On March 14, 2019, the 92nd anniversary of the founding of PanAm Airways in Key West, Florida, principal construction of an exquisitely retro-themed, three-bedroom PanAm Suite was completed at the IBIS Bay Beach Resort.
Designed to pay tribute to the glory days of PanAm Airways, flight in general, and 1950s Key West, the new PanAm Suite has completed its test flight period and is now available for take-off on a year-round basis, explains IBIS Bay co-owner Chris Holland, who notes that flights are available for $650 per night.
“Visitors can now take a ‘suite’ flight back in time to the glory days of PanAm and Key West,” Holland says. “We timed the construction to coincide with the anniversary of PanAm’s founding. Local PanAm aficionados and several IBIS Bay regular guests who had booked the suite prior to its completion took their inaugural flights in the suite this spring. Now it is finished down to the very last detail and ready for passengers every day of the year!”
Demand for the suite has been strong during its initial test flight period, Holland explains. “The suite has already been booking up early as word gets out from early ‘passenger’ reviews and through our social media posts and email blasts."
One look inside the suite reveals why demand for the suite has been so great. Like the early PanAm Clipper Ships, it is large and luxurious, measuring nearly 1800 square-feet. There are three cabins, two living areas, a bar, three bathrooms, and a large outside deck with lounge chairs and uninterrupted views of IBIS Bay.
The interior design reflects the sleek classic look and feel of a first-class PanAm airplane cabin and includes a fusion of wing-shaped aluminum counters; 1950s period modern furniture; red, white, and blue color schemes, luxurious bedding and towels — and 21st century touches like state-of-the-art lighting, kitchen area with microwave oven, bathroom fixtures, and 4K television displays.
The suite also features a large exhibit of many historical artifacts, aviation equipment, and poster art from PanAm's early days. Each bedroom is known as a Cabin. In fact, they are called Mile High Club Cabin A, B, and C!
The towel rails in the bathrooms are inspired by the steel cable wing structures of PanAm's early seaplanes. The red nylon pull tags on cupboard doors and drawers are from vintage aviation equipment. The bar/kitchen counter is made from an early aluminum plane's wing tip.
There are two other riveted aluminum wing console tables in the suite. The white leather Barcelona chairs in the lounge were designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1929.
In a nod to modern times, the suite features a ridiculously addictive Clipper Suite Selfie stage with a 1940's Clipper Ship pilot's chair in front of a large color mural of PanAm pilots boarding a PanAm Clipper Ship. Guests can take the stage to take fun photos of themselves to share socially.
What’s more, passengers in the suite enjoy an exceptionally private experience because it is located in a secluded beach area on the east side of the resort. It overlooks the bay and features a mangrove on one side that is home to many fish species, birds, and iguanas.
“This is a suite designed for guests who want to take a giant step back in time to have the experience of a lifetime,” Holland emphasizes. “It’s the perfect blend of nostalgia and modernity. It’s what Key West is and always should be all about!”