La Te Da by the Sea

La Te Da by the Sea

Grassy Key motels have new owners

Christopher Rounds and Patrick Hegarty are no strangers to remodels. The duo completely flipped the $2.5 million investment of Key West’s La Te Da three years ago, which went from an abused historic business, to one of Key West’s most sophisticated small resorts, complete with restaurant, piano bar, and cabaret.

As new owners of the recently renamed La Te Da by the Sea, Rounds and Hegarty hope to add their Midas touches to the oceanfront properties once known as Casa Del Sol, Yellowtail Inn and Bonefish Motel on Grassy Key.

“We have been spending a lot of time running back and forth from Home Depot and Royal Furniture,” said Rounds. “I’m pretty sure I just paid for the new Royal Furniture building in Marathon.”

The 38 rooms are undergoing extreme makeovers, from all new linens and mattresses, to painting and flooring. “We are starting from a clean slate,” Rounds said. “We had to.”

Catherine de Villada and Cathy Picard spent their anniversary weekend in one of the property’s two bedroom suites. “It was a beautiful stay,” said de Villada, who frequents the Key West La Te Da property. “We really enjoyed overlooking the ocean, the beach at the resort, and dinners at Hideaway Café.”

As a bonus, famed Key West artist Rick Worth, a family friend of Rounds and Hegarty, is working on all the artwork for the resort. (And, they are still looking for the stolen Rick Worth-created Cornelius from Key West’s La Te Da’s Christmas display…)

La Te Da is short for La Terraza de Marti – The Key West location’s balcony is where Jose Marti gave revolutionary “Cuba Libre” speeches in the 1890s. Rounds says the same hospitable, courteous staff that are well known at the Key West property will be at the Grassy Key property.

As homeowners in Key West and their home-away-from-home in Conch Key, Christopher Rounds joked that he needed the new business to help pay for their Conch Key house. The over-the-water Conch Key house is equipped with a glass floor in the kitchen so “certain items” could be passed from the boats to the house undetected during its onetime drug-running days. It’s also the same house where the Keys scenes were filmed for the 2001 “Heartbreakers” movie starring Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Ray Liotta, and Jason Lee.

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