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Postcard Inn at Holiday Isle - A Much Needed Improvement on a Florida Classic

"The Tiki Bar" remains
January 26, 2012 By Matt Meltzer in Miami: Travel NewsMiami: Things to Do  | 2 Comments

The Holiday Isle is not dead.

Nor is it being turned into condos or being torn down for scrap wood or auctioned off to Rich South Americans. The old Holiday Isle – home to the World Famous Tiki Bar and Rum Runners – has been reborn as the Postcard Inn. Getting a much needed facelift and bringing this Islamorada landmark into the 21st century.


While the Tiki Bar has been a destination party spot for South Floridians for decades, the Holiday Isle resort itself was never quite as revered. So while events like Bartender’s Bash and Memorial Day Weekend would bring flocks of locals down for the day, few chose to stay. Part of this was the cost. But moreso it was because – like anyone who’s been partying hard for that long –the place starting to look a little worn down.

But this past July,  Holiday Isle began an $11 million restoration project and this past weekend had its grand re-opening as the Postcard Inn – Holiday Isle, FL. So despite the dramatic facelift and improved amenities, the historic name remains.



The changes are an indisputable improvement. The old, shabby lobby is now a modern office complete with video arcade, family game room and comfortable sitting area.


A pair of flip flops and a cold drink cup greet you on the nightstand with a personalized card welcoming you to the resort. So the relaxation begins before you’ve even had your first Rum Runner. And the view, of course, has not changed.


The rooms themselves are unrecognizable from the old resort. The walls are painted a muted brown, with sayings form famous sea lovers adorning the walls, looking as if the sun were shining through a stencil onto the paint. The beds are made up with nautical sheet designs, but more importantly are bed bug free. And extremely comfortable.



The new owners of the Postcard Inn have achieved he difficult task of maintaining the resort’s Florida Keys feel wile getting rid of the more ramshackle aspects of the place. The Tiki Bar and Rum Runners are relatively unchanged, save for some new flat screens. And the bazaar behind it that used to hock sea shells and 3-for-$10 T-shirts has been replaced by a serene lawn and waterside seating area which the resort also uses for banquets and parties.


The marina is still there, maintaining Islamorada’s reputation as the “Sport fishing capital of the world.” Boats still line up outside the Postcard Inn waiting to take vacationers fishing, diving, or just cruising around the turquoise waters. That aura of the laid-back Keys fisherman is still there. It’s just gotten a lot cleaner.

Photo by Carlos Miller

The Postcard Inn is also home to America’s first Shula Burger, a quick casual offshoot of Shula’s steakhouses. The burgers are a gourmet blend of shortrib and brisket, from the same meat suppliers used for the steaks.


Photo by Carlos Miller

Word on the street was that the Tiki Bar (as so many locals don’t seem to know the actual name of the resort) was trying to go family. Like when Las Vegas started opening theme parks and encouraging hard-partying grownups to bring the kiddies too. And while the Postcard Inn has certainly upgraded itself to a whole new level, it does not forget why it’s been around so long.

“Yeah, we’re trying to go more family-friendly,” said Managing Director Bob Van Bergen, “because that’s who’s going to be coming here all year round. But we’re still going to have Bartender’s Bash, we’re still going to have Memorial Day.

Photo by Carlos Miller

“We were for a time the highest-grossing liquor license in the State of Florida. And a huge part of our revenue is the people coming down from Dade, Broward and Palm Beach. So we’d like to get more families in here for long vacations. But we still want people from Miami to come down and drink.”


The new Postcard Inn – Holiday Isle is what this resort should have been for a long time. The shabbiness of the old place wasn’t charming, it was what kept people from staying overnight. With the markedly upgraded rooms and the relaxing new amenities, Holiday Isle now is a lot more than a drinking stopover on the way to Key West. It’s a calming, clean, comfortable place to spend an entire weekend fishing, diving, or just wearing your flip-flops around the beach. 

Video by Carlos Miller

Related Categories: Miami: Travel News, Miami: Things to Do,

About the Author: Matt Meltzer is a featured columnist at Miami Beach 411.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer

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2 Comments on

"Postcard Inn at Holiday Isle - A Much Needed Improvement on a Florida Classic"

G-bunny says:

Great article Matt! It looks really cute. I would stay there!

Posted on 01/27/2012 at 5:11 PM

ahmad sobhi ahmad says:

I want to book one double room for my wife and myself in the period April 1st till Apr. 20th names: mr. ahmad sobhi ahmad mohamad & mrs. samia aly hassan

Posted on 01/29/2012 at 1:18 AM

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