Tucked back off of US-1 around mile marker 82 in Islamorada is the Islander Resort. You can't miss the sign along the road. It's large and looks like it's been there since at least the 1960's. In fact, the "resort" is so 1960's and retro that it's the first motel I had been to in a very long time where you park your car right outside of your hotel room. You can literally almost drive right in. The room was clean and very spacious with a full kitchen, but with the bathroom sink practically in the kitchen, it felt more like a large studio apartment. And I would keep in mind that "resort" is what they call themselves. It's not to be confused with a real resort like Cheeca Lodge and Spa down the road.
The view from our room was very nice. Being on the first floor, I could walk right out the door and to an awaiting hammock.
It took a couple of minutes to find the pool area - this place is a sprawling sea of one-story hotel buildings - but we finally found it. We had to wind and weave our way past other buildings and lots of parking spaces marked with fish like the one below.
There are two pools and on the day we were there, one closed early due to a wedding reception that was taking place next door. I have to say, the pools were very, very nice and the landscaping was gorgeous. I could have stayed out there for hours!
Behind the pools is a small sandy beach and the Atlantic Ocean. The sand is the typical Keys coral sand. It's not super soft and isn't that much fun to walk on without shoes.
Laying out on the beach chairs was very nice. All you could hear were the sound of the palms rustling in the wind, the clanging of the sail boats just offshore and laughs of the sea birds as they scour the water for dinner before the sun goes down.
Out in the water were a couple of boats that were part of the hotel's water sports collection. The Islander has a little hut out back where they offer snorkeling excursions, kayak and jet ski rentals and a bunch of more fun water things to do.
There is a fishing pier out back too. I'm not sure if it's part of the resort or if it's just there, but there's a place on it to clean all of the fish caught during the day and a few spots where you can fish from. It's a nice walking pier and a great place to watch a wedding at sunset.
As a place for just kickin' it and enjoying the daylight hours, the Islander Resort is a great place to be. My only real complaint is that the hotel walls were way, WAY too thin. The night we stayed there, we were unfortunately staying right next door to a group of guys were drank all day and night and then wanted to fight all night, till the early morning. You could hear EVERYTHING going on which is not okay for the price of a night's stay (it's pricey). Maybe they'll remodel their rooms soon and we might go back. Otherwise, just enjoy the place for the outdoor recreation it provides.