Bungalows Key Largo offers the cure for "quarantined with the kids" cabin fever.
photos courtesy of Bungalows Key Largo
Like most of you out there, I did the honorable thing: sheltered in place with my kids. For months on end, 24/7. And gosh, I couldn't love those cutie-pies more (somebody help me. Please!)
Don't judge, but I admit I'm desperate for a little alone time with my bae.
Well, thanks to my friends at Discover the Palm Beaches, I know exactly where I'm headed. For me as a South Floridian, it's not a far drive, but if you live elsewhere and are comfortable getting on a plane, I assure you it's worth the flight to the adults-only Bungalows Key Largo, The Florida Keys' only all-inclusive resort. (No disrespect to Key West... I absolutely love it. But Key Largo - just 63 miles south of Miami International Airport - is much faster than a three-and-a-half-hour trek down the single-lane Overseas Highway, and a whole lot quieter.)
The boutique 12-acre waterfront property re-opened in December 2019 after an extensive restoration designed to bring what was once the two-story, thatch-roofed Beach House back to its original grandeur. Such was the goal of hotelier Jerry Johnson. Hardly a newbie in the biz, Johnson is the former owner of Islamorada's wonderful Cheeca Lodge & Spa, and is the current owner of The Rustic Inn and The Lodge at Jackson Hole, and The Capitol Reef Resort in Utah. During the renovation, an unfortunate fire engulfed the main building, but thanks to a determined team, Bungalows rose from the ashes and the the grand opening was met with a bevy of buzz. And then, coronavirus happened and it had to close down. No biggie...the resort will rise again when it re-opens on June 17th.
Timeless, laid-back island elegance takes the form of 135 private bungalows replete with inviting Adirondack chairs and glorious bougainvillea in bloom.
Upon arrival and check-in, the tone of relaxed elegance is set with organic elements and natural textures that look as though they were washed up by the sea. In the lobby, twisted driftwood, woven raffia, and a refreshing cocktail offer a warm welcome.
Whether you book a garden view or oceanfront bungalow, powdered sands and tranquil gulf waters are just steps away.
And you get your own bicycles to ride at your leisure throughout your stay.
Every bungalow is outfitted with a secluded veranda featuring an oversized, alfresco soaking tub and garden shower.
Contemporary coastal design - with textured neutrals layered over soothing white - decorates each elegant hideaway.
If the thought of an all-inclusive resort evokes a certain stereotype: mediocre meals, noisy pools with kids splashing about, blaring music piped-in and no sign whatsoever of the serenity you’re seeking, Bungalows Key Largo will shatter that negative image. There's the Sunset Pool, which opens at sunrise...
and the Zen pool, the property's luxury oasis.
The resort is home to three distinct, delectable restaurants. At SEA SENOR, fresh local seafood including the nearby fishermen's daily catches, and the vibrant colors and flavors of Mexico, come together.
FISH TALES, the casual, breezy eatery overlooking the ocean and infinity pool, is the breezy spot for a plentiful breakfast buffet complete with made-to-order omelettes and a bloody mary station. All-day dining continues through dinnertime.
For fine dining, guests can enjoy an aperitif at BOGIE & BACALL’s Hemingway Bar (Don't get me started on that black-and-yellow vintage tile. I can't even.)
Dinner follows in a romantic atmosphere that would make the iconic couple for which the restaurant is named - Humphrey Bogart & Lauren Bacall - ever so proud. The restaurant's five-course menu, which varies daily, showcases Executive Chef Andy Papson's culinary finesse.
Indeed, all this R&R can be positively exhausting. Luckily, the resort offers its luxurious ZEN GARDEN SPA, with indulgent treatments plus a gorgeous mosaic-walled eucalyptus steam room, Himalayan salt therapy room, and plush relaxation areas.
For yogis and/or the fitness-inclined (or if you just want to burn off all those decadent meals) there's a Fitness Tiki Hut that houses state-of-the-art equipment including Peloton bikes, Hatha Yoga or Vinyasa Fun Flow on the Tranquility Lawn, and the Gentle Sunrise Stretch on Coconut Beach.
And now, back to the chill...
Guests can choose to relax in a beach hammock, chaise lounge, or private cabana -and watch the sun gently set as another perfect day in paradise draws to a close.
Tempted? If so, click this link to reserve your stay.
And then... start packing! I've done some legwork to get your started:
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT: Zimmermann "Zinnia Wrap" one-piece swimsuit, $210, zimmermann.com; Roxy "Aquifer Extra Innings" baseball cap, $22, realwatersports.com; Melissa Odabash "Chelsea Black Short Dress," $198, us.odabash.com; Tory Burch "Miller Flip Flop" in shell pink, $198, shop.nordstrom.com; Tohum "Medium Puka Shell Bracelet" in gold with natural shell, $208.25, shop.tohumdesign.com; Free People "Bastille Sun Tote," $68, freepeople.com
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Ray-Ban "Frank Legend Gold" sunglasses, $154, ray-ban.com; Tudor "Black Bay Bronze" watch, $4,150, mayors.com; Orvis "Short-Sleeved Breathable Pure Linen" shirt in weathered navy, $98, orvis.com; SeaVees "Hawthorne Slip Ons" in ecru, $98, seavees.com; Pacsun "Leaves and Leopard" swim trunks, $34.95, pacsun.com
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: Bric's Milano "Capri 3-piece Luggage Set" in blue, $663.00, bricstore.com; Salt & Stone suncare products (left to right): SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion, € 22,00; SPF 30 Lip Balm, € 6,00; SPF Sunscreen Face Stick, € 22,00, greenbeautymarket.com; Whish Coconut + Verbena Luminous Body Oil, $24, whishbody.com
Better book your babysitter quick.
Wishing you and your honey a safe and wonderful trip!