The first thing that we want to say about The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne is that it is literally the best overall resort experience we have ever had and the only place we have visited more than any other. Moreover, this place will always hold a special place in our hearts since this became our go to destination for special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries during the time we were juggling our long distance relationship between continents.
We had always wanted to visit the Miami area and we stumbled upon this place called Key Biscayne, an island town which is a fifteen minute drive away from the city of Miami and a thirty minute drive from the well known South Beach Area. Just like first time tourists, we were ready to book our South Beach vacation but something about the Ritz-Carlton at Key Biscayne felt just right to us and we booked it, which in hindsight was one of the best travel decisions we have taken, and actually made us listen to our gut more often.
The drive, once you leave the city of Miami and cross the bridge to enter Key Biscayne, is beautiful and relaxing, with the sun shining brightly and the road flanked by state parks and golf courses. Once the green clears, emerges a small town which embodies a relaxed yet modern approach to its way of life. Not far into your travels within this town rests its centrepiece, The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. You can’t miss it, take that left turn and get lost in the perfect balance of tranquility, fun and luxury.
If we had one word to describe our introduction to this place through the entrance, it would definitely be ‘impressive’. More impressive was the fact that when we visited this place again a year later, we were welcomed by the bell staff saying “It’s great to have you AGAIN”. As soon as you enter the property, the first thing you witness is a huge window right in front of you, through which you can see the massive body of water which flanks the beach, while you are standing in an enormous lobby enamoured by the typical Ritz-Carlton fragrance refreshing you. It feels like a vacation as soon as you walk in. As we checked in and entered our room some chocolate covered strawberries and champagne awaited us along with a note congratulating us on our celebrations. What a great start already. Now all we had to do was order some comfort food, sip on the champagne while enjoying the amazing view from our room.
Our favourite thing to do while at the property is to just relax and enjoy the luxury. The hotel has two pools and a private beach area which is just a stone’s throw away. If you want to enjoy a quite swim you can hang out by the adult pool, we however become such kids in a pool that we prefer and love hanging out by the family pool and would keep switching between the pool and the beach. While in the pool you can order for yourself some delicious cocktails or chilled beers to beat the heat. Our favourite cocktails there are the Mojito Cubano and The Vice! Enjoying some swim time and having cocktails delivered to you without having to leave the pool is pure luxury. Also you can either lounge around on the pool chairs or reserve yourself a private cabana that even has a mini fridge in it to keep your beverages chilled throughout the afternoon.
Besides this the hotel’s pathway also leads you directly to the beach where you can indulge in activities such as canoeing and sailing on a hobbie cat. Or you can simply ask a pool & beach staff to set you up with some beach chairs and shade and you can further order some food and drinks to enjoy lounging by the beach. Also if you are visiting around the months of May thorough October you can experience turtle nesting and hatching of their eggs and sites of baby turtles entering the ocean.
The Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne also offers a wide range of dining options from fine dining to casual oceanfront restaurants. For lunch we prefer these two restaurants: Cantina Beach and Dune Burgers on the Beach. The former is a perfect oceanfront restaurant with yummy Mexican cuisine and a large collection of tequila (perfect for tequila lovers), while Dune Burgers on the Beach is for those who crave some comfort food like their gourmet burgers and enjoy their extensive collection of champagne and wines. For breakfast we usually head out to this family owned and operated diner that is there since 1992 called The Donut Gallery Diner. The place is very small but has that old school charm, the food is cooked as in a typical diner just a few yards away from you and served hot! The food tastes fantastic, freshly squeezed OJ and unlimited coffee are a delight, moreover does not put a damper on your pocket and is only about a seven minute drive from the hotel. Also when we are craving for some Indian cuisine another restaurant we like to go to for lunch or dinner at least once during our stay is Ayesha Saffron Indian Restaurant again only about a five-minute drive from the hotel.
Even though we love lounging around at the hotel and enjoying the luxuries Ritz-Carlton has to offer we still enjoy exploring other areas. The best way to get around is renting your own car. There are several rental companies at the airport you can get the pricing and offers and choose the one that suits you best, although booking online well in advance will help you save some more. For convenience, there is Hertz car rental on the property who can help you out with the rentals.
One tip: Choose your drop off location to be the airport that way you don’t have to spend extra for the cab and try to book your vehicle online even though the rental place is on property.
For off property experiences, of course there are the usual spots such as South Beach or even Key West, which is around a 3 hour drive from Key Biscayne, but we came across this small town called Key Largo, which is about an hour drive from the property and is a great little overlooked spot for snorkelling and water sports. We had our very first snorkelling experience here and it was absolutely magical(since it was our first time), and later on had an amazing jet ski ride with literally no one else in sight in front of us, only the big blue ocean and we could ride as far and as fast as we could.
From laying in the pool sipping mojitos, having a long relaxing evening walk on a private beach, indulging in mouth-watering delicacies, swimming with the fish and riding along the waves, to finally relaxing on our balcony on a warm sunny afternoon, gazing over the vast ocean in front of us capped a perfect four-day weekend for us and kept us wanting for more. Needless to say, we were back the next year for more and will be on every chance we get. This place is amazing.