A private island, Sunset Key Guest Cottages A Westin Resort, provides the best of both worlds – privacy, and a mere boatride away from all the action of mainland Key West.
It’s been said that no one is an island, but, hotels, are an altogether different matter. Sunset Key Guest Cottages A Westin Resort is the sort of place to disconnect from the rest of the world. Spread over 27 acres, the resort features two, three and four bedroom cottages with ocean or garden views designed to mimic traditional Key West architecture.
A small covered motor boat takes us from mainland at the Westin Key West to the shores of Sunset Key where we are immediately greeted by our personal concierge. Our three bedroom white cottage, ‘leeward’ is accented with varying green, yellow and blue trim contrasting the lush palms and Frangipani trees.
Mere minutes after settling in, the phone rings. “Is there a specific time that I can book your dinner for this evening?” asks our concierge. It is this sort of careful attention to service and detail that we will come to expect during our stay.
My friends and I settle in as if the cottage were our own private home – separate bedrooms and bathrooms, a spacious balcony and televisions in nearly every room provide privacy and give us enough space to have personal time. While every morning we convene in the upstairs kitchen and dining area to enjoy the fresh pastries, yogurt, fruit and orange juice that are delivered to our front porch. It’s a sort of warm hug that gets us geared up for our day. Afternoons are spent relaxing indoors sipping chilled wine and chatting in the living room.
Most days, the large pool, adjacent to our cottage is busy with guests wading in the water or laying on deck chairs. Other days we join young men playing volleyball on a spit of sand while or swim on the private beach.
One day, accompanied by one of my girlfriends, we book an appointment at The Spa at Sunset Key for an outstanding custom therapeutic massage. Though the spa is small, it maintains a high standard of amenities and services. We spend a few hours afterward luxuriating in its coziness.
Sunset Key gets its name from the unbelievable views of the fading sun. Latitudes, the island’s hallmark restaurant, is positioned to maximize the views of this daily ritual. This is the place to dine and watch the sunset. Every evening the restaurant is packed with couples, and large parties toting cameras to capture the moment when a sepia hued ocean framed by palm trees swallows the sun. Over the course of several evenings we try everything from key lime pie to Alaskan king crab in a Thai broth.
Another day for dinner, we stop at sister property The Westin adjoining Mallory Square for a light supper of shrimp bisque, sherry scented with garlic infused croutons and crawfish key lobster with roasted red potatoes, drawn butter, and grilled asparagus. It also happens give us another perspective on Key West’s famed sunset. From our table overlooking the ocean, we see crowds forming alongside the ocean walk. A French man coaxes cats to run through hoops has garnered a crowd keen on his slapstick humour, further down a vendor sells conch fritters, others sell handmade jewellry and crafts while on the water, a red sail ship is slowly coming into harbour. This is the beauty of Sunset Key Guest Cottages –choosing to be in the midst of the hullaballoo of Key West or in the silence of the private island.
On our last night, we take a stroll along the island, stopping at a small jetty where, across the water, the lights and music from a Key West nightclub are visible and we have our very own dance off. It’s as if we have the entire world to ourselves. At least, right now it seems like we have the whole island to ourselves.
This article originally appeared in the Winter 2014/15 issue of City Style and Living Magazine.