Conceived and designed by railroad and oil magnate Henry Flagler as a testament to his life-long love of Florida, the Casa Marina Resort in Key West opened its doors on New Years Eve in 1920 to great acclaim. Artists, dignitaries, royalty, and the ultra-rich since frequented the resort until World War II, when it was converted to a military operational headquarters. After the war, Casa Marina briefly recaptured its glory as an exclusive vacation destination, but with its location at the southernmost point of Florida, the property was soon needed for military use once again – this time as a launch site during the Cuban missile crisis. The resort was reopened in the ‘70s and has been in continual operation ever since.
During a recent $43 million renovation the lobby’s original wood floors were restored and all 311 guest rooms and suites were redecorated with Italian tile floors, earth-toned area rugs, painted wooden window shutters, custom artwork, sectional sleep sofas, and a dining/recreational table with teak captains’ chairs. The renovation stayed faithful to the Spanish hacienda style, incorporating the resort’s original 225-foot grand veranda, sweeping archways, and expansive lawn stretching to a private white sand beach.
Stlll, what really sets the Casa Marina apart from other luxury accommodations on the island is its location. Nestled in a quiet, residential neighborhood on the the south side of the island, the resort is within walking distance of famous DuVal Street, yet far enough away to not be impacted by the noise and general debauchery that so defines Key West. In fact, everything a guest could possibly desire is available right on the premises. Water activities – jet ski rentals, scuba diving, snorkeling, boat charters, deep sea fishing expeditions, and a one-of-a-kind dolphin encounter experience – are can be booked at the private beach, and two oceanfront heated swimming pools are lined with plush chaise lounges and hammocks. Casa Marina also has three restaurants and an on-site massage studio that offers a full menu of beauty treatments ranging from Swedish massage to reflexology and aromatherapy.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, Casa Marina recently joined the Hilton family, which is dedicated to maintaining a level of service that would have made Henry Flagler proud.
Photo credits: Casa Marina Resort
Article by Barbara Webel at Hole In The Donut Travels