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“Just Perfect!”
Review of The Gardens Hotel

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The Gardens Hotel
Ranked #4 of 51 Hotels in Key West
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersPlatinum level
Reviewed January 27, 2013

My wife and I have stayed at The Gardens for 8 consecutive years and we already have reserved for December 2013. What more can I say? We consider ourselves sophisticated travelers and don't stay at even average places--certainly not more than once. The other reviewers have said just about everything--great accommodations, beautiful setting, perfect location, etc. I would like to focus on the great staff starting with Kate who sets the tone for this great place. Our kudos to the following for helping to make our stays at The Gardens so sensational: Jim, Captain Billy, Nancy, Barbara (a walking encyclopedia of KW), Erika and Sandy, and everyone else whose names we may have forgotten. In our opinion this is the best place in Key West.

Room Tip: We love room 9.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank dissonj
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed January 26, 2013 via mobile

We stayed at The Gardens Hotel 7 or 8 years ago and had a very lovely time. This trip it seemed like the hotel is not trying as hard.
The staff is very nice and the indoor courtyard of the hotel is like an oasis in the middle of crazy Key West. The rooms are fine and do have nice linens and towels but the bathrooms are getting dated and the hair dryer in our bathroom wall was at least 20 years old.
There are lots of places that aren't clean or neat. If you look around a corner you might find a pile of old plants or a broken chair. Some things are gorgeous and look taken care of and other things look worn and tired.
Do not plan on sleeping in. People and roosters start moving around early and it gets really noisy.
When we stayed at The Gardens before, breakfast was really lovely with cut fresh fruit and a large variety of foods. Now it is a basket of mushy apples, bananas (and sometimes oranges) bagels, toast, hard boiled eggs (which about 25% of the time were too raw) and a breakfast "special" which you have to call on a phone to ask for and more often than not was a small amount of scrambled eggs on a plate. There was also a flavor of yogurt, some raisin bran and some Cheerios in a dispenser. It wasn't very impressive considering the price of the rooms. Also if you are a particularly healthy eater you will not be happy with the choices-- nothing whole or natural. All the bread is sweet and/or made from white, refined flour.

We had a good time anyway. The hotel is in a great location for exploring Key West on foot. The people who work there are pretty great and my advice would be to weigh the options. If you can roll with the punches and aren't too picky it's a great place to stay -- but don't expect perfection.

  • Stayed: January 2013
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1  Thank Mom45
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TOTOKeyWest, General Manager at The Gardens Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 29, 2013

The Gardens Hotel comprises almost an acre of historic and lush tropical foliage, the largest in Key West. We are continually working in our gardens to maintain the vision of Peggy Mills when she created one of the first tourist attractions in the Florida Keys. When you are referring to a pile of dead plants and trash, you may be referring to our ‘plant hospital’ where we care for our orchids and plants that change seasonally, staging for new plants and composting (part of our Green Lodging Program). Every year we do a Major revamping of the Garden to assure it is a beautiful Oasis for our guests to enjoy. You obviously were here during the recent replanting.
Believe it or not, In Florida the law requires a restaurant license to boil an egg. We decided to move our indoor, all cold items buffet, to an outdoor setting with more variety including freshly cooked hot items. In the process of securing a restaurant license, I worked with our State to create an outdoor buffet. We came up with the telephone system, as the law requires for any hot dish and fresh cut fruit to be in a climate controlled environment ie: indoors. With the phone system, our guests pick up the phone and it rings in our kitchen where our crew delivers a freshly made hot dish within minutes. Our Breakfast Specials change daily, including homemade French toast casserole, Quiche Lorraine, freshly scrambled eggs with a variety of ingredients such as cream cheese and spinach, bacon and cheese, ham and cheese, tomato and onion. Our daily buffet consists of fresh ground and brewed coffee (starting at 7:30), fresh made Artisan breads: Mango, Sourdough; fresh made assorted bagels and English Muffins; assorted yogurts including Greek and non fat, flavored and plain, granola and raisin bran (yes they are in a dispenser because it is the law to protect you); Apples, Oranges and Bananas, hard boiled eggs and a variety of juices and milk. We also have fresh made assorted breakfast Danish and scones. I wish you would have spoken to me about a raw egg as this is the first I have heard, in a review of course and after the fact. Had you informed us, we would most certainly have corrected the issue so as not to disappoint you or any of our other guests. We do not charge for our breakfast and stage it in the beautiful outdoor gardens poolside for our guest’s added experience.

With regard to chickens and roosters, they are protected by law and they roam everywhere in Key West. They are part of the Key West experience. We do not have them on our property but they are again, everywhere and we have no control over where they may roam and when they will crow. Luckily we do have a walled and extensively landscaped property so this is rarely an issue.
We strive to make your experience perfect and appreciate feedback. Perhaps your feedback could have been directed at us allowing us to explain our gardens, our green lodging and of course the egg.

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Reviewed January 25, 2013

Our first visit to Key West. I prefer the small hotel experience and was impressed by the Trip Advisor ratings and so chose this spot. We wanted something special and so justified the extra expense to stay at The Gardens. As per other reviews, the staff was very helpful and friendly. We got great restaurant suggestions and help getting our car out of the very small parking lot. The bed linens, towels and robes were very nice and luxurious. Breakfast was nice and suited our tastes. We took advantage of the wine bar which is pretty ingenious. However, we stayed in the main house which is charming but noisy. The room and bathroom were quite small. One desk chair besides the bed to sit on. Small hinged, antique desk did not provide a flat surface to use a computer or put down a beverage, and was otherwise in disrepair. Not enough space to unpack; armoire was not adequate. Freestanding refrigerator hummed all night. Roosters woke us at 5 every day. Other guests got up early and we could hear their every move. Pool area was overgrown and there were mosquitoes. I really wanted to love it but overall, I was disappointed.

Room Tip: Avoid the main house.
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank DekkerDo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TOTOKeyWest, Owner at The Gardens Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 29, 2013

I am sorry your experience was not 100% which of course is what we and our entire staff always strive to achieve. The moment our guests arrive they are greeted with a chilled glass of Prosecco. We give an extensive tour of our property including our breakfast. Our in-room amenities include designer linens, robes, K cup coffee makers with several coffee choices, sugars and creamers in the refrigerator along with complimentary chilled water in bottles made of plant material so they decompose, free Wi-Fi, a guest computer station with printer, wine bar, pool bar, tapas, free breakfast, on-site parking that is secure, all rooms have oversized porches with furniture, ceiling fans, high def Cable TV etc. . I noted in your reviews of other places you have traveled that these things were very important to you. These are standard in ALL of our rooms and suites.
Historic Inns and Hotels do have charming antiques however, ours are functional and the desk you speak of is also a chest of drawers with a fun hidden panel that our guests love to discover. Of our total of 17 rooms and suites in various price ranges, our two least expensive are located in the historic main house dating back to the 1870’s and listed on the National Register. These are our “Historic Rooms” and our smallest rooms and are often requested by people who are looking for a value priced room. Many guests chose these rooms as they avail themselves to the ambiance of our lovely grounds and the “key West Experience”. Our grounds are almost an acre of historic lush tropical plants that our guests enjoy! You indeed did stay in our smallest room on property. We try to explain the size, location, and amenities of each room type to our guests when they are booking their room with us for their stay in Key West. We try to fit the perfect room for our guest’s needs and wants. Perhaps next time we can accommodate you in one of our many larger rooms to make your stay more enjoyable.
Roosters are part of Key West’s rich history and are protected by law. They have free run all over the island. It would be nearly impossible to not hear a rooster or chicken while in Key West. Although we do not have roosters or chickens on our property, most people enjoy them when they see them.
I would encourage reviewers to view our photos here to make a decision on our pools area. We do not agree that it is overgrown. My understanding of the mosquito is that they are in every State including Alaska. Key West is Very Proactive when it comes to controlling the Mosquito population. The Gardens Hotel provides complimentary mosquito spray (and SUNSCREEN) to our guests both at the front desk and our pool area.
As the owner of The Gardens I always take your suggestions to heart. It upsets me to ever see a negative review as we all try so hard to make every guest experience the absolutely most wonderfully memorable vacation you have ever experienced. I agree that our hair dryers are older and will work on replacing them immediately.
We did hear from a guest (not sure if it was you or not) that the refrigerator in your room was noisy and it was replaced the day we were informed. I would love it if you or any of our guests ever have suggestions or comments on how we can make your stay the best it can be to please let us know while you are here. After the fact there is little I can do to make you ecstatic with your stay. We are wishing you the very best and hope that your 4 star review becomes a 5 plus at your next stay!

Kate Miano

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Reviewed January 20, 2013

Our first, but definately not last stay at The Gardens Hotel. I was impressed by the webpage but knocked over when we arrived. My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed and will continue to recommend this fabulous hotel. Pefect location. 1 1/2 blocks from Duval, just around the corner from "Willy T's" ( a lively afternoon or evening bar ), 3 short blocks to "Better than Sex" ( a must dessert experience ) and much, much more. The hotel staff were absolutely wonderful, the front desk, the bartendar, the grounds staff. Very helpful. The room was perfect, the bar was fun, the gardens were exceptional. The continental breakfast with the bonus of a hot breakfast special made to order, served on the veranda was a most spectacular way to start your day. Dont forget to stop in and help yourself to the "WIne Bar"...very unique idea. A big thank you to the front desk staff for all their assistance. We have had the privaledge of staying at other very highly recommended properties in the heart of Key West... also just steps from Duval... but this is definately our favorite. Can't wait for next year!!

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank HalifromBothwell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2013

From start to finish--one of the best experiences ever at any hotel. Small and intimate. Staff EXTREMELY helpful and courteous. Rooms terrific. Beds high quality and very comfortable. Very quiet--no room to room noise. Gardens on grounds beautiful and peaceful. This was first trip to Key West, and I would not consider any other hotel on return trips. Location very convenient for exploring Old Town Key West, without any "Duval Street" noise.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Chesnee B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 17, 2013

The Gardens Hotel was amazing. We had driven about 7-8 hours to get there and were hot and tired on arrival. When we walked into the lobby we were escorted to a quiet reception room where we were immediately given a wonderfully cold, calming glass of champagne! What a way to start the stay!! Everything was so serene and elegant and very tropical. Our room was on the second floor away from the pool and was just gorgeous. The grounds were beautiful as it was the botanical garden of a previous owner. Pool and hot tub were just fabulous and very relaxing. Poolside bar was great and the bartender was wonderful. Breakfast by the pool was included and was so delicious. Everything was so beautiful, peaceful and relaxing it was very hard to leave to go out sightseeing in Key West. We did all the normal touristy things, but were so glad to have this little piece of paradise to return to. Went in the pool and hot tub late one evening after returning from downtown and were the only ones there. Quiet and romantic. All the staff were great. Very high end property. Highly recommend!!!

Room Tip: We loved being up on the 2nd floor overlooking the fountain. Quiet and peaceful!
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  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Pinkflamingo5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TOTOKeyWest, General Manager at The Gardens Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 19, 2013

Thank you for your review! That was a long drive! We hope to see you soon!

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Reviewed January 1, 2013

Returned a few weeks ago from my annual pilgrimage to Key West.

This was my sixth stay at the Gardens Hotel and I always feel like I'm returning home.

What's not to like?

-Great location
-Beautiful hotel and grounds
-18 nicely appointed rooms with lots of amenities
-Comfortable beds with nice, soft linens
-Each room has access to a porch or balcony
-Large heated swimming pool
-Great little pool bar and wine gallery
-Good food, good drink, good service
-Quiet and relaxing atmosphere
-Warm and friendly people
-Interesting conversation

Two of my favorite things are the (1) pool bar and the (2) porches and balconies outside the rooms.

I like the pool bar because it's the social gathering spot for the hotel. This year I met two very nice couples - one from New York and the other from Maine. I'm always intrigued to learn what brings people to Key West and their line of work - especially since their experiences tend to be so different from my own.

I love that each room has access to a porch or balcony. There's nothing better than watching the sun come up from the comfy chair outside my room. At that hour, I also enjoy listening to the towns roosters announce the start of a new day. I'm also perfectly content to hang out in the comfy chair on my porch and get lost in a good book - especially if the weather isn't cooperating.

While the Gardens Hotel has a lot of things going for it, what really makes it unique is the people that work here. People like Kate, Jim, Tippy, Nancy, Billy, Barbara, Alecia, and Troy. Staying at the Gardens Hotel, for me, is like staying with old friends.

P.S. Be sure to ask Billy the Bartender about his boat charter service (6 Pack Charters). I always hire him to take me out for a day on the water, but his primary charters are fishing trips. This year we had a school of dolphins that were swimming very close to the boat; we even spotted a momma and it's calf - very cool.

Room Tip: I prefer any room on the second floor. I like the feeling of being up in the trees.
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank Linda P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
TOTOKeyWest, General Manager at The Gardens Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded January 7, 2013

What a great way to start the new year! Thank you so much for the wonderful review! We all enjoyed your visit as well as our other guests that you met and made your Key West family. I will pass your comments to the crew and we wish only the best for you! Jim Marquardt

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Additional Information about The Gardens Hotel

Address: 526 Angela St, Key West, FL 33040-7433
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Florida Keys > Key West
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 51 Hotels in Key West
Price Range: $325 - $535 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — The Gardens Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Once the largest private estate in Key West, the expansive grounds of The Gardens Hotel house 20 luxurious guest suites, and comprise over an acre of lush, tropical landscaping just steps away from Key West's infamous Duval Street. The Gardens Hotel calls to mind the best of elegant boutique hotels,but with a decidedly Key West atmosphere. Start your day with a tropical complimentary breakfast and relax in our pool open 24 hours. Our d'Vine Wine Gallery is the first Enomatic wine tasting system in the Keys. Taste, Flight or full pour, you can enjoy up to 35 different wines from around the world. Every Sunday 'Live Jazz In The Gardens' starts at 5 and ends around 7:30pm. Live piano in our Cabaret, Wednesday through Saturday, 5-7pm. Now a tradition and a stop off for both locals and guests, world class entertainers all in the beautiful Gardens. ... more   less 
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