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“LOVE Pilot House” 5 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 #21 of 94 Key West B&B and Inns
Mount Laurel, New Jersey
2 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
“LOVE Pilot House”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2013

Pilot House is one of the best places I've ever stayed. Pilot house is clean and artsy/funky/romantic. The staff-especially Virginia and Daniel are very friendly-you feel like you are at home and hanging out with friends. We have met other couples there-plenty of nice people to talk/hang out with and it's just a laid back vibe. We visit 2-4 times a yr and always stay @ Pilot House-unless we have the kids-clothing optional pool/jacuzzi ;-) The only thing it's missing is a fitness center and a grill-but hey you can do a lot of walking in Key West and there are plenty of places to eat/drink. I love that you have your own fridge/microwave and it's BYOB.

  • Stayed December 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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lynnkephart, Manager at Pilot House Guest House, responded to this review, January 16, 2013
Great seeing you again. It was a fun weekend. Glad you got out to walk around when you weren't by the pool working out your Tan. I like the butterfly house and the Truman little white house when family comes to town and the Schooner America sunset sail
see you soon
virginia
manager
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295 reviews from our community

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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 (100)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Dunedin, Florida
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 8, 2013

We have booked our room for our annual trip to Key West over the 4th of July week ( June 30 - July 8 2013 ). We have stayed in contact with friends we have made there, and are looking forward to seeing them again this year. This is our favorite place to stay in Key West and we are glad we found it a few years ago. We have told my friends where we live and this year one of our close friends are coming to vacation with us here along with our friends from Baltimore. The staff here is the best, We love the Cabana rooms by the pool, you step out of your door and you are right by the pool. Nice room with kitchen, large shower and grocery store for snacks right around corner. Yes there are a few rules that we all have to follow and it is a restored old school Key West house, so it is not the Hilton or other chain hotel. By the way those places have rules also. See you in a few months Virginia / Daniel.....who knows we might get another shout out for the Pilot House on the Tampa radio again this year.....C-Ya soon... Mike and Sonia

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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lynnkephart, Manager at Pilot House Guest House, responded to this review, January 16, 2013
Its always fun when you guys hit town, thanks for the shout out last year we appreciate friends in loud places (radio DJ) and thanks for telling your friends about the pilot house. Personal referrals are the best way to make sure guests are happy when the they visit. see you soon
virginia
manager
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kentucky
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013 via mobile

My husband and I decided to celebrate our 30th anniversary in Key West because we had gone there on our honeymoon. After much research we decided on Pilot House rather than a hotel. We are definitely glad we did. Daniel and Virginia are excellent hosts. We arrived before noon and were able to check in early. Our room was a Cabana room by the pool. Very spacious. We loved the shower. Great to have the kitchen area. Grocery store right around the corner so we could stock up on snacks and drinks. We used the pool quite a bit. It was a bit shady, but we used the second story sun deck. Loved, loved, loved the hot tub. Used it from early morning to very late at night. The hotel is located in a very good location, just steps away from Duval Street. We didn't have a car, but we were able to walk to everything in Old Town. On our last day, Virginia was kind enough to show us the attic suite in the main house. We are so glad we chose to stay here. Can't wait to come back. Maybe for our next anniversary!

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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New Jersey
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 1, 2013 via mobile

We stayed from just after Christmas until just after New Years and had a great time. When we checked in Virgina gave us the low down on parking, bikes our room etc and did it quickly and efficiently. We were in our room which happened to be the attic suite quickly. With its own private hot tub, table and lounge chairs on the upper deck this is the place to stay if it is available.

The hot tub was replaced this year and it was a little smaller than last year and not new but it was clean and hot. They may want to replace it in the future with a new one.

A positive as usual is the security at night with locked gates and the location right off Duval Street near the Hard Rock.

It is not the Hyatt so if you want a chain hotel go there. This a an old Key West house turned into rental rooms. They do have new rooms off the pool but we prefer the old house.

The pool has limited sun but because of that the landscaping including trees are beautiful. The reason for our attic reservation is that with that room you have unlimited sun and privacy.

The community hot tub is a great place to meet other guests. It even has a tree that is growing up through the roof. Again clean and hot.

Suggestion, if you are going to drive from either Fort Lauderdale or Miami airports rent a car for the day and drop it off at Key West airport and rent bikes for the week. Parking and driving are both hassles in Key West.

Rent a boat, take a sunset wine cruise with Danger Charters and enjoy KW. We can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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lynnkephart, Manager at Pilot House Guest House, responded to this review, January 3, 2013
This time of year is amazing and fast becoming a favorite for key west travellers. At the Pilot House the attic is a special room you either love it or not. Most of the people who choose this room are return guests who have seen it, tried it, and fall in love with the beauty and privacy it offers. But as stated it is not your average "hotel" room.

This time of year the town is dressed up for the holidays if you have the luxury of getting away between family visits treat your self to a stay in key west weather with the Pilot House or another great Guest house you won't be disappointed.
Being 1/2 block off Duval here at the Pilot House we are in a premium location with everything at your fingertips.
Look forward to seeing you both again soon and Happy New Year
Virginia, Manager Pilot House
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Austin, Texas
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
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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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
Was this review helpful? Yes
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...
See more room tips
  • 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
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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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 #21 of 94 B&Bs / Inns in Key West
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2 star — Pilot House Guest House 2*
Number of rooms: 14
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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