Where should you stay? Well, that depends on what you prefer and who is part of your traveling party. Let’s explore the 11 Best Tips on Choosing a Hotel in Key West. We prefer Old Town; where we can easily walk to all that Key West offers. Even if we have a car, it usually remains parked, we depend on our feet to get around. Our kids no longer travel with us – they have now graduated to adulthood and opt to spend time with their friends – which is perfectly fine by us. In addition to our Old Town location, we also prefer independent, small inns or Bed and Breakfast places. They are much more intimate and offer a very relaxed atmosphere. Just a few tips when choosing your home away from home:
Review Trip Advisor for user reviews. Now, keep in mind we view these with a grain of salt. We look at how many reviews and then skip straight to the lower rated reviews. It is important to know why the places received a low rating.
2. Low Ratings? Not what you may think…
Low Ratings – what was the reason? Sometimes it was due to a misinterpretation of what the person expected. For example, if a place says it is “adult only” then that means “adult only”. We think it is suffice to say that adults behave differently when away from home and when there will be no kids watching. But, if a place says kids welcome, keep in mind there will be adults (acting like adults) there as well. So, if you are traveling with small children (or impressionable teenagers) you may want to consider a chain or larger resort. Those places have larger pools and offer entertainment options for the younger crowd.
3. Expectations of other guests
Also, before booking check out what crowd the inn/B&B caters to. Some, like we mentioned before, cater to adults, while others may cater to alternative lifestyles. Just be aware of who their target audience is so you don’t put yourself in a position to feel uncomfortable during your stay.
4. Bathrooms, size does matter
One of our favorite places is the Island City House. First off, it is in a good location and, this may be weird, but it has a full size bathroom. Most of the other places had shower stalls; this had a full size tub. If you prefer full size bathtubs, then be sure to ask before booking, or else, you may end up with a small shower stall. Also, each unit has a kitchenette. We didn’t really use it, but can see that if you want to experience cooking with local ingredients, it would be very cool to have access to a kitchen.
5. Street noise, atmosphere or distraction
The unit we stayed in was located in the Arch House, street view. Let’s be honest, you really don’t spend a lot of time in your room while on vacation, so large rooms aren’t something we normally look for. But, the efficiency was by far the largest room we had stayed in. Also, the street noise was very minimal, but we don’t have much issue sleeping with street noise. Also, if we are being completely honest, you cannot beat the price (especially during low season). Just be aware, if you are a light sleeper, you may want to consider a garden view unit. If Island City isn’t available, when considering other locations, ask if the rooms face the street; especially if you are a light sleeper. Island City House doesn’t serve breakfast, but does put snacks in your room each day. Gives you an opportunity to explore the many breakfast options available in town.
6. Call for the best deals
We have also stayed at the Chelsea House. This place was located towards the southern end of Duval – or the more quiet side. Not the best location for us. We prefer to be closer to the other (or busier) end of Duval. But, the room was nice and overall the place was a nice place to relax and spend time around the pool. They accept reservations online – but if you call, they have specials only available to those reservations made via phone (they include great discount coupons to must see places around Key West). Most places in Key West offer special deals if you call them directly. Keep in mind, there is a clothing optional fun deck. So, don’t let the kids wander too far or else you maybe explaining things you aren’t ready to explain!
7. Did someone say Happy Hour?
We have also stayed at the Key West Harbor Inn. Let me say this is located in a great, great location. Just steps away from the Historic Sea Port and caters only to adults. The rooms are a little on the small side, but the location makes up for that. The breakfast is a basic continental breakfast but the Inn offers a cocktail hour before sunset. Let me just say – awesome!!!! Several places in town offer a Happy Hour, these can be a great way to start the evening!
8. Pool options; dips or laps?
Usually the smaller inns/B&B’s have a pool, but it will be smaller – don’t expect to do laps while on vacation
9. Virtually orientate yourself before you arrive
“Walk” the area before you go with Google maps. This will help you see the neighborhood as well as provide a point of reference on where you are and how far some of the attractions you are interested in seeing are.
10. Remember what takes you home…
Remember what takes you home. Well, this is probably only needed if you plan to visit a few of the establishments on Duval, but after a few adult beverages you may be a little disorientated. Knowing ahead of time what takes you home helps you navigate your way back to your room, because at night things look very different than in the light of day. So, if you know you enter Duval at Sloppy Joes, then Sloppy Joes takes you home. Or if you enter Duval at Wendy’s then Wendy’s takes you home. This was a very quickly learned tip because on our first trip, being unfamiliar with the city, we wandered around trying to remember how to get back to our room.
11. Make the cabbie your friend…
Taxi Service is readily available throughout the island. The drivers will offer their names to call directly if you need a ride in town. This may vary with their work schedules and times of the day, but a nice feature is you find a driver you like.