In December of 2017 Hurricane Irma hit the central Florida Keys, and hit them hard. It’s understandably taken a bit of time for the area to completely recover – and recover they have. Just opened in early 2019, the five-star, independent Isla Bella Beach Resort is already making a name for itself as the jewel of the Marathon area.
Find out why Isla Bella is the perfect location for an extended stay in the Florida Keys.
When our family pulled through the private gate and down the meandering, mangrove-lined entrance we felt like we’d been transported to a remote tropical location.
Exploring the property for the first time, we began to wonder how we even arrived. Was it by boat? Or perhaps a small sea plane? I can think of no better way to describe the surroundings that are so unique to the area. It reminded us of a long ago visit to Isla Mujeres, a secluded island in eastern Mexico that offers a stark departure from the adjacent, heavily populated and never-still Cancún.
We walked much of the property, flanked by pools one side and white sand and blue ocean on the other without seeing a single automobile. The designers of this luxury resort clearly made a conscious effort to impart a distinct remote island feel.
You’ll have no problem spending much of your time – perhaps even all of your time- within the spectacular confines of the resort. Activities abound, and there’s something for everyone. All “resort” activities are included in the resort fee.
You might start with a visit to the Spa/Fitness Center, or one of the resort’s five pools. We preferred the zero-entry pool closest to the lobby/front desk which has more of that tropical feel. The poolside seating in all locations seems more like little cabanas than mere lounge chairs, with thick cushions and plenty of umbrellas for shade. Mini, half dome cabanas also line the Isla Bella beach, so there’s always a place to relax in the shade.
When you’re ready for an activity that’s a bit more strenuous, head out the back of the pool and down a shaded palm tree-lined path to Pelican Point and Sunset Dock where you’ll find a number of kayaks available for use. Yes, this is the ocean but the famous Florida Key reef system and geology make for usually calm waters, perfect for kayaking.
If you’d prefer to explore dry land, hop on one of the many resort bicycles instead.
Other relaxing resort activities include, among other things, badminton, bocce ball, poolside “dive-in” movies and a gorgeous Sunset Celebration on the dock. There’s even a dog park on premises where your favorite canine can relax.
If you’re looking for a little more adventure in your life, Isla Bella’s world class on-site Marina & Watersports area is sure to have what you need. Jet Skiing, parasailing and a sunset cruise are some of the many offerings.
If fishing, snorkeling or diving is your thing take a look at one of options that spotlight the nearby reef and/or shipwrecks in the Marathon area. Fees do apply – check on-line or with the front desk for current rates.
Situated immediately north of the famous Seven Mile Bridge, and just five miles from the Marathon International Airport, we can’t help but conclude that Isla Bella is an ideal destination for an extended Florida Keys stay.
The resort is perfectly located in the middle of the keys, so why not make it your home base for excursions in the area? There’s so much to take advantage of, and we relished heading back to a tranquil resort for respite after an activity-packed day.
Marathon, FL covers a broad area and number of Keys, so be sure to check out our upcoming article on things to do in Marathon. And with Key West just an hour away, you’ll want to plan on one or two days at minimum. Check here for 29 Perfect Things to Do in Key West.
The Luxurious, Spacious Rooms
One need only to take a look at the resort map to understand how Isla Bella is impeccably designed to maximize the overall experience. The layout and ocean views from the rooms are no exception. Every room has an outdoor living area that not only faces the ocean but comes about as close to it as is feasible. The parallel design of the architecture and corresponding curved coast adds to that secluded island feel.
We stayed in a two-bedroom which offered a second bathroom (and even fridge) in the secondary accommodations. The layout was quite private, and well suited for kids or couples traveling together.
Our spacious balcony came furnished with comfortable, padded seating, perfect for daily meditation, reading, or an afternoon nap.
We were uniquely impressed by the large, state of the art flat screen TV in the master. It was the first hotel TV we’ve encountered in our travels that allowed for easy casting from our devices. Netflix and chill?
The Fine Drinking (And Dining)
Isla Bella offers multiple dining options. Our kids really appreciated the Burger Palace which is conveniently situated near the main pool. The Burger Palace has a number of hamburger, sandwich and salad options, and ice cream sundaes for dessert!
For a more refined meal, head over to the gorgeous Il Postino for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Il Postino is a world-class, Nepolitan-style restaurant where the food rivals the breathtaking view. We recommend a specialty pizza such as the Broccoli Rabe and Sausage.
And of course, our travels are rarely complete without a trip to the bar. There are two bars near the ocean to choose from. Their specialty afternoon drink is the Frosé, a frozen rosé concoction that’s best served poolside.
The official opening of Isla Bella Beach Resort was April 1st, 2019. It’s located at 1 Knights Key Boulevard, MM47, Marathon, FL 33050.
Disclosure: Thank you to the Isla Bella Resort and Florida Keys for hosting us. Opinions here are all own, as always.
Leaving the corporate world behind (a bizarre domain where a 25 year resident can still feel like a foreigner) Daniel set his sites on full-time travel writing and digital marketing. His plans include building an amazing business or three, maximizing time with his partner for life Lesli and four spectacular kiddos, and writing and delivering dad jokes.