Author: Renee-Marie Stephano
Drop in on an island retreat, perhaps, more becoming to Robinson Crusoe.
Focus on a 3,000-square-foot perched land mass surrounded by peace, tranquility and panoramic ocean views that are more than eye candy. Dare, then, to venture into the knee-deep clarity of the Florida Keys to wade a half-mile from shore.
Welcome to Melody Key – the ultimate getaway escape in wellness tourism for big spenders and luxury adventurers.
The six-acre island in the Florida Keys is pampering at its best. Some might be tempted to liken Melody Key to extreme luxury tourism, a grandiose version of medical tourism that some industry insiders predict will grow nearly 50 percent faster than overall global tourism by 2017.
If that prophecy sounds far-fetched, then it’s no wonder that living at Melody Key — an estate-like home featuring three bedrooms equipped to sleep 10 guests, 3.5 bathrooms, and rooftop observation deck overlooking the Florida Straits some 30 miles south of Key West – is out of this world.
Rustled in a sanctuary of palm trees and mangroves and touched by a balmy breeze, the octagonal-shaped rustic home is solar powered and includes a plunge pool and a modern kitchen with complimentary wrap-around dining balconies and floor-to-ceiling windows befitting a gourmet restaurant. If that sounds mouthwatering, know that a newly installed desalinization system can purify 800 gallons of water if the 12-gallon cistern were to run dry.
Melody Key is a hotspot in subtropical blue-green currents, home to vacationing celebrities or reclusive boarders who demand exclusivity. For what it’s worth, prices for this luxurious hideout begin at $6,500 per week, one party at a time – alone. As a permanent dwelling, Melody Key was auctioned near the end of last year. The starting bid: $3.5 million. But, the island did not sell, which now begs the “64-thousand-dollar question”: at what price is anyone willing to pay for an island with million-dollar views?
The sensible answer might be whatever floats a boat. Melody Key was once a watering hole for rock star and property landlord Nick Hexum. The alternative band member of the group 311 tried to sell Melody Key for $10 million back in the mid-2000s. It wasn’t until 2011 that he got a serious bite. That’s when Jason Kennedy, CEO of the Kennedy Group, a London-based recruiting firm for executives and financial institutions, agreed to pay $2.3 million – even though it wasn’t until closing that he first saw the island home. Now, some two years and $2.5 million in renovations later, Melody Key is on the market again.
Multi-million-dollar homes are no doubt attention-getters, and luxury abodes in the Florida Keys are certainly some of the most prized properties in the United States. But, dream homes can be prone to fairy tales – especially when the estate is situated on an offshore island.
Real estate professionals say islands are a tough sell. One drawback is that those who can afford the hefty price tag are likely to be reticent of islet homes, where shallow water surrounding the 1,700 perches in the Florida Keys is more compatible to snorkeling than oceanic yachts. Of course, some will always dare where others won’t.
To date, Pumpkin Key, a 26-acre private island, is the most expensive residential listing – at a whopping $110 million – in the Florida Keys. Location, in other words, can really matter.
Former President Harry Truman once vacationed on Hopkins Island. That property in the Florida Keys lists for $12.5 million. Ballast Key, the only private island in the Key West National Wildlife Refuge and host to celebrity guests like Truman Capote, Leonard Bernstein, Gloria Estefan, Tennessee Williams and the Bee Gees is on the market for $15.8 million.
In an age where optimal health and vitality and awareness of physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual well-being is increasingly paramount, wellness getaways can be proponents to motivation, innovation, and productivity. To this end, Melody Key offers privacy to conduct business, can host a senior-level retreat or reward a deserving employee — with little or no intrusion in an atmosphere that breeds gratitude, further inspiration and the opportunity to traverse the grounds naked.
Imagine lying down next to the heated pool, fishing off the island’s pier, or sitting near a camp fire under the night sky after a dynamic day of meetings and interpersonal conversation.
Lifestyle choices that include a stop in Melody Key – if only for a week or two – are easy decisions for some with deep pockets, but hard to fathom for others. The good news is that far less extravagant and costly alternatives for travelers who desire improved health and wellness through physical, psychological and spiritual activities are becoming commonplace from India to Colorado.
But, for those wellness travelers who don’t have to give the shirt off their backs and can feel the gravitational pull to Melody Key, the private island is exceptionally priced when compared to tropical destinations available for sale in the Caribbean.
And unlike a majority of exotic stops throughout the world, the utopian experience at Melody Key is accessible from numerous airports and is a short boat ride away from fine dining and shopping.
So, who wants to rent or buy an island?