What’s the deal?
In May 2019, months after Bungalows Key Largo made its grand debut, a four-alarm fire nearly wiped out the Florida Keys’s first all-inclusive resort. Luckily, the 12-acre property rose from literal ashes and reopened to the public later that year.
If overly large hotels and rowdy kids aren’t your thing, Bungalows has you covered. You get the laid-back vibe of a stay in the Caribbean, while only being about an hour’s drive from Miami airport. Plus, it ticks all the boxes of an all-inclusive. Think free-flowing food and drinks, unlimited non-motorized watersports, and some form of nightly entertainment. The hotel is also happy to set you up with any off-site excursions such as a floating BYOB tiki cruise around the bay or a sunset sail on a catamaran.
On the relaxation front, there’s the Zen Garden spa where you can arrange for a rejuvenating massage or hit the steam room or Himalayan salt room. Wellness experiences at the resort also include daily sunrise yoga on the beach.
The best room: As its name suggests, the resort has 135 individual, 900-square-foot bungalows. While the garden and oceanfront villas are aesthetically similar, the latter is the closest you can get to the water without actually getting wet. And naturally, they have better views, too. On the porch of each bungalow, you’ll find a pair of teal Adirondack chairs, plus two chaise loungers and two cruiser bikes that can be used throughout the property.
Did they greet you by name at check-in?
I was greeted upon check-in, but not by name. Though, in the property’s defense, there was “weather” in Miami, so I arrived a mere half hour before midnight.
Welcome drink ready and waiting when you arrived? (Bonus point if it wasn’t just fruit juice)
Yes. A stiff rum punch was just the thing I needed to take the edge off after a turbulent journey from New Jersey.
Private butler for every room?
No private butlers here. However, there’s a virtual concierge reachable via text who will handle everything from housekeeping requests to booking dining reservations, off-site activities, and boat excursions. Plus, there’s 24/7 golf cart service to get around the property.
Do the rooms have a standout perk?
Definitely. Each bungalow has its own private veranda with an outdoor soaking tub, shower, and seating area.
Is the sheet thread count 300 or higher?
Yes, 300 exactly, and the bed itself was super comfy.
Is there a heated floor in the bathroom? What about a bidet?
In Florida? No need for heated floors, and Ixnay on the bidet.
Are the toiletries full-sized?
Yes, you’ll find full-sized toiletries from Lather in the bathroom.
Is there a private pool for the room’s exclusive use?
No, but the tropical resort does have two swimming pools that are open to all guests. If privacy is what you’re after, the Zen pool is tucked away next to the spa in its own little corner, surrounded by towering palm trees.
Is the restaurant worth its salt?
There are actually three sit-down restaurants on-site, but Bogie & Bacall’s was the standout. The chophouse-esque eatery serves up fine cuts of steak and fresh-caught local seafood. The menu has staples like Wagyu beef carpaccio, bacon-wrapped scallops, an excellent lobster bisque, a 16 oz ribeye, chateaubriand for two, and a variety of sides including white truffle mac and cheese and whipped potatoes. Guests staying four nights or longer are offered one complimentary reservation during their stay. Otherwise, it’ll cost you $300 per couple.
Is there caviar on the room-service menu?
You won’t find caviar on the in-room menu. There’s plenty else to order from a charcuterie board to a New York strip, and, of course, Key Lime Pie.
Do you want to spend Friday night in the lobby bar?
Yes—though it’s not technically in the lobby. Hemingway Bar, named after American novelist Ernest Hemingway, is the ideal spot for pre- or post-dinner drinks. The space is decorated with the same yellow, Art Deco tiles that were found in Hemingway’s Key West home.
Would you buy the hotel if you could?
Yes. We’ll take the keys to our new passport-free paradise, please.
For East Coasters like myself, a weekend trip to the Florida Keys is the perfect way to escape the city grind. Especially if it involves unlimited food and drinks, plenty of sunshine, and most importantly, no kids—something I’m sure any tired parent could appreciate. When it was time to return to the real world, I felt completely relaxed and renewed. Isn’t that the point of taking a vacation in the first place?
Rates: Bungalows range from $399 per person, per night to $1,099 per person, per night depending on the season.
1-3: Fire your travel agent if they suggest you stay here.
4-6: Solid if you’re in a pinch—but only if you’re in a pinch.
7-8: Very good to great. We’d stay here again and recommend it without qualms.
9-10: Forget booking a week. When can we move in permanently?