There’s about to be a new babe in town—jaw-dropping, head-turning kind of babe. You’ll have to wait until late spring for her grand entrance—and I’m telling you, this is going to be a debut not soon forgotten—but I’ve got a sneak peek here, and you’ll want to take notes, because clients are going to be hounding you for a chance to stay at this new Key Largo beauty: Playa Largo Resort & Spa, an Autograph Collection hotel.
A couple of weeks ago, I headed down to Key Largo (a short drive from Miami) to see how Playa Largo—the first new build in Key Largo in more than 20 years—was shaping up before her late-April/early May opening. I tell you, this property, which is being built on what was once, back in the 1800s, a pineapple plantation, is going to have tongues wagging. It’s stunning—and although it broke ground back in March 2014, it’s taken a long time, just like good wine, to truly take shape, and one of the reasons for that is because the management is being extremely eco-conscious (this is the Florida Keys, after all, and it’s all about protecting the area’s ecological diversity).
Playa Largo Resort & Spa, as Mark Calibo, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing, says, “has taken on the flavor that’s indigenous to the area.” So clients can expect lots of greenery surrounding the property—in fact, after the Playa Largo team conducted detailed and time-consuming land surveys, which included studying the area’s butterfly species, it subsequently created a nature trail for guests to enjoy the winged beauties. And, of course, the architecture also honors the Florida Keys and the Deep South, with tin roofs and lots of balconies (like you’d see in Key West, for example).
Located on 14.5 secluded beachfront acres, the property features 167 luxury rooms and suites with unobstructed Florida Bay views; 10 private, bi-level bungalows; and one 2-story, 3-bedroom beach house with private pool. There’s a handful of culinary offerings, including waterfront seafood dining at Sol by the Sea, located in a former boathouse; La Marea traditional steakhouse; Las Olas Ceviche Bar, located off the lobby; and the poolside Sand Bar, as well as 24-hour room service. And that last bit about 24-hour room service shouldn’t be disregarded, because in lieu of the standard in-room desk, the guestrooms at Playa Largo have a dining table…and Calibo even showed us how those dining tables can be rolled out to the guestroom’s spacious terrace—in the Keys, it’s all about alfresco dining.
A few reasons we’re gaga over this property:
- Take a look at that beach house—it’s ideal for your multigenerational bookings or even very intimate weddings (up to 60 guests). Per night rates for the Beach House are approximately $4,500 per night.
- The standard guestrooms are gorgeous and spacious (approximately 432 sq. ft.) with a subtle nod to the surrounding nautical theme and done up in understated elegance. Rates range from approximately mid-$200s to $500 per night, depending on time of year, although the Keys, you should know, have continuous seasons.
- At La Marea guests can opt for wine tasting, while at Sol by the Sea there’s going to be an after-hours rum bar. At Sand Bar, offering lighter fares, there’ll be a sunset ritual accompanied by the hotel’s signature cocktail.
- The 6-room Ocean Spa will feature three pedicure thrones; a couple’s room; the treatments will incorporate organic ingredients; and kids’ services will be available.
- There will be a kids club for ages 5 to 12 that includes activities such as fishing off the pier, nature hikes, and coconut bowling. Oh, and mom and dad can opt for a parents night out. That said, Calibo mentioned that 60 to 65 percent of guests will be couples.
- The resort will host the Humphrey Bogart Film Festival every October.
- The wedding lawn, which is over 8,000 sq. ft., accommodates up to 400 guests, while the bayside beach can hold up to 120 wedding guests.
- VIPs can arrive at the resort via seaplane or boat.
- There’s no front desk; guests are greeted by a staff member and check-in via iPads. Speaking of which, guest iPads connect to all of the onsite restaurants via Open Table, and guests can book tours on iPads as well.
We can’t wait to see the final product. For more eye candy, visit playalargoresort.com.