. A Year After Devastation by Hurricane Irma, Florida Keys Rebound | Meetings & Conventions

A Year After Devastation by Hurricane Irma, Florida Keys Rebound

Hurricane Irma Florida Update

The 177-room Hawks Cay Resort on Duck Key, one of the Keys' largest meetings properties, reopened last week.

A year ago, Hurricane Irma ripped through the Florida Keys, damaging the 125-mile chain's properties, attractions and numerous parks. As of last week, 90 percent of the properties are operating, with nearly all resorts that had been impacted by Irma  - as well as several new hotels - projected to be fully open by the end of the year, according to the Monroe County Tourist Development Council, the Keys' destination marketing organization. Just last week, the  177-room Hawks Cay Resort on Duck Key, one of the Keys' largest meetings properties, reopened following a $50 million renovation that saw upgrades to guest rooms and the addition of two new restaurants and a new oceanfront, adults-only pool section.

Following is a Keys lodging update, as well as the latest news on attractions and airlift.

Key Largo
• The 60-acre Ocean Pointe Suites at Key Largo is open with 170 suites, a newly restored marina and private beach, and a new over-the-water gazebo for private events.

• The 200-room Baker's Cay Resort (formerly the Hilton Key Largo) is scheduled to open by late fall; the resort has 17,000 square feet of meeting space.

• The Bungalows Key Largo, the Keys' first all-inclusive, adult-only resort, is slated to open by the end of 2018. The luxury property will offer 135 stand-alone units, two pools and several restaurants and bars.

• The 27-acre, 214-unit oceanfront Cheeca Lodge Resort & Spa is showcasing a $25 million redesign and the new Mia Cucina pizzeria and pasta bistro since reopening March 30. A third pool and second Tiki bar, named South 25, are planned. Cheeca Lodge's renovation includes a rebuilt 525-foot-long wooden fishing pier, a redesign of its main lobby and all guest rooms, 4,600 square feet of meeting and function space, a 5,700-square-foot spa with seven treatment rooms, and a refurbished nine-hole golf course.

• Other fully reopened properties are the 63-unit Pelican Cove Resort, 54-unit La Siesta Resort & Marina and 110-room Amara Cay Resort.

• The 145-room Postcard Inn Beach Resort & Marina is scheduled to fully reopen in the fall; the resort's Ciao Hound restaurant and Starbucks already are in operation, and the marina is scheduled to reopen in early October. 

• Currently open at the Chesapeake Resort are 20 garden-view units, one pool and the on-site beach. The resort's remaining 45 units and amenities are set to reopen late this year.

• The Islander Bayside Resort is open with 25 two-story, two-bedroom townhomes. Its sister property, the 25-acre oceanside Islander Resort, will reopen late this year with an all-new contemporary design, fresh culinary concepts and a family splash pad. 

• The Hadley House Resort opened Aug. 18 with 21 guest rooms; the 16 remaining rooms are slated to reopen in October.

• The 80-room, full-service Hampton Inn Marathon debuted in June with a 24-hour fitness center.

• Set to open in early 2019 is the new 24-acre, 199-unit Isla Bella Beach Resort. The property will feature a 4,000-square-foot spa, five pools, four food-and-beverage concepts and a marina, along with more than 24,000 square feet of meeting and event space. Other offerings include bocce, croquet, oversized chess, complimentary bicycles, on-site watersports and guided fishing expeditions.

Lower Keys
• On Little Torch Key, Parmer's Resort is fully open with 44 units, including two cottages and a new 90-foot-long beach. Just off of Little Torch Key, Little Palm Island Resort & Spa is scheduled to reopen in 2020.

Key West
• All but two properties on Key West are operating. The two coming online this fall are the  64-suite Laureate Key West, which will open Sept. 16, and the 148-unit Parrot Key Resort, set to reopen Nov. 1 with  four pools and a new restaurant with poolside al fresco dining.

Florida Keys attractions and national parks
All Florida Keys attractions are open, and fishing, snorkeling and diving charters are operating.

• On Big Pine Key, the new 1,840-square-foot Florida Keys National Wildlife Refuges Nature Center will open in late fall. The center will showcase the Keys' four national wildlife refuges with exhibits, space for interactive events and a nature bookstore operated by the Florida Keys Wildlife Society.

• The federally protected National Key Deer Refuge, Great White Heron and Key West national wildlife refuges are open, and Key Largo's Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge is open for organized volunteer activities and guided walks.

Dry Tortugas National Park is open, with the Yankee Freedom III ferry service and Key West Seaplane Adventures air service running full schedules.

• In Everglades National Park, the Flamingo Visitor Center is open with ranger-guided programs; canoes and kayaks can be rented. Park waters are open for boating.

State parks
All 10 Keys state parks are open for day use as restoration efforts continue.

• In Key Largo, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, the first undersea park in the United States, is open for beachgoing, overnight camping, hiking and scuba diving. Tours for glass-bottom boats, dive excursions and snorkeling operate several times daily, weather permitting. Docks are repaired and boat slips are available for overnight rentals. Snacks and drinks are available, and the park's Blue Heron Cafe food concession is being rebuilt. The park's Visitor Center and Aquarium reopened in January.

• In the Lower Keys, Loggerhead Beach along the Atlantic Ocean in Bahia Honda State Park is scheduled to reopen in late September. Calusa Beach on the park's northwest side is open. The park's concession offers food, snorkel and boat tours, beach-gear rentals and souvenirs and the boat ramp and marina are operating.

New airlift options
• Beginning Oct. 4, United Airlines will begin offering daily nonstop service to Key West from Newark Liberty International Airport, with a second daily flight service being offered February through May 2019.

• Through mid-December, United will operate Saturday and Sunday nonstop service between Key West and Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. From mid-December through May 2019, United will increase its Key West-Chicago frequency to a daily flight.

• On Dec. 24, American Airlines will resume daily nonstop service into Key West from Dallas-Fort Worth through April 1, 2019. The service is being continued due to strong performance for its summer seasonal nonstop service on the same route.