Casa Morada

Islamorada, Florida Keys, United States Book from Book from £245 per night

Hit the hammock island-style at this laid-back hideaway, tucked into a secluded cove of the Florida Keys
Set in the mangroves of Upper Key's Islamorada, the most scenic part of the archipelago, this 16-suite boutique hotel is comfy, romantic, tranquil and refreshingly eclectic. As I leave the open-air reception, my feet barely touch the sand before I'm in relaxation mode. Better yet, the hotel’s many nooks and crannies make it utterly charming: a hidden pond here, a lovers' bench there, a lone hammock at the end of the pier…

Just 90 minutes south of Miami, this 'Village of Islands' has a unique atmosphere. Days are spent swimming in the pool, snorkeling in the six-foot shallows, or kayaking through dense mangroves in search of manatees. On a particularly special evening, we take a spectacular sunset sail, departing from the hotel’s own dock. But most evenings we’re sipping sundowners on dry land, before cycling over to the harbour for some seafood and live music. When we get back, we sip nightcaps from the sheltered daybed on our veranda, before retreating to a peaceful sleep lulled by distant waves. And we awake to another perfect day. Bliss.

Highs

  • Stunning 1.7-acre bayside location, with a wooden bridge to a private island (pool, loungers and gazebo bar); all just 90 minutes from Miami
  • The hotel has a private dock and 30-foot Skipjack sailboat; snorkeling trips, sunset sails and sailing lessons are available
  • Airy, spacious suites with handcrafted Mexican furnishings and modern Italian accents; generous private outdoor spaces, some with Jacuzzis
  • Exceptionally efficient and friendly staff dedicated to fulfilling any request - expect a welcome drink on arrival
  • Complimentary snorkelling equipment, kayaks, paddleboards, bikes and yoga

Lows

  • No on-site beach, but there is a pool, plus you can swim and snorkel from the hotel’s private island
  • Limited dining provisions: a light breakfast, all-day snacks and no dinner. Luckily, there are excellent restaurants nearby
  • In-room décor is eclectic and relatively understated – to some, it might feel overpriced, but you're paying for the magical setting and unique atmosphere
  • The breakfast veranda AstroTurf strikes the wrong note in these beautiful natural surroundings, but it keeps the sand from clumping

Best time to go

Balmy December to April is the best time to visit, and March is the most popular month in Florida with near perfect weather. Note that other parts of south Florida can be overrun during March with spring breakers but Islamorada is the most sophisticated Key and thankfully free from such high spirits. Hurricane-season runs from June/July to November, and it can get very hot and sticky from June to September.

Our top tips

This is a place to relax, take it island-slow and listen to Bob Marley, so plan for at least one full day at Casa Morada to hang out like a sloth. Due to its central Upper Keys location and homely ambiance, it is also a great base to explore the rest of the Keys. Ask for recommendations from Casa Morada’s concierge. Four nights would be the perfect length for a stay here, giving you plenty of time to chill out and discover.

Great for...

Beach
Eco
Great Outdoors
Honeymoon
Wedding
  • Boutique Resort
  • 16
  • Breakfast only (+ restaurants nearby)
  • Over 16s welcome
  • Open all year
  • Heated Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
  • Yoga
  • Bocce Court
Room: Sun Seaview Suite

Rooms

In line with Casa Morada’s relaxed tropical vibe, the 16 spacious suites are intimate, comfy and breezy. Views are of the sea or garden. Cool Terrazzo floors sit beneath one-of-a-kind furnishings, many handcrafted by the previous owner - a talented Miami-based furniture designer. The emphasis is on personal touches, such as welcome notes, blooming orchids and a complimentary half bottle of wine.

The Sea View Suites are right on the water with spectacular Florida Bay views. Your private balcony or garden is perfect for watching technicolor sunsets and doing a little stargazing. Our first-floor Shangri-La Suite had a romantic slipper tub. The ground-floor Iguana Suite is the largest, with a separate living room, a Jacuzzi tub, a walk-in shower and a private garden.

The Garden Suites are tucked into the lush tropical landscaping. All have separate living rooms and private terraces, some also have outdoor showers. The upper suites have screened balconies – treat yourself to one with an open-air Jacuzzi tub.

Each suite features a queen or kingsize beds, separate sitting area, air con, yoga mats, board games and a thoughtfully stocked minibar (non-alcoholic drinks are free). Bathrooms are simple but well-designed, with robes and heavenly Malin & Goetz toiletries.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Coffee/tea making (on request)
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Iron
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

A complimentary continental buffet breakfast is offered on the covered white wooden veranda, amid stunning Florida Bay views. While basic, the fresh juices, seasonal fruit, bagels and homemade croissants, yoghurts and cereals may be all you need before heading out for the day. That said, many may feel a breakfast panini filled with ham, cheddar and a fried egg is also needed - additional charge.

Snacks can be ordered to your room or poolside anytime. Choose from fresh fruit platters, salads, soups, pizzas, paninis and house-made gelato. The island’s gazebo bar offers fabulous cocktail-hour sundowners, many made with sake. Snag the hammock for that tropical island holiday feel.

For dinner (and heartier lunches), dine out at a local Florida Keys eatery. A stone’s throw away in the little marina, Lorelei Cabana Bar is Islamorada’s landmark sunset spot. It serves basic no-frills seafood dishes, accompanied by live music and cocktails. A short bike-ride away, hip beach bar Morada Bay is perfect for sampling island classics – try the hearty seafood chowder and iconic Key Lime pie. We also tried Ziggie & Mad Dog’s. The steaks are legendary but we were craving fresh jumbo Key West pink shrimp: sautéed, baked with herb breadcrumbs and served in the most divine champagne beurre blanc.

Tired of burgers and breaded shrimps? Enjoy some French-fusion fine dining at Pierre's, a historic plantation mansion widely acclaimed to be one of the Keys’ finest restaurants.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Snacks
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Laze all day by the pool, sipping a steady supply of lemon zingers, then enjoy the stunning sunset over Florida Bay
  • Explore the only living coral reef in the US on a private snorkelling trip in the shallow waters of the bay or kayak through the dense mangroves to look for elusive manatees
  • Enjoy an invigorating complimentary yoga class, offered 3 mornings per week
  • Bike to nearby beach bars, or play a game of Bocce ball; all equipment is free to borrow
  • Sail away! Captain Bill was born and raised in Islamorada and can arrange day sails, sunset sails, even sailing lessons, while sharing his knowledge of the delicate ecosystem in this part of the Keys
  • Never "Gone fishing"? This is the self-proclaimed “Sportfishing Capital of the World”. If you'd rather just watch the fish, take a glass-bottom boat tour
  • Swim with the dolphins, sea lions or rays at the Dolphin Research Center in Marathon, or go kiteboarding at Annie’s Beach
  • Head out to wacky Key West to see Hemingway House and the pretty pastel wooden houses and art galleries that line the town’s lanes, with friendly locals greeting you from their porches
  • Experience the serenity and beauty of the Everglades plus great birding (1.5-hour boat-ride away)
  • Indulge in a heavenly in-room massage or head to Cheeca Lodge for a full spa experience (3/4 mile away)
  • Tennis courts are nearby, lessons available

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Bocce
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Museums / galleries
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Sailing
  • Scuba diving
  • Scuba diving courses
  • Shopping / markets
  • Snorkelling
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Tennis coaching
  • Well being
  • Wildlife
  • Windsurfing
  • Yoga

Kids

Casa Morada welcomes guests of 16 years and over only.

Family friendly accommodation:

Extra Beds Available

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 6 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Rooms
8/10
Food
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
9/10
Overall

Loved it!! Think beach-y boutique getaway, not glamorous 5 star hotel, but with all of the essentials and a beautiful jetty out onto the ocean. Idyllic.

10/10, , March 2016

It's a beautiful, relaxing hotel. We had a wonderful few days there and make good use of the complimentary bicycles, kayaks and snorkelling gear. Breakfast is fine, and the pool and bar areas are brilliant. The staff are all friendly and welcoming.

10/10, , February 2016

We had a wonderful stay relaxing with the incredible views in a super peaceful and stylish environment. The staff were very friendly and helpful and all in all it was a fantastic few days. Casa Morada and Pierre's were beautiful and great food. <br> <br>

10/10, , October 2015

Very expensive for what it is. No food other than a continental breakfast. Huge stains on the bed linen. At over 500 USD a night this is really unacceptable. The staff is lovely though.

7/10, , February 2015

Stunning views, can get a bit windy so take a jumper. Staff are lovely. Free weekend yoga sessions are a bonus. The accomodation is expensive though. We ate several times at the local restaurant Lorelei - very good value. Taking one of the complimentary bikes and cycling to Robbies Marina is a good trip and it's worth a day trip to Key West. <br>Great holiday - thanks.

8/10, , February 2015

Lovely spot, helpful staff. We used bicycles, kayaks, paddleboards all quite successfully. We only wished the property were larger to have more space to stroll around. Breakfast excellent.

10/10, , January 2015

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Rates for Casa Morada