The lobby entrance to Baker’s Cay Resort in Key Largo. CONTRIBUTED

A Key Largo resort that reopened in January 2019 following damage from Hurricane Irma was recently acquired by a Maryland-based lodging real estate investment trust. 

Host Hotels & Resorts announced on July 6 that it purchased the 200-room Baker’s Cay Resort for $200 million in cash from Curio Collection. Combining tropical adventure with relaxation, the eco-friendly resort sits on 13 acres. It was once a pineapple plantation owned by Capt. Ben Baker. 

James Risoleo, president and CEO for Host Hotels, said the company’s pleased to acquire its first hotel in the Keys. 

“After a complete $63 million renovation and repositioning in 2019, Baker’s Cay shows like a new resort,” he said. “Additionally, the Florida Keys market benefits from excellent supply-demand dynamics owing in part to strict development ordinances.”

Baker’s Cay beach. CONTRIBUTED

Amenities include a private beach, pool and beachside dining, a dock, a salon and a boutique. The resort also welcomes guests’ pets. Watersports and unique culinary experiences are also offered to guests. 

Baker’s Cay Resort is carrying out eco-waste efforts through various reuse and recycle initiatives. As of March 2018, the property was the first resort in the Keys to commit to Reef Relief’s “Skip the Straw” campaign, eliminating single-use plastic straws on-site.

As owners of luxury and upper-upscale hotels, Host Hotels & Resorts has 78 properties in the United States and five properties internationally, totaling some 47,400 rooms.

The purchase of Baker’s Cay comes as more travelers come to the Keys with a COVID-19 pandemic calming. Hotel occupancy rates that were once high in the Keys are coming down a bit. Nightly rates for higher end resorts were as high as $1,000 during holiday weekends. Daily room rates in the Upper Keys range anywhere from $150 to more than $300 this month.

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Jim McCarthy is a Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 3-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, mixed martial arts and golf. He loves to hit the links and play some softball with his Make A Play team. He also enjoys time with family (he's expecting a little boy in October).