Before taking our trip to Key West, I was on the hunt for one of those lavish resorts right on the island’s edge. We chose a hotel slightly inland, that promised modern decor and gorgeous views. We were horrified to discover pretty gross conditions, and quickly left. But we ended up somewhere amazing.
Going Back in Time
We moved to Ibis Bay, and were in for a pleasant surprise. The resort presents completely different than other, newer looking hotels. It looks encapsulated in time, back when it was constructed in the 50s. While looking the opposite of modern, complete with vintage sea themed posters in their windows, the adorable resort has been fully restored. But don’t confuse that with “renovated”.
Few hotels have been able to hold on to the “Old Key West” charm, but the owners of Ibis Bay knew the gem they’d create by simply polishing the eclectic features. Original coral walls and the same pool that’s been their for over 60 years have been brought back to life, giving the resort a surprising edge.
Kindness to Creatures
Rescued turtles and dancing parrots live a luxurious life on the resort grounds. An onsite, sustainable fish market complete with a restaurant offer some of the best food on the island. The chef himself ventures out every morning to catch fish, and seasonally retrieves the only 100% sustainable meat in existence; stone crab. Stone crabs pop a claw out as an escape mechanism, then later regrow it, so the little guy goes about his business while we eat the best crab on earth.
Beaches are actually scarce in Key West; Sunset Key is one of the few places with a sandy lounge area. But Ibis Bay offers a beach area off the beautiful bay waters, and every ocean front room has access to a porch and hammocks, perfect for night or daytime lounging.
Lots to Do
Several excursions are offered by the resort, but LED lit, glass bottom, night kayaking is a standout. There is nothing like it and venturing out into the moonlit sky with ocean experts is educational, relaxing and exciting all at the same time.
The rooms are simplistic, but display Key West flair with tile floors, bright walls and colorful bedding. I was also a fan of the one story construction, and being able to step out my door and be right at my car!
If you can avoid navigating in your car around downtown Key West, I’d highly recommend it. Traffic is a nightmare, and parking is rare or expensive. Many opt to rent a bike, which you can do at Ibis Bay. Or you can take their complementary shuttle, the “Life is Too Short Bus.” They circulate all day and leave a detailed stop schedule in your room. This was a generous feature in my opinion; the driver was so sweet too.
Everything at Ibis Bay is vintage, yet has been brought back to its original beauty, as if it had just been built. Our society is gradually understanding the importance of preservation; and we can incorporate this into our vacations through selecting sustainable destinations. Eco Tourism has a profound effect in reducing waste and harmful practices.
I’m so grateful to have had this experience; so I guess I’m grateful our first hotel turned out to be downright barf inducing.
Photo’s by Paramour Explore contributor, Pam Yasinski.