Key West, Florida
Tropical, $$ (From $259)
At the southernmost tip of Florida, just 94 miles from Cuba, all sorts of influences have washed up on Key West's shores — remnants of the Spanish settlement of Ponce De León in 1521, the British colonists, shipwrecked sailors, fishermen, Ernest Hemingway, Jimmy Buffett, and cruise-shippers. It's a place where many have watched the world spin by with panache from the front porch. Two-storied and gleaming white, The Marker is on the list, too. The first contemporary hotel built in Old Town in nearly twenty years, the 96-room hotel proves there's always room for new style in Key West. Stacked, villa-style complexes are set around a central courtyard, lushly planted with palm trees, with many overlooking the main pool (one of three). A relaxed lobby showcases the hotel's various style influences with rattan and bamboo furniture, eclectic fabrics, local art books, and modern geometric wall hangings. The island's historic seaport and lively Duval Street are just beyond the doorstep, but you would have no idea by the insular ambience. Star-lit evenings are capped off with floral libations from the outdoor bar and live music by the pool.
At a Glance
The Vibe: Sweet seaside escape.
Standout Detail: The hotel's rare tranquility despite its close proximity to Old Town's open container hullabaloo.
This Place Is Perfect For: Travelers who flock south for the winter, couples and families who want a weekend of sunbathing and solitude.
Rooms: 96 spacious rooms and suites overlook the verdant interior courtyard and pool, each with its own private balcony and bistro table. The decor is modern yet still beach-y, with sunny dining nooks included in the suites, as well as kitchenettes and outdoor lounge spaces. Extra-large bathrooms have separate soaking tubs, rain showers, and tropical local bath products. The alfresco ambience feels more like a Caribbean villa rather than a resort hotel room — another big plus.
On Site: Three salt-water pools ensure you'll nearly have at least one all to yourself (one is for adults only). There are private cabanas at each and poolside service. Practice your dolphin down dogs with aqua yoga classes taught every Saturday morning (space is limited to adhere to social-distancing protocols). Key West is known for its exceptional snorkeling and diving on the shallow coral reefs with crystal-clear visibility and warm waters. A free "discovery" scuba class in the pool is offered to each guest during their stay. (So cool!) From there, the hotel will arrange open-water classes with several nearby outfitters. Indoor amenities include a large fitness center, conference rooms, and relaxed lobby with a large communal table and strong WiFi for guests to sneak in a few emails before a day of fun in the sun.
Food + Drink: There's no indoor restaurant, but the outdoor covered Starboard poolside bar and grill offers an all-day menu of brick-oven pizzas, seafare club sandwiches, and the hotel's take on a frozen colada. In the mornings, find grab-and-go items in the lobby. With the hotel's proximity to a mile's worth of beach-side restaurants, guests won't miss a more extensive on-site dining scene.
Covid-19 Protocols: Temperature checks are conducted at check in. Face masks are required for all staff and guests in public spaces with high-trafficked areas regularly sanitized. Complimentary in-room health kits include face masks, sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes. The hotel is also offering free cancellations until June 30th, 2021.
What to Do Nearby
The Marker partners with Fury Water Adventures for all-day or half day catamaran tours, snorkeling, parasailing, and sunset cruises. While you'll spend little of your time in Key West not in a swimsuit (why would you?) Old Town and Mallory Square, famous for its nightly sunset celebration, are both a ten-minute walk from the hotel. For more on what to do, see, eat, and drink, check out Fathom's Eco-Friendly Guide to the Florida Keys.