The days of “real” hotel room keys are long gone. Plastic key cards are now the norm. And RFID wristbands that function like keys, as well as technology that allows you to use your phone to unlock your door are on the rise. But what do you do when your room doesn’t have a key at all? My best advice: Relax!
In my travels around the Caribbean, I’ve stayed at a handful of resorts where guests aren’t given keys to their rooms unless they request them. At first, it seems like a bad idea. But consider this: Presuming you’ve tucked your valuables away in the safe (as every smart traveler should), what else is there for someone to steal while you’re away from the room? In my case, that’d be some damp swimwear and a maxi dress or two; not much of a haul! And when I’m in the room, I never rely solely on the lock to keep me safe; I always use the security latch, so that even if someone did have a key, they couldn’t enter the room.
Which leads me to conclude that in many cases, we might not need room keys at all. In fact, when a resort doesn’t have room keys, it tells me that they trust their staff and that they haven’t had any burglary or guest safety issues—which then makes it easier for me to relax and enjoy my stay. At a keyless resort I’m the most carefree version of myself, with one less thing to worry about losing somewhere between my bed and the beach.
Ready to go keyless? Here are some of my key-free Caribbean resorts. Which one would you or your clients want to check into?
Cap Juluca, A Belmond Hotel, Anguilla In the handful of times I’ve stayed at this getaway, I’ve never done anything more than sleep in my (albeit very plush) room. That’s because when your hotel is set on the dreamiest scallop of blinding white sand at Maundays Bay, you want to spend EVERY. WAKING. HOUR on it. No point having a key to a room you hardly use, right?!
Guana Island, British Virgin Islands This private-island resort really is private; walk-ins can’t just drop by for lunch or to bask on its seven beaches; that privilege is reserved for guests staying in its 18 suites and villas. The result: An intimate and exclusive (yet unstuffy) enclave, where I felt safe and secure during my stay, no key required.
Rosewood Little Dix Bay, British Virgin Islands I think there’s something really special about this Virgin Gorda retreat, founded by Laurence Rockefeller 59 years ago. Is it the top-notch service? The beach that somehow never feels crowded? The breakfast cocktail menu? It’s probably a combination of all those things, plus that fact that you never have to search for the key to any of its fancy-but-unfussy garden and beachfront suites.
Petit St Vincent, St Vincent and the Grenadines From my home in Miami it takes two planes, a golf cart and a boat to reach this tiny oasis, where the rum punch is strong and the breezes are gentle. The distance, limited WI-FI, and the fact that none of its 22 cottages have keys makes PSV feel exactly like the casual, away-from-it-all fantasy its designed it to be.