Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Yes, Indeed. The Florida Keys Lived Up To My Every Expectation. Sit Back, Relax And Let The Warm Gulf Breeze Wash Over You. But You Gotta Find A Place To Sleep Off That Hangover, Right? Status: Siesta Motel - Marathon Key FLA


While there are a few grand neon motel signs still up and in working condition in the Florida Keys and along the coasts in general, the massive storms they have to endure tend to thin their numbers and as a result you find many more like this.  Still cute and the motel itself...Retro-tastic!


Note that almost all of the places we stay on our roadtrip vacations are "motels" and not "hotels".

This is an important distinction for those of you who might like to play along on your next vacation.

My chief and easiest way to find these places while out on the road (remember, I don't plan all this

out before we leave!) is to just pull up the city or town we are in or near using Google maps on my

smart phone, then I just type "motel" in the search box on the map and up pops all these little mom

and pop places, largely ignoring the larger, upscale, more expensive hotels in the area.  Then I just

start sifting through the results on the map until I find one that looks promising.  A quick call for the

rates and a drive by for a visual and BAM, we're done!  That's not at all how we found the Siesta

.  Nope, that was just plain ol' luck.  Then again, all the motels and hotels in the Keys are pretty

much on highway 1 so, does one really need a map?


The sign DID catch our eye and the retro vibe of the building style didn't hurt either, but it was when

the owner opened the door to the room that sealed the deal.  Cleanest Rooms In Paradise is what it

says on the sign and yes, the joint was clean...but check out the original Terrazzo flooring.  That is

just a joy to behold.  It looked so good that I was momentarily in a confused state of disbelief.  How

on earth had this survived in an inexpensive little Florida Keys motel for 60 odd years?  Dunno, but it

has.  The place was not at all expensive either.  Sure, the beds weren't the best (the Palms Retro in

Neptune Beach WERE!) but for real, we didn't come to the Keys for an amazing bed.  We came for

the sand, warm water, amazing food and drink and...oh yeah ::sigh::  The Sunsets!


On a recommendation from the motel owner we found a bar attached to a restaurant called Keys

Fisheries Market And Marina
on the Gulf side of Marathon Key.  The guy knew exactly what I was

after.  Fresh seafood right off the boat, plenty of fruity coctails and a banging view of the sunset over

the Gulf Of Mexico.  This is an amazing sight if you think about it.  How many places on the East

Coast can you watch the sun set over the ocean?  For that matter, how many places can you watch it

rise over the ocean in the morning and then watch it set over the ocean later that day?


The sunset was amazing but for a few clouds and the drinks were fabulous but I made a poor decision

concerning my choice of entree.  I chose some locally caught fish (Grouper maybe, can't recall) and

had it fried up in Cajun seasoning but it was WAY too salty.  Thankfully the batter was easy if

inconvenient to remove and imparted a vaguely Indian taste (yummy!) to the fish.  The girlfriends

dinner was spot on and I wouldn't think twice about recommending the joint except to say avoid the

Cajun fried option.  I don't know if the bar is actually part of the restaurant or not but we had to order

our food at a window and wait for our name to be called to go back and pick it up when it was ready. 

It's all VERY casual but worth the effort.  The bar is up on pilings so you get a great view of the Gulf

and after the sun goes down there are lamps under the water all around the dock that attract fish.  Big

fish... BIG TARPON fish!  That was a nice topper to an otherwise lovely evening.


  1. You've just taken me down memory lane, because hubby and I stayed at the Siesta Motel about 15 years ago. Wow, it's still there! I remember well those great terrazzo floors and how amazingly clean it was. Seems like ALL of that has stayed the same. Love those Mom & Pop places too.

    Gorgeous sunset, sigh. Need to go back sometime. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Before I moved out of my parents house, and they were still paying for vacation, the keys were always our destination. My dad and brother fly fish for bonefish and tarpon. We always spent a few days on islamorada and stayed at the motel the islander. We would walk across the street every night to the islamorada fish co. And eat freshly caught fish, listen to some sort of jimmy buffet cover band, and when I was old enough, enjoyed ice cold beer, while watching the sunset. Thanks for bring back the memories!