Casa Morada Review: A Tranquil Paradise in the Florida Keys

Julie Diebolt Price Avatar
Private Island loungers at Casa Morada, wooden chaise loungers with beige cushions, with a palm tree and water in the background.

Enchanting Casa Morada is a tranquil paradise hidden in the trees in the heart of the Florida Keys. A boutique hotel in Islamorada, Casa Morada exudes tropical elegance and offers an escape from the chaos of everyday life. Offering an extensive list of complimentary amenities, this boutique hotel has the feel of an all-inclusive resort.

The name Islamorada, Purple Island, came from the early Spanish settlers when they witnessed the stunning sunsets that turned the sky purple. To this day, the magnificent sunsets and laid-back luxury are easy to enjoy at Casa Morada.

Casa Morada hosted my visit. However, all opinions are my own.

Read More: Best Things to Do on Islamorada in the Florida Keys

Front desk at Casa Morada, on the front porch, with wooden table and decorated wooden chairs.
Casa Morada front desk. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

The Grounds

The front desk is an elegant wooden table under a pergola at the reception and concierge office entrance with a guest book and brochures for things to do in Islamorada. Two cats on duty ignored me and kept on sleeping while I checked in at this pet-friendly destination.

The hotel’s lush garden landscaping, designed by Raymond Jungles, is filled with native flora and white sand paths, creating a serene backdrop that invites relaxation and rejuvenation.

Sunken waterfall at Casa Morada, with surrounding seating, wooden with blue and green cushions.
Sunken waterfall. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

One of my favorite places on the property is the sunken waterfall area with cushioned chairs to relax, watch, and listen to the waterfall among the rocks. It’s next to the bocce ball court in the center of the property.

The Private Island

Access the man-made private island over a wooden bridge where the boats are docked. A swimming pool, outdoor shower, and cabana are on the island. The cabana is a covered structure where you can spend the day in the shade on a cushioned platform with many pillows for comfort.

Loungers are positioned near the water on two sides of the island to catch the perfect island breeze and bayside views. You can also play cornhole on the raked white sand or swing in a hammock and gaze up through the palm trees.

The Boathouse Bar welcomes dogs with a leash on the beach and serves beer, wine, cocktails, champagne, and food.

Read More: Florida’s Best Beaches

Accommodations

Each of its 16 suites in the Garden and Seaview guest houses is a private sanctuary offering breathtaking views of the sapphire waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Bay.

Exterior of Starfish Suite at Casa Morada, showing white building with two glass doors and a window, and two adirondack chairs outside.
Starfish suite. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Starfish Suite

I enjoyed the Starfish Suite on the Seaview House’s ground level. Two Adirondack chairs on the private terrace face the water. Counter space inside the suite under the window allows a spectacular bay view if one wants to work. The suite has a queen-sized bed, a separate living room with a daybed, and a spectacular square soaking tub with a shower.

Interior of Starfish Suite at Casa Morada, showing upholstered sofa, glass and metal coffee table, and a desk and white plastic chair by the window.
Starfish Suite interior. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

The room amenities included bathrobes, a hairdryer, toiletries, coffee maker, free wifi, and a minibar.

Bedroom of the Starfish Suite at Casa Morada, showing white bedding, pillows and sheer curtains with a wood floor.
Starfish Suite bedroom. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Iguana Suite

The Iguana Suite is the biggest suite at Casa Morada. It’s on the ground level and has a private outside lounging space, a separate living room, and a bedroom with a king-sized bed. It has a walk-in shower and a Jacuzzi tub.

Manatee Suite

The Manatee Suite is on the ground level, with a private terrace facing the water. It has an oversized soaking tub with a rain shower, a king-sized bed, and a separate sitting area.

Sun Suite

The Sun Suite has a king-sized bed with picture windows and Florida Bay views. This romantic room for two is on the second level, with a small balcony that holds a dining table for two overlooking the private island.

Shangri La Suite

The Shangri La Suite has a private deck and panoramic view on the second level. The king-sized bedroom has a sitting area, a romantic slipper tub, and a European hand-held shower.

Garden Jacuzzi Suite

The Garden Jacuzzi Suite has a terrace Jacuzzi, king-sized bed, and garden views.

Garden Outdoor Shower Suites

The Garden Outdoor Shower Suites are located on the ground floor, surrounded by tropical landscaping, and feature a separate living room, bedroom with a king-sized bed, and outdoor terrace that opens to a private outdoor shower.

Garden Suite

The Garden Suite features two separate rooms and a modern indoor shower. Located on the top and bottom levels of the Garden House, the terrace can be either a treehouse setting or a double chaise lounge on the terrace overlooking the garden.

Jungles Suite

The Jungles Suite is the largest in the Garden House and features a king-sized bed, a Jacuzzi tub, and a large private terrace overlooking the garden.

ADA suites are available on request.

Entrance to Casa Morada with blue identification sign on the left and road leading through trees to a light-colored building.
Casa Morada Entrance. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Hotel Amenities

  • Complimentary breakfast buffet
  • Outdoor pool with outdoor shower
  • Room service/poolside service
  • Beer, wine, and champagne are available for purchase daily poolside
  • Sunset cocktails on the private island
  • Sunset sails (make reservations)
  • Spa services (make reservations)
  • Boating facilities and complimentary boat slip usage
  • Pet-friendly (no breed or weight limit for dogs), $75 per pet
  • Complimentary yoga classes on Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays
  • Complimentary kayaks, paddle boards, and snorkeling gear
  • Complimentary bicycle rental
  • Complimentary wifi property-wide
  • Housekeeping by request
  • Fishing guides, boat rentals, snorkeling, and diving
  • DVD player and library
  • In-room safe (fits a laptop)
  • Tea/coffee maker
  • Mini fridge
  • Laundry/dry cleaning
  • Pool towel service
  • Restaurant reservations
  • No resort fees
  • In-room massages available

Make all reservations at the Concierge Desk.

Private yoga sessions on-site are available on request.

Read More: Best Things to Do in Key West with Teens

Breakfast bar on the second level of Casa Morada, showing covered eating area with round white tables and chairs and a long shelf on the wall with breakfast items.
Breakfast bar on the second level. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Breakfast

Continental breakfast service is from 7 a.m. until 11 a.m. on the upstairs balcony. Fresh pastries tempted my tastebuds. On both days, I chose the sizeable, fresh cinnamon rolls. They didn’t have frosting, so I was able to savor the cinnamon flavor.

Cereal, fresh fruit, yogurt, hard-boiled eggs, coffee, tea, and the sweetest fresh-squeezed orange juice are served buffet style overlooking the bay.

Lunch

You can order lunch between noon and 5 p.m. with room service or poolside. The menu includes gourmet pizzas, crisp salads, seafood wraps, snacks, and refreshing Key Lime Pie.

Casa Morada - dock with sailboat berthed, with red cushons, plus other boats and open water in the background.
Watercraft at Casa Morada. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

On The Water At Casa Morada

The three watercraft at Casa Morada are available for customized boat tours. Captain Bill Todd is a lifelong sailor, a marine environmentalist, a local history buff, and an Islamorada resident. Elle, Captain Bill’s first mate, is his wife. They make an excellent team for boating at Casa Morada.

Sol Sister Sunset Sail at Casa Morada, showing small sailboat on the water, with other small watercraft in the background.
Sol Sister Sunset Sail. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Sol Sister Sunset Sail

The hotel’s 32-foot historic Skipjack, Sol Sister, is the best way to experience a sunset at Casa Morada. Captain Bill and Elle provided an exciting demonstration sail for two guests aboard when I was there. Watching the skipper’s skill as he tacked back and forth in the setting sun was amazing. Sol Sister is available for day-sailing expeditions, including lunch and an invigorating swim.

Island Tour On Gypsy Soul

The classic motor launch, Gypsy Soul, allows guests to enjoy a tour of Florida Bay along the coastline to view spectacular waterfront homes, historic destinations, and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Captain Bill provides an entertaining narrative for the experience.

Blue Mist Private Charter

Guests are invited to step back in history aboard the Blue Mist, a glamorous yacht that is a lovingly restored piece of history.

Varnished mahogany decks, polished bronze fittings, and hardware make this vessel a gem that graced the Islamorada waterfront for over 95 years. Constructed in 1917, the Blue Mist has been professionally and wholly restored with modern-day conveniences and comforts.

Things To Do In Islamorada

Casa Morada is more than just a place to rest your head. The resort is centrally located near museums, monuments, shopping, dining, and fishing in Islamorada.

History

The history of the Keys is also on display at the local museums, offering a glimpse into the area’s past as a haven for pirates, wreckers, and pioneers.

Pioneer Cemetery

The Pioneer Cemetery is where the original settlers of Islamorada are buried. The Russells, Pinders, and Parkers homesteaded the land and grew pineapples, melons, and tomatoes. The cemetery, surrounded by the renowned Cheeca Lodge & Spa, is open to the public through the welcome gate at Cheeca Lodge. Access is sometimes restricted, as I discovered on my visit.

Morada Way Arts & Cultural District

Beyond the natural wonders, Islamorada boasts a rich cultural scene. The Morada Way Arts & Cultural District is a core of creativity where local artists showcase their work amidst a lively atmosphere of music and food.

Casa Morada - Florida Keys Brewing Co., marked path through colorful seating area with palm trees, picnic tables, umbrellas and a short pink and blue fence.
Florida Keys Brewing Co. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

When we were there, we sampled beer at Florida Keys Brewing Company. Sitting outside in the tropical beer garden amongst the games, we enjoyed the tastings and music.

Casa Morada - Pasta Gallery of Art sign on outside of teal-colored building.
Pasta Gallery of Art. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

At Islamorada Art Gallery by Pasta, we learned about the Red Cross assisting in hurricane recovery and building the house that is now the art gallery.

Casa Morada - Blue Marlin venue, showing high topped wooden tables and stools in blue and natural colors, underneath a tree canopy, and in front of a shite building with covered porch and a sign with a blue marlin on the side.
The Blue Marlin Venue. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

The Blue Marlin stage was set and ready to host the next live band on the red brick patio with rustic, colorfully painted tables and chairs and blown-glass decorations hanging from the trees.

Casa Morada - Conch demonstration  by person in a blue polo shirt and stone necklace.
Conch demonstration by Craig Zabransky. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Florida Keys Food Tour

Learn about the history and food of the Florida Keys with Craig Zabransky of Florida Keys Food Tour. A long-time resident of Islamorada, with a population of about 7,000 residents, Craig and his wife, Maggie, deliver one of the best tours I’ve attended. Traditional food samplings included an authentic Cuban sandwich, a rich and creamy Key Lime Pie, Hibiscus tea sweetened with orange juice, a fresh-caught fish taco, conch fritter and coconut shrimp, and fish dip served with cucumber and green Tabasco sauce.

We learned about the local flora and fauna in the Keys and filming locations for the TV show Bloodline and Guy Fiero’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. We also visited Pilar, the sister ship to Ernest Hemingway’s boat (also named Pilar), and the Upper Matecumbe Key church with magnificent stained-glass windows.

Casa Morada - Florida Keys Foof Tour, showing white bowl with fish dip in the center, surrounded by cucumber slides, lemon and two kinds of crackers.
Fish Dip on the Florida Keys Food Tour. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Dining in Islamorada

Lorelei Restaurant and Cabana Bar

Lorelei Restaurant and Cabana Bar is a two-block walk away from Casa Morada. It’s a great place for waterfront dining and watching for crocodiles. I tried my first homemade conch dish with the Keys Conch Chowder and Lorelei’s Smoked Fish Dip.

Casa Morada - Woman in purple clothing with short salt-and-pepper hair and sunglasses stands touching a palm tree trunk with a diamond shaped sign that has an image of a crocodile and says "BEWARE" on top and Crocodile Sighting on the bottom. Behind her is open water and land in the distance.
Beware of Crocodiles Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

I discovered that fish dip is a popular menu item in many restaurants on the island. This version is smoked local fish with island spices, topped with capers and diced onions, and served with crackers. The Fish Dip is an excellent sharable dish or main course for one person.

Casa Morada - Sunset from outdoor seating at Pierre's Restaurant, showing additional seating below on the beach in the background, then palm trees and water, with sunset in the background.
Sunset Dining at Pierre’s Restaurant. Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

Pierre’s

Pierre’s is a favorite fine-dining restaurant managed by Sonny Wasim. The staff is friendly and accommodating. I requested a sunset view seat inside the restaurant because the cold and stiff breeze blew off the water.

The sunset did not disappoint, and neither did the service. The table service was outstanding, and the table setting was elegant. While I can always make a meal of bread, butter, and good wine, I ordered the highly recommended Key West Pink Shrimp Cocktail and Truffle Gnocchi with roasted wild mushrooms for the entrée. The Marlborough, New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc paired perfectly with the meal.

Casa Morada
Photo credit: Julie Diebolt Price

How To Get To Islamorada

Drive from Miami or Key West

From Miami, take Highway 1 South to the Florida Keys. The South Dixie Highway becomes the Overseas Highway in Key Largo. The All-American Road, so named in the National Scenic Byways program in 2009, is one of only 30 highways in the United States with this designation.

From Key West, take Highway 1 north to Islamorada.

SheBuysTravel Tip: No traffic lights are on Highway 1 south of Key Largo to Islamorada. The speed limit is 35-45 mph in populated areas. This lack of traffic lights amazingly keeps traffic flowing, and enough drivers slow down to allow other cars to enter the stream of traffic.

Fly

Miami International Airport serves southern Florida. The airport is about 79 miles from Islamorada and takes about 90 minutes by car, depending on traffic. Rental cars are available at the airport.

Several well-known airlines serve Key West International Airport with flights from Massachusetts to Texas. Taxis, limousines, rental cars, and ride shares are available at the airport.

Train to Miami

Amtrak serves the Miami station daily with one northbound and one southbound train. The Amtrak station is about five miles north of Miami International Airport.

Arrive by Boat

Casa Morada offers complimentary boat slip usage on the private island if you arrive by boat.

Getting Around Islamorada

You can request a free ride through the Freebee app, which is funded by businesses wanting to attract customers. Tipping the driver is appreciated.

Final Thoughts

Visiting Casa Morada is not just a vacation or time away but an immersion into a world of natural beauty, vibrant culture, and unforgettable experiences. It’s where you can disconnect from the world and reconnect with yourself.

136 Madeira Road
Islamorada, Florida. 33036
Phone Number 305-664-0044

Check-in is at 4 p.m.
Check-out time is 11 a.m.

Major credit card accepted
Currency is USD
24-hour cancellation policy

Julie Diebolt Price is an award-winning professional photographer, educator, author, and travel writer. She writes about two things – photography and travel (along with a little food and beverage). Julie educates and mentors aspiring photographers. As a journalist who loves to travel, she creates memorable experiences and shares them with words and pictures.
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