From Peebles to Baywood: Keys resort likely to be a Hampton Inn

Aerial view of the Keys Colony Bay Resort, and the lobby of The Gates Hotel (Credit: Manolo Doreste, In Focus Studios)
Aerial view of the Keys Colony Bay Resort in Marathon, and the lobby of The Gates Hotel in Key West (Credit: Manolo Doreste, In Focus Studios)

The long vacant Keys Bay Colony Resort in Marathon will most likely be converted into a Hampton Inn, new owner Baywood Hotels told The Real Deal this week.

“Ideally we want to start renovations in the next three or four months,” Baywood Vice President Chris Desai said. “The shell is in good shape.”

Baywood purchased Keys Bay Colony in March from the Peebles Corporation for $10.5 million. The sale represented a dramatic loss for Peebles, which acquired the 80-room, oceanfront motel for $28 million in 2006, near the apex of the real estate boom.

Citing strict Marathon growth regulations that make it difficult to add lodging units, Desai said Baywood doesn’t plan to enlarge the motel. He said the renovations should take 12 to 15 months to complete.

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Keys Bay Colony Resort has been closed since at least 2005, when Hurricane Wilma struck, Marathon Planning Director George Garrett said.

In Key West, it’s a Fairfield Inn & Suites, rather than a Hampton, that is opening its doors. The 133-room lodge in the Southernmost City’s New Town area opened on Wednesday, owner Highgate Hotels told TRD. The Fairfield is one of three hotels in Highgate’s Keys Collection, which sits at the entrance to the island, on North Roosevelt Boulevard.

Another Keys Collection hotel, The Gates, opened its first 100 rooms in April. The Gates, which is selling itself as a combination of upscale sophistication and laid-back, Key West charm, is targeting September for the opening of a second building, with an additional 145 rooms. Once fully open, The Gates will be the second largest lodge in Key West, behind only Waldorf Astoria’s Casa Marina.

The third hotel in the Keys Collection complex, a Hilton Garden Inn, is scheduled to open in the fall. The three hotels are replacing a Days Inn, a Comfort Inn, a Quality Inn and a Lexington Hotel, each of which closed in 2013 or 2014.

Texas-based Highgate Hotels owns or operates more than 24,000 hotel rooms, primarily in major markets throughout the United States.