There are so many options available in Key West for lodging. You can stay in a resort hotel, a chain hotel, a small inn or even a bed and breakfast. Really, the only limiting factor is your budget. Check out these great lodging tips to ensure you have a great stay in Key West.
When considering the budget keep in mind there is what is known as High Season and Low Season. High Season is usually during the winter months (December through April) while Low Season is during the warm, tropical summer months.
The advantage of Low Season is lower hotel room pricing. When looking for a hotel, check the dates when prices change. Some have lower pricing May through December, while others may be a little shorter. Usually, most hotels increase the price of the rooms during Holiday weekends, Fantasy Fest and Christmas/New Year’s. So, if your vacation time is flexible consider adjusting to take advantage of the Low Season pricing.
What we do when looking for a hotel room is make a list of the amenities you cannot live without. These may include pool, free wi-fi, free parking, location, breakfast, etc. Then you can sort through the many hotel/lodging options with these in mind. For example, our must-haves include a pool, wi-fi, and location. Then we begin to sort through what is available during our time frame. Obviously, we sort by price, since we do have to keep the budget in mind.
If I have a favorite place to stay, and when I check availability online there are no rooms, then I will call. Sometimes, if you are willing to move rooms during your stay, then you get the hotel you like, but may have to change rooms during your stay. This seems to me to be a great compromise.
When reviewing the room rate, keep in mind the amenities. If you receive a free breakfast, then a slightly higher rate is ok, since breakfast on the island can run over $10 a person. If you get free parking, that is a double bonus. Parking is hard to come by and can be quite expensive.
One of our must-haves is location. We prefer to be in Old Town, but sometimes that limits our options and can put a strain on the budget. If you decide to stay outside of Old Town check with the hotel on a van service. Most of the larger resorts and chains run a van service to Old Town. The van service can run every hour or more often. Just confirm with the hotel their schedule. This saves you the hassle of driving and paying for parking. Also, keep in mind, there is a very active cab service on the Island.
If you are not renting a car, but plan to bike or walk, keep location in mind. After a long day at the beach or a long night on Duval, a mile or two can seem like 100. We have stayed at the Southern end of Duval before, and those extra blocks made some nights seem like we were walking to Miami.
We use the major travel sites Booking.com, Homeaway.com, and Hotels.com to scan for available hotel rooms. Also, will confirm ratings with TripAdvisor. But, given we are frequent guests, we have a “go-to” list we start with to check on availability.
Overall, try to be flexible with your travel dates, it helps in finding available rooms (and as a double bonus you may find cheaper airfare). Weigh your options against your must-have list and then decide what you are going to give up. Think of it like buying a house, there are somethings you cannot change: location, price. But, in the end, you need to find a place that works for you and meets the needs of your vacation.