'Local's Choice' Tips from Kathryn Lyons

As the hands-on general manager of Key Largo's boutique Kona Kai Resort for the last five years, Kathryn Lyons always knew "the business world would be my jam."

Lyons - a warm, welcoming Upper Keys personality - is a friendly, humorous and discriminating insider who's a go-to recommender of all things both Key Largo and Islamorada.

"Once a world traveler, now the world travels around me through resort guests," says Lyons, one of five siblings who were each born precisely 18 months apart.

Lyons moved to the Florida Keys from Miami in 2001 to open the quaint bayside Coconut Palm Inn in Tavernier (formerly known as Frank's Key Haven, a low-key dive resort).

Nine years later, the Lodging Association of the Florida Keys & Key West named her its 2010 General Manager of the Year in recognition of exceptional service to visitors and the community and for efforts promoting weddings in the Upper Keys.

Her motto: "Always strive for betterment and live by the Golden Rule!"

Where she dines: Breakfast: One Grind, Key Largo. Lunch: Hobo's Café, Key Largo. Dinner: Old Tavernier Restaurant & Lounge, Tavernier; and Chef Michael's, Islamorada.

Where she explores: Keys waters through Edelweiss Keys Snorkeling and Eco Tours in Tavernier. The Turtle Hospital, Marathon. The Key West Butterfly & Nature Conservatory, Key West.

How she relaxes: Helping others, enjoying fine dining and reading. Doggie companion Hope, a 4-year-old toy poodle, is frequently by her side.