Looked forward to the drive from Miami after being on a Western Caribbean cruise. Unfortunately our Cozumel stop was changed to Key West because of the swine flu so we saw KW a day early!
We drove back down the following day and stayed at the Island City House Hotel in the Old Town area. We wanted a small intimate hotel rather than the Westin or Hyatt experience, and this is the place to stay if you want a nice quiet spot yet still be within walking distance to the harbor, Mallory Square, and Duval St. The Island City House has a very nice pool area and garden area and we were lucky to meet other couples there enjoying their first visit to KW like us.
We stayed in room 16, which is in the rear of the Main House. The Main House faces the quieter William Street, and room 16 is on the 1st floor facing the garden area. This room has a very comfy bed with the LCD TV and closet with ironing board & iron and hangers. The separate kitchen area has a large sink w/ disposal, full-size fridge and stove/range, microwave, and all accessories you need. The kitchen counter and cupboards have been upgraded in this room. The bathroom was roomy and clean; the water pressure in the shower was weak and my wife has long hair but she survived. Daily service was excellent.
One note on the porches in the main house - The front and rear units have a porch sitting area. Guests taking the stairs to the upper floors can easily see the sitting area so the porches are not actually private but they are reserved for the end room. Floor 1 has the most private rear porch. We also had more luggage because of the cruise and since there are no elevators floor 1 is also much more convenient. The trees provide privacy from the atria where breakfast is served and the porch is very comfortable during the hot day. Well worth the extra cost, especially if friends are staying in rooms without a porch – makes for a great gathering spot. There is also a look-out on the roof of the main house.
The balconies in the Cigar House are shared except for the 3rd floor, these are visible from the pool area so they are not as private. The Carriage House fronts the busier Eaton Street and has porches facing the gardens, we didn't see this bldg as much so cannot really comment.
Bikes are available for rent for $12/ day, and a washer and dryer are available during business hours. The staff is very helpful with dining and sightseeing advice. Our favorite restaurants were the B.O. Fishwagon a block away for fish sandwiches (fried grouper is the best and their fries are hand made) and the sloppy joe at Sloppy Joe’s is for real (as is the burger). The trolley is recommended for a first look at the island since you can get off and on at any stop you want and it covers the entire island. The train doesn’t make these stops and only covers the old town area. North Duval is a bit busy for my tastes, South is much quieter. Front Street is nice and Mallory Square is where the sunset parties are. Cruise ships obviously make for a crowd, since Mexico was off limits KW received triple the cruise ships the last 2 weeks.
The Hyatt, Westin, & Pier House front the harbor, and the other big hotels are on the other end of the island. After staying at the Island City House and seeing these other properties from shore and from boats I can’t imagine staying anywhere else. It’s really a charming place and well worth looking at. The location is the real clincher, close to everything yet quiet.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Our Key West suite accommodations at The Island City House Hotel are comprised of three buildings, each with its own style and unique character. The Arch House features six suites furnished in a casual Caribbean Style. The two suites on the first floor are two-bedroom suites. These suites have two separate bedrooms each with one queen-sized bed, a living/dining room with a kitchen, one bathroom, and a small porch. The studio-suites on the second floor of the Arch House have one queen-sized bed in an alcove, a sitting area with a kitchenette, and either a street-side balcony with a porch swing or a garden view balcony with a hammock. The Island City House is the main building on our property housing twelve parlor suites, ten one-bedroom suites, and two two-bedroom suites. These suites are furnished in an island Victorian style with lace curtains and many antique pieces. The two bedroom suites have two separate bedrooms, one with a king bed, the other with a queen bed, a living/dining room with a full kitchen, one bathroom and a large porch. The ten parlor suites have one queen-size bed and a separate sitting area with a kitchen. Many of these suites also have a sleeper sofa (for children or a third adult) or a porch overlooking the gardens. The Cigar House, our poolside building, is the home of our six largest one-bedroom suites. All of these suites are decorated in a tropical plantation style. The first and second floor suites have a king-size bed in the bedroom, a separate living room with a full kitchen, and a hammock on the poolside porch or balcony. The two suites tucked away on the third floor have a queen-size bed in the bedroom, a separate living room with a full kitchen, and an open balcony overlooking the pool and Infrared Sauna. ... more less
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