults and are customized based on a child’s age and spa experience. Children under 18 years of age receive treatments in the spa couple’s suite with a parent so that they can have treatments side-by-side.

Sunset Key Westin has just 40 cottages in total, giving guests a chance to have an intimate and unique experience.
Sunset Key Westin has just 40 cottages in total, giving guests a chance to have an intimate and unique experience.

When it is time to dine, Latitudes restaurant comes highly recommended. For a memorable experience request a table in the sand. We hear the dishes to order are the butter-poached Florida lobster tail with lemon, pea mint puree, sunchokes, carrots and beurre blanc. For families who fish together, the chef can cook your catch and prepare whatever you may have caught on a fishing excursion that day. For dining inquiries or bookings reach out to Terry Luzius, Latitudes general manager ([email protected]; 305-292-5394).

Lastly be sure to check out the Cheeca Lodge. Guests checking in will want to book the one bedroom suites, which are complete with a private master bedroom with a king bed and a queen sleeper sofa in the living room. These rooms have connecting double queen rooms with either a lagoon view, resort view or golf course view. Lagoon view and resort view suites have full kitchens, as well. Reach out to Reservations Manager Lisa Atkinson with questions ([email protected]; 305-517-4481).

Cheeca Lodge invites families to work with its Sport Shop staff to arrange activities like family tennis tournaments, golf rounds or bike tours. The watersports facility can coordinate family snorkel trips and sea kayak excursions, or lend fishing pools for an afternoon of fishing. For young children there is Camp Cheeca, a day camp that teaches kids about wildlife and marine habitats in the Florida Keys. For special bookings or requests reach out to Concierge Christine Barron ([email protected]; 305-517-4505).

The 5,700-square-foot resort spa has seven treatment rooms. If guests are booking treatments, we hear the Signature Hot Lava Shell Massage is over the top. If it’s a deep tissue massage you’re after, be sure to ask for Roma Lambert. Bookings can be made through Spa Manager Paolo Cohen ([email protected]; 305-517-4485).

Hungry families ought to head over to Atlantic’s Edge (we hear the beach garden seating is the best seat in the house). Be sure to order the local fish taco with mango pico de gallo and sofrito aioli. Reach out to Christine Barron again for reservations. Also, while visiting Cheeca Lodge, stop by the resort’s popular tiki bar, where bartenders will mix up scrumptious Blueberry Mojitos while dishing on local fishing tips and must-sees.

Getting there: Cheeca Lodge is 75 miles from Miami International Airport, but if VIPs are arriving via helicopter, it is possible to land right on the resort’s golf course.

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