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The Grand Guesthouse
Ranked #19 of 77 Key West B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersSilver level
Rijswijk, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“You have to see it to believe it!”
Reviewed May 17, 2013 via mobile

We stayed at 8 hotels during our roadtrip through florida. This hotel was the best by far. Staff was very friendly and upon arrival we where given a detailed description on where to go and eat. Fantastic! The rooms where wonderful and they have put a lot of details in the room. The breakfast was even better. It felt good to drink coffee out of a real mug instead of a plastic cup! They also have bikes, which is the best way to move around key west. I think this is the best hotel to stay in when you are in key west.

  • Stayed May 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank aschuilenga
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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740 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
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DC
Level Contributor
14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed May 2, 2013

I had a lovely time at this guesthouse in March. The location was perfect for me. It is walking distance to Duval but far enough away to be quiet and peaceful. It does lack some of the amenities of other guesthouses but that is why it is priced less. No hotel/B&B/Guesthouse in Key West is cheap but this place was less than many others I looked at. Breakfast is very basic and there is no pool. The rooms are also basic but clean. The staff was very friendly and helpful. The landscaping was beautiful.

They are very strict about deposits, arrival and departure dates/times, etc. Read all the rules carefully before booking. If your plans require flexibility, this isn’t the place for you. I would recommend this to anyone except those who must have luxury, younger folks who want to party, people with uncertain travel plans, or people with pets (not allowed).

Please note – although this guesthouse is gay owned and operated, it is not really a gay guesthouse. Most guests there are not gay.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank John_In_DC_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Level Contributor
43 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
Reviewed April 3, 2013

Friendly and easy check in. Convenient location. Just around the corner from El Siboney - the best buy for a meal in Key West. Nice breakfast - wish I could have stayed longer. Convenient parking in front. Excellent all around.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Mitchell L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Raleigh, North Carolina
Level Contributor
21 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed March 30, 2013

This place was a joke. I don't know what these other reviewers are talking about, but they must be used to cheap motel rooms if they think this place is so great. For three hundred bucks a night, you basically got a Motel 6! Now, I do have to say at the outset that we stayed in room number 6. It was NOT in the main house, but in some shack at the back. I did not see the rooms in the main house, so I cannot comment on them at all. I will start with the pros first (it won't take long). The courtyard is very pretty with tons of tropical plants and a nice plank walk. The neighborhood is lovely and quiet and very easy to get around. Now, for the cons:

1. Free Parking--When we first arrived, there was no parking in front of the place. Why? Because there are only 6 spots for ten rooms! If you don't get one of the six spots, they tell you to park down the street under signs for a Tow Away zone. They tell you to just ignore the signs! What?
2. The Smell--When we walked into the room, we were overwhelmed by an awful musty smell. It was so bad that when we got home, all of our clothes had to be washed....twice! It was so offputting that my wife never wanted to stay in the room. She was out the door at sunrise and refused to come back until it was time to go to sleep!
3. Free Internet--Really? It never worked....ever. OK, we were able to connect once for about thirty minutes and that was it! We had an iPhone and an iPad and the internet connection was never available. It was extremely annoying as this was one of our "must have" amenities.
4. The "Suite"--What a joke. We have traveled all over the world and this was one of the worst values we have ever gotten. We walked in to a living space that has patched indoor/outdoor carpet and some of the cheapest furnishings that we have ever seen. It was just like a cheap motel, but we were paying over $300 per night (inc. tax). The kitchenette was a combo stove/sink/refrigerator unit that I would never use. It looked like a fire hazard. The futon couch had a mattress that seemed to be made out of straw...extremely uncomfortable. There was no door between the bedroom and the living area, so if one of you wants to sleep in and the other is up and about, you could hear everything. The bed had no headboard or footboard. It was just there, with a paper thin, cheap polyester bedspread. I swear, Motel 6 has nicer bed linens! There was a bar to hang up your clothes, but no closet....just a bar in the corner beneath the tv. The tv was so small that you could barely see it. The dresser was a rattan three drawer piece that looked like it was picked up by the side of the road. The air conditioner was placed to blow right on the bed. We had to either swelter or wake up congested every morning...not a great choice! There was a ceiling fan from the 70's that hung in the living space. It would make more sense to switch the fan with the a/c.
5. Breakfast was served right outside the door of room number six, so no sleeping in if you were so inclined!
6. The Bathroom--When we arrived, the bathtub had a pubic hair on the ledge near the faucet. Disgusting! My wife took showers with her flip flops on for the rest of our stay (five days). There is no room for your toiletries...one tiny glass shelf by the sink. And you need to bring your own toiletries because only a small tube of lotion was offered by the guesthouse. Again, the decor was tropical flea market. The floor was fake wood...a very odd choice for a bathroom. Paint was peeling and the shower curtain was a K-mart special, I am sure. Oh, the nicest thing about the bathroom was the curtain rings that were in the shapes of flowers, parrots, etc. It was the only "little extra" in the entire suite.
7. Free Breakfast--This was another complete disappointment. Now, we knew that it would be your typical continental breakfast, but the quality was so poor that we skipped it altogether after the first morning. I cannot believe these people would put out stale bagels, pastries and toast to their guests. Nothing was homemade or of good quality. The jams/jellies, cream cheese, etc. were all supermarket brands. The fruit was banana, orange, etc. but nothing tropical that you might expect in this locale. It just seems like everything was purchased "on the cheap". ...so disappointing.
8. No coffee was left in the unit, but there was a coffee maker! You had to go to the front desk to get a packet of coffee. None was placed in the room! Front desk did not open until 8:30 am so if you wanted coffee before that, you had to get your coffee on the outside. Ridiculous.
9. Bikes-- Yes, they are available, but for a price. For what you are paying and the little you get, these owners could let their guests use the bikes for free. Many places do this and it would have been a little something nice to do for the guests.
10. No pool or hot tub--We were in Key West on some very hot days. After sightseeing all day, it would have been fantastic to take a dip in a refreshing pool. Laying in a hammock just didn't do it for us on a tropical, sunny 80+ day.

Room Tip: Do not choose room number 6!!! Also, stairs are very steep to the second floor. Keep this in mind...
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  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank gl0betr0tter24
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jim B, Owner at The Grand Guesthouse, responded to this review, April 2, 2013
Dear Gl0betr0tter24,
First, I would like to apologize that you had such an unhappy experience at my b&b. Had you communicated your obvious hatred of our property, we would have been more than happy to give you a full refund. Unfortunately, you in no way expressed your unhappiness, nor gave us the opportunity to make your stay as amazing and special as the other hundreds of TripAdvisor reviewers have experienced. What is even more disappointing is your aggressive slight towards the intelligence and “cheap” lodging behaviors of your fellow reviewers. Reviews are for sharing your personal experiences, and not for insulting and screaming. Thank you however for organizing your experience into 10 points. I’ll try to explain each one to the best of my ability.
1) Free Parking – We offer six parking places directly in front of our guesthouse, and 10 parking places just two doors down. These parking areas are free of charge, and the Tow Away signs are for folks not staying with us. The idea that you are upset that we offer complimentary parking is quite bewildering to me.
2) The Smell – A smell so atrocious that you could not physically stand to be a room from sunrise to bedtime would most definitely warrant a talk with management indeed. Unfortunately, not a word was said. Our carpets and air conditioning units are cleaned thoroughly on a regular basis to prevent any types of mold or mildew.
3) Free Internet – We offer complimentary internet throughout the property. I do not know why your devices had such trouble working on our network. I have retested the connection in this Suite and had no problem on my Iphone, with a very quick connection. We would have been more than happy to offer assistant if we had known.
4) The “Suite” – Each of our Deluxe Suites feature a queen size bed in the bedroom which adjoins to your private bathroom. The bedroom also opens into a living area with a sofa, table and chairs, and a fully equipped kitchenette. Total square footage of the Suite is over 300 Sq. Ft. The layout and amenities of your suite were explained in detail in the confirmation letter you received from us and there are several pictures of the Suite on Booking.com, where you booked. This layout was obviously not to your liking. However you did indeed choose this style of room when you booked. Again, we would have happily offered you a full refund had you notified us of your mistake during booking.
I’m sorry you chose not to take advantage of your fully equipped kitchenette. Our yearly Fire Marshall Inspection was completed just 3 weeks prior to stay, and he seemed to believe it was in perfect working condition.
Our futons are equipped with spring mattresses, and cost $1000 dollars apiece. I apologize if you found them so uncomfortable, but had we known you required two beds, we would have gladly offered you a room featuring two queen beds, instead of one bed and a sofa. Alas, we were never informed of your intense discomfort.
Our towels are 100% Heavy Pima Cotton, and our bed linens, which are less than 4 months old, are 400 thread count. I’ve never stayed at a Motel 6 myself, but I’m glad to hear they are now offering such nice linens.
You’re A/C unit, as all A/C units do, is equipped with a very useful mechanism called a vent swing. If a guest finds discomfort in the direction of the unit’s air flow, they may merely turn the vent in a different direction. Many guests find this quite useful in these situations.
5) Being that we are a bed and breakfast, we serve an expanded continental breakfast on our outdoor patio from 8:30am – 10:00am each morning. I apologize you found your Suite not to be as private as you would have liked. After your breakfast on the first morning of your stay, I do wish you had said something. We would have gladly tried to move you to a more private room.

6) For 6 years in a row we have been the proud recipients of the Superior Small Lodging’s White Glove Award for perfection in cleanliness. Thorough cleanliness is guaranteed, and is nonnegotiable in our minds. Each and every room is inspected top to bottom prior to a guest’s arrival. I absolutely will not cater to accusations that I run a ‘filthy’ establishment. Furthermore, I have just inspected Suite #6 for signs of peeling paint and see no evidence of such. This is simply not true. In addition to the above mentioned Superior Small Lodging’s inspection, we are inspected two times each year by the state of Florida and such an obvious violation would have been reason for a warning. For 14 years we have consistently rated 95% or better in these evaluations.

7) Having been in the restaurant business for 22 years before opening The Grand, I am well aware of “freshness” issues. All of the 30+ items on our breakfast table are purchased 3-4 times per week and pastries and bread items are restocked throughout the breakfast service. Because of this high turnover and rotation, there is no chance that any items are old or stale. Because we do not have a restaurant (commercial) kitchen, the state of Florida prohibits us from serving any hot or homemade items.

8) As you noted, we have unlimited coffee packets available upon request. If you needed coffee before breakfast at 8:30, an ample supply would have been provided, had you requested. We are not mind readers and we are not stingy. As with most of your other concerns, a simple request would have resolved this issue.

9) We are not aware of any property in Key West that provides free bikes, even at much higher room rates than ours. Please compare our rates to other similar properties, as I’m sure you did on Booking.com at the time of your reservation, and I’m quite certain that you will find our rates very competitive. Therefore, in order to provide the free bikes you think you deserved we would have to raise rates for everyone to compensate for your use of the bikes.

10) Nowhere on our website, on the Booking.com website or anywhere else where our information can be found do we indicate that we have a pool or hot tub. Being the savvy shopper that you seem to be, if this was a priority for you, you should have been more thorough in your search. To then blame us after the fact for your failure to properly research seems mean spirited and unfair.

The short answer to all of your concerns is this: We are more than happy to resolve issues immediately when we are made aware of them, but we are helpless to respond or resolve if no mention is made until after departure. Given the dramatic flavor of your review and your obvious displeasure with your stay, I find it incomprehensible that you would not speak up to voice your concerns at the time of your stay. Instead you have chosen to trash our reputation in this forum. Your insistence on venting in this way, after the fact, shows your true colors.
In the future, please “man up” if you are ever so displeased with a property, let the owner/manager know of your displeasure and maybe you will be pleasantly surprised with the response.
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
Level Contributor
97 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed March 23, 2013

Derek is nice! I was a bit "put out" by the sign in our room telling us "what most guests left the housekeeper" for a tip. If we could afford the room, we could figure out what to tip the housekeeper!! We did NOT leave the suggested $5 per day. We were asked to reuse our towels, we did. However, we did not reuse the floor mat. Breakfast in the garden was good, we met several nice people who were vacationing too. Garden was pretty. The a/c in our room was annoying and loud. We could not get the room to stay at a consistent temp. Ceiling fan in sitting area was a plus. Toilet in our room refused to flush twice during our stay, it resolved itself. I reported it to Derek the first time, and to the owner when checking out. We had VERY TINY insect invasion when we put a box of cookies on kitchen counter. I went out and bought zip lock bags for our snacks. If you have knee problems, be sure to request first floor room! After several trips up and down daily, my knees were very unhappy!! Area was quiet! When looking online for B&B, (celebrating our 29th anniversary) I mistakenly thought there was a pool here. I sadly missed having a pool to relax by! The VERY best part of our trip was a fishing charter, "ALMOST THERE" that Derek recommended. Our captain, Garreth, was the perfect Key West host!! My personal opinion is that all the rooms/hotels in Key West are a bit overpriced! Over all, it was a good time.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Snowycat84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Allegany, New York
Level Contributor
72 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed March 17, 2013

We stayed here on our trip to Key West last year (March 2012) and had such a wonderful experience that, when we decided to return to Key West this year (March 2013), this was our first choice of places to stay, and a call to speak with owner Jim made it a reality. Jim (owner) and Derek (manager) are most gracious and accommodating hosts. We stayed in the same room as last year, rented bikes, enjoyed the daily continental breakfast and VERY MUCH enjoyed the new restaurant recommendations we received this year. This is now "our" spot, and we'll stay here again on our next stay!

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank sjasis
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Greenleaf, Idaho
Level Contributor
22 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed March 12, 2013

We stayed at the Grand in Feburary for two nights. We arranged for a late arrival, and Derek had everything ready for us with no hitches. After driving all day what a relief to just be able to go to bed and not worry about "checking in" until morning. The Breakfast was great, our fifteen year old ate until he was full. Nice selection of fruits, bagels, cereals, juice, muffins. Derek helped with dinner reservations making call after to call to get us in. (Antonia's was very good). The supplied maps were invaluable and all the suggestions on what to do were right on the money. We found it a bit far to walk to Duval St. and back, but parking is conviently available behind Antonia's. I think it's a Police Station as there were always a couple of police cars there. Felt safe. ($2/hr., pay with credit card.) Sunset celebration was fun, Ft. Zachary Taylor had a nice beach, although it was too murky for snorkeling on that day. Butterfly Exhibit was good. Hemingways Home interesting. Seafood at Alonso's great. All-in-all a great trip especially on short notice. Thanks to Derek and the crew at the Grand.

Room Tip: We stayed in #5 on the ground floor. Very quiet. Two Queen beds, one comfortable.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank hilltopx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Grand Guesthouse

Property: The Grand Guesthouse
Address: 1116 Grinnell St, Key West, FL 33040-3206
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Florida Keys > Key West
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Kitchenette Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #19 of 77 B&Bs / Inns in Key West
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:2.5 star — The Grand Guesthouse 2.5*
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located in the heart of Old Town Key West, The Grand Guesthouse offers intimate accommodations for you to relax and recharge. We're a Frommer's Travel Guide Favorite, squeaky clean, comfortable, and affordable. All of our rooms feature local artwork and tropical decor, a small refrigerator, A/C & ceiling fan, cable television, a USB enabled alarm clock, and free wireless internet. A complimentary expanded continental breakfast is served every morning, and free parking. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Grand Guesthouse Hotel Key West

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