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“Clean But Old Room, Unpleasant Woman at Front Desk, Cockroach Sighting” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Pilot House Guest House

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Pilot House Guest House
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2.0 of 5 Bed and Breakfast   |   414 Simonton Street, Key West, FL 33040   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #18 of 97 Key West B&B and Inns
Austin, Texas
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Clean But Old Room, Unpleasant Woman at Front Desk, Cockroach Sighting”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 28, 2012

I stayed here for 5 days in December 2012 before the "season" started, ie. before everyone offering housing/lodging in southern Florida begins charging 2-4 times more what they charge in the off-season. I stayed in the standard Queen room, which is the most basic room they have. It's located in the old Victorian house. Other rooms are located within a more modern-looking building. After seeing the high rating for this place on TripAdvisor, I was eager to try this clothing-optional getaway. But it is NOT a clothing-optional B&B. It's not even a B&B. I was rather disappointed for having shelled out so much money and having had such a lackluster experience. If I return to Key West, I will look elsewhere for lodging. Some notes on my experience there:

*"Clothing-Optional": The main selling point of this place is that it has a clothing-optional pool and spa. However, a large sign in the pool area states "Stand Up Cover Up." Meaning you can be in the pool naked, you can even lie down on a chair naked, but the second you stand up, you need to cover yourself. So much for a laid-back clothing-optional getaway. Secondly, the pool area gets zero direct sunlight, except for one corner that is just large enough for one lawn chair. The problem is that the neighboring property has massive trees that manage to block out the sunlight for the entire pool area. So much for erasing those tan lines.

*Spa: The spa is a nice feature, and it's nice to be able to take a late-night soak before going to sleep. However, the spa is heavily over-chlorinated. I had to take a 30-minute shower in my room afterwards to lessen the chlorine smell. It probably didn't help that the water pressure in my bathroom was weak. But despite all my scrubbing, I couldn't get rid of the smell. After a few days, I stopped using the spa. It just wasn't worth the effort I'd have to put in to getting rid of the chlorine smell afterwards.

*Old, Noisy Victorian House: For those who are into the old-charming-Victorian-house thing, this will be awesome for you. On an aesthetic level, I don't care either way. But what it does mean is that noise travels in this thing very, very easily. When people walk down the stairs on the other side of my door, you hear every clunk, clunk, clunk down the steps. The closing of doors manages to sound like slamming of doors. It's not much of a bother during typical waking hours, but at 6 AM, it's fairly annoying.

*Balcony/Patio Space: The standard queen room has no desk, nor table. So if you've got some tasty leftovers from some restaurant that you want to heat up and chow down on, you have to do it in bed, or else outside at the little plastic table and chairs located outside your door on the balcony. The outside setting is nice enough, and during my first few days there, there weren't many guests in the house, so it was fairly quiet and peaceful, and the tropical landscaping provides a lovely view. However, after dark, the mosquitoes come out to feast.

*Cockroach Visitation: The lush tropical garden on the property is accompanied by several critters. I mostly saw lizards and geckos darting around, but a cockroach visited me outside the door of my room one night. After poking around for a few minutes, it decided to go under the floor boards. It was only one, but it was just a little too close to my room for comfort.

*No Wifi, No Phone: There is no wifi in the rooms, at least in the Victorian house. In order to get a signal, you have to go to the pool area. And of course, the pool area has no plug outlets for laptops. The little welcome/explanation placard in the rooms also states that each room has a phone, but Pilot House has since eliminated the phones in the rooms. There is, however, a phone in the lobby of the Victorian house and one by the office that can make free local calls.

*Expensive Off-Street Parking: Parking costs an extra $20/day, which seems ridiculous considering how much the room costs already. It's in an uncovered lot on a side street that is located across the street from the back entrance of the hotel. But free on-street parking is available, and Daniel at the front desk was helpful in showing me where to find it. I was actually able to find street parking within 1.5 blocks of the hotel after less than a minute of driving.

*Decent Housekeeping: The housekeeping staff was friendly and the room was fairly clean. However, as the days went on, the floor began to slowly acquire an increasing amount of debris. I made a point of taking my shoes off when I enter the room to help keep it clean. I suspect that housekeeping was tracking in stuff with their shoes, and they weren't sweeping the floor as part of their housekeeping.

Unpleasant, Unprofessional Front Desk Woman: Daniel was at the front desk when I first checked in. While he was pleasant to deal with, he also seemed to improvise hotel policy at his discretion. The real unpleasant experience I had was with Virginia. I met her on my second day there and realized that I needed to avoid her as much as possible if I wanted to have a pleasant stay. This woman has the incredible ability to turn a perfectly normal conversation into a hostile and unpleasant one in the space of 5 seconds. I asked her the two questions I ask at every hotel I stay at: Do they offer a AAA discount? Do they offer a discount for staying several days? When the answer is no, every single staff person has given me a professional and polite response, usually something along the lines of "this is our lowest rate available." Instead, Virginia suddenly took on a belligerent tone and acted as if I should be grateful to be paying $150/night for a room that doesn't even have wifi access, parking, nor breakfast, all of which would be included in other establishments at that price. I couldn't believe this woman was in charge of "guest relations" because she clearly lacked the skill for it.

*Bike Rental: Key West is a bike-friendly place, and the hotel has a fleet of cruisers that they rent for $10/first day, $5/day for each day after. But to get this rate, you have to pay for all the days upfront. Otherwise, if you pay day to day, it's $10/day. Depending on how many days you stay, this could be a good deal. The cruisers aren't anything fancy. Just your ordinary awkward fixie bike without gears or hand brakes. But they do come with a handy basket and blinking lights so that you can bike around at night without worrying that you are invisible to car drivers. The bikes belong to, and are maintained by, BikeMan Bike Rentals.

*Location: The Pilot House is well-located in the downtown/Duval area of Key West. It's a block from the touristy Duval Street, which makes for an easy walk. But it also means that you might hear late-night ongoings if you've gone to bed early. By bike, it's an easy ride to Ft. Zachary, Mallory Square, and some great eateries outside of the immediate Duval tourist zone.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled solo
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lynnkephart, Manager at Pilot House Guest House, responded to this review, January 3, 2013
A Vacation , where ever it is should always be a pleasant experience. One Of the ways we try to make that happen is by communicating what we have to offer at the Pilot House as well as what we cannot offer and our unquie circumstances and yes, boundaries.

We only reserve rooms by phone conversation which provides the opportunity to explain these details before and during booking and ensure the guest will be comfortable staying with us. If discounts were available they would be made before booking and not 2 days after checking in. 2 confirmations are emailed after initial inquiries repeating in writting these same details.

Our Garden Spa (1 year old) is nestled in a private gazebo. Being enclosed the chlorine smell may seem strong to some. The filtration system is state regulated with a computer auto feeder .

The Pilot house is a small guest house and not a B&B. As stated in the review the pool and spa while allowing nude sunning and swimming have boundarys due to the proximity of our Neighbors. Parking is $20 per day first come first serve. check in is between 3 and 6pm checkout at 11am. All of this information is provided before making a reservation A price is agreed to and then a booking is made.

In reviewing the points made by this guest I can only repeat that we make every effort to ensure a guest is happy with us While I do not remember speaking with this guest I sincerely apologise if I was abrupt unfortunately it seems, we do not completely match what they are looking for in a vacation destination. We hope where ever they decide to stay in the future they find what they are looking for.
Sincerely
Virginia
Manager Pilot House
.
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283 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (95)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Glen Carbon, Illinois
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2012

We love it. Have been staying there couple times a year for 10 plus years.
Daniel & Virginia are always great about getting us checked in and everything we need.
Both the mansion rooms and the cabanas have their own charms.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Manassas, Virginia
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 12, 2012

My wife and I stayed 3 nights and really enjoyed our stay. Everything about the setting was relaxing from the tree lined streets to quiet pool area. We checked in with Virginia and she was extremely helpful in showing us the room and providing us with things to see and do in the local area.

Room Tip: Room #1, the King Size room, on the first floor, overlooking the street, was great. There was a bit...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lynnkephart, Manager at Pilot House Guest House, responded to this review, December 13, 2012
This is a great time of year for a romantic get away. The weather is amazing, cooler after the hot sweaty summer but still warm enough for the pool or beach and ofcourse the garden jacuzzi. The restaurants are offering deals.
Glad you were able to take advantage of this quiet holiday time here in Key West and hope you'll be back to stay at the Pilot House Guest House again soon
virginia. Manager
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Otego, New York
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

My wife I were there this May 8-14 and loved it. We stayed in the Cabana and the rooms are great. The staff there is great and will help you in any way they can.The pool is great too.Loved being right there almost right on Duval St. We are going back to do things that we did not get to do or see when there befor.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lynnkephart, Manager at Pilot House Guest House, responded to this review, December 12, 2012
Look forward to your next visit we appreciate you decided to stay with us again. The Cabana rooms are so popular everyone loves the size of the rooms and the bathrooms as well!
The euro shower is huge!
Thanks again for picking us for your next stay
virginia
manager
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SW Florida
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 5, 2012

My wife and I stayed at the Pilot House Nov. 28 and 29. It was our first time to stay there so we relied on the reviews here on TripAdvisor. We stayed in one of the 2nd floor Cabana rooms and we were not disappointed. The temperatures were a bit cool so we didn't spend much time in the clothing optional pool area. We did manage to get some sun from the second floor deck adjoining the Cabana Rooms and checked out the spa. I took a dip in the pool and met a couple from Mississippi, which was fine until he decided to talk politics and I left. Not sure why some people want to bring up politics with perfect strangers.

The staff was very friendly and helpful. Our room was great. The only criticism I would have at all is that the coffee was terrible. But it's a short walk to Pepe's or Blue Heaven where they pour plenty of hot, strong black coffee.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
lynnkephart, Manager at Pilot House Guest House, responded to this review, December 8, 2012
Thanks for the review. It has been a little colder this year, I have to admit it is a great change for me but I know you want warm swimming weather when you visit.

Glad you gave us a try while you were visiting Key West and Hope you'll come back again.
Maybe we can do something about the coffee? In any case You found a great place for breakfast Pepe's is a favorite of mine and there is also 5 brothers a bodaga on Southard street. With amazing Cuban coffee.
Look forward to seeing you again
Virginia
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Nashville, Tennessee
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 28, 2012

My boyfriend and I spent our birthdays at The Pilot House. The rooms were gorgeous, especially the attic suite with it's outdoor jaccuzzi! The location is convenient to food, shopping, and nightlife on Duval Street. Very private and clothing optional pool area was lovely. The staff were so helpful to all our questions. Overall this is a wonderful adult guest house offering a relaxing vacation. Definitely recommend to enjoy your stay here.

Room Tip: We preferred the Attic Suite. It gave a wonderful rooftop view of Key West. Very Romantic with its p...
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Indianapolis, Indiana
Top Contributor
51 reviews 51 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2012

In early November my wife and I made the trip to Key West and stayed at the Pilot House Guesthouse. We had great weather and really enjoyed the clothing optional pool and the hot tub. The only negative thing I can say is that there wasnt a whole lot of sunny areas to sunbathe in. If it were in the dead of summer I may have wanted the shade but it was in the low 80's which is perfect, if you are in the sun. Anyway, we had a Cabana room next to the pool and it was very nice and roomy . The bathroom was very large with a nice walk in shower and a jetted tub too. The Pilot House was very low key and very quiet at night. This made it a very relaxing. It is in a perfect location and once we parked the car we did not drive it the entire time we were there. I highly recommend the Pilot House Guest House.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Pilot House Guest House

Address: 414 Simonton Street, Key West, FL 33040
Location: United States > Florida > Florida Keys > Key West
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Kitchenette Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #18 of 97 B&Bs / Inns in Key West
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2 star — Pilot House Guest House 2*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Luxurious accommodations in the historic Otto Mansion and pool side Cabana rooms. Full kitchens and kitchenettes available. Pool, spa and lush gardens surround the property tucked away in downtown Key West. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Pilot House Guest House Hotel Key West

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