by Lisa A. Grimaldi | December 01, 2017

Local Update

According to the Monroe County Tourism Development Council (the convention and visitors bureau that represents the Keys), Key Largo and Key West were the islands least impacted by Hurricane Irma, as were hotels and businesses on the bay and gulf sides of Islamorada and Marathon (their ocean sides, however, suffered significant storm-surge impacts, and recovery periods could take up to 11 months). At press time, most attractions and dining spots had reopened. For the latest updates, go to

Earlier this year, the Playa Largo Resort & Spa, an Autograph Collection property, made its debut on Key Largo. The 177-room resort, set on 14.5 secluded beachfront acres, features a freshwater pool, private cabanas and fire pits, with a variety of water sports in the offing. Meetings and events are accommodated in the 35,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor space. Other offerings include a fully equipped spa and three restaurants.

The 178-room Margaritaville Key West Resort and Marina (formerly the Westin Resort and Marina) debuted earlier this year with approximately 16,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor meeting and event space.

The Oceans Edge Key West Hotel and Marina, a luxury resort with 175 guest rooms, six pools and a waterfront bar and restaurant, opened for business in early 2017.

Meeting Hotels: Meeting and incentive properties on Key West include the 311-room Casa Marina, a Waldorf Astoria Resort; 222-room Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel; 178-room Margaritaville Key West Resort & Marina; 175-room Ocean's Edge Key West Hotel  & Marina, and 150-room The Reach, A Waldorf Astoria Resort.

On Key Largo, properties include the 275-room Ocean Reef Resort, 200-room Bakers Cay Resort, 177-room Playa Largo Resort & Spa and 153-room Key Largo Bay Marriott Resort.

To find and compare hotels, and send RFPs, visit

Airport Transit: Key West International Airport, four miles from the island's Duval Street downtown district. Transfer cost by taxi, $20; by bus, $4

Miami International Airport, about 60 miles from Key Largo; transfer cost by shuttle, between $16 and $75

Taxes: Room tax, 4%; sales tax, 7.5%; tourist impact tax, $1; total tax on hotel rooms, 12.5%

Group Venue: Gather your flock for a private event at the Audubon House & Tropical Gardens in the heart of Old Town Key West. The elegant house, festooned with the art of John James Audubon, was built by one Captain John Huling Geiger in the 1840s as a private residence. The structure was saved from destruction in 1958 and now hosts up to 250 people for dinners and receptions in its lush gardens. Private tours can coincide with an event. (877) 294-2470

 Monroe County Tourism Development Council, (800) 352-5397.