Florida Keys

In the market for a Key West resort? This one is up for sale — with its painted geckos

Ibis Bay resort went through major renovations in 2010.
Ibis Bay resort went through major renovations in 2010. griffin360

A colorful waterfront Key West resort that dates back to 1956 — with a slyly humorous personality — is up for sale.

The Ibis Bay Beach Resort, 3101 N. Roosevelt Blvd., hit the real estate market this week as owners Chris Holland and Tony Osborn, who bought it in 2004 for $3 million, have decided to part with the 81 rooms and suites, the 150-seat waterfront Stoned Crab restaurant, a seafood market, a 600-foot beach and a 16-slip marina.

Holland and Osborn reinvented Ibis Bay with $2.5 million in renovations from the remnants of the Blue Lagoon Motel, a seedy, run-down spot.

“It was pretty much the worst hotel in the Keys,” said Holland, 68. “Because the long-term tenant was never there. A lot of drug dealers and things going on and it was notorious. We brought it back.”

Holland and Osborn say it’s time for them to step aside and let someone else take the resort to the next level.

The resort, five acres alongside the Gulf of Mexico with three sides facing the water, comes with 129,000 square feet of space that can be built on.

The resort is known for its laid-back style. Hawaiian shirts and pictures of Cuban cabaret singers hang on the room walls, brightly colored sarongs double as bedspreads and 90 hammocks dot the waterfront across Ibis Bay.

Ibis Bay isn’t listed with a Realtor. Instead, the owners have simply put the word out that they’re selling. Inquiries have come in from China, Canada and from across the country.

The property is appraised at $11.8 million, but in Key West each hotel room is worth on average $500,000.

The room value alone comes to more than $40 million. Recently, in one of Key West’s largest deals, a collection of 222 rooms at six inns went for $109 million.

The resort also comes with little geckos painted inside the rooms in curious places such as the toilet or in a corner. They’ve had guests complain that there are real-live lizards in the room.

“We’re not for everybody,” Holland said. “If someone wants something really slick and all that, we’re not that. We are authentic. We are truly 1950s Key West and we do have a sense of humor.”