40th in Key West

Jan 22nd, 2016, 09:34 AM
  #1  
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40th in Key West

My husband and I are turning the big 4-0 this year and wanted to plan a little getaway to Key West in early May. Neither of us have been before. We want a relaxing, fun mini vaca. Was interested in paddle boarding, kayaking, maybe visiting the Dry Tortugas, Hemingway's house. Also not really sure what hotel to stay at. I have looked at a few online; Orchid Key, The Gardens, etc. These are not on the water and I'm wondering if that even matters here? Any restaurant recommendations?
Stephy is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2016, 10:02 AM
  #2  
 
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Having been more than once, let me say this: KW is definitely not a place you go to "for the beach" (and I live on the beach in Florida). It is where you go to "lie by the pool" if that is an issue.

If you are going to troop "all the way down" there by all means stay IN "Old Town" or somewhere close to it. That way you really do not need a car.

Being "on the water" is fine depending on where that water is. Last time we stayed "on the water" at the foot of Duval Street and besides the water what we saw, and heard, were a lot of people drinking, and drinking, and drinking some more.

Also be aware that cruise ships stop in KW and that can inject a lot of people into a relatively small area of town.

IMO everybody should probably go at least once but "relaxing" is going to depend on where you might stay since with Old Town comes sometimes crowds of people so be aware.
Dukey1 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2016, 02:11 PM
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When we went to Key West a few years ago, we stayed at the Best Western Hibiscus Hotel. It's on Simonton Street, one block east of the southern end of Duval. It was easy to walk to all the attractions (Hemingway House, Mallory Square, etc.) but you don't have all the noise and people associated with Duval.

If you want something more "upscale" than the Best Western Hibiscus, take a look at the Southernmost House which is in the same vicinity.

If you go to Dry Tortugas, be sure to do some snorkeling there. Or consider going to Bahia Honda State Park and doing one of the snorkel tours there. Neither is like the "Great Barrier Reef", but it's good solid snorkeling.
longhorn55 is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2016, 03:31 PM
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http://www.themarkerkeywest.com/location brand new hotel on the bight so good places to eat and still walkable to Duval but much quieter. We take bikes but you can rent them from Eaton bikes.
Best beaches are by White St pier.
Casa Marina is nice on that side of the island.
flpab is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2016, 03:39 PM
  #5  
 
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http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...s-key-west.cfm

good trip report.
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Feb 7th, 2016, 08:47 AM
  #6  
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Thanks for the info! Hubby wants to stay on the ocean, since we don't see this everyday although I know it will have a hefty price tag, but you only turn 40 once. Looking at Southernmost since it seems a bit more off the beaten path. Yes planning on Dry Tortugas too.
Stephy is offline  
Feb 7th, 2016, 01:59 PM
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The best part of Key West is the small inns and key style hotels... The Gardens, Marquesa House, and places like www.historickeywesthotels.com are the essence of the Old Town feel... For a first time visitor, a chain hotel or motel is a mistake... Especially for a special celebration like a 40th birthday... Best western and southernmost are far from special...
garyt22 is offline  
Feb 7th, 2016, 02:03 PM
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Oops... It's www.historickeywestinns.com. Sorry
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Feb 7th, 2016, 07:58 PM
  #9  
 
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Casa Marina?
330east is offline  
Feb 8th, 2016, 05:05 AM
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Casa Marina is on the water, offers a tiny man made beach, but offers little Key West vibe... It's a resort that could be found anywhere...

It's hard for first timers to understand the "vibe" thing... It's about the feel, architecture , style, history and atmosphere. There's not much left there since the chains and money moved in...
garyt22 is offline  
Feb 8th, 2016, 08:06 AM
  #11  
 
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Unfortunately that "vibe" in parts of Old Town has become less than charming at times during some weeks. It changes a great deal when the ships are in and on weekends. Off Duval, as was mentioned, tends to be quieter and "off Duval" can be several parts of town, too. Some of those have great water views and never get as "busy" as the lower end of Duval and the surrounding blocks can get.

IMO you need to make your best decision and GO. There are going to be aspects of the place that you'll love and others that you won't regardless of any descriptions by others.
Dukey1 is offline  
Feb 10th, 2016, 10:01 AM
  #12  
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Thanks again for advice. I was originally looking at the historic hotels, i.e. Marquesa, The Gardens, Orchid Key etc but my husband wanted an ocean view. However seems like those OCV go for a hefty price and get booked up quickly. I get it about the vibe. I get that there is no "beach" anyway. Will have to look some more at the historic hotels.
Thanks again!
Stephy is offline  
Feb 10th, 2016, 05:20 PM
  #13  
 
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I just returned from a stay at Southernmost and would agree with everything that's been said, to a point. The historic hotels in Key West are charming but it is very nice to be on the water at that side of Key West. We were very lucky to have a room that looked directly out to the water. We could see both sunrises and sunsets and had our own patio with chaises. There are very few rooms like that at Southernmost, however. It's huge and most of the buildings are perpendicular to the beach and some are a block away. The ends of the buildings and the B&Bs have rooms that face out to the water. We were in room 523 if that helps you in choosing a room. If I had my choice, I'd probably choose a room a level up rather than on the ground floor since that would give you more privacy. If you have any questions I'd be happy to answer them.

Longhorn, did you like the Hibiscus? I was looking for places that I thought my parents might like and that caught my eye.
Birdie is offline  
Feb 10th, 2016, 05:31 PM
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Here's the resort map to give you a better idea of the layout:

http://www.southernmostbeachresort.c...operty-Map.pdf
Birdie is offline  
Feb 12th, 2016, 10:30 AM
  #15  
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Thanks for the info and Map Birdie! The ocean view rooms might be too rich for our blood for a long weekend but it looks like La Mer House and Dewy house could be an option. Do you know anything about that part of the property?
Stephy is offline  
Feb 12th, 2016, 11:15 AM
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We spoke to someone that stayed in one of those rooms and he said he loved it. He has stayed in several different rooms over the course of many stays and thought that was his favorite part of the resort. We didn't choose it because we like going out to breakfast at different restaurants and the houses are B&Bs.
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