by Terry Ward
Key West has long been known as a freewheeling, good-times destination for adults. But that doesn’t mean you can’t plan a wholesome and entertaining family vacation in America’s southernmost city, too. And while it doesn’t target families in particular, the Hyatt Centric Key West scores points as a good family travel hotel mostly due to its ideal location near the harbor, smack dab central in Old Town. From here, you’re within a short, pleasant stroll — mostly along the waterfront, if you prefer — of Mallory Square, known for its nightly sunset celebration, as well as scores of restaurants on and near Duval Street and Front Street.
Upon arriving in Key West, you can basically park your car in the hotel’s onsite parking lot for the duration of your stay and either plan to walk everywhere to get around or take one of Key West’s sightseeing trains or trolleys to explore the island. And while the hotel is just a short walk to Duval Street, it feels set off in its own little world, thanks to the lush landscaping and waterfront setting that are pleasantly removed from the nearby party scene.
There’s no kids’ club at this property, but there’s plenty of family fun to be had nearby — whether you want to bring the kids to an aquarium for an educational outing or head out on a snorkeling trip to the reefs for something more hands on. Most of your on-property hanging out will likely take place at the hotel’s pool or small beach. And kids get a kick out of the resident parrot and turtles on the grounds, too.
For more information, read about Hyatt Hotels and Resorts.
Our Editor Loves
- Sheltered beach for snorkeling and swimming
- Waterfront pool
- Resident parrot and turtles
- Water Sports
- Connecting Rooms
- Free Wi-Fi
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The entire property, including its 120 guestrooms, was completely renovated in 2016. And the hotel's look is bright, contemporary and streamlined. Blonde wood furnishings pair with tiled floors and pale, luminescent mosaic-style tiling in the bathrooms for a look that seems almost Scandinavian. Bright Florida colors -- oranges and blues -- make an appearance in the block-style contemporary paintings that hang on the walls.
All rooms have mini-fridges so you can store milk for bottles, yogurts and other quick snacks. Complimentary Wi-Fi is also standard throughout the property. Complimentary cribs are available upon request. There are a few rooms that connect to accommodate larger families. Rollaway beds are available only in rooms with one king bed. All rooms come with balconies.
Families can choose from two Deluxe Room options, both of which are 460 square feet in size. Enjoy one king bed or two queen beds. These rooms sleep between three and four guests.
Deluxe Gulf Front
Enjoy partial of full views of the Gulf in these rooms, which span 460 to 500 square feet. King and queen beds are available and all sleep between three and four guests.
The largest option at the resort is the King Salon rooms, which are 625 square feet in size. Families will enjoy one king bed and one sofa bed to sleep up to four guests.
When my wife and I waked in the lobby, we felt welcomed and we really enjoyed our stay! The breakfast was great and the rooms were clean! Everyone that works there was so helpful and polite! We had great views from our room of the boat races and the sunset! Cannot ask for a better place to stay!
by Jim S
Fantastic hotel in the perfect location. Everything was clean, fresh and outstanding service. They exceeded my expectation in every category. Meeting room was perfect and staff was professional and attentive to our needs. Bed and sheets were AMAZING. Would recommend to anyone.
It's the rare Key West hotel that has both a nice pool and ocean access, so when you're not exploring Old Town and traipsing about the nearby harbor front scouting for tarpon and admiring the bobbing sailboats, chances are you and your family will be relaxing at the Hyatt's waterfront pool. Pool staff comes around with popsicles several times throughout the day -- a nice, complimentary reward for kids who've been on their best behavior. The pool is open daily from 7 a.m. to midnight. There is no lifeguard on duty.
And there's a small, sandy beach accessed down a few steps off the pool deck -- while the water gets deep rather quickly, it's a nice semi-sheltered area that's good for swimming. The hotel has a floating dock a few yards offshore, too, that kids love to use as a launching point for entering the water. Snorkeling tours depart right from the resort's dock on a regular basis and take you a few miles offshore to check out some of the coral-covered shallow reefs surrounding Key West.
Excursions and Nearby Activities
Nearby, you can depart for sunset sailing trips with the whole gang on spacious catamarans. And the hotel offers electric car rentals -- open-air vehicles that look like souped up golf carts -- that are a fun way to explore the island. You should know that there aren't a lot of family activities located on the property itself, which is quite compact. But all sorts of Key West fun can be arranged through the hotel's concierge -- from jet ski tours and visits to the butterfly sanctuary, pirate museum and aquarium, to parasailing, kayaking, biking and more. Kids also get a kick out of the resident parrot, seen in his cage near the hotel's lobby, and the manmade ponds throughout the property where turtles are seen sunbathing.
SHOR American Seafood Grill
SHOR serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and offers outside dining facing the water. It is slightly upscale. The restaurant specializes in 100 percent sustainable seafood, with some good local options -- lobster and snapper -- and has kid-friendly offerings like grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers, quesadillas, mac and cheese, turkey sandwiches, chicken fingers and carrot sticks, too.
SHOR is open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Blue Mojito Pool Bar and Grill
Blue Mojito, the poolside bar and grill, has outdoor seating and tables in an open-air, but covered, dining room. The kids' menu here is identical to what's available at SHOR. Blue Mojito is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Happy hour is from 4 to 6 p.m. daily and features half-priced appetizers and select drinks. Live entertainment is also featured on Thursdays.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Wi-Fi is free throughout the resort.
Jala Spa, the hotel's wellness area, offers facials, massages and body treatments (scrubs and wraps), but does not offer manicures and pedicures. The spa is very small, with just two "suites," one of which is a couples suite with a hot tub you can relax in before or after your treatment. While there are no special treatments that specifically target children and teens, the Purifying Facial, which targets oily and blemish-prone skin, is a good one for teens to try.
Onsite parking is free.
Check-in is at 4 p.m. and check-out is at 11 a.m.
The Art of Smart Timing
All of the Hyatt Centric Key West's facilities are open throughout the entire year, and, weather-wise, the Keys are a great destination, year-round. Sure, the summer months are hot and sticky, but you're on the water here where the pool and ocean breezes will help keep you cool, so it's definitely bearable. The most pleasant months of the year tend to be November through March, but April and May are often relatively mild, too. Hurricane season in these parts stretches from June through November. During the summer months, afternoon thunderstorms are the norm.
Be aware that Key West hosts festivals throughout the year, many of which are far from family friendly. Fantasy Fest, at the end of October, sees the town partying nonstop with a Mardi Gras attitude that's the opposite of G-rated. You're best off not traveling with kids to Key West during this time.
Miami International Airport is roughly 160 miles from Key West. Count on a little over three hours to make the ride, without stops. All of the major rental car companies are onsite at the Miami airport. Alternatively, you could fly into Key West International airport, just a few miles from the hotel. You can also rent cars from the major companies there.
If you fly into Key West International Airport and plan to stay on the island throughout your vacation, you don't need a rental car. Taxis and the Conch Train and trolley can suffice for getting around, not to mention walking.
For Mom and Dad
If you manage to line up a babysitter during your stay, plan a date night and indulge in Key West's fantastic dining scene. People watching is probably the most interesting along Duval Street, where you can snag an outside table on the quieter end of Duval at Nine One Five, a wine bar that does a mean whole yellowtail snapper, Thai style. There's a lounge upstairs with a great little bar that you can retire to after your meal.
An off-the-beaten-path favorite is Santiago's Bodega, a tapas restaurant housed in an old Key West bungalow in the Caribbean part of town known as Bahama Village. For a Duval Street bar with a local scene, cool atmosphere (again, inside a beautiful old home) and a very worldly beer selection, hit The Porch.