By: Karen Kelly
Key West is known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, rich history, delicious seafood, and unique island culture. The best hotels in Key West offer glamour, luxury, and the ultimate in relaxation.
Key West is a popular destination for tourists worldwide, who come to enjoy its warm weather, laid-back atmosphere, and endless outdoor recreation and adventure opportunities. Even though it’s only four miles long and two miles wide, this island boasts a lively art and food scene that seems much more extensive.
Families, couples, and seniors can all find something to do to pass the time in Key West. If you are outdoorsy, you can flock to the beach for snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking, and snorkeling. Those who prefer being out on the ocean will find numerous boat trips available, from whale and dolphin watching to sailing and sunset cruises with lively music and plenty of cocktails.
The size of Key West makes it an accessible island to explore, and it is broken into several neighborhoods, each with its own unique characteristics. The two main areas are Old Town and New Town.
Old Town vs. New Town
Key West is divided into Old Town and New Town. Old Town is also called the historic district, where you will find a lively area, and on the other side is New Town, a quieter spot. Old Town includes Mallory Square, Duval Street, the Historic Seaport, and the Southernmost Point. It is an excellent location because it is easy to see all the cultural and historic attractions and close to the launching points for many boat tours. After dark, there is a festive food and cocktail scene and a great spot to watch the sunset every day at Mallory Square with street performers galore.
New Town has a more contemporary feel and a very laid-back vibe. This is a great spot if you are looking for more affordable accommodations yet still want to be in a convenient location. It’s one of the best parts of Florida!
The Best Hotels in Key West
Ocean Key Resort & Spa
This luxurious resort boasts what might be the best address on the island at zero Duval Street overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. There are only a few resorts on the water, but Ocean Key Resort & Spa has a view of the crystal blue waters from every room. This eclectic spot boasts unique, luxurious rooms featuring local art and hand-painted furnishings, each with a balcony. The three restaurants showcase food from Florida and the Caribbean, and the Sunset Pier is the island’s largest and most iconic outdoor dining venue.
The Marquesa Hotel
Located in the center of the historic district of Old Town Key West, this boutique hotel offers three sparkling pools and lush interior gardens. It’s the perfect location to hit all the sites in Town, one block from Duval Street, where all the restaurants, bars, and attractions are. The Marquesa Hotel is for those looking for excellent service, privacy, and the most delicious food on site. Cafe Marquesa Key West is one of Zagat’s highest-rated restaurants on the island and boasts grilled meats and fish, local seafood, with inventive appetizers and salads that do not disappoint.
Located on the waterfront of the island’s historic seaport, The Marker is a chic and sophisticated resort with a touch of glamour. Set on a lush, tropical two acres, it has 96 rooms and suites, three stunning pools, a full-service spa, and an onsite restaurant and bar. It’s tucked into Old Town Key West, a prime location for seeing all the sites. Although it’s only three blocks from Duval Street, it’s tucked into a quiet cul-de-sac where you will enjoy a peaceful resort feel with all the convenience of being close to Town. The ocean-inspired colors in the room complement the views of the harbor and pool from the private balconies.
Sunset Key Cottages
Sunset Key Cottages is perfect for a couple wanting a real getaway since it is located on the 27-acre island of Sunset Key, a mere ferry ride away from it all. The resort features charming cottages with elegant furnishings, private porches, and stunning ocean views. Here will find secluded cottages, some with a private pool, and a delicious restaurant called Latitudes. Their quaint cottages offer the ultimate comfort and charm with soft hues of blue and green to calm the soul. Take advantage of the new trends in luxury travel by booking a massage at the full-service spa or a friendly game of tennis on the tennis courts.
H2O Suites is for adults 25 and over only and offers residence-inspired luxury suites while embracing the slower and calmer pace of Key West. Here you will have access to a quiet beach and a stunning rooftop deck and pool where you can enjoy light fare and cocktails. Many of the suites have their own private plunge pools surrounded by lush gardens, and each has a fully stocked mini-bar. This is a true respite for adults who want to relax and recharge.
Casa Marina is a historic luxury hotel situated on the southernmost point of Key West. Initially built in 1920, the hotel features classic architecture and elegant décor with modern amenities. It offers a range of activities, including water sports, fishing, and snorkeling. Guests can explore the island by renting bikes or strolling to nearby attractions such as the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum or the Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory.
The Reach Key West
The Reach Key West is a stylish and modern resort situated in Old Town on the island’s southernmost point. The property is on the only private natural sand beach in Key West. It has an oceanfront pool and a variety of outdoor activities, including kayaking, sailing, scuba diving, and snorkeling. The rooms are spacious and elegantly appointed, with many featuring balconies or patios overlooking the ocean. You feel like you are away from it all, yet you are steps from the Ernest Hemingway House Museum and the Southernmost Point.
The Capitana offers different types of accommodations with rooms, suites, and cottages available, all overlooking the crystal blue ocean waters. The rooms are decorated with breezy coastal chic vibes and are the ultimate in comfort and relaxation. This boutique hotel offers a beautifully landscaped pool with a tiki bar, and it’s a great location with access to all the must-see sites of Key West.
Mid-Range Hotels and Resorts
Oceans Edge Resort and Marina
Oceans Edge Resort and Marina is a beautiful waterfront resort on Stock Island, just a short drive from Key West’s downtown area. The property features multiple saltwater swimming pools, a full-service marina, and a variety of water sports activities like paddleboarding and kayaking. The rooms are bright and airy, with modern furnishings and balconies or patios overlooking the water. If you want to bring Fido, it is pet friendly and has a waterfront dog park.
Southernmost Beach Resort
Southernmost Beach Resort is a lovely and budget-friendly accommodation in the heart of Old Town, Key West. This charming resort offers an ideal location to explore the area’s vibrant culture and historical sites. One of the best features of the Southernmost Beach Resort is its private beach, where guests can relax under the sun and dip in the ocean’s crystal-clear waters. The resort also offers multiple swimming pools for those who prefer to swim in freshwater, each with its unique atmosphere, from a secluded adults-only pool to a lively pool with a tiki bar. The rooms are cozy and comfortable; many offer balconies and patios overlooking the ocean.
The Gates Hotel Key West
The Gates Hotel Key West is a stylish hotel with a tropical twist. Its spacious guest rooms feature premium bedding and beach-inspired decor. Guests can enjoy an outdoor pool, fitness center, and restaurant serving Caribbean-inspired cuisine or have some rum punch at Rum Row, which offers live music on weekends. Watch out for the chickens and iguanas that make themselves at home wandering around the grounds. The hotel also offers a free shuttle service to the beach and downtown area.
Havana Cabana Key West
Havana Cabana Key West is a charming and vibrant resort in Key West’s heart. The resort features a lively Cuban-inspired atmosphere with colorful decor and lush landscaping to create a warm and inviting ambiance. The resort’s design elements include vibrant murals, bright tiles, and bold patterns that give a nod to Cuba’s rich culture and history. Guests can relax in the outdoor pool or indulge in Caribbean-inspired cuisine at the onsite restaurant. The resort also offers a shuttle service to the beach and downtown area for guests’ convenience.
Margaritaville Beach House
This family-friendly hotel next to the island’s biggest beach, Smather’s Beach, is an excellent spot for those wanting a home base for adventure. Margaritaville Beach House is a short distance from the historic Old Town yet close to all the water activities you want to partake in with the family. The rooms are comfortable and modern, with views of the lagoon-style pool or the lush gardens. The suites have full kitchenettes if you are looking to do some cooking on your vacation. If the kiddos get ancy, you are in luck, as many onsite children’s activities are available.
Plan Your Vacation to Key West Today
Key West has something for everyone, whether you are traveling with your significant other, your kids, or your entire clan. With its plethora of beautiful sandy beaches, delicious dining spots, rich history, and outdoor activities, there will be no boredom on this vacation! You can’t go wrong with any of these best resorts and hotels in Key West.
This article originally appeared on Savoteur.
Karen Kelly is the food and travel blogger over at Seasonal Cravings. She is a busy wife and mother to three teenagers who loves creating seasonal recipes in her kitchen outside of Washington, D.C. She travels with her family and loves to share her adventures on Seasonal Cravings, MSN and the Associated Press Wire.