Paradise Found: Key West

With top of the line amenities, private beach access, and fine dining by Norman Van Aken, Key West’s Beachside Resort & Conference Center provides the ideal location to combine business with pleasure.

By Jeremy Lissek


“The resort embodies the culture of Key West with an ambiance and high level of class, which we feel will make it a favorite with locals and visitors alike.”

You’re picky. You’re a savvy international business traveler. You’ve done it all. You’ve seen it all. And now you want your company function to do it all, too. You need somewhere exotic, but not too exotic. And kid-friendly and beachy and romantic. You need it dialed-in, multitasking for the adventurer, the foodie, the culture seeker, the fun loving, the techie, the couple, the family, the single. You want it secluded, sexy, and easy-going. Rejuvenating. Yet, you still have to work and have meetings. During the years that Tennessee Williams lived in Key West, he swam at South Beach every morning before sitting down to write, “I work everywhere, but I work best here.”

Discover the newest definition of upscale Key West mystique at the Beachside Resort & Conference Center, where laid-back, old-world elegance and the cutting edge seamlessly blend to create an environment of exceptionally sophisticated charms. Sumptuous accommodations, the region’s most professional, attractive meeting space, and fine dining by Norman Van Aken highlight a property fashioned by an a-list team of hospitality all-stars. With a name synonymous with Key West hotels and society for more than 150 years, Robert A. Spottswood, president of Spottswood Companies, Inc., served as developer and team leader. “Beachside is the culmination of the company’s vision of luxury in every aspect,” he says. “This was our opportunity to take all of our experience in hospitality and channel it into something really special for upscale Key West clientele.” General Manager George Galvan, with more than two decades of hotel industry wisdom, will oversee the first-rate professional staff as it seeks to create an atmosphere to surpass every expectation. “Our guests will have the finest of everything at Beachside: service, accommodations, amenities, and cuisine. The resort embodies the culture of Key West with an ambiance and high level of class, which we feel will make it a favorite with locals and visitors alike.” Lead concierge Toni Tarracino, a Key West native who began her career in hospitality helping her father, the renowned “Captain Tony,” with his charter boat business and Duval Street Saloon, adds to the elevated service. “We want guests to be assured that concierge service is available 24 hours a day to accommodate all of their needs. Beachside will provide virtually anything that guests require; spa services, fishing expeditions, tours, sunset cruises, plus transportation to and from downtown Key West-the sky is the limit. We want to make sure our visitors feel pampered and appreciated throughout their stay.”

Pampered is always within easy reach here. Situated on seven waterfront acres along the Gulf of Mexico, Beachside offers 222 stylish and comfortable rooms, including 93 king bedroom accommodations and 129 one-, two- and three-bedroom residential suites. Some guest room features include marble flooring throughout, oversized balconies with waterfront views, open gourmet kitchens with granite counter tops and stainless built-in appliances, European-inspired cabinetry, full capacity washers and dryers, high-speed Internet access, Sub-Zero refrigerator freezers, and tinted hurricane glass on all doors and windows. Other plush touches include marble Jacuzzi tubs, Frette linens, fine china kitchenware, bath amenities by L’Occitane, and 26″, 32″ and 42″ LCD flat screen satellite-equipped televisions. Most third floor residences have a private sundeck above their balconies, and several first floor residences provide a circular staircase down to the gardens. Access to a private Gulf beach, waterfront pool with private cabanas, a fitness center, and a private marina amp up Beachside’s exclusivity.

Beachside is also taking fine dining to a whole new level. The restaurants, Tavern N Town, mark Chef Van Aken’s full-circle return to Key West and the flavors that first inspired his award-winning fusion cuisine (he is the only Floridian inducted into the prestigious James Beard list of Who’s Who). Set in a relaxed, Hemingway-esque ambiance, Tavern features a full à la carte menu, as well as an in-house pastry chef, tapas-style fare, sushi (prepared by Japanese master chef “Sato” Honda), and charcuterie, while Town caters to the culinary adventurer with Van Aken’s world-class, fine-dining tasting menus. A theater kitchen enhances an already exciting culinary experience in these two unique yet complimentary dining spaces, or what Van Aken has coined as a “hyphenated restaurant.”

And when it’s time to get down to business, the Conference Center is equipped for all occasions, from sales functions to group conferences to award banquets. With more than 6,000 versatile square feet, the Beachside Ballroom is an ideal location for any business, leisure, or special event one could want to set in paradise. Providing top-notch A/V and sound systems, it can seat up to 400 and has its own kitchen. Notably, the center is constructed with an emergency power generator and can withstand winds up to 205 mph (a typical category five hurricane has winds approximating at 155 mph). So ditch the pinstripes and power ties, and finally have that board meeting in flip-flops and shorts.