Book Now
A couple rides the boat shuttle to Sunset Key Cottages.

A First-Timer’s Guide to Sunset Key Cottages

Considering a stay at Sunset Key Cottages? As one of Opal’s most unique properties (it’s located on an island!), here are six essential things you should know before you go – including how you get there, the layout of the property, on-site amenities, and more.

When it comes to popular Florida vacation destinations, there’s perhaps nothing more novel than what you’ll find at Sunset Key Cottages. For starters, it’s located on a private island a stone’s throw from Key West, which means you get the feeling of a far-flung island escape yet still within easy access of Key West’s best attractions. Next, the resort property is unlike anything else: Picture impeccably appointed cottages nestled among palms and bougainvillea, a beautiful crescent of white-sand beach, and an on-site restaurant that is a regular Open Table award-winner year after year.

But because of the resort’s unique nature, it naturally garners plenty of questions for new guests considering a first-time stay. Here’s what you need to know before you go.


By Boat Shuttle from Opal Key Resort & Marina

But first, you need to get to the southernmost island of Key West.

  • If you’re flying in from afar, that means landing in Key West International Airport (EYW), which, as of late 2023, actually has more direct flights from major cities, making getting to Key West easier than ever. From there, it’s a four-mile ride by taxi or Uber to sibling Opal resort, Opal Key Resort & Marina, located right on the waterfront on the western edge of Key West.  
  • If you’re driving your own personal car or a rental from a closer distance (after all, who doesn’t love road-tripping through the Keys?) you’ll also head straight to Opal Key, where you’ll park in guest parking (you have the option to self-park for a daily fee of $30 or to valet park at $40 a day).

From Opal Key – which is set on its own marina – you’ll board the private shuttle boat, Lil Princess, which travels 500 yards (an eight-minute ride) to the dock at Sunset Key. The boat leaves Opal Key at the 15- and 45-minute mark of every hour from 6:45 a.m. to 10:45 p.m.

If you end up arriving after 10:45 p.m., don’t worry, you’re not stranded. The boat runs by request after 11 p.m., so all you have to do is ask the front desk at Opal Key or call Sunset Key at 305.292.5300.


It Consists Solely of Stand-Alone Cottages

While there’s one main building – home to the concierge, the Opal Spa at Sunset Key, and the restaurant – all 40 of the accommodations come in the form of mostly two-to-four bedroom stand-alone cottages. But a series of no-frills beachside bungalows these are not. With pastel-colored wood finishings, authentic Victorian-style tin roofs, fully-equipped kitchens, and impeccably appointed interiors, these cottages are a stunning study in relaxing luxury. Not to mention, many come with their own bougainvillea-draped porches complete with rocking chairs and a select few even have their own private plunge pool.


The Resort is Happy to Stock You Up Prior to Arrival

Since there is no grocery store on Sunset Key, the easiest way is to utilize the resort’s shopping service. All you have to do is email your list of items to the concierge at [email protected] 48 hours prior to your arrival date. There is a 35% administrative fee for delivery and the grocery bill will be charged to your cottage at check out. It’s much like other grocery delivery services but with an added perk that, when you arrive, all your items are already unpacked and thoughtfully put away within your private kitchen (Instacart certainly can’t offer that!).


An Award-Winning Restaurant Calls Sunset Key Home

Of course, just because you have a kitchen equipped with an oven, stove, and all the other accouterments doesn’t mean you have to cook frequently – or at all. In fact, you’d really be missing out if you didn’t take a couple of meals at the on-site restaurant of Latitudes.

That’s because the food – which is all about locally sourced fresh fish and tropical fruit based on what is in season – is the kind that makes a table fall silent in awe. In fact, thanks to an ever-evolving “work of art” menu, it’s no wonder that Latitudes has earned scores of accolades from OpenTable, including “Top 100 restaurants in the US,” “100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America,” and “Best Overall Restaurant in Key West.”

The resort suggests you make reservations for this open-and-airy restaurant as soon as you book your stay or at least 30 days in advance. Because, where it’s set right next to the gulf, come sunset, this is one of the most desirable spots to dine in all of the Keys.


The Boat Shuttle Operates from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.

While guests oftentimes never feel the need to leave the property – thanks to the array of on-site to-dos including tennis, the heated jewel of a pool, fitness classes, spa, fishing right from the dock, and more – Key West obviously boasts its own array of attractions that is worthy of a day trip. Which is why Lil Princess, the shuttle boat, runs a regular route back to Opal Key that departs from Sunset Key on the hour and every half hour starting at 6:30 a.m.

Need suggestions on what to do or see? The on-site concierge is happy to make suggestions and arrangements. The resort already has a vetted list of local vendors – including fishing charters, bike tours, and watersports – so you can trust it’s the best of the best.


It’s Best to Book Before You Arrive

This is more than a mere massage. The Opal Spa at Sunset Key Cottages is an entire wellness experience, where spacious spa treatment suites open to airy patios surrounded by lush tropical vegetation, palms, and the chirping of birds. Not to mention, therapies that center around the holistic healing of Kerstin Florian products and are conducted on custom-designed treatment tables with built-in sound wave and vibration therapy systems.

With features like these, it’s no surprise the Opal Spa is a popular amenity. That’s why it’s best to try to reserve your spa appointments as soon as you book. In the meantime, read up on a few of our most popular treatments.


For answers to more nitty-gritty questions – such as check-in/check-out times (4 p.m./11 a.m.), resort room types, and more – visit our dedicated FAQs page.
More Questions, Answered
You may also like
A couple strolls along the Bar Harbor Shore Path.

7 Fun Facts About Maine You Never Knew

Maine is the first state that sees sunlight every day…but did you know that the precise locations change throughout the year? How about despite there being thousands of coastal islands, only a handful are inhabited year-round? Or that while lobster…

Read more
The view of Frenchman Bay from Bar Harbor

A Coveted Coastal New England Road Trip

The beauty of a multi-day, 220-mile road trip up the craggy coast from Portsmouth, New Hampshire to Bar Harbor, Maine isn’t just the plethora of enticing pit stops along the route – from high culture to scenic coves. It’s also…

Read more
A couple strolls to Bar Island during low tide in Bar Harbor.

Top Things to Do in Bar Harbor from May to August 2024

Like many other Maine coastal towns, summer is Bar Harbor’s busiest season – with most of the eastern seaboard looking for cool ocean breezes and lush green hikes. Don’t let the crowds discourage you, because we have the tips and…

Read more
The historic theater at The Music Hall.

9 Secrets You Never Knew About the Portsmouth Music Hall

(Above image) © Michael Winters, courtesy of The Music Hall You may be familiar with The Music Hall as an iconic Portsmouth, New Hampshire landmark, but how well do you really know this 1878 performing arts space? When Zhana Morris…

Read more