1. Don't limit your search to hotels - there are 20 times more good value guesthouses than hotels in Key West. It's just that kind of place. This is a good thing.
4 more tips...
2. Book 12 months in advance, or as much as you can. In peak season, Key West is 100% full and there are no last minute deals.
3. Consider off peak or nearly off peak season. Nearly off season is October/November and May to July. Off peak is August to October. There are downsides (basically, it's super humid all the time). As a result, prices will be up to 40% cheaper. See here for the best time of year to visit Key West, as you need to balance the downsides against the better prices you will definitely get.
4. Stay away from downtown. But not too far! There are several big hotels 4 miles away from Duval Street - the other (far) end of the island. Many will have a free shuttle to Duval. I would not stay here as it's so far away from the action. But they are cheaper.
5. Negotiate - this will only work in off season. Don't accept the price on the website but also contact the guesthouse or hotel direct to get an extra 10% off the best website prices. In off season they are likely to be only at 50% to 70% capacity and so many will do you an extra deal.
I've selected places where the typical room price is below $250 per night in peak season. You might think this is still expensive and you'd be right. Key West hotel prices are some of the most expensive in the entire USA - the big name, branded hotel rooms start from $500 per night for their standard rooms in peak season. And, you don't even get an ocean view for that! Click here to see the big 6 hotels and my view on the best hotel if you are not limited by budget.
Back to cheap hotels and B&Bs. To make my list they must be:
-A double room with en suite bathroom - you will find cheaper rooms which are singles or with a shared bathroom.
-Less than $250 per night in peak season (December to April). You will find cheaper inns and hotels but they have had bad reviews.
-A nice place to stay. I don't consider places which have had bad reviews or are dirty, badly maintained, etc.
-Generally, I've picked places near (10 or 15 minutes walk maximum) Duval Street, which is the center of the action in Key West. Yes, you can stay further out on the edges of the island, these hotels are indeed cheaper, and many places will offer free shuttle buses to Duval Street. But, really, nothing happens in Key West on the edges of the island. You won't feel like you are on vacation, you'll feel like you are way away from the action and excitement (because you are!).
BEST RECOMMENDED GREAT VALUE HOTEL IN KEY WEST at the moment is....
Ibis Bay hotel
N Roosevelt Blvd
$211 for a nice room peak season
Don't get excited about the "beach/ocean view" rooms on the website they are $357 per night. And the view is more of a canal than the open ocean.
The downside about this hotel is that it's 10 minutes drive from Key West so you can't pop out to Duval Street. They have a complimentary shuttle service to Duval Street.
The hotel dates from the 1950s so the style is retro rather than modern.
I've only given 1 option here - I just can't find another which I would recommend.
So you are much better off seriously considering a cheap guesthouse / B&B. It's easy to pick a nice and expensive one, here's the nice and cheap ones:
BEST RECOMMENDED GREAT VALUE BED AND BREAKFAST IN KEY WEST at the moment is....
Andrews Inn and Garden Cottages
223 Eanes Lane
(behind the Hemingway House)
Typical price: $250
Cheapest room: $215 (2 rooms at this price, 2 more at $225 - all with own bathroom)
Free happy hour
The Artist House on Fleming
1016 Fleming Street
4 of their 9 rooms less than $250 per night in peak
Most expensive room: $290 per night
Very clean and also Key West chic
Very good reputation, well located
Free happy hour
Key West Bed and Breakfast
415 William Street
Cheapest rooms: $115 (3 at this price, all share a bathroom)
Cheapest room with own bath: $245
Most expensive - $265 -3tf floor and small private balconyTypical nightly price: $225
Great breakfasts, friendly staff, Key West art on the walls
Cons: Pool is really oversized hot tub. Not much outdoor space to sunbathe or hang around. No happy hour.
The Mermaid & The Alligator
Typical nightly price: $318
Lovely, and relatively large for Key West, garden/pool area
expensive - remove?
Frances Street Bottle Inn
535 Frances Street
There are some rooms below $250 but you can't book using the website so this is quote annoying.
Worth checking direct with the inn via email.
Key West Harbor Inn
Typical price: $300
Some rooms at $255 per night in peak
Very close to harbor which is great place to stay
You have to ring for availability
3 rooms less than $220
Typical price: $275
Lowest price: $175 (twin studio - 2 twin beds)
Not a historic Key West building but lots of space around the pool
Suite Dreams Inn
1001 Von Phister St
Down the quiet end of the island so not super central but ok if you want to do a little walking
Typical price: $269
Lowest price: $199
worth checking out
have to contact them
Other posts on my site
How long is a good time for a Key West vacation?
My post on Key West hotels - this covers general comments on hotels in Key West and also a review of the top 6 big branded hotels in Key West like the Pier House, Hyatt and Casa Marina
Post on the better guest houses in Key West
Best time of year for visiting Key West
If this blog has been interesting or useful please leave a comment - thank you.
Or if you've stayed at a great value place you'd recommend - please leave a comment.
Notes: My chosen recommendations are my own choices. I don't receive a dime for any views on this website. Also, if you are thinking of adding a commercial link in the comments section, forget it, I will delete it and report you as spam. Genuine visitor comments are, as always, welcome.