It’s Island Time on Stock Island: The Perry Hotel
By Betsi Hill
Stock Island lies just across the Cow Key Channel from Key West, and yet seems to be worlds away. This small island, only four and a half miles from the heart of Key West, is a funky, eclectic, unpolished gem.
Set against a backdrop of the island’s identity as the hub of the Florida Keys’ commercial shrimping and fishing industry and working waterfront with shipyards, shrimp boats, and hidden artist studios is the island’s newcomer, The Perry Hotel.
This modern-meets-industrial hotel also boasts one of the Key’s largest deep-water marinas, without having to maneuver through bridges to get to open water. So bring your boat, your four-legged friend, and let’s go to the Perry Hotel and Stock Island Marina Village!
The Perry, a boutique hotel with only 100 rooms, has thoughtfully included everything you need to create a memorable and relaxing vacation away from the stress of everyday living. Walking into the lobby, you feel as if you have stepped into a private, upscale resort. Sleek concrete columns soar from the smooth, rustic wood floors. From the bellman manning the door to the barbacks staffing the bars, you are greeted by name. Traveling with your four-legged friend? The front desk staff and the concierge will be sure to spoil them with treats.
As you look over toward the front desk, your eyes are immediately drawn to the wall sculpture created from weathered and worn propellers; another way the Perry has cultivated the atmosphere to stay true to its seafaring roots. Towering above the lobby space is a suspended outrigger sculpture which was done by a local artist.
Scattered across the lobby are several conversation areas with stylish modern furniture in muted tawny tones, reminiscent of a glass of 25-year old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon. Patterned pillows perched on the sofas and chairs beckon you to come, sit, and stay a bit.
Envisioned and developed by legendary Florida hoteliers Brad and Warren Weiser, every aspect of the property is designed with the idea of relaxation in mind. And what could be better than a chilled glass of champagne to welcome you to the Perry and Stock Island, a place transformed and history has been reclaimed?
With only 100 rooms, each room has a balcony. Sleek and modern, with chic industrial touches, the rooms seem to say “leave your cares behind. You are on island time.”
The Salty Oyster Bar, adjacent to the glistening pool, offers quick bites, burgers, and sandwiches along with local brews and cocktails. After a full day of exploring, stop by, grab a quick bite and a cocktail as you debate slipping into the pool.
Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen is American Coastal Comfort Food, and Chef Kalen Fortuna is bringing his twist to Southern cuisine at Matt’s. The flavors of the food will set your taste buds dancing with joy with each bite. Crab beignets, Chef Kalen’s twist on classic crab cakes are sheer genius. The Carolinas meet New Orleans in delicious bites of pastry filled with crab and served with a side of Old Bay aioli.
Looking for an adventure? Charter boats, dolphin tours, snorkel and dive tours are right on site in the marina. Head down to the pier and chat with the captains. Dolphin Safari is an excellent option for those who love to seek and find dolphins and do a little bit of snorkeling on the way back.
For the real adventurer, the Dry Tortugas National Park is the place to visit. Located off Key West in the Gulf of Mexico, the park is made up of seven tiny islands. The trick is getting to the Dry Tortugas.
Take a seaplane adventure, and head out to the islands for a half day. Transit time to Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas is about 45 minutes each way. You’ll think you are skimming the wave tops as you fly no more than 500 feet up, with plenty of opportunities to see dolphins, sharks, turtles, and stingrays. We saw so many turtles on our flight, we lost count!
On your trip out you’ll fly over the coral atolls that are the Marquesas, and then over the “Quicksands” where you have the best chance to spot huge sea turtles. You’ll see massive underwater sand dunes that are continually moved by the strong currents.
It’s here in the Quicksands that Mel Fisher, the famous treasure hunter found the treasures of the Spanish Galleons Atocha and Margarita. Close your eyes and imagine over half a billion dollars’ worth of gold and silver thrown like dice over an eight-mile area.
Adventure, relaxation, and luxury are what you’ll find at Stock Island Village Marina and the Perry Hotel. Once you check in, it’s time to relax and set your watch to island time.
The Perry Hotel https://www.perrykeywest.com/
Stock Island Marina Village https://www.stockislandmarina.com
The Salty Oyster Bar https://www.perrykeywest.com/eat-and-drink/salty-oyster
Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen https://www.perrykeywest.com/eat-and-drink/matts-stock-island
Dolphin Safari http://safaricharters.com
Dry Tortugas National Park https://www.nps.gov/drto/index.htm
Key West Seaplane Charters https://keywestseaplanecharters.com/rates/
Mel Fisher https://www.melfisher.com/default.html