Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Key West trip report - Newark and Miami airport security update, Jasmine House, Carribean House etc.

Key West trip report - Newark and Miami airport security update, Jasmine House, Carribean House etc.

Dec 17th, 2001, 12:08 PM
  #1  
Owen O'Neill
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Key West trip report - Newark and Miami airport security update, Jasmine House, Carribean House etc.

Part 1) My first airflight since late August – thus my take on security at two very popular airports: Newark – very thorough – anyone who set off metal detector
was scanned with wand and then patted down. No one was allowed to proceed unless
staff was satisfied that no unallowable items were setting off detector. If you did NOT set it off there was no further checking. Miami – Even more stringent than Newark. Everyone who went through initial metal detector was also scanned with the wand even if they did not set it off and was scanned, checked and frisked if they did set it off. Women should consider wearing flat shoes or expect to take them off (apparently many heels have metal inserts – my friend wore spiked heels and had to remove her boots for inspection at both airports). Everyone should consider checking carry-on bags. If there’s the least bit of question or concern you will be asked to open bag for inspection. We checked our bags even though it was just a weekend trip and were glad we did so – total time to get through security was about ten minutes at each airport. Many other folks were delayed as they had to open carry-on suitcases that were crammed with many small items. It appears that if you have clothes, shoes and very simple toiletries you may be less likely to be delayed. Even items as simple as tweezers or small nail scissors are not allowed and were being detected. Evidence of heightened and much tighter security throughout the terminal (inside and outside) was easy to spot and things seem to be operating smoothly. (to be continued)
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 12:24 PM
  #2  
Owen O'Neill
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Part 2) Now for the fun stuff… we rented a Mustang convertible - $37 per day from Dollar – got the price from Orbitz – very good deal for FL (I think it is – my partner arranged it and she checks thoroughly). Drive to KW was very pleasant and a bit slow due to Friday afternoon traffic. After deducting the breaks we took along the way the travel time was a bit over 4 hours. Checked in later afternoon at Jasmine House. It’s on Center Street between Olivia and Petronia – very quiet little lane one short block off Duval and about 6 blocks from the Atlantic end. I had stayed in one of their “Porchside” rooms 3 – 4 years ago and thought it was a great value ($65 –90 depending on season). We opted for the “Honeymoon Suite” which is $190 per night but was made available to us for $150 as early – mid December is a very quiet time in KW. If you love the vibe and atmosphere of KW but aren’t crazy about dealing with throngs of tourists it’s a great time to visit. The weather was fantastic and it was VERY uncrowded. The suite at Jasmine was incredible - photos on the website don’t do it justice. There’s a large nicely furnished bedroom, good size living room / dining area and also a full kitchen where you enter (open floor plan for all but the bedroom and bathroom). The rear of the suite has two double French doors that slide open (and are generally left open all the time) that create almost a continuous open space on the back that open onto a lush and very private ground level deck / courtyard. There’s a large Jacuzzi, hammock and some wicker outdoor seating as well. Good sized TV in LR and BR and a nice stereo system, VCR, DVD player. This suite was the owner’s personal living quarters until a year or two ago and is beautifully furnished – feels more like a home than a guesthouse. It’s the nicest place I’ve ever stayed – will definitely plan on returning. Even at the standard price of $190 per night, IMHO it’s bargain by KW price standards. The owner, Linda, as also very nice and totally non-intrusive but easy to find or contact when we had a few questions. (to be continued...)
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 12:40 PM
  #3  
Owen O'Neill
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
(Part 3): Dinner Friday night at Latitudes, Hilton’s restaurant on their private island, Sunset Key. Reserved the previous week and requested a “beachside” table. Restaurant is open air on three sides and a few yards up from the water on the gulf side – fantastic setting. The beachside tables are each on individual ground level wooden platforms set on a sandy area adjacent to the restaurant – completely outdoors. Appetizers have changed since my previous visit there but the food was excellent. Save room for the homemade sorbet – had mango last time and watermelon this time – the best frozen desserts I’ve ever had. Service was friendly, unobtrusive and very professional. All told, a great dining experience. Yes… it’s bit pricier than most other places on KW but the atmosphere is worth paying for. It’s also a bit dressier than other KW dining establishments (few people if any were wearing shorts and definitely no T-shirts to be seen). Bill was $104 w/tax (not incl tip) for three soft drink, one appetizer, two entrées and two desserts. Breakfast the following morning and on Sunday was at Blue Heaven – a short walk from the guest house. Food, ambiance and service were wonderful, as expected. moderate breakfast for two with two fresh juices and a café con leche was about $23-24 w/tax (not incl tip). It ran an extra $9 on Sunday as we chose pricier items (shrimp with white grits and Vermont cheddar and also a fantastic Lobster Benedict). Dinner Saturday was at El Siboney – often recommended to me but my first visit there. We had two non-alcoholic bev’s, two cups of Conch chowder and two red Snapper specials. Total bill was only $32 w/tax (not incl tip). My partner happens to be Cuban and she declared the food to be very good – authentic and properly prepared. Very low-key family atmosphere and highly recommended. Skipped lunch both days in light of large breakfast. (to be continued…)
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 12:53 PM
  #4  
Owen O'Neill
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Part 4): Wow… how did this get so long winded? We window shopped (not too impressed but it was fun reading the tacky T-shirts and trying to figure out what people really do with some of the gaudy gift and craft items in such abundance). Watched the lighted holiday boat parade on Saturday but other than some walking around that was the extent of activities. We stopped at the Publix grocery on our way in and got non-alcoholic wine, cheese, crackers etc. Just spent lots of time lounging, soaking in the Jacuzzi and hanging out (needed the break and it was thoroughly enjoyed). After Sunday breakfast at Blue Heaven we checked out the Caribbean House guest house. The owner was very hospitable and showed us a typical room. All rooms have outside entrances (it’s one relatively small two story building). It’s just across the street and one door in from Blue Heaven, in Bahama Village. The rooms are small (perhaps 10x12) and basic – small TV, double bed and washstand in room and a small bathroom with toilet and shower. It was clean, bright pleasant and functional. Not heavily laden with atmosphere but certainly acceptable and a great value at $49 including pastry/coffee type breakfast. That is apparently the year round price and it’s definitely worth it. By some folks standards, Bahama Village has a few dicey areas but Blue Heaven remains open late and it’s on a well lit corner, two short blocks from Duval. I can afford a bit more and if traveling with a partner prefer more ambiance in the room but I wouldn’t hesitate to stay there if traveling solo or if on a budget. That’s it folks… really the best and most relaxing two days I’ve spent in quite some time.
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 02:44 PM
  #5  
Pro
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
A superb report Owen! Well constructed & laid out. The rest did you good as I read it. I have always recommended El Siboney for lunch or diner (locals hangout & a great deal for your money) & Blue Heaven for Sunday brunch or anytime for that matter. Bahamian Village is a great place to shop also & I get my haircut there just down the street from Blue Heaven. Glad you & your friend enjoyed Key West. Was there anything you left out? Just kidding. Thanks again for the trip report.
 
Dec 17th, 2001, 03:00 PM
  #6  
Carol
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Hi Owen - I was wondering how your romantic weekend went. Sounds like you had a great trip and you were even able to get your upscale N/A wine. This is great.


How did it feel to come back to the cold. We had our first 3 inches of snow upstate on Sunday it's melted now.

Weather was good huh? We leave at the end of the week for Lauderdale. Last I heard it was quite humid. Happy Holidays. Be safe and stay happy.
 
Dec 18th, 2001, 04:49 AM
  #7  
Owen O'Neill
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Yes... we got our NA wine (by the way... now that I've been trying this stuff out I can recommend Sutter Home's product as being far superior to Ariel). It was very romantic, particularly the beachside table at Latitudes. Also... I can't say enough about how great the service was that we received everywhere. I neglected to mention the weather. Not sure if it was typical for December but the days were in the mid - high 70's and nights hovered at or just below 70. NIce breeze the entire weekend. It was a bit of a shock returning to 30 degree weather but I've been lucky enough not to encounter any snow yet (other than the dusting on the ground in the Poconos when I drove through there yesterday). Best wishes to all for a great holiday. Now the countdown until my next trip! (New Orleans)
 

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:32 AM.