The Florida Keys have always been a location flaunted for their natural beauty, marine environment, and warm temperature, so it’s no surprise that some of the most exclusive and elegant resorts inhabit this region – enter Hawks Cay Resort.
The resort, located half way down the keys, it is actually attached to a 60 acre island called Duck Key, and right next door to an ecological marine wonderland that hosts some of Florida’s most prolific flora and fauna.
Accommodations at Hawks Cay Resort is a unique set up – because the island is so small, it is set up as four separate villages that dot the shoreline, including the Harbor Village, Marina Village, Sanctuary Village, and Sunset Village, each with their own particular flavor depending on your preferred style.
The two bedroom options include a fully stocked living room and bedroom with your own furnished kitchen facility and bathroom and generally start at $330 a night – that said, there are three-bedroom villa options and family suites in case you want to bring everyone along.
The décor is what you would expect from a high class resort, with easy-on-the-eyes pastel color coordination and a particular attention to detail when it comes to making you feel like you’re entering a home and not just another hotel.
For those wanting to take extravagance to the next level the Water View Lanai Guest Room is a perfect candidate, featuring 490 square feet of living space with an attached deck and exclusive access the adults only Tranquility Pool.
All of the villages are easily accessed via boardwalks and interconnected footpaths, and maximize their exposure to the shorelines so you’re never that far away from the lilting sound of waves splashing against the beach.
TENNIS TRAINING FACILITIES
THE CLIFF DRYSDALE TENNIS SCHOOL
What really sets Hawks Cay apart, however, is the Cliff Drysdale Tennis School that is attached and, indeed, and integrative part of the resort.
The primary staff is overseen by Hannah Thompson, a pro in her own right that helps to organize the different lesson plans and programs, and is both an incredibly hard worker and very sympathetic to those who are trying to up their game, whether you’re just getting into tennis for the fun of it or have your own professional experience.
Because the tennis aspect of the resort is relatively new, having been taken over only recently by Drysdale operation, guests get the full advantage of a totally renovated facility and a full fledged tennis training experience with one of the best worldwide tennis operators.
There are currently two hydrocourts, two Har-Tru courts, and four hard courts, as well as new furnished wind screens to help insulate against the elements on those gusty days by the water.
Given the small size of the resort there is almost always an open place to play and Hannah does her best to make sure that everyone is able to reach their full potential. Perhaps the best thing about the Drysdale Tennis School however is the fact that there are no court fees, not even for night playing.
There are a number of programs offered, ranging from group lessons to one-on-one tutelage by the staff, and is especially suited to those who want to improve their technique.
The Ready to Rock clinic is great for those wanting to improve their stamina and features a lot of drill-based activities designed to habituate certain techniques already learned, while the Grip It and Rip It tends to feature specific focus clinics from day to day.
And although these clinics do cost extra, they’re definitely worth it in the long run – once you feel comfortable enough you might even sign up for one of the 3 hour long Cliff Drysdale tournaments held on site.
But of course it’s not just about tennis – at Hawks Cay there are a hug number of other activities to do either in conjunction with a tennis program or separately.
These include quality dining experiences at some of the local restaurants where you can sample fresh seafood and any of a hundred other favorites.
The Coral Grill and Puglisi’ Pizza offer highly rated cuisine at an affordable rate, but to really get a taste (no pun intended) of what Hawks Cay has to offer we recommend the Angler and Ale which was a 2016 Diner’s Choice as voted by Open Table, and has a broad selection of premium and imported beers.
If you want to work up an appetite, there are a number of spas and fitness centers on the island as well, all stocked with the newest gear and cardio equipment including free weights and treadmills.
For those wanting a bit more relaxation, the Calm Waters Spa is definitely the place to go, featuring a very helpful staff, and was voted 2009 Best Hotel Spa by Travel + Leisure.
Of course there are also a plethora of pools to choose from as well, one of which we’ve already mentioned: the Tranquility Pools, adults only, is lined with palm trees and has open access to a bar and grill and the waitresses/waiters on hand are more than happy to fix you a drink – we were quite surprised by their knowledge of different drinks, and are also happy to recommend some.
HOW TO BOOK
Getting to Hawks Cay Resort is worth the trip just for the views that get driving the Overseas Highway along Key West. Depending on which direction you come from it is about 90 miles from Miami and 130 miles from Fort Lauderdale – its central location means that you get to bypass the Everglades and may even see some wildlife along the way. There is an express shuttle from Miami or Fort Lauderdale that can be reached by phoning Florida Key Express Shuttle at 305-743-7454.
In order to make a reservation at the resort either refer to their webpage https://www.hawkscay.com/ or phone them at (807) 496-6023. Their official address is 61 Hawks Cay Boulevard • Duck Key, FL 33050, but are always on hand to answer any questions you might have.