It was late 2017 when social media blew up with images of Alabama Senator-elect Doug Jones attending a Jimmy Buffett concert at his Margaritaville restaurant. To the casual observer, the stars were simply aligned. Jones was coming off one of the most publicized U.S. Senate victories in recent memory, while Buffett offered fans a rare chance to catch him in his original provenance.
But for those familiar with Robin Smith-Martin, whose native roots run deep within Key West culture, politics and Jimmy Buffett, it came as no surprise that he was behind the match.
“I knew Doug (Jones) was coming into town and Jimmy (Buffett) called me to say he was doing a show,” said Smith-Martin, who served on the Monroe County School Board. “I told him the newly elected senator from Alabama was going to be here and he (Buffett) was like, ‘Hey, I would like to meet that guy.’ So I brought the two together and it was an incredible night for everyone involved.”
That story is the embodiment of Smith-Martin. The Key West native loves his hometown, thrives on connecting people and owns a perpetual work ethic that reinforces his charismatic persona. So who better to be christened Key West’s “ultimate concierge” than Smith-Martin – who recently began OurKeyWest (The OKW), which focuses on premium services for those seeking an authentic Key West experience.
“As someone who grew-up in Key West, working as a captain, cook, musician, bartender and entrepreneur, it’s been frustrating to witness the millions of visitors who never experience the real wonders of local life in the Keys,” said Smith-Martin. “There is so much more below the surface. The music, the food, the art, the architecture and local characters.”
Smith-Martin said The OKW, which he and his investment-holding group (Blue Eye Ventures) purchased from Momentum Concierge, will provide authentic and compelling guest experiences that emphasize the natural world, art, music, food, history and local characters of Key West.
“So, we are redesigning the guest experience,” said Smith-Martin from his desk at the firm’s downtown office above Wyland Gallery. “We are focusing on the natural world and human interaction, developing a curated portfolio of vendors and activities who share our vision for a more compelling guest experience.”
Smith-Martin said he is always impressed by the talented concierge community in Key West, but that much of the service has been monopolized by the watersports industry that has vertically integrated into hotels. The resulting guest experience, Smith-Martin believes, is limited by watersports sales channels.
“We’re primarily focused on VIP and premium concierge services for our vacation rental, guest house and resort partners,” said Smith-Martin. “We’ve hosted five super yachts in the past year, and frequently facilitate chartered jet service for VIP clients. It’s amazing after all these years, how many people are just discovering Key West.”
The OKW already manages a full-service local concierge support team and call center that operates from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily to support local concierges and guests across the island. But the ultimate goal is a single-minded mission: more fun. Smith-Martin believes each guest deserves a personalized itinerary and his company’s ability to offer pre-arrival surveys and individual interviews provides the local experience that so many visitors long to discover.
“There are a lot of billionaires who love to play shabby chic and hang with the locals,” said Smith-Martin. “And we are happy to entertain. It’s a fun business.”
Note: The OKW is developing a series of compelling guest experiences and adventures with their premium guest experience—including specialized trips to Cuba. For more, visit ourkeywest.com or follow on Facebook.