09 Aug

Key West, Florida! Home to the "Southern Most point in the Continental US". It is also home to the Hemingway House Museum, real Treasure stores, multiple "best seafood restaurant" claims, booze cruises, fishing tours, and of course, night life. Let me first start this #travelblog post with the fact that I was traveling with my children (both under 5 years old). Yes, I saw that raised eyebrow! Key West is not typically a "child friendly" location as most of the adults going are there to drink, bar hop, eat, party, and maybe go out on a boat.  Everyone in our hotel said they left their kids at home as they saw us pass by.

Well, my husband and I do not have grandparents that live nearby or are willing to travel to keep our children for us to go off somewhere on our own. As a matter of fact, both of our mothers keep our sibling's children for them to go on vacations or multiple days in a row but have never kept ours for that amount of time, ever. We are not the "favorite children", neither us are. So, our children go with us everywhere we go. To be honest, I would just assume let my children be world travelers anyway.  I had family members we saw in Key West (sans their children) and we just kept on walking and did not even saw hello. Mainly because I think they were supposed to be "hiding" the fact that they were even there. 

If people go so far out of their own way to not even post about a trip they are on or share that they are there, if I see you there, I will just keep on walking and pretend you are also "not there". You're Welcome.

So let' get to this review shall we! We stayed at the #Hyatt Centric hotel. It is one of the only beachfront hotels in the area and is currently a 4 star hotel. My husband also informed me that it made the #pointsguy list of top hotels in America to stay at. So let me go through my own (unbiased and unpaid for) review of this specific Hyatt location. 

Let's start with THE ROOM. Our room we had was a 2 queen, ocean view room. Note the bathroom, while nice, did not have a tub. I am actually ok with this as I secretly hate tubs in hotel rooms anyway. However, for my children who were running around in this walk in shower they did fall quite a few times inside the shower. So if you too are crazy enough to take your children on vacation with you, just note the shower situation for the smalls. There was only 1 sink, which for the space on the counter there could have easily been 2. This was not something that bothered me, but it may some people. The toilet area is an open space behind the wall to the left, there is not a "door" to that nook in the bathroom. You have to close a sliding door at the front of the bathroom that shuts off the entire sink, shower, and toilet area. This could have been something easily added to the toilet area - a 2nd sliding door and in my review is something that Hyatt should considering adding into their rooms. The room itself had plenty of space. We got free water while in the room and plenty of towels. We stayed 3 nights and with that had a notification that we did not qualify for housekeeping of our room (but let me tell yall, they knocked on our door at 9 am sharp EVERY single morning). Not something that I appreciated. 

Additionally, we opted for the room with the view at check in and the photo below shows our view from the room during the day and also during the evening at sunset. My husband said that being able to view the sunset from his air conditioned room (or small porch) was worth the $35/night extra they had us pay at check in. Now, I believe if you pay for the view in advance you pay more. They only offer it at check in if it is something that they have available still because others did not opt in for it. 

Note that this "ocean view" from our balcony is overlooking the Lagerheads beach next door to the resort. Something also important to note about this is that everyone from this public beach/restaurant come over to the Hyatt resort. You read that correctly. There is a walk up by the jet ski rental area right next to the small beach behind the Hyatt where all of these people walk over and use the beach, pool, bars, and restaurants at the Hyatt.  So, for me personally, if I am paying to be at a resort and to have all the amenities that come with it, my expectation is that the general public is not also just walking in and over to also use it all. We had a woman swimming with her grandchild in our pool that said they came over from the RV park (?) It was not just the walkway by the back of the Hyatt being used but everyday we say the general public walking with towels and bags from outside locations through our parking lot and coming to the pool and back beach area without even being guests. This is something that I understand the Hyatt wants the bar business, but for the paying guests who are staying to not be able to get a piece of pie or a drink from the beach side bar because of other people there taking up all the room, is an issue. 

Another thing to note is that there are not any kayak or paddle boards for use or rental from this location. Only jet ski rentals. There are also a few fishing boats out back by the swimming area that teenagers kept throwing their hooks in right next to people swimming. There was a nurse shark and her baby out back the entire time we were there, and barracuda in the water as well (none of which bothered us). At sunset some very large red and green fish could be seen by the rock and everyday there were multiple small tropical (bright colored) fish in the rocks where you enter the water. 

Now for the "beach" and "pool" aspect of this hotel. First, we heard from many people that this was "the best beach in Key West". Which in my opinion was a little disheartening. For the reasons I will go through below. 

First I want everyone to note the rocks in the photo. You DO need water shoes to be able to get across this entire area and out into the actual water. Note to Hyatt, multiple people commented on how the steps need to be extended out further into the water and across this rock area. There is also a random pipe that is in this area that not just I tripped and fell but I personally witnessed 3 other people trip on this and go rolling into the rock/water. These rocks also house small tiny tropic fish, so if you have a child that likes to snorkel, or you do, you can snorkel in this small area and see quite a few pretty fish. It's nothing to cancel your snorkel tour over, but it was sufficient for my 5 year old!

If you have bad knees or you have trouble climbing, the step down into the water (especially during low tide) may be a little much for you, as well as the climb out of the water. There was some lighters thrown out into the water as well as fishing hooks (likely from the fishing boats that pull in and empty out their buckets right at the small pier you see). We also had a woman come and continuously light up her cigarettes' at the bottom of the steps to smoke.  There is the 2 chair platform out in the water to sit, but you do have to get in the water and then climb the ladder to claim it as "yours". When boats come by the waves will push you up against the rocky area, so you need to be careful and aware of not just boats going by but also all of the jetski renters that take off from right out back as well. 

Please do not get me wrong! We walked out to the small approximate 12 chair beach each day and got chairs and took some wonderful photos. The ocean water was also very refreshing and slightly cool and crystal clear. So you can physically see anything swimming near you (if that helps you get into the water easier!). The pool water at the hotel was like bath water. There was a hot tub area that was next to the pool but the pool felt like the hot tub water was free flowing over into it. I did not get into the hot tub because some of the other guests told me it was scalding hot. 

The pool seemed to stay crowded because the bar (with both drinks and food) was right there and they often had live music as well. If you weren't enjoying the music from Lagerheads next door, the hotel itself also had music. So no need to bring your JBL clip to stream your own music at the beach. There are servers that walk around the pool area, not so much the beach area, but you can order and they will bring it to your chair. Our lady's name was Lisa and she was running around everywhere to try and serve everyone. Another important "hotel note" is the Roosters. Yes, roosters. They will jump up and steal anything you leave sitting out so make sure you eat it, or toss if before you get up!

There are restrooms by the elevators that you can use from the pool and beach area, however I would recommend just going back to your room. They were hit and miss on cleanliness and paper for use. With all the people that were always around the bar area the hotel needs to consider increasing the servers that also go and check on those in the beach area, or offering a quick buy area. A lot of people were asking for ice cream and just a soda. If a small self service area could be set up somewhere - even with machines, this would likely make guests (and the public that is also there) happy. There were a few ice machines, usually on the lower floors, so if you're searching for ice just call the front desk and ask them where you nearest machine is from your room. 

Speaking of service, let's talk about the internet service at this location. I was scheduled to do an Amazon Livestream while I was in Key West. My husband and kids went out onto the balcony and I started my stream. Well that did not last long. Even after we paid for the upgraded internet. We did not select the upgrade when we first got there and had to call IT 3 different times for help. Ultimately, it never worked. They did not charge us because it never worked. 

For my Lilly Pulitzer lovers reading this, the front desk staff all wears Lilly. The Key West Lilly store is also across the street, literally at the end of the parking lot. This location offers beer, champagne, or water to guests as well. So if you have a husband in tow, just tell him to go sit down in their chairs and drink a beer! 

There is a Spa at the Hotel, Jala. While I was there it said they were only taking reservations via phone or email at that time. I never got a return call to the voicemail I left for them about scheduling for a massage during my stay, so I can only assume they were booked. 

Now that I have gone through some of the annoyances or things to improve at this location I do want to talk about some of the aspects we truly did enjoy. There was a restaurant next to the beach that we had brunch at on our last day and it was fantastic. The waitress was friendly and also very good with the children.  It is called Shor, and you can sit and enjoy a nice air conditioned view of the water. Note I keep mentioning air conditioning throughout this blog post. Well, in Key West if you were planning on having cute hair and fancy makeup, you may as well forget that and figure out how to go without makeup and have tied up hair and still feel like you look nice. I live in South Florida and I even felt like I was melting the entire time in Key West. 

This hotel is also only 2 streets away from Duval Street (where the majority of shopping and restaurants are located). There is a Kermit's (key lime pie) right down the street, as well as the Conch Train tour, brunch restaurants, and CVS in case you forgot something and need it. The location was great. We were melting like I stated and it would have been really nice if the hotel would have offered the cart rides to and from restaurants, even for a fee! When we stopped and asked the front desk did they offer this, they told my husband "sir duval street is just two streets over, you can walk" . Well, walking with kids 5 and under means a wagon or stroller and let me be the first to tell everyone Duval street (and really no food place) has anywhere to park/leave a stroller to go in. The first night we opted to just go sit out by the beach and have bar food. We cancelled our reservation to The Gran after we saw the lack of parking a wagon at this location. The next day we attempted the A&B Lobster house because it was right next door as well as the Conch Republic. Make reservations in advance! Trust Me!

I hope this review helps someone determine if this is the hotel and location for them or not. Again, we travel as a family so my reviews are based on having 4 people in a room and catering to all 4 individuals. I also note any specific complaints or likes while we are there to include. Therefore I do want to highlight the Turtle sanctuary at the front of the hotel that my children LOVED!

- Jennifer


Amazon Influencer - Creator


Find out Family outfits on Amazon at the link above and on Like to Know.it

* The email will not be published on the website.