Bay Harbor & Coconut Bay Resort – Peg’s Dream Realized
As a much beloved elementary school teacher in Key Largo, Peg Mullin Laron dreamed of one day having her own hotel. She had lived in Paris as a student, spoke fluent French and traveled extensively throughout the continent where she stayed in small hotels and guesthouses that inspired her.
She found there was something truly appealing about the family atmosphere, the impeccable level of service and care and attention that the owners of these European pensions provided for their guests.
From those early experiences evolved Peg’s dream, her vision, her formula for building and creating a truly special place where guests would be made to feel special.
So special, in fact, that Peg has achieved a five star rating from guests on TripAdvisor. Her Bay Harbor & Coconut Bay Resort is rated by TripAdvisor as the Number One rated Specialty lodging in Key Largo.It wasn’t an accident. It didn’t happen overnight.
During her years as a school teacher in Key Largo, she and her husband managed the waterfront Howard Johnson in Key Largo (now a Hampton Inn). In 1994 the dream became reality with the purchase of Coconut Bay, a five-unit bayfront motel that Peg promptly began updating. In 1997, the motel next door, Bay Harbor, was added –with a “tear-down-the separating-fence” celebration – to create the current full two and a half acre waterfront resort property.With the help of a brilliant staff led by Manager Eric Handte, Peg has steadily transformed these two small motels into an internationally celebrated, yet intimate resort in a peaceful garden that maintains its Old Florida charm.
Of course, the location didn’t hurt. Bay Harbor & Coconut Bay Resort sits directly on Florida Bay, which produces breath taking sunsets almost every evening. But it takes more than great sunsets to create a world-class resort. The rooms need to be spotlessly clean, beautifully decorated and nicely equipped with amenities and features specifically designed for the comfort and convenience of the guests. It must have a temperature-controlled pool, where guests can cool off after a day of sun bathing or a dip in the bay.
There must be plenty of things for the guests to do including free use of kayaks and paddle boards and fishing off the dock. And of course, a great resort must be meticulously groomed. In 2002, Peg hired Ettienne, a world-class gardener and gave him a simple task – create a brilliant, lush tropical paradise for guests. Today the property is lovingly strewn with orchids, bromeliads, hibiscus, birds of paradise, bougainvillea, pineapple and other tropical flowers as well as fruit-bearing trees such as mango, papaya and key lime. The grounds alone are worth a visit. Ettienne himself has become a favorite with guests. Service, Scones and a Saying
Ultimately, though, it’s about service. This was the primary lesson Peg brought back from Europe. Her morning bulletin board is a guest favorite.
But nothing defines Bay Harbor & Coconut Bay more than Peg’s scones.
Every morning, her freshly baked scones and coffee are available for guests. Guava, Key Lime, Chocolate Crunch and Apricot Almond are just some of the more than 25 flavors that guests love. Peg’s scones recipes are surpassed only by her recipe for a great guest-loved resort. It’s defined by her motto, “Arrive as a guest, return as a friend.”
Let one of the guests define the experience via TripAdvisor.
“The “Classic” Vacation Site in the Florida Keys”
MM (Mile Marker) 97.7 is the location of the “classic” vacation spot in The Keys– Bay Harbor (and Coconut Bay Resort) In the morning just stand next to the coffee table and the scones (a mouthwatering meal) and you will meet very polite, delightful people from all over the world. In the evening go out to the docks and watch the gorgeous sunsets with more friendly guests. The owner (Peg) and staff go out of their way to be helpful and answer any questions. Report a problem and the team fixes it immediately. The cottage we stayed in was a “clean freaks” dream. The staff member had me inspect the entire cottage before I accepted it. The cleaning team came through every single day. The kitchen is fully equipped with new appliances, large refrigerator and utensils. The queen size and pullout beds have memory foam mattresses. The outdoor cabana areas have plenty of chairs and BBQ grills within reach. The Lodge has three Internet networks. No noise from traffic, other guests, or the A/C unit. Everything you can to do on a Florida Keys vacation can be found at this one location. The outdoor pool is heated (85 degrees) and uses salt-like water, not chlorine. The Bay water was January warm at 82 degrees with easy access from the sandy shore or two docks. Sunbathing lounge chairs are plentiful. Snorkeling gear, kayaks, paddle boards, a paddleboat and safety vests are right there as well. Fishing from the docks or a kayak is good way to view the Bay’s abundant sea life. We will be back soon for another refreshing vacation.”