01 of 05
Will Amara Cay Resort on Islamorada Be Your Kind of Florida Keys Getaway?
Amara Cay: Stylish yet Relaxed Small Resort on Trendy Islamorada
Amara Cay is a welcoming, 110-room resort on Islamorada in the Florida Keys.
• The previously existing property was renovated top-to-bottom and reopened as Amara Cay in 2015
• This is not a super-deluxe resort. But it is very nice, with good-looking but not over-the-top rooms and a wonderful restaurant
• The property is small, with a pool, beach, tiki bar, and dive shop
• However, the resort has three sister properties that guests are invited (and transported) to, with bigger beaches, bars, and more
Where Is Islamorada?
Islamorada is a key (or "cay") -- an island -- in the Florida Keys.
• Islamorada is the island name to drop right now in the Keys. Why? It's the setting (and true star) of the hot Netflix series, Bloodline
Reasons to Go to Amara Cay
This resort presents an easy getaway.
• Islamorada has a lot of Keys flavor -- but not a lot of the distance. It's one-third down the Keys, and driving time from Miami is under an hour and a half
• The resort is a comfortable mix of traditional and trendy. It has Old Keys flavor (an outdoor rum bar and a dive shop on-property) along with New Keys chic (sunny, blue-accented rooms, excellent dining, and a seductive party atmosphere on weekends)
One Thing You Should Know About Amara Cay: The Beach Does not Lead into the Ocean
Let me explain. Amara Cay is indeed set on the Atlantic Ocean.
But like many Keys resorts, Amara Cay has a beach that does not lead into the water.
• I mean that the resort does have a sand beach. but this part of Islamorada is set on a giant block of coral that sits higher than the waterline
• So the beach is set on a concrete platform that is like a wharf
• You have to climb down a few ladder steps to get into the water
• Amara Cay's free shuttle brings guests, in minutes, to sister resorts with wade-in beaches
Take This Quiz to See If You'll Like Amara Cay
This may be your ideal Florida Keys getaway if:
• You want a Keys road-trip destination a lot closer than Key West
• You're coming down as a couple or as girls' or guys' getaway
• You like smallish boutique hotels
• You were hoping for a traditional Keys mood in a modern hotel
• You like contemporary guest rooms that feel uncluttered and refreshing
• You're a foodie who requires a very good restaurant on-property
• You're into snorkeling, scuba, or deep-sea fishing, and will use the on-site dive shop
• You'd like the option of a hotel shuttle to affiliated properties minutes away
Amara Cay may not prove your favorite Keys hotel if:
• You want the ease of all-inclusive pricing
• You’re looking for a glamorous ultra-luxury resort
• You like big resorts with a huge variety of dining and entertainment, golf, and so on
• You want everything on-property and don't want to take a shuttle to a sister resort
• You crave a lazy, quiet island getaway away from it all
• On the other hand, you seek a late-night resort (the bars here close at 10)
• You need a place that caters to kids (they're permitted here, but there isn't much for them
• You want to bring your pet (you will not encounter a pet-friendly hotel policy)
• At your hotel, you want to wade into the ocean, not climb down a ladder to the water
See what the rooms are like at Amara Cay >>Continue to 2 of 5 below.
02 of 05
Guest Rooms and Suites in Amara Cay on Islamorada in the Florida Keys
Guest Accommodations at Amara Cay
The resort is the size of a boutique hotel, with 110 guestrooms and suites.
• The resort is compact. It's not a sprawling, impersonal resort where you can get lost
What Amara Cay Rooms Are Like
Rooms are very appealing: good-looking and intelligently laid out.
• The look is modern and uncluttered, with South Florida hues of white and sea-blue, and natural touches
• Beds are super-comfy, with premium linens
• There's plenty of closet, drawer, and counter space
A Room or Suite at Amara Cay?
Guest accommodations come in three styles.
King guestrooms are quite compact, with a premium pillow-top king bed.
The couch turns into a sleeper sofa.
Deluxe suites are much roomier.
• They have a big living room with a dining area containing a diign island with stools, a small fridge, and a coffeemaker
• The suite's bedroom has a king bed, good-sized closet and dressers
• The living room has an ocean view; the bedroom has no window
Accessible rooms are designed for enhanced mobility and safety.
Amenities in All Amara Cay Rooms
All guest accoms offer these niceties, covered by a daily resort fee:
• Fast and free wifi
• Coffeemaker and coffee
• Bottled water
• High-end bath toiletries from Europe's Nuxe brand
• Safe in closet
• Resort shuttle to sister hotels
Gym at Amara Cay
A compact but complete indoor fitness room is open as of mid-December 2015.
• Entry is 24-hour with your keycard.
No Club Floor at this Resort
There is no club floor or club lounge at Amara Cay.
• Oceanfront rooms are at other end of a long corridor from the elevator. I found that taking the stairs (at least descending) saved a lot of time.
The rooms are fine but the dining's fabulous at Amara Cay >>Continue to 3 of 5 below.
03 of 05
Delicious Dining and Drinking at Amara Cay on Islamorada in the Florida Keys
Outstanding Eats at Amara Cay
The resort has one restaurant and two bars. Fortunately, the restaurant is terrific, and you'll want to have more than one meal here.
Oltremare Ristorante for Delicious Dining & Drinking
Amara Cay's signature eatery, Oltremare, is a modern Italian restaurant. It's open for breakfast, dinner, and weekend brunch. Its bar is open all day.
• Chef Darío Olivera cooks with an emphasis on farm-to-table and sea-to-table freshness
• The tongue-twister name means "other sea" (the Mediterranean; you're on the Atlantic)
• The restaurant is airy, spare, and contemporary in design, with white walls and lots of wood accents
• The mood is sexy-evening-out, and guests dress resort-elegant to dine here
• The menu is an appealing mix of trattoria (pasta, personal pizzas, meatballs, tiramisu) and Keys seafood shack (fried shrimp, cracked conch, pan-seared snapper)
• See Oltremare's website and menus
Please Do Not Miss Brunch at Oltremare Ristorante
I enjoyed my Italian dinner at Oltremare. But what won my heart here was the unforgettable brunch.
• I love Cobb salad, and this Key Cobb was magnificent: soft Florida Gem lettuce, a lush half Hess avocado, heirloom tomato, tons of thick-cut bacon, and, over it all, buttermilk dressing, creamy Gorgonzola, and a poached egg.
• This dish was off the charts in visual appeal, flavor, and contrast. And I savored it with...
Brunch Heaven: The Bloody Mary Cart at Oltremare's Brunch
If you love a good Bloody Mary and/or customizing your drinks, you will fall for the Bloody Mary Cart, an amazing weekend feature of Oltremare Ristorante. (See it on Slide 5.)
When you order the Bloody, you get a massive pour of Russian Standard vodka (enough for two or even three Bloodys.)
The wooden cart then comes to you, laden with Bloody fixin's. Amongst them:
• Several types of tomato juice
• Numerous hot sauces and steak sauces
• Pickled peppers, horseradish
• Celery, sour pickles, pickled string beans
• Five kinds of olives (cocktail, smoked, and stuffed: with jalapeño, garlic, blue cheese)
• Lemons, limes, orange sections
• And thick applewood-smoked bacon rashers
The restaurant's indoor bar has it all: interesting global wines, spirits, craft beer, and creative house cocktails.
• It's open all day and well into the evening, for your vacation needs
Sparrows Rum Bar at Amara Cay Resort
Amara Cay's outdoor bar, open from lunch through late-night, is named for Johnny Depp's raffish privateer in Pirates of the Caribbean.
• This attractively weathered wooden shack is beside the resort pool, with a view of the ocean
• You can sit at the bar (like Jack Sparrow would do), or relax with your drink at a table, or right on the beach, or in the hot tub
• The wide rum selection includes artisanal rums made for sipping straight-up
• A variety of rum cocktails include extra-boozy Rumrunners, mojitos, daiquiris, Cuba Libres, Dark and Stormy, and more
• The bar's respectably-sized food menu comes from Oltremare's kitchen and is very good
Room Service at Amara Cay
Room service from Oltremare's kitchen is available between 6:30 a.m. and 11 p.m.
Other Dining Options at the Sister Resorts Nearby
Guests can take the resort's free shuttle to nearby sister resorts, and enjoy their food and beverage offerings. These include:
• Pelican Cove's Cabana Bar and Café and its Wild & Lime patio bar and grill
• Postcard Inn's Jaws Raw Bar, Shula's2 casual steakhouse, and Holiday Isle Tiki Bar, birthplace of the Rumrunner (a rum punch that arrives with a shooter of pure rum; two can be dangerous)
Beach, pool, and aquatic activities at Amara Cay >>Continue to 4 of 5 below.
04 of 05
Things to Do at Amara Cay Resort
Amara Cay's Beach
As described on the first slide of this article, Amara Cay's beach...
• Is a sand beach, but it rests on a platform several feet above the water, as is common in the Florida Keys
• The beach is sizable, offering loungers, hammocks, and the shade of umbrellas and palm trees
Amara Cay's Pool
The pool is large and surrounded by lounge chairs.
• The pool is filled with fresh water with no chlorine-like odor
• A big hot tub beside the pool is sociable, with bar service
Sea Monkeys Dive/Boating Shop at Amara Cay
The on-site Sea Monkeys facility is a major source of aquatic recreation for Amara Cay guests. If offers:
• Scuba-diving and snorkeling lessons and refresher sessions, certifications, gear rental, divemaster-led snorkel and dive excursions (group or private boat); the typical excursion is six participants aboard Sea Monkeys' 27-foot May Craft cruiser
• Deep-sea and coastal fishing needs: equipment, boats (crewed or charter)
• Kayaks, jetskis, etc.
Amara Cay Lets Guests Use Its Sister Resorts
Another perk here: Amara guests have complete access to the beaches, pools, dining, and water activities at sister resorts. They're just a couple of minutes away via a free shuttle van. Here's what's complimentary at:
• La Siesta: kayaks, bikes, fishing equipment
• Pelican Cove: sand beach, kayaks and standup paddles, floating platform for diving and lounging
How to find out more about Amara Cay >>Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
Connect with Amara Cay Resort on Islamorada in the Florida Keys
Connect with Amara Cay Resort for a Florida Keys Getaway
• Amara Cay Resort website
• By phone 305.664.0073
• On Facebook
• On Twitter (@amaracayresort)
• On Instagram (@amaracayresort)
• Amara Cay Resort, 80001 Overseas Highway (Mile Marker 80), Islamorada, FL 33036
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