Sunday, November 30, 2014

When is the best time of year to visit Key West?

Best time to visit Key West is January to May
Most visitors say the best time to visit Key West is January to May because the weather is perfect: it's not unbearably humid yet, and it's so cold at home. In fact, from November to March Key West is the hottest place in the continental USA. As a result, it's peak season, very busy and super expensive in Key West in these months. The off season (June to December) has its charms, but big downsides you need to be aware of, as I explain below.

Next: some Key West best time of year Frequently Asked Questions followed by a month by month guide to visiting Key West….

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Key West Lookout photo blog

Key West Lookout, this blog, is part photo blog and photographs and images of Key West have always been a vital part of the blog from the beginning. There must be more than a thousand images on this blog by now, with more being added all the time. And these selected carefully from the tens of thousands of pictures I have taken in Key West over the years.

Here's my picture of the week, I LOVE it!
Pelicans in free flight during Key West sunrise
click below for more picture of the week...

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fantasy Fest 2014 live

7 November 2014. Well Fantasy Fest 2014 is well and truly over. Amazing fun, great events, little inhibition and tens of thousands of beads later. No rain for the main events on Friday and Saturday, and actually great weather. It was super busy on the Saturday of the main parade. Well done to all the people who selflessly organise, and raise money around, Fantasy Fest.

The best: Ten times better than Saturday's parade, and the best event of Fantasy Fest overall, was the Masquerade March on Friday. Brilliant! Key West locals you're the best. We had an amazing party again. The variety and creativity of fancy dress was amazing!

Here's looking forward to Fantasy Fest 2015!

THIS IS A LIVE BLOG ARCHIVE OF FANTASY FEST 2014. 

I WAS LIVE BLOGGING THROUGHOUT THE EVENTS AND HAVE COMMENTARY AND PICTURES DAY BY DAY.....PLEASE ENJOY FANTASY FEST 2014.....THESE PICTURES ARE REAL..NO PHOTOSHOP WAS INVOLVED!!
My best 3 pictures: I took hundreds of pictures, so here are a very small number of my favorites....
Of the thousands of costumes and fancy dress creations on the 2014 Masquerade March here is my very favorite 
Fantasy Fest 2014 Masquerade March and my favorite picture overall - the view along Simonton Street of thousands of locals and visitors in full costume
One of the brilliant things about the Masquerade March, where everyone expresses themselves as they wish, is the occasional contrast this philosophy produces, like the one shown above 

Fantasy Fest Key West

This is my guide to Key West Fantasy Fest and I'll answer questions like is it for me, how adult is it, what are the best events and what's the weather like this time of year. If you're new to Fantasy Fest you can get a good idea if Key West Fantasy Fest is for you. Fantasy Fest is a 10-day series of events, parades and parties which runs the last two weeks of October. 

The 2015 dates are 23 October to 1 November 2015. Fantasy Fest always has an annual theme which most people ignore: for 2014 was Anim├ęted Dreams and Adventures, 2015's is All Hallows Intergalactic Freak Show (who thinks these themes up?!).

Fantasy Fest 2014 Key West
Fantasy Fest 2014 Key West
2014 was the 36th annual Fantasy Fest in Key West and the very best events (in my view) come at the end: the Masquerade march on Friday 24 October and the big showpiece event, the parade on Saturday 25 October 2014.

Link on my blog: 2014 Fantasy Fest live blog + 200 pictures

Continue reading for my guide to Key West Fantasy Fest for new visitors and first timers. Please leave a comment in the comments section below, I'd love to hear from you.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Key West signs


There are many great signs in Key West, in turns funny, historic, touching, the odd few iconic, and some just plain visually beautiful. Some are from businesses or times past and are a visual record of the Key West of old. They also show the variety that can be found here.

So for visitors, locals and those just curious here is my collection of Key West signage. These are all original photos. all taken by me over the last 15 years and none artificially adjusted or touched up in any way. Even the first one here is real, enjoy the signs.....

This is a good sign sign. Round the back of Schooner Wharf Bar in Key West.

Island Dolls closes in 2016 after several years on Fleming Street. The sign's not so good by day...

...but comes alive by night. Just like the establishment itself used to! Neon Island Dolls sign.




The last mile marker MM126 on Highway, just outside of Homestead

On this site in 1897 nothing happened. Sign on Peacon Lane, at junction with Caroline Street. 

Fausto's Food Palace sign on Fleming Street. Sign by night. The gold lettering is very bight as the it had just been re-painted when I took this picture in November 2016.

Fausto's sign by day.
Pepe's Cafe sign with shells. On Caroline Street.

One Human Family in the Conch Republic

Birthplace of Pan American World Airways Key West - Caroline Street and Whitehead St

Half Shell raw bar sign in Key West. Eat it Raw

To see 68 more cool and funny Key West signs click below....

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Peppers of Key West

Visit Peppers of Key West store: as if Key West is not hot enough already this experience makes you even hotter. This is a great store on Greene St in Key West which sells all things related to peppers and chillies. Sit up at the tasting bar and let the team take you though a tasting of a dozen sauces, starting from mild and going as hot as you dare. How far up the hot scale can you go?....
The tasting bar at Peppers of Key West at 602 Greene Street. We're mid-tasting here, starting off with some very mild and tangy sauces.  This is great fun, and free!






Click to see the rest of the story and a video of us at the chilli tasting bar on a recent visit....and to see their most powerful $2,000 bottle of hot sauce....click below...

Tarpon feeding in Key West

See the tarpon feeding while you're in Key West, daily 4pm, free. Watching the tarpon feeding is a must do while you are in Key West. Update 2016: They don't seem to do the feeding here in the Historic Harbor anymore. I hear they might do it further up the island on the Charterboat Row. As a local or a fisherman if you want more information. It's shame because, as you can see from the pictures below, it was great entertainment.

There's a lot to take in: the fisherman who expertly gut the fish, the huge tarpon who lurk just below the surface, the dozens of fighting, arguing pelicans who compete viciously for the off cuts - the guts, the heart, the eyes. It happens daily on the Harbor Walk (Historic seaport/Key West Bight), right by the A&B restaurant.  It's meant to happen at 4pm but on the day these pictures were taken it started at 3pm.

It's one of the most fascinating shows in town. Here's a video and click below to see more great pictures of this daily spectacle....

Monday, November 3, 2014

Flying from London to Key West

London to Key West is an 17 hour trip door to bar
London to Key West is 4,554 miles and the flying time is 10 hours, via Miami airport. Door to door the travel time is about 17 hours with good connections. This means you can leave cold, miserable London in the morning and end up in hot Key West with a cocktail in hand at 9pm the same night.

Here's how I do it: I fly out of London Heathrow at 11am and walk through the door of my Key West guesthouse at 8pm the same evening. Once in my Key West room, I down a glass of wine, catch a quick shower, and am out by 8.45pm and by 9pm sitting in Virgilio's, potent martini in hand, looking out at the crazyness of Duval Street and preparing to eat at the bar from their wonderful Italian menu. And relax.

Then because of the martini(s) consumed, the jet lag is hours from kicking in, so a detour via Bourbon Street pub is inevitable. Hit the pillow after midnight. All in one day.

As I write (November 2015), I've done the London to Key West trip 19 times - 19 flights out, and 19 flights back. Yes it's a long way but it's worth it. Key West is great for Brits! And about 30,000 Brits and 40,000 Germans visit Key West every year for vacation.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sunrise in Key West

Today's sunrise in Key West was exceptional. A few strategically placed clouds and no wind made the sea a mirror. Here are the pictures - taken at sunrise, 7.30am this morning taken on S Roosevelt Blvd on my way to the airport.

I've blogged before on the obsession with Key West's sunset (the "Sunset Celebration") so I'm pleased to see a sun rise today just as good, if not better. Updated: In fact, it was so good we went back to S Roosevelt Blvd the next day to take sunrise take 2 photos. I've added both day's pictures below.

Which sunrise do you think is better?


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Coming soon on Key West Lookout

I'm currently on vacation in Key West and so the blog is going to take a vacation too! I will be back in a few weeks with the following posts. Check back soon.

Coming soon on this Key West Lookout blog:
  • Key West's best budget, great value guest houses and hotels - brand new post
  • Updates to Key West's best restaurants, best cocktail places, and Key West vegetarian, Key West things to do
  • Tomorrow we are flying to Fort Jefferson national park on a sea plane and so there will be a post on that
  • My annual "changes, good and bad, that I've noticed in Key West" post (late December 2014)
  • MOTM Parrothead convention
  • Halloween in Key West
  • My pictures of the week. A small selection of the thousands of images I've taken this week, like this one below

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Getting out of Key West for a day

If you have the time it's great to get away from the small island which is Key West and take a day on the Lower Keys where there's lots of interesting stuff to do - and that's exactly what we did today. The requirements were: getting away from Highway 1, not too much time in the car, "getting close to" nature, and getting salty wet.

We've also done a fair number of things up and down the Keys already. So we didn't want to do the Turtle Hospital again, or Theatre of the Sea - even though both are excellent.

Here's what we did today. First stop Publix in Key West for picnic provisions. Then out on Highway 1 to Sugarloaf Key, coming off the main road onto Sugarloaf Blvd. and drove for a few miles amongst the mangroves. I wanted to take Old State Road 4a north to do the loop and rejoin Highway 1 but it was closed. So we took the Old State Road 4a south for a little while, to where it crosses Sugarloaf Creek, turned back and came back the same way we came.



Visiting Key West in October and November

This vacation we are arriving in Key West on 23 October and leaving on 1 November - what a fantastic time to visit Key West as you get five events during just these few days. These tend to happen on the same dates every year so this is always a great time to visit Key West. The dates below are from 2014 so you'll need to double check the dates for 2015.

FIRST: you get the two best events in Fantasy Fest, the adult themed mardi gras of Key West. That's the Masquarade March on Friday 24 and the main parade on Saturday 25 October.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Busiest tea dance of the year at La Te Da Key West

The final event of Fantasy Fest is the "It's not over until the fat lady sings" Tea Dance at La Te Da hotel in Key West, which was last night 4pm until 8pm, Sunday 26 October.

I've never seen the tea dance, a regular Sunday afternoon institution in Key West, busier. It was packed. The whole of the hotel was open - with a new pool bar and also the Crystal Room bar was open - plus access to all the many balconies in La Te Da. And the hotel was looking better for a little bit of love and attention as a result of the new owners.

Hundreds of dancers, swayers, movers and shakers enjoyed a fantastic set from usual tea dance DJs Rude Girl and Molly Blue, who were resplendent in their bright pink woopie cushion costumes. All in all a very good night indeed. I just never can figure out why the tea dance has to stop at 8pm!

Here's my previous coverage of the tea dance at La Te Da - from March 2013.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Inga from Aqua Key West

Inga is the most outrageous and funniest drag queen at Aqua nightclub in Key West. This post is all about him - in honor of his hard work as show director, the amazing costumes and the work each night putting on a great drag show.

The show is called Reality is a Drag, every night at Aqua on Duval Street in Key West. To find out more about this highly recommended show - see my post here. Inga's been at Aqua for 18 years and  all the drag queens that perform here are super talented and excellent but try to choose a night Inga is on the bill.

Here's Inga and her various crazy costumes over the years....

Inga and me, Key West David


Inga in her 4 hands outfit - this is probably the funniest outfit I have seen - a classic

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Fantasy Fest 2015 in Key West

Fantasy Fest 2015 in Key West is set for 23 October to 1 November 2015 and the theme is All Hallows Intergalactic Freak Show. It's a 10-day series of parties, events and fun -  the weather is sunny and the events are hot. Almost all of Fantasy Fest is adult oriented, fancy dress and creative costumes are highly recommended but only a sense of fun is mandatory!


I was luck enough to go to Fantasy Fest 2014 and here is my live blog of the big events. There are lots of pictures so you can get an idea for there craziness and the fun.

See you at Fantasy Fest 2015?




Also on my blog:

When is the best time to visit Key West?


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Shopping in Key West

Fun shopping in Key West
Here's the best shops and stores in Key West. I've chosen these shops because, like the best of Key West, they are unique, off beat, a little bit strange. So if you're after towels, rum, salt, hot sauce, hammocks, and kitsch tropical ware - Key West is the place for you. Pack a spare suitcase.

The best 9 stores in Key West are:
  • Salt, a small boutique store for interesting items made in, or near, Key West - including honey, art, jewelry and salt. A really beautiful shop.
  • Key West's first legal rum distillery. As well as the shop, this is where they actually make the rum. See the making in action and then buy the result.
  • Peppers of Key West. Hundreds of chilli pepper sauces from around the world. Sweet to mega hot. Tasting bar is free.
  • Leather Master. Fun toys and clothes for naughty boys. Recently has added a new section for ladies so I hear.
  • Assortment Inc. With Fast Buck Freddy's now closed, where do we get our outrageous tropical themed gear? At Assortment Inc of course.
  • Towels of Key West. Cheeky, camp and fun towels and t-shirts. This shop closed in July 2016 after 30 years of trading in Key West. It was one of the oldest stores in Key West. Very great shame.
  • Cocktails of Key West. As above. Could they possibly be targetting gay men?! As it was owned by the same 2 guys this also closed July 2016.
  • Key West Hammock Company. Fantastic selection of hammocks but also fantastic metal murals of fish shoals and turtles for your garden wall.
  • Timmy Tuxedo's - 50 years and counting. Maybe the apostrophe is in the wrong place, but who am I to argue? They even have a website - Google it.
Here are some pictures and more details if you can't visit in person any time soon.....

Monday, August 4, 2014

Key West facts and figures

Here's some facts and figures about Key West.


Key West geography: Key West is 4 miles long by 1.5 miles wide. It's tiny, with an area of 7.4 square miles. 

Located: 129 miles from Miami and 106 miles from Cuba.   


More...

Friday, August 1, 2014

Key West history

For a tiny place Key West has a big history. 494 years since discovery and 194 since it fell into American hands, here's a short history of Key West in 400 words. 

Ponce de Leon - the Spanish conquistador who named Florida - was the first European, setting foot on Key West's mosquito ridden swamps in 1521. 

Then not much happened for 300 years until businessman John Simonton purchased Key West in a Havana bar in 1822 for $2000 (a good deal, right?). 

Greene, Whitehead and Fleeming laid out the island plan in 1829 (and named the best streets after themselves).  More...

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sloppy Joe's Bar Key West

Sloppy Joe's Bar on Duval Street Key West
Sloppy Joe's Bar is Key West's most famous bar and its most iconic facade. Sloppy Joe's history is as famous as its exterior. Show me a visitor who's visited Key West and NOT taken a picture of Sloppy Joe's! The bar has live music every day and Key West's best live webcam is right outside the bar so you can wave to your friends in real time. From the building's construction in 1937 through its Hemingway connection, this bar is beautiful, and different, by day and by night. You'll find below more pictures that you'll ever need or want to see of Sloppy Joe's - all taken by me over the last few years.
The main bar inside Sloppy Joe's Key West
Sloppy Joe's January 2014 facade
Red neon of Sloppy Joe's signage

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Alexander's Guesthouse Key West

Alexander's guesthouse Key West
Alexander's Guesthouse in Key West is currently the best gay guesthouse in Key West. Alexander's has 17 well maintained rooms, an excellent team and a social happy hour. Its location on beautiful Fleming Street is perfect (for me anyway!) - far enough away from the noise of Duval Street but close enough to walk there in 15 minutes. Prices of the rooms, which vary significantly, range from $175 to $420 per night. Recently (October 2014) as a result of two bad recent reviews Alexander's was demoted to 4th best guest house in Key West. Prior to this it had been at #1 for 2 years or so.

The 5 best things about Alexander's
1: It's really friendly. Both the staff and the guests.
2: The basics are gotten right, always. The service is excellent; the property and rooms are spotless and excellently maintained.
3: Happy hour (free for 1 hour from 5 to 6pm) every evening at the pool bar in Alexander's. Very social, very fun.
4: It's not bland and standardized like a hotel. The rooms are all different, and have character. You're in the middle of the community in a residential area in Key West Old Town.
5: It's gay. See other gay hotels and guesthouses here.

The cons. Are there any downsides? Sure. I find the air conditioning noisy in all rooms. They don't have central air but units in each room. Next issue: the curtains are lovely but totally useless to block out light - then again I am light sensitive and it's a compromise I choose to live with when I stay at Alexander's. Finally, I have detected a slight belt tightening over the years. Cosmopolitans are now charged for even in happy hour (not the case in 2013) and the wine quality is really not very good, even for a "free" happy hour. Some of the rooms are REALLY small so do your research - see below for a room by room guide.

Look - I'm being picky, right?! I still, right now, would not stay anywhere else in Key West.

Below are videos, loads of pictures taken my me, a history of Alexander's, the Alexander's ghost and cat, why Alexander's is called Alexander's, and a room by room guide....

The gay thing
Alexander's is a guesthouse for gays and lesbians. It varies from week to week, but I would say at the moment the average is 60% gay men, 40% lesbians. Of course, it's not gay exclusive and some straight people stay here, but this is currently less than 5%.

This is absolutely not a gay bathhouse/sauna - if you want that, Island House 10 seconds right over the street is the place for you. There (Island House) it is loud and busy. Many men stay at Alexander's (because it's peaceful and relaxed) and visit Island House a number of times in the week. At Alexander's, there are 2 clothing free (=naked) areas but they are on the sun decks only so it's secluded/private. And other guests don't run the risk of a nude display during, say, breakfast!

Laura, the general manager of Alexander's, talks a little about the gay/straight policy later in this post - go down to "The History of Key West" section, half way down the post.
Alexander's Guesthouse Key West on Fleming Street
Location: Alexander's is right at the top end of Fleming Street
Alexander's is a little way away from Duval Street, at a moderate pace it's a 14 to 20 minute walk to Duval Street (which is Key West's main drag) along Fleming. As Fleming Street is one of the finest Old Town Key West streets the walk is fascinating, even if you end up doing it several times a day. The buildings along Fleming are impressive and there is an interesting variety of architecture (and people) including old Conch houses, the city library (oldest public library in Florida) and palm park, Timmy's Tuxedos, etc... There is always something happening or going on!

There is a large convenience store (called Sunbeam) right behind Alexander's, a 20 second walk from the front door.  Old Town Key West's (modestly sized) supermarket is called Fausto's and it's actually also on Fleming, so you will pass it when you walk down Fleming towards Duval Street.

Parking: park on the streets around Alexander's
Alexander's has no parking lot or area.  This is typical of guesthouses in Key West (because they are mostly converted real dwellings in residential areas of Old Town). If you have a car then you'll need to park on the roads around the guesthouse. There are a few spots on Fleming Street within 30 metres of Alexander's (i.e. so you can see the car from the front porch) but these get taken very quickly.

Most likely, you'll need to park on the side streets around Fleming (i.e. so you won't see the car).  Important: Make sure you avoid the residential spaces (they are marked in paint on the tarmac "residential" but the paint on some of the spaces is very old and so faint and so hard to see, especially in the dark).  Take the usual precautions when parking in Key West but it's safe in these streets around Alexander's.


Facilities at Alexander's
  • There is very good wifi in all rooms and communal areas. There is a lap top for communal use in reception if you have not got your own.
  • Breakfast is served every day for several hours. It's "expanded" continental but with changing daily specials and home baked pastries like muffins.  
  • There is a happy hour (free lager, wine, spirits, cosmos) every day at 5pm for an hour. After this the bar stays open for a few hours more, but you gotta pay!  
  • There is staff on site from 9am to 9pm every day. Outside these hours there is no staff in site, but an emergency mobile number.
  • Rooms are cleaned daily of course, and the cleaning team do an excellent job.
  • Every room has a fridge or mini fridge.
  • The team are great at recommending things to do, places to eat and making bookings, including cycles.
Outside - lots of balcony space, 1 pool, 1 hot tub
The 3 main buildings are arranged around the pool and hot tub, by the pool is the small bar where evening happy hour takes place.  There is a raised sun gallery above the bar/pool and then a sun deck on the very top of the main house with room for maybe 6 loungers (which gets sun until the late afternoon).  Rooms 16 and 17 each have their own private and secluded outside space - see below.  Several of the other rooms also have their own balcony. Here is a video tour of the property (it's quiet because I took this very early in the morning!):
All this means that there is enough sunbathing space for everyone even when the place is full. You can always get sun at any time in the day. Here is a video of the sun deck at the very top on a lovely day:

The breakfast and general sitting area to the side of the pool. You can see the coffee area which is available all day.
The kitchen and help yourself breakfast area for continental breakfast daily
The pool at Alexander's guesthouse Key West
The history of Alexander's - built in 1911, BY LAURA
This section has been written by Laura, the excellent General Manager of Alexander's.


Both houses were built in 1906 and were purchased for two sisters by their husbands so they could live side by side. The main house stayed in the family as a private home until it was sold in 1981 to Walt Marlow and Dell Brixey. It was the main house that they purchased. After doing some renovations on it, they opened Alexander's Guesthouse in 1982 as a Gay and Lesbian guesthouse. The name came from their very sweet parakeet who chirped and sang all day...who's name was Alexander. They named it after their little parakeet. 

They built and kept the business going until 1992 when an architect named Michael Ingram bought it from them. He then acquired the house next door and built the third house where Rooms 14/15 are. During his ownership he started the happy hours around the pool and decorated with Key West style decor.

Alexander's history. I've added this to Laura's section here. This is a photo I took of an original framed picture that used to be in the apartment (it's not now). I don't know the people or the date (assume 1980s). It looks like they are laying the decking around the pool. Looks hot but fun work!
The present day owners Orlando Torres and Raul Diaz, purchased in back in 2003. They used to come and stay here as a couple for years. They were so excited when it came available for purchase. Raul Diaz came in and really updated the style and feel of Alexander's. He has enjoyed so many positive comments from guests over the years, that he recently decided to create Alexander's Lifestyle...with furniture and tips to create that Key West Casual look and feel.

We also have a ghost in the house, I only found out after several guests at different times told me about what they would see. It is a little boy about 10 years old, very sweet, just wants to play.  He passed away from tuberculosis probably around 1920-1925.  He was the son of one of the sisters.  His grandfather have also been spotted on the grounds as well. His grandfather passed away about the same time and for the same reason.(tuberculosis).

Alexander's has gone through a transition also over recent years in our guest base.  We have always been a gay and lesbian guesthouse...also always welcoming friends and families (straight) who were friends of guests. However, over recent years we have seen more and more straight guests wanting to stay here. With the changes happening in the world with more acceptance and integration, we see it here at the guesthouse.  While we do ask straight guests many questions before we allow them to reserve as to whether or not know we cater to LGBT community, if they are all comfortable with that as we do not want our guests to feel uncomfortable...etc...we are not allowed to turn any guests away due to sexual orientation. We have fought the fight, but it goes both ways. Overall, the experience of more integration has been positive, straight guests who seek us out want to stay here for a reason...many are exploring their own sexuality, some have friends who are gay, some have children or parents who are gay...many different reasons for wanting to be here. In the end, we are grateful as we get a chance to educate each other on how the other lives.

Laura Zequeira
General Manager
Alexander's Guesthouse
Key West, Florida
November 2014


Thanks Laura, very interesting I think you'll agree. When you come to stay say hi to the ghost! Right, I'm back.

Let's cover the rooms now. I've stayed in quite a few of them over the years. First thing to say is that:
  1. All the rooms are nice
  2. They are all excellently maintained and stylish
  3. But they are quite different (this is not a hotel with just a few rooms types!): very different sizes, positions, views etc
  4. The costs are quite different too so check out the room rates on their website. For example, the apartment (room 17) is $410 per night in March 2014, but room 8 only $175.
  5. Alexander's is very popular and gets booked up way in advance so check out the availability ASAP. All the availability can be seen online on their online booking engine: https://secure.rezovation.com/Reservations/CheckAvailability.aspx?s=45hKa0UibH
  6. The preferences expressed here are mine and you may well have a different view.
  7. To see more, Alexander's own website is here.
That said, here are the rooms I am familiar with, listed in order of my preference:

MY FAVORITE ROOM

Room 17 - the apartment
Room 16 - the suite
Room 11 - lovely porch facing the main street.  A little noisy from street noise but if this does not worry you the porch makes up for it
Room 15 - upstairs in the small house
Room 14 - downstairs in the small house
Room 1 - in the main house
Room 10
The other rooms in the main house
Rooms 8 and 9 - very top of the main house
Room 7 - just by the breakfast/communal area
MY LEAST FAVORITE ROOM

Map of Alexander's guesthouse Key West showing room layout (source: Alexander's website)

The rooms at Alexander's - room by room

Room 17 - the apartment

Here's a video tour of the apartment:

If neither budget nor availability are an issue then Room 17, the Apartment, is the room for you. It's the largest room; actually it's a lot larger that the other rooms, it's therefore also a lot more expensive. But it is great, and well worth it, if your budget can stretch. The current rate is $410 per night, peak season.


In addition to the video above, I wrote a full post on this room as we were the first to use the apartment after its refurbishment in the summer of 2012. Click here to read the full report with lots of pictures.

Room 16 - the Suite. Is the next largest and next best room - see below for full review.

Rooms 14 and 15. Identical rooms, 14 on first (i.e. ground for UK readers) floor, 15 on second floor. These are nice sized rooms. They are in the small house by themselves and so a little tucked away which is nice. They look directly onto the hot tub and pool. i.e. the hot tub is 5 metres from your front door. The great thing about these rooms, especially 15, is that they get direct sun through into the late afternoon and are therefore the most light and airy rooms in the property. It's lovely to be on the balcony of 15 in the afternoon getting the setting sun direct.

Room 10. Tucked round the back of the main house, this room is well liked. The special feature is a private, OUTSIDE shower, very useful/fun during really hot and humid summer months in KW. A nice, private room.

Room 1 - main house, second floor. This is a great room. Main bedroom with "wet bar" to the side (=with 2 sinks and fridge) and in addition an en suite bathroom. The wet bar feature makes this room feel bigger than it is. Accessed through the main house's stairs. Look out onto Fleming Street. I really like this room.

Rooms 8 and 9. These are on the third (top) floor of the main house accessed via the external stairs. These are very small rooms - make sure you do your research before you select these and these would be too small for me to be really happy - but that is just me! Couples stay in here happily.

Room 11 - Second house, first (ground) floor.  Facing Fleming Street and with it's own entrance and porch (nice to have some private outside space even if it looks onto Fleming Street!). We are staying in this room for Fantasy Fest 2014, so a full review of the room then!

Room 7 - on the first (ground) floor by the pool and by the breakfast area. Not a big fan of this room. You are right by the breakfast area which gets busy from 9am so if you are a light sleeper don't count on a lie in. See pictures (below) of where the room entrance is relative to the breakfast area and you will be able to figure if this will be an issue for you. Also because you are tucked in on the ground floor, under a balcony, there is little light into this room, as you'd expect.

Rooms 5 and 6 - Second floor.  Looks out on pool. Own balcony. Lighter than rooms 1,2,3 and 4 (which was "internal" in the main house) but more noisy than those rooms if this is a factor for you. 1,2,3,4 are more private/quieter (generally), but darker and don't have balconies.

Now for a detailed review and pictures of some of the rooms....
Room 16 - the suite
Room 16 is the second largest room in the guesthouse. It's in the second house and on the ground floor, actually under the apartment, but about 40% of the size of the apartment. I really like 16 as it's more affordable yet has a private outside area.
  • Dedicated entrance way
  • Outside sitting area with table and 2 chairs, and 2 loungers. No one can view you in this area so it's totally private. Only gets direct light during middle of the day as it has walls on all sides (hence the privacy).
  • Small bathroom with shower
  • Sitting area as well as bedroom area
Room 16 Alexander's. Private entrance and outside sitting area makes this very secluded room.
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Room 16 just outside the room front door, which you can see to the left of the picture.
Room 16 is divided into 3: sitting area, bed, bathroom. This the sitting area.
The bed area of room 16. In the background you can see the sitting area and front door.
Room 16 bathroom. Excuse all of our mess!
Room 15
Very light and bright. Balcony with setting sun right in your face. Lovely design and decoration. Great room.


Room14 and 15 at Alexander's Guesthouse from outside. 15 on the top. By the hot tub. You can just see the stairs to 15 on the left behind the black planter.
Main doors to room 15 at Alexander's guesthouse Key West.

Bed in room 15 in Alexander's

Bathroom in room 15 Alexander's guesthouse
You can see how really light room 15 gets - most of the day
View through the tall bamboo from balcony of room 15. You can just see the pool area below
Balcony for room 15 Alexander's is a huge asset of this room. Very sunny most of the day.
Room 7
Is downstairs on ground floor right by the main sitting area where breakfast is served. As I've mentioned this is a dark-ish room and is very near the breakfast area and general sitting area.

Entrance to room 7 Alexander's Guesthouse Key West is right by the breakfast area ands sitting area by the pool
Bed in room 7 Alexanders
You can see the sitting area for all guests outside the room
Small fridge and small tv
You see the entrance (to the left of the coffee cups) in context to the sitting/breakfast area

Hercules the house cat
Guest pets are not allowed at Alexander's.

However, no post would be complete without mention of the resident cats. All the cats are ex-rescue cats and they don't get in your way as they are mostly shy. The leader of the pack around here is the handsome Hercules who is friendly but aloof in an alpha cat kind of way.

If you're not a cat person he won't bother you. However, I am, and I let him come in when he occasionally wants to. Here's a few pics of Hercules over the years.
Hercules the house cat at Alexander's guesthouse Key West. Half asleep. It's a hard life being surrounded by all these holidaymakers.
A younger Hercules attacking my sock
Hercules the Sphinx. Keeping guard in the spotlight on the front entrance to Alexander's
Is Hercules the best looking cat in Key West? October 2014 on the sofa on the main porch at Alexander's

There are many other options, of course

I recommend staying in a guesthouse in Key West. Much of Key West's charm comes from its history, quirkiness, architecture and friendliness. You get these much more if you stay in a guesthouse here. And you don't have to compromise on much as so many guesthouses are such high quality.

Of course, Alexander's is currently the best but it's a competitive market and it's not the only five star guesthouse. 

For my other recommendations go my post on gay hotels and guesthouses.

For more straight options, this post on the best hotels in Key West.

Price watch
Quality Key West is a premium experience and it can be expensive. That applies just as much to guesthouses as it does hotels in Key West.  It makes a big difference when you come. For example, in Alexander's the prices of rooms are on average 20% or 30% higher in peak season (Fantasy Fest and Dec to May) than off season (July to Sept). See here for guide on when best to come to Key West.

Please leave comments in the comments section at the end
If you have any questions then please contact me - click on the About Me tab at the top.

Otherwise, see you at Alexander's sometime soon.




Other pages on this blog

Gay Key West hotels and guesthouses

If you have to stay in a hotel then I have written a guide to Key West hotels - click here

When is the best time to visit Key West?

Full, recently updated, guide to gay Key West