Sunset Key Guest Cottages, A Westin Resort

Forget “home away from home”—this is the home your clients wish they had! Let me give it to you in a nutshell: with this vacation they’ll get a deluxe cottage on a gorgeous secluded private island, and will be only a few minutes by boat from one of Florida’s most iconic destinations, the always-entertaining Key West. This isn’t just a slice of Heaven, this is Nirvana to the Nth degree. Sunset Key Guest Cottages, A Westin Resort ( is in a class by itself for families looking for that idyllic private island paradise.

How do we know this is such a special place? Well, we recently spent a few days indulging ourselves—excuse me, we mean, getting all the facts, straight up—at this 27-acre, pedestrian-only island resort, where the sun, sand, sea, sincerely nice staff and high-end amenities commingle in an unabashed way to create a destination resort where families can reconnect and spend genuine quality time together.

“Today’s traveler is looking for a unique experience,” says the resort’s general manager, Diane Schmidt. “Something less typical than a traditional trip to the beach, a standard resort hotel, a round of golf or a day at the spa. The experience here is different—upscale, consistent, full-service and with great value, but different. Maybe it’s the island, the water, the serenity and seclusion. Or the quaint cottages, the genuine hospitality, the ferry that zips you over to Key West or the complimentary breakfast basket awaiting your retrieval at sunrise. It’s a place to connect, or reconnect, in every way and on every level. And that’s not easy to find so when you do, I think it is worth recommending.”

Let’s take a look at those quaint cottages Schmidt mentions. There are 43 of them in total, occupying seven acres of the island, and they come in 2-, 3- and 4-bedroom configurations and guests can choose from either gardenview, oceanview or oceanfront. Guests can also request a lockout of master bedroom, kitchen, living and dining areas of either 2- or 3-bedroom Gardenview Cottages to create a 1-bedroom cottage. Of course, we recommend you book your clients an oceanview or oceanfront cottage because there is nothing like waking up with the turquoise-colored ocean as your backyard, or sitting out on the porch and watching as the sun sets or comes out to play with the sky in the morning.

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What all the cottages do have in common—whichever the view—is their authentic Key West design with pastel colors, Victorian-style tin roofs and spacious, Old Florida-style white verandahs with Adirondak chairs complemented by high-end decor inside. Within, all guests, no matter the size of the cottage, will find such modern amenities as flat-screen TVs, radios with iPod docking stations and complimentary WiFi, as well as separate living and dining areas and a fully equipped kitchen, which is perfect because it allows for families to sit down and eat meals together in their own cottage. They can bring the groceries themselves, take advantage of the grocery delivery service (shopping list will be provided with reservation), even order from the 24-hour room service, and for Starbucks aficionados, know that cottages are pre-stocked with this coffee brand. There’s also a lovely breakfast basket delivered to the cottage as the sun rises that is simply scrumptious (we know because we gained about five pounds during our visit because we couldn’t stop eating the delicious baked goods—heavenly).

To hone in on the 4-bedroom cottages, these are the perfect fit for two small families. They are outfitted with silky-feeling hardwood floors, almost-touching-the-heavens-in-height ceilings, and three large-sized bathrooms (with a hot tub in the master suite bathroom), as well as being ridiculously spacious. Each bedroom comes with its own flat-screen TV, more than enough closet space (there’s also a washer/dryer), and a king-size bed. The master suite also offers up a comfy chaise longue perfect for an afternoon of reading (there are books throughout the cottage guests can read while staying at the resort). But we musn’t forget the 4-bedroom cottage’s most appealing feature—a spacious outdoor living area facing the ocean with outdoor furniture and a private plunge pool (now, that’s the only kicker you’ll need to make the sale).