By some measures, the Florida Keys have rebounded remarkably since Hurricane Irma struck a year ago as a Category 4 storm.
Lodging inventory is up to just over 90 percent of what it was when Irma hit the 125-mile-long island chain on Sept. 10, 2017. Cruise passengers are thronging through Key West’s Duval Street, and visitors once again need reservations to get a spot at prime restaurants.
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Here’s the latest update on what’s happening at hotels and parks in the Keys.
Only two hotels in Key West have yet to reopen.
Ocean Key Resort & Spa Sunset Pier, a popular spot for viewing the nightly sunset celebration, is set to open during October’s Fantasy Fest.
Key West’s Parrot Key Resort and Laureate (the former Bayside) are still closed.
Little Palm Island off Little Torch Key is slated for a 2020 relaunch.
The 75-acre Sunshine Key RV Resort & Marina on Ohio Key just reopened 100 sites; all 399 are slated for completion by Oct. 1.
But the KOA campground on Sugarloaf Key isn’t expected to reopen until 2019.
On the Atlantic side, Bahia Honda State Park’s Loggerhead Beach is slated to reopen late this month. On the park’s bayside, Calusa Beach and its Buttonwood and Bayside campgrounds are already open to guests. Bahia Honda’s oceanfront Sandspur Beach and campground are scheduled to reopen by late 2019.
Hawk’s Cay, a 61-acre oceanfront resort near Marathon, reopened Aug. 30 after a $50 million renovation.
In many ways, the Upper Keys appears to have recovered, despite devastation that took out just about every major resort in the four-Island Village of Islamorada as well as some popular Key Largo hotels.
Islamorada’s Cheeca Lodge reopened in March after a $25 million renovation that included a new fishing pier, spa, lobby and rooms. Nearby Moorings Village and Chesapeake Resort are also receiving guests; Bud n Mary’s marina and resort has fully reopened.
The oceanside Islander Resort remains closed, though its bayside facilities are open.
Postcard Inn and Marina, at the former Holiday Isle Resort, expects to reopen in October.
Still, Islamorada is down about 450 hotel rooms from pre-Irma inventory.
Key Largo suffered somewhat less damage than Islamorada.
While the Hilton Key Largo at mile marker 97 was hit hard by winds and waves, the hotel brand rebuilt it as part of its Curio Collection of luxury resorts. It’s scheduled to reopen as the 200-room Baker Cay Resort later this fall.
On the Atlantic side, the 240-unit Ocean Point Pointe Suites at Key Largo at mile marker 92.5 was renovated and reopened last spring. “We are fully open and completed a full renovation of the entire resort,” said Adrian Besil, director of sales and marketing. “We’ve also added new amenities including an activities center, which provides experiences such as eco-tours, bicycle rentals and beach yoga for our resort guests.”
The Keys’ first all-inclusive, the Bungalows Key Largo, is scheduled to open this fall on the bay side of mile marker 99.