Though just a couple of miles from the heart of the Keys’ tourism, The Perry Hotel Key West is on Stock Island, a serene enclave with its own distinct character—and some epic marina views.
The Perry Hotel Key West opened to much fanfare in 2017, making Architecture Digest’s list of the “12 Best-Designed New Hotels to Open This Year,” alongside big-name developments such as The Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills and The Palace Hotel in Switzerland. And rest assured, the experience at The Perry Hotel is well worth the hype, from the chic design to the dog-friendly amenities to the sunset views over the harbor.
The hotel—built on a private marina in the Stock Island Marina Village, the largest deep-water marina in the Florida Keys—is part of the city of Key West, Fla. but located on the 600-acre Stock Island, a small, more artsy and residential enclave in the tourism-heavy region. Once an industrial area home to commercial fishermen and livestock (where the name “Stock Island” came from), Stock Island’s waterfront real estate has been growing in popularity as the next frontier of development in the region. But it’s also just a quick 15-minute drive from the heart of Key West.
The breezy, reclaimed vibe of the hotel lobby (consider the wall of boat propellers arranged on the wall behind the front desk) is carried out in The Perry Hotel’s 100 rooms. Each is spacious and comes with balcony—some overlooking the saltwater lagoon, others overlooking the marina and pool. Some even have outdoor showers.
Carefully crafted touches, like wood-paneled headboards and flooring the color of seawater and driftwood, offer a sense of place and encourage repose. But perhaps there’s no better place to relax than in one of the hammocks beside the pool, overlooking the blue waters and sea of high-end yachts dockside.
With the option of two restaurants at The Perry Hotel, American coastal comfort food is at your fingertips for every meal. Walk into Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen & Bar, adjacent to the hotel lobby, and you’ll step over the iconic “write drunk, edit sober” words of the late Ernest Hemingway—one of Key West’s most notable residents—painted on the floor. The restaurant’s laid-back vibe is paired with standout, classic Key West cuisine from Executive Chef Kalen Fortuna, whose love of fishing is evident in the menu full of fresh-caught delicacies served all day long, from the lobster benedict for breakfast to the snapper on the half shell tacos for dinner.
For casual bites after a day on the water or by the pool, stop by the Salty Oyster Dockside Bar & Grill, just steps away from the dock. There you’ll find po’boys, burgers, oysters, and a suite of frozen concoctions.
If you want a taste of authentic Stock Island cuisine (and a feel for what the Lower Keys were like before nightlife took over), head to Hogfish Bar & Grill, an open-air seafood spot on the shrimp docks. Its namesake hogfish sandwich comes smothered in Swiss cheese, onions, and mushrooms, while the tuna nachos and creamy lobster bisque are crowd favorites.
When the backyard of the hotel is a marina, there’s no limit to the amount of available entertainment on the water. For kayaking without the crowds, arrange a trip with Namaste Eco Excursions, which will take you away from the bustle of the islands to the quieter areas of refuge. For a fishing adventure, let Y Knots Charters or Key West Florida Fishing—trusted captains and guides around the Stock Island Marina—bring you to the best spots.
And if you’ve never tried paddleboard yoga, it’s time to head out on the water with Lazy Dog, where the spot around the mangroves is undoubtedly the most scenic place you’ve ever practiced your plank.
Of course, for that iconic Key West experience, grab a taxi and head to Duval Street, the heart of the region’s tourism. During the day, take a stroll or leisurely bike ride through the historic district and admire the rows of wooden, pastel-colored homes with wrap-around verandas with colorful shutters. Come night, enjoy the countless bars and restaurant—and plenty of people watching. Then after your share of rum runners, leave the fray and head back to The Perry Hotel, where you can fall asleep to the sound of palm trees swaying outside your window.
All photos provided by The Perry Hotel Key West.
This article originally appeared in the winter 2018 issue of Carolina Bride magazine.