Buccaneer Resort - Marathon
Oct 30 '02
Very inexpensive off-season, ample parking for trailers
a little run down
The Bottom Line
All-inclusive for a reasonable cost. Best bang for the buck in the Keys!
So it's December a few years back and Nick and I are getting cabin fever, as usual. It's Richmond, Virginia and hella cold at the time! We're pacing around trying to decide how to alleviate this sad state of affairs when my daughter pipes up with 'Gads! Why don't you two go to Florida like all the other old people!'
I look at Nick. Nick looks at me. Hooyah!! Yes, we added up our on-hand funds, pulled a bit from savings and were hooking up the jet ski trailer in a matter of hours. Florida, here we come! We had no specific destination in mind, all we wanted was warm damn it! So we headed south. We kept heading south. Ok just a little farther south it should warmer..... oooh look it's the Keys! YES!
Being the spur of the moment types, we had no reservations. Indeed, we had no idea about anything, I don't think we even had a map at that point! All we knew was it's 75 degrees and we need a place with a boat ramp. Aha! The Buccaneer Resort comes into view. What a wonderful find that was! We pull into the long drive that ends in a 'U' at the office and go in expecting the absolute worse, and got the deal of a lifetime! Yes folks, a cabin, on the gulf side of the Keys, with a boat ramp.... for... ya ready for this? $65 per night! We were very happy, to put it mildly.
The Buccaneer Resort is in Marathon, FL.. just above Key West. It is located on the main highway that runs all down through there so it's easy to spot. Big ol' pirate on the big ol' sign. Can't miss it!
This resort is comprised of a huge hotel and several rows of cottages. We stayed in a cottage so I have no clue about the hotel rooms.. it appeared to be one level and the lobby was huge! The staff that checked us in was unbelievably jovial and accomodating... this could be due to the fact that it was December and so they didn't have a whole lot to do, work-wise. We were'nt the only guests, but neither was the place bustling this time of year. That's ok, that's how we like it! I wish I had paid more attention to the lobby at the time, but we were dead tired and just wanted to get to the cabin and fall out. It seems to me that the entryway where the reception desk was opened onto a large common room if you went a little further in... I vaguely recall a huge plate glass window overlooking the Gulf...
I had said in another review that I'd never stayed at a resort, well.. that isnt true.. I had forgotten about this trip! The property itself is a full 10 acres of fun. They have boat dockage available for a fee (I'm fairly certain we got it free), a boat ramp, trailer parking, tennis courts, full gift and bait and tackle shop, volleyball courts, freshwater pool, sandy beach area, badminton court, basketball area, shuffleboard, horseshoe, cookout area, sun deck, fishing docks, coin operated laundry, and much more. Yep, tons of stuff to do!
They have many room types available: Luxury 2 bedroom villas, Beachfront suites, Gulf view cottages (what we got), Beachfront cottages, One-row-off-the-beach, and Economy cottages. Normal rates for this resort start at $150, but, as I said, if you go off-season you can get some killer deals.
Our cottage had 2 double beds, color cable TV, bathroom, dining table and front patio. This room was not luxury, but it was huge! This room was twice the size of my living room. It was.. how shall I put it.. rustic. *grin* No, it wasn't bad, per se, but it was old. Very clean everywhere you looked, but things were worn a tad, like the bedspread and carpeting. Now, this being on the Gulf, things are gonna wear out faster than an inland spot, so this is excusable. How much time are you going to actually spend in the room anyway with all that great ocean right outside? Right? Right! The room was spacious and more than adequate. The only thing I wish it had, and may have now since this was a few years ago, is a coffee maker. Many of their units do have partial kitchens so if we happen to be down that way again we'll get one of those units.
So, we caught a few hours shut-eye after that long drive and we're up with sun! Now, 75 degrees was fantastic compared to the freezing winter temps back home, but, not being as stupid as we look, we went out and bought wet suits. Luckily in the Keys there are just tons of surf and dive shops so finding wet suits was a peice of cake..and amazingly enough, the Visa cleared. HEH.
The boat ramp wasn't huge, but was definitely big enough for an average boat. Unloading the jet skiis was fairly easy. I say fairly because there was a lot of seaweed washed up onto the ramp so pulling the truck back up was a bit of an adventure. *chuckle* It was well maintained though. They can't have someone standing at the ramp all day cleaning up seaweed.
We spent the rest of the day in the water on our Jet Skiis. Being eternal youths, we even got into a bit of trouble. You see, we want to see and do everything. It's a Thanatos thang. *grin* So off we go exploring and under the bridge and ooooops why IS that water cop pulling us over? What do you mean we're too far out? Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Yeah, so going under that bridge took us from the gulf side to the ocean side....and we were miles and miles out. Truth be told, it is a good thing we got caught because we could no longer see land and probably would have been in deep trouble way out there. So .. Don't do go clear out there on jet skiis! Always maintain land within your sight. There, end of public service announcement.
If we hadn't pulled our own, we could have rented a set of skiis at the resort. They also have power boats available to rent by the hour or by the day. If you are into deep sea fishing, you can even charter a Fishing excursion with Bud's Boats which is on the premises. There is just soooo much to do here!
The restaurant is outside the main building and sits right on the gulf with a huge outdoor patio. The staff here at the Sunset Café and Raw Bar are fabulous. Everyone we dealt with was very friendly. These folks will even cook up your own fish if you just returned from one of the fishing adventures. They specialize in fresh local seafood for an average fresh seafood price.. I do not recall actual prices, just the overall thing that they were'nt as outrageous as I had anticipated. They had things like typical seafood (crab legs, lobster) and also things like shark and dolphin. All we got there was a few drinks on the patio after our attempt to see Cuba via jet ski. Heh. They do have happy hour with 2 for 1 drinks from 4 PM to 6PM daily, with a free sunset shooter at, you guessed it, sunset. Sorry folks, one free shooter per person.
The Buccaneer Resort is located at Mile Marker 48.5 on US-1, just before you hit that big ol' 7 mile bridge going to Big Pine and Key West. Reservations can be made by calling 800-237-3329.. 24 hours/day. If you plan to go off-season like we did, I suggest just pulling on in without reservations.. you are more likely to get a better deal that way.
Do I recommend this place? Absolutely! This was probably the best bang for the buck we have ever happened across in our many adventures. Staff is the absolute best, and the location just cannot be beat! Just try to find a place with trailer parking in Key West! Yeah right! Marathon is close enough to make a Key West run for the day... which we did, but I'll save that story for a later review.. grin.
Quality of Service: Superb
Room Rate: US$ 65
Room Type: Double
Recommended For: Romantic Getaway