Key West Travel Guide
Hotel Openings / Hotel Opening Rates / Hotel Design / Hotel News / Florida Hotels / Key West Hotels / → All Tags
The furniture’s arriving, paint is setting and staff is training: preparations are well underway to herald the opening of the 245-room
boutique lifestyle property, The Gates, in Key West’s New Town.
Scheduled to open in April, the property is aiming to be the sophisticated design hotel that hasn’t been seen in these parts before. It will combine “refined luxury, modern design, organic touches, and Floridian flare to recreate the verve of Hemingway's ‘old school Key West.’ " What that means, in less marketing speak, is that you should expect lots of white and grey, whitewashed wood, blue sky- and ocean-colored accents, and some contrasting modern design touches just to make it interesting.
The Gates is designed by Andrea Henzlik of AHD in Atlanta and her goal was to make the property feel home-grown, chic, convivial and relaxed. To this end, the hotel will have a residential feel without the traditional front desk and has partnered with locals including photographer Jorge de la Torriente of De La Gallery, whose work will be found in the public spaces and rooms, the Key West First Legal Rum Distillery will be supplying their farm-to-bottle craft-distilled blends at Rum Row, the hotel’s bar, and Rodriguez Cigar Factory, the oldest cigar maker on the island, will be providing its premium cigars to be savored in the hotel’s Cigar Garden.
Retro right down to its window frames. That’s the verdict on The Marker, which just opened in Key West – in fact, it’s the first new-build hotel to open in the Old Town in 20 years.
Yes, new-build. Not that you’d know from the photos. Coffered, whitewashed ceilings, art deco-style stucco around the windows, rattan sofas and leopard print armchairs. It’s deco meets 1950s meets the present day, and the result is 100% delicious. In fact, can we say Kimptony?
More photos after the jump!
To describe the Key West hotel scene as an understatement. Key West casual carries over to most of the hotels and bed an breakfast joints on the island, including Southernmost on the Beach. Southernmost is a classic hotel that recently underwent massive renovations, which obviously means it was time for HotelChatter to check it out.
Check in / Check out:
After a four-hour drive from Miami we were hopeful that check in would be a breeze, luckily it was. We were greeted with smiles and quick service. However, when we got to room 520 on the bottom floor of Building B on the West Lawn we had to push past bikini clad dancers and a Jimmy Buffet covermeister to get into our room.
Still in the long drive fog, we didn't think we could take the happy hour party being directly outside our room nightly, so we went back to the front desk and asked to switch to a second floor room. No dice, the hotel was full, but the desk clerk assured us that the Parrothead fiesta would be over by sundown and the west lawn would clear about and be completely quiet at night.
Skeptical? Don't be, they were correct, sundown is a big deal on the west lawn, but once it is over everyone scatters and an hour after sunset you can have a west lawn hammock all to yourselves, even during high season.
Peekaboo Bathrooms / Key West Hotels / Waldorf-Astoria Collection / Hotel Renovations / Resort Fees / → All Tags
Chalk up another point for Team Enclosed Bathrooms. We know how many of you feel about the hotel trend that is not going away, Peekaboo Bathrooms, and most of you are against it.
Here's another gripe about the lack of privacy in the bathrooms at the newly renovated Reach Hotel which is actually now part of the Waldorf-Astoria Collection. Our reader also has a problem with the nude photographs in the restaurant. In short, this may not be the best hotel for families visiting Key West.
HotelChatter Reviews / Hotel Video Tours / Key West Hotels / Spring Break Hotels / Literary Hotels / → All Tags
Jaunted editor Victor Ozols is just back from a trip down to Key West where he celebrated Spring Break. Wanna know where he shacked up during his stay? Watch his in-depth guided video tour here. Or if you're at work and your boss is hovering, read the entire review below and pretend it's work-related.
Relaxation and indulgence is getting a social conscience down at the Hyatt Key West Resort & Marina as part of its new Jala Spa facility due to open this month. The Jala Spa (that means "water" in Sanskrit, apparently) is just one part of a $10m redesign.
The spa itself sounds a bit on the small side--just two treatment rooms and three poolside spa cabanas--but the Hyatt wants you not only to feel good yourself but to feel you're doing good too. So they have this special deal with Reef Relief to donate $5 of every Jala Blue treatment price to protect the coral reefs around Key West. And just to follow the green theme, the Hyatt Key West is also hoping to becoming "Green Approved" in Florida before next year.
· Key West Hotels [HotelChatter]
· Two Key West resorts get green lodging approval [HotelChatter]
Earlier this month, two Key West properties became the first resorts in the Keys to receive certification from Florida's Green Lodging program. Banyan Resort and the Gardens Hotel, both in the Old Town section of Key West, each earned "one palm" designations for initiatives ranging from recycling and linen reuse programs.
The Sunshine State instituted its Green Lodging program in March 2004. The program currently has 30 certified properties, including the two Key West ones, and more than 60 more have applied and are awaiting approval. The program is voluntary. However, starting January 1, 2008, Florida state agencies will only be allowed to hold meetings and conferences at Green Lodging properties. That sounds like a Category 5 incentive to us.
If a "one palm" Green Lodging property maintains that status for 12 months, they will be eligible for "two palm" designation. Properties in good Green Lodging standing for three years get "three palm" designation.
Here's a summary of the Banyan Resort's green initiatives, hot off a recent press release:
Environmentally friendly aspects of the Banyan Resort, a 38-suite property at 323 Whitehead St., include a towel and linen reuse program, a recycling program, energy conservation through solar roof panels for pool heating and high-efficiency compact fluorescent lighting, and purchasing products with recycled content such as plastic lumber used for courtyard decking.
And the Gardens,' from the same release:
The Gardens Hotel, an 18-room property at 526 Angela St., has implemented an environmental policy to communicate green living to guests as well as elements including low-flow faucets to conserve water and energy, a linen and towel reuse program, an automatic door closer and energy-efficient garden pump, a recycling program and purchasing products with recycled content and reduced packaging. In addition, four electric cars were purchased for staff errands around Key West.
Props to Florida, and other states, like California, for instituting green practices. For a listing of all certified and pending Florida Green Lodging properties, click here. As you'll see, some of Florida's best-known properties are getting in the green act.
[Photo: Diva Bex]
· Hotels in Key West [HotelChatter]
We thought we'd seen it all--especially at the Days Inn in Key West, where the tropical print bedspreads hold more DNA than the crime lab in Langley. But then we were told that porn star Ron Jeremy was in the house.
That's right. Porn star--or legend, depending on your perception---Jeremy was 'put up' at the vile Days Inn in Key West last Thursday night. Jeremy was a, uh, headliner, for the city's x-rated Mardi Gras festivities known as Fantasy Fest. After an appearance at a Duval Street watering hole for the Pimps 'n' Ho's party, Jeremy retreated to the comfort of his Days Inn motel room.
A cab driver told us, "Yeah, they put him up here. Can you believe it? Tomorrow he's off to Cabo." Hmmm. Do they have a Travelodge in Cabo?
· Days Inn Key West reviews [TripAdvisor]
Couples stay in an oceanfront guest room with indoor Jacuzzi. Included in the romance-has-no-price-tag package (worth $1599) are daily breakfasts, a "cupid care package" with Pure Fiji spa products from Spa Terre, and a couples massage.
All these romance packages make us singles feel, well, single.
So for those wanting to celebrate being celibate singledom, or for those who have more fun minus the "ball and chain", check out the the Six in the City package. $3,239 will buy two nights in the two bedroom suite and a 3 hour "mani-pedi party", daily breakfasts, and one dinner for up to 6, as well as two cocktails per day.
The only problems is two cocktails a day might not be enough.
· Make-Up or Break-Up at Ocean Key Resort in Key West with `Two in the Tub' for Couples and `Six in the City' for Singles Looking to Mingle [PR Web]
· Ocean Key Resort Reviews [Trip Advisor]
Key West resort Casa Marina Resort is offering a December special, according to Travelzoo.
For $99 per night, Sunday-Thursday thru December 25 (black out dates are Dec 9-10), you can stay at the Casa.
This "Holiday Special" is from now until Christmas, and includes weekend stays for just $26 more per night.
The Casa recently relinquished its Wyndham ownership and could be trying to lure travelers to sample the new management.
Do we care why? Hell no. This place has a couple pools, is on the beach, is an easy walk away from Duval Street, and is offering a good rate.
If you grab this deal be sure to let us know what you think of the hotel.
· Casa Marina Resort Reviews [TripAdvisor]
· Travelzoo Weekly Top 20 Sign Up [Travelzoo]
Niche web sites are all the rage and Motelsign is definitely niche.
The site is full of photos of motel signs from motels around the US, with a sideline in photographing cool Florida motels.
Sure these run down side of the road motels aren't going to be on Condé Nast's Gold List, but honky tonk is back baby--
Pros: Terrific Setting in Key West
Cons: Filthy run down rooms
The Bottom Line: We will never again stay at the Wyndham Casa Marina or any Wyndham Hotel in the world.
Our selection of the Casa Marina for our winter vacation this year was based on our pleasant experience at the sister hotel 'Wyndham Reach' adjacent to the property. Last year we stayed at the Reach and visited the Casa Marina and were intrigued by the setting and facilities. This year we booked ourselves, our two year old and my sister into the 'Casa Marina Resort', with expectations of having a first class experience. Unfortunately, our vacation was anything but that.