A Waterfront Oasis at Your Fingertips
By Dana Damato
Being a Florida native, my favorite memories growing up (and now) have always been a trip to the beach. There’s no shortage of exceptional beaches that hug the parameters of our great state. My fondest experiences always involve packing up the car and exploring another tropical destination just a short ride away from home. It’s fortunate enough that we can experience that as Floridians, but what really makes me love living here is the opportunity to drive just a few hours south to lush tropical islands. I can be close to everything but away from it all in the Florida Keys. When I dip my feet into the ocean and allow the earthy elements of the sun, sand and salty water to consume me, I stand in awe that this island oasis is still connected to Florida. An experience like this exists at Playa Largo Resort & Spa in Key Largo.
Situated on 14.5 secluded beachfront acres with all-encompassing views of the pristine Florida Bay, Playa Largo Resort & Spa immediately transports guests to a tropical paradise that feels like a distant island, yet only located an hour from Miami. The property embraces a unique, one-of-a-kind and casual Keys experience at every turn. From the warm and welcoming smiles of the friendly and accommodating staff, the live music, a special water table dining experience on property and the lively sunset celebrations, this is a place where you can truly disconnect, kick back and experience everything that makes the Keys, the Keys.
The Playa Largo Resort & Spa is the first new resort built in Key Largo in 21+ years, located at mile marker 97 and developed by Prime Hospitality Group & Shaner Hotels. Cozy, luxurious guest accommodations are reminiscent of a residential beach house with an Ameri-Caribbean aesthetic. Playa Largo offers 177 luxury rooms and suites 10 two-story private bungalows nestled in the rare, natural hammock trees.
Between sun-soaked days of catamaran sailing, relaxing at Ocean Spa and lounging by the pool with a signature Playa Largo cocktail, guests can grab a bite to eat at several of the resorts exquisite dining venues. Las Olas Ceviche Bar is the only true ceviche restaurant in Florida’s Upper Keys. Inspired by its strong influence from the early Spanish explorers, this lively Peruvian restaurant and late-night hangout is known for its fresh seafood ceviche cured in tropical citrus juices derived from nearby Homestead-grown fruits. As for us, we indulged in some of Las Olas’ finest sushi rolls – their famous Green Dragon Roll filled with eel, fresh avocado, meaty crab and siracha to give it a kick, the Spicy Yellow Fin Tuna Roll packed with the perfect amount of spicy tuna, aji Amarillo, scallion, avocado, mango and crispy plantains for a salty, sweet and spicy combination.
The best way to start any day at Playa Largo begins with a hearty, Keys-inspired breakfast at La Marea. This breezy poolside restaurant features indoor and outdoor seating and fresh dishes to satisfy any palette. Guests have the option of a full breakfast buffet or al la carte options that draw inspiration from the resort’s seaside location. Breakfast-lovers will also enjoy classics like Nutella-stuffed French toast, fresh meats and cheeses, freshly pressed juices and more.
One of the best ways to spend a lazy day in the Florida Keys is to relax poolside on one of Playa Largo’s chic chaise lounges, with an ice-cold beverage and a delicious snack from the resort’s Sand Bar. Perfectly nestled between Playa Largo’s freeform pool and the expansive beach, Sand Bar serves up traditional American bites and begs guests to dig their toes into the sand for a truly authentic island experience. Not only is the pool itself a dreamy beachside oasis, but to really up the experience, renting out one of their lush cabanas provides a private and personal experience with the utmost hospitality.
The true highlight of this trip was a dining experience unlike any other I’ve had before. A night that I’ll remember forever and talk about often. An experience that allowed us to enjoy an exquisite dinner while watching sunset with our feet in the ocean. A water table dinner at Sol by the Sea. Reminiscent of a rustic beach house, Sol by the Sea is Playa Largo’s waterfront restaurant ideal for any guests interested in enjoying prime sunset views with a cocktail or the freshest catch of the day. The chef delivers an expert menu inspired by Trinidadian cuisine topping off the island vacation experience. Walking over to our beautifully set table at the foot of the ocean, I knew we were in for quite a treat. We sipped on a crisp glass of champaign while watching the sun set into the ocean knowing we were in for something special. Not only was the scene itself one-of-a-kind, but the mouthwatering meals were what sealed the deal. Starting with a fresh Swordfish appetizer, followed by a meaty grouper perfectly paired with plantains, zucchini and topped with mango, then followed by a tender BBQ chicken, macaroni and cheese and quite possible the best rice and beans I’ve ever tasted. For dessert, a creamy Key Lime pie with a flaky graham crust. The food, atmosphere, company and service were enough to make this quite possible one of the best experiences.
A true Florida gem, Playa Largo Resort & Spa is your tropical escape just a short drive away from home. Experience all of the best things about your dream island getaway without ever having to step foot on an airplane. From the warm and welcoming staff, to the luxury aesthetics, the dreamy tropical views and food that will keep your mouth watering, this destination will leave you feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and thankful to live so close to such an extraordinary place. For more information about visiting the Playa Largo Resort & Spa, please visit their website at www.playalargoresort.com or give them a call today at (305)853-1001. See you at the beach!