I spend 100+ nights per year in hotels/guest houses and travel to Key West regularly.
Nice improvements such as flat screens in rooms, restrung sun loungers, liberal happy hour, off-street parking, quality bedding/towels are appreciated and add value to the most affordable "male only" guest house on the island.
Areas that fell short:
Fridge in room was so loud had to turn it down/off to sleep.
Microwave had limited function due to a malfunctioning control panel.
No porn channels or DVD players in room?
Shower took 5+ minutes of running water to get hot.
Maid service was hit of miss. Trash not emptied, pillows placed on floor, counters/floor not wiped down, burnt-out bulbs in bathroom not replaced (lights left on specifically for this reason).
Continental Breakfast: outdated yogurt and danishes 2 out of 4 mornings. No fresh fruit or proteins...
Garden Bar and back pool area is looking really worn and dated; not the happy place it should be. Ugly temp tents, lack of night time lighting, poor sound system, peeling paint, unkept plants/lack of landscaping, discarded construction materials, etc...
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Thank you again for taking the time to review our property. As you know, we continue to use this valuable feedback to improve our property.
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As you've noticed, we've made some big improvements in the past year. You also noted that we are the most affordable male only guest house on the island. As you can imagine, it's very difficult to have the BEST location yet be the LEAST expensive. I am able to do this by choosing the most important improvements that my guests want. Unfortunately, this means I have to choose not to make certain improvements. In your past reviews, you commented on some that were already being considered and others that were being reviewed but not planned this past year. I have some updates on those that you've brought up again.
I'm not sure what room you were in but we have upgraded some refrigerators with newer models. As you may know, newer models are now more energy efficient and unfortunately, these newer ones emit a high pitch noise from the compressor that older fridges did not. Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do about this. Due to the proximity of the fridges to the beds, we've had a few guests that weren't using the fridge actually turn it off. Other guests told us the A/C drowned out the noise so it didn't bother them. I wish there was more that I could do but this is the nature of the newer models.
I will try to ascertain which room has a malfunctioning microwave and replace it immediately. In the future, please bring that to our attention while you are here. We have spare microwaves and we can replace it right away.
We have researched porn channels and now, with the new digital conversion, and the fact that our rooms are in multiple buildings, the cost was far outside what we can consider paying for this upgrade. We are a small 11 room guesthouse and in order to keep my rates low, I cannot justify such a large expense as we would have to pass that on to the guests and I'm not willing to raise my rates for the few people that believe this is a priority.
We do have DVD players available. Just ask at the front desk. We had a few rooms that we left DVD players in and it caused a great deal of problems. Again, due to the digital cable conversions, even our high definition TVs need to have a cable box. This requires the TVs to stay on channel 3. In order to have the DVD player in the room, we must leave the TV remote in the room in addition to the cable remote so that people can change from channel 3 to the AV inputs. We were constantly having guests telling us the cable was out because their TV was saying "No Signal." In each case, the guest changed the channel on the TV remote changing the TV from channel 3 so that it could not see the signal from the digital cable box. For this reason, we've gone back to providing DVD players on demand when requested. We then instruct the guests about the additional remote and how to correct a "No Signal" warning message.
Our complex is large and yes, the hot water does take a substantial amount of time to get to the rooms furthest from the heaters. We are planning on upgrading our rooms to "insta-hot" water heaters that are actually in the room and will heat on demand. As you can imagine, this is an expensive upgrade and will take us some time to accomplish. We appreciate your patience while we work towards this goal.
We recently had a complete change of housekeeping and maintenance staff. As such, we are going through a brief period where we may not be 100% where we should be. Again, please bring any issues to the attention of the front desk as we will attend to it immediately. I personally was assisting housekeeping this past week and even serviced rooms myself. Had you brought that to our attention while you were on property, I can assure you that everything would have been taken care of.
Outdated yogurt is not acceptable. I will remind the staff that this is something that cannot happen. On occasion, our distributor sends us product that has less than a week left and I usually refuse to accept it but apparently we missed this and for that, I apologize.
Our pastries are prepackaged and arrive frozen. They are good for over a year if frozen and 30 days if refrigerated. They are stored in the refrigerator when not out for breakfast and we have never had one go bad, They also do not have date codes on them so I'm not sure how it could have been out of date.
Just two weeks ago, we added a fruit cup to our continental breakfast selection, With only 11 guest rooms, fresh produce is not always an option as we would likely have too much waste. As for proteins, we cannot provide a hot breakfast. Without a full commercial kitchen, we can only offer individually wrapped, pre-packaged breakfast items. Please keep in mind that there are other guesthouses on the island that are substantially more expensive that do not offer a free breakfast at all. I believe we offer as good, if not a better selection of free breakfast items than any of the male only guesthouses in Key West.
The garden bar is in a somewhat transitional phase. With the purchase of the large parking lot across the street, we have been able to expand the garden bar into what used to be our parking lot. Of course, this area was just a utility area so it was not landscaped like the rest of the area. Rest assured that as time goes on, we will find a way to integrate this area and make it look more pleasant. The temporary tents are provided to offer shady areas to get out of the sun. There are many reasons that we cannot build permanent structures. Some are due to city ordinance and others are due to hurricane preparedness. Temporary tents can come down as needed before a storm so these are the best way for us to provide shady areas. Recently, a wind storm did some damage to the blue one on the second deck. We are still deciding on whether or not to repair it with a new top, replace the entire tent or just remove it all together.
At night, the entire staircase and deck are illuminated with rope lighting. Quite often. people on the decks want this area darker so they unplug the lights. We are constantly keeping up with this and plugging them in. If you ever feel the area is too dark, bring it to the attention of management right away and we will address the situation.
Our sound system upgrades have already begun. We have rebuilt the outdoor speakers and we will be running new cables and relocating the amplifiers so that they are better protected from the elements. We use Crown amps and JBL speakers. Those in the industry know that these are good quality names. Outdoor sound systems are exposed to hot humid air 24 hours a day 7 days a week. This take a toll on system components. Playing sound outside is a also big challenge without a room to hold in the sound. Once we've completed the upgrades, I'm confident you'll be very pleased with the new system.
As for the paint and landscaping, again, we are in transition. With a property the size of ours in a climate such as ours, it's impossible to have everything 100% perfect but we do strive to offer a clean and safe environment for all of our guests.
While I appreciate your feedback, I also ask that you understand that we are the lowest priced male only guesthouse in Key West and we have the best location. Our guests pay no cover at the Bourbon Street Pub and the 801 Bourbon (that's a $20 value per person each night). We offer a free happy hour and a free breakfast every day. While I would love to make all the upgrades you've asked for, I would then need to raise my prices substantially. I believe we offer a good balance of economical pricing and premium service. While I cannot offer luxurious amenities and resort like benefits, I can offer to do whatever I can to make your experience an enjoyable one.
In the future, ask for me personally while you are at the property and I can probably clear up some of these concerns immediately (such as the DVD player, light bulb and microwave) and explain some of the reasons things are as they are (such as the lack of a porn channel, or why the hot water takes so long). This way, I can correct situations while you are still here rather than have you leave unhappy and have to wait until your next visit to see the improvements.
Guest House Manager
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.