By Nina Ruggiero
March 01, 2020
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It was one of those only-in-the-Keys moments: Sitting in a row of turquoise Adirondack chairs overlooking the Florida Bay, chilled glasses of white wine in hand, we’d just paused our pre-sunset game of hitting biodegradable golf balls off the dock when a big mama manatee swam right up, two calves in tow, looking to snack on some seagrass. 

The marine mammals’ sluggish sendoff was the grand finale of our trip and the greatest rush of excitement we’d felt since checking in at the Bungalows Key Largo, but we were completely fine with that. Key Largo is not the place you go for a thrill — it’s the place you go to relax, hard.

Courtesy of Bungalows Key Largo

And as an adults-only property and the only all-inclusive resort in the Florida Keys, Bungalows Key Largo might be the easiest spot of all to unwind on an archipelago that seems to have formed on this earth solely to remind us to chill out.

Once you arrive on the Bungalows’ 12-acre property, just an hour’s drive south of Miami, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a reason to leave. That’s the perk that draws many travelers to an all-inclusive vacation: there’s absolutely no pressure. No need to search for things to do, no need to make decisions (Paddle board or kayak? Rum runner or margarita? You can opt for it all), no need to carry your wallet or cut yourself off when you feel like having a second lunch. You’re completely free to be the best vacation version of yourself.

Courtesy of Bungalows Key Largo

After an early morning fire destroyed the Beach House — the main building that houses the resort’s poolside eatery, Fish Tales; fine dining restaurant, Bogie & Bacall’s; Living Room lounge; and Hemingway Bar — in May 2019, just a few months after it first debuted, the Bungalows Key Largo officially reopened for business in December. Though rebuilding in such a short time was not a small task, no trace of struggle remains along the palm tree-shaded paths. Quite the opposite: The tidy rows of identical bungalows, with two turquoise chairs on each front porch and matching bicycles parked beside them, have a soothing effect on the brain similar to a Marie Kondo video.

Courtesy of Bungalows Key Largo

Add in a massage among towering bamboo at the Zen Garden Spa, yoga on the beach, and a ride on a floating tiki bar, and you too will be happy as a manatee munching on seagrass at sunset.

If an all-inclusive tropical vacation is on your 2020 wish list, here’s how to do it right at the Bungalows Key Largo — no passport required.

Where is Bungalows Key Largo?

Key Largo is an island in the upper Florida Keys, about an hour south of Miami International Airport by car. It’s the northernmost key connected to mainland Florida by the Overseas Highway (a continuation of U.S. Highway 1). From the resort, it would take about two hours to drive south through the rest of the Florida Keys to Key West.

Guests can also arrive at the Bungalows by seaplane from Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport. The resort sits on the Florida Bay, with access to Everglades National Park by boat. 

Bungalows Key Largo is an all-inclusive resort.

Courtesy of Bungalows Key Largo

Bungalows Key Largo is the only all-inclusive resort in the Florida Keys. It’s an adults-only resort.

Here’s what’s included in the rate: 

  • Accommodations for two to four guests in a waterfront or garden bungalow
  • Non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks including select top-shelf liquor with access to three bars or lounges (Hemingway’s Bar, Sunset Tiki Bar, Living Room)
  • Poolside snacks and drinks
  • All meals, with the option to dine at three sit-down restaurants (Fish Tales, Bogie & Bacall’s, and Sea Señor) 
  • Outdoor yoga classes
  • Watersports, including glass-bottom kayaks, paddle boards, snorkel gear, and water trikes
  • Use of bicycles
  • Use of the tiki gym including Peloton bikes and other exercise machines and equipment
  • Transportation within five miles of the resort (based on car availability)
  •  Wi-Fi
  • 24-hour reception

Here’s what costs extra:

  • Room service
  • Laundry
  • Spa treatments at the Zen Garden Spa and access to the Himalayan salt treatment and eucalyptus steam rooms 
  • Floating tiki boat rides
  • Catamaran tours
  • Sunset sails
  • Sea plane arrival/departure and island hopping 
  • Scuba diving
  • Reef, off-shore, and backcountry fishing

What are the rooms like?

Courtesy of Bungalows Key Largo

There are 135 bungalows, 31 of them waterfront. Each 900- to 1,100-foot bungalow accommodates two guests, except the 25 double queen bungalows, which accommodate four guests. 

The bungalows come with a front porch with Adirondack chairs, a sitting area with a couch, one king or two queen beds, an indoor bathroom with shower, and a private patio with an outdoor soaking tub, shower, and seating area. 

The light, beachy decor includes lots of white and neutral tones, with turquoise accents. Two bicycles are conveniently parked outside of bungalows for guests’ use throughout their stay.

What are the dining options?

There are three restaurants at Bungalows Key Largo, each with its own unique flavors and ambiance. This is not your run-of-the-mill, buffet-only all-inclusive experience.

The resort-casual, Mediterranean-inspired Fish Tales serves breakfast (including a Bloody Mary and mimosa bar), lunch (try the artisanal pizzas), and dinner (go for fresh pastas, meats, and seafood). 

Fine dining at stylish Bogie & Bacall’s includes a cocktail welcome, five courses that change nightly, and an expert-curated wine list. Request a reservation at check-in to ensure you get a table at this popular spot. 

Sea Señor, a waterfront venue, is a beautiful lunch spot during the day, toes in the sand — but it’s even more magical by night, string lights and all. It serves fresh local seafood with Mexican flare.

Snacks are served by the pools, in the Living Room, and at the Sunset Tiki Bar, so you’ll never be left searching for a bite.

What is there to do on property?

The resort grounds are walkable, though it’s most fun to travel by bike. There are also golf cart pickups as needed. On the property’s waterfront, guests will find access to water sports including kayaks (regular and glass-bottom, for a view), paddle boards, water trikes (a serious workout), and snorkel gear. 

There are two swimming pools, a tiki gym, a spa with a Himalayan salt room and eucalyptus sauna, group games like corn hole, and a boutique on property. Guests can participate in yoga classes and day excursions via catamaran to Everglades National Park, plus sunset cruises, scuba diving trips, and tiki boats. (Trust me, the only thing better than a tiki bar is a tiki bar that floats.)

Courtesy of Bungalows Key Largo

Bungalows Key Largo pricing

All-inclusive garden bungalows start at $1,200 per night, waterfront from $1,500 per night, based on double occupancy. Check-in is at 4 p.m. and check-out is at 11 a.m., but you can check in as early as 11:30 a.m. and out as late as 3 p.m. based on availability for an extra $300-600.

Bookings can be made at bungalowskeylargo.com or at expedia.com, hotels.com, and booking.com.

Bungalows Key Largo provided support for the reporting of this story.