Key West - Island House

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    Jun 23, 2012 8:22 PM GMT
    Just spent several days at the infamous Island House in Key West for the first time. The one that is clothing optional, with the "educational" video rooms and catacombs and "health club". icon_lol.gif Btw, I'm not sure what everyone else's idea of a cruisy place is - I heard tales about sex everywhere which definitely was NOT the case while I was there. BUT if you're looking for action, you don't have to look hard either.

    Here are my observations about thr place. I'll start with the cons.

    Cons
    If you want something in the middle of all the action on Duval Street in Old Town, Island House is pretty far removed. You're going to have to walk about ten minutes to get to Duval as opposed to some of the other guesthouses and some of the newer (mostly straight) hotels on the east side of the island. You can ride a bike or catch a cab of course.

    Island House charges more - because it can. The rates CAN be higher than other gay guest houses in Key West. But, if you can get back to Key West duriing the low season, you can probably swing a deal where you get two or three free days during low season the same year. It only works if you can make it back to Key West later the same year but if you can, the rates even out with the other guesthouses.

    No matter what some reviews say on trip advisor and the like, this place is Not a five star resort. There are some rooms that are pretty nice with upgraded bathrooms and all that and then some really basic rooms. But none of them are going to be like what you could find at a straight resort.

    Pros
    A bad day in Key West is better than a good day at home.

    Although it is removed from Duval, island House really is pretty much self contained. You could arrive in Key West and spend several days there without ever leaving. So if you don't care about checking out the rest of the island the distance from Duval doesn't matter.

    The staff was very attentive - at least during my stay. I read different things about the service online but while I was there it was very good.

    There is plenty of eye candy. I suppose it can depend on who is staying in the other 30 or 40 rooms at Island House but on
    this trip and the last time I went as a day guest, many of the guys were quite easy on the eyes. And yeah - its clothing optional.

    If you're looking to hook up, it's pretty much a sure thing. Or so I heard from the some other guests. icon_cool.gif

    The place has a "fun" feel to it. Not sure how else to describe it but other people have mentioned the same thing to me abut Island House. Other places might be nicer but they had a better time there.

    Bottom line - it depends on what you want on your trip. A more mainstream resort versus a gay resort. A place in the heart of old town or a place that is self contained. Clothing optional or not.

    I liked it and will likely visit again in a few months.
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    Jun 23, 2012 8:34 PM GMT
    My compliments on a very accurate & comprehensive review of Island House. I've stayed there and your description is spot-on.

    BTW, we just returned from 6 days in Key West, on Sat, June 16, at our preferred hotel right on Duval Street. You're right, Island House is far from lots of places to visit, which is one reason we gravitate to Duval. But glad to see you were pleased overall. Isn't Key West great? icon_biggrin.gif

  • a303guy

    Posts: 829

    Jun 23, 2012 8:35 PM GMT
    thanks for this! I've seen their ads for years, and always wondered what it was 'really' like. My partner and I are planning a vacation for this fall (admittedly, NOT the best time to be in the Keys) and this will help with the decision making process.
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    Jun 23, 2012 8:38 PM GMT
    a303guy saidthanks for this! I've seen their ads for years, and always wondered what it was 'really' like. My partner and I are planning a vacation for this fall (admittedly, NOT the best time to be in the Keys) and this will help with the decision making process.

    Actually we like the Fall, prior to the high season rate increases. The temps come down but the crowds and the rates are still low. We'll be there the weekend before Thanksgiving, may even stay through Thanksgiving, haven't decided yet, be there at least until Wed, Nov 21.
  • a303guy

    Posts: 829

    Jun 23, 2012 9:09 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    a303guy saidthanks for this! I've seen their ads for years, and always wondered what it was 'really' like. My partner and I are planning a vacation for this fall (admittedly, NOT the best time to be in the Keys) and this will help with the decision making process.

    Actually we like the Fall, prior to the high season rate increases. The temps come down but the crowds and the rates are still low. We'll be there the weekend before Thanksgiving, may even stay through Thanksgiving, haven't decided yet, be there at least until Wed, Nov 21.


    As a former Floridian that survived the hurricane season from hell (2004) in Daytona Beach, fall months + Florida just make me a little queasy, el cheapo hotel rates or not. We may wait till our winter season is over up in CO, and zip down there in late April for a quick defrosting.
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    Jun 23, 2012 9:20 PM GMT
    a303guy saidAs a former Floridian that survived the hurricane season from hell (2004) in Daytona Beach, fall months + Florida just make me a little queasy, el cheapo hotel rates or not. We may wait till our winter season is over up in CO, and zip down there in late April for a quick defrosting.

    Understandable. Although Sashaman and I have the luxury of only being a few hours drive to Key West (193 miles in our case), so our preparations and reservations can be made a lot closer to the actual arrival date.

    Sometimes I don't finalize until 2 or 3 days before, and if no tropical storm has appeared by then, one's unlikely to reach the Keys within the next 8-10 days. During the off season rooms are so available that we can always find a nice one on such short notice. But I realize planning a flight in from Colorado can be a different matter.

    And that's when we plan our SMART Ride charity bicycle ride to Key West, this year 16-17 November. There's a risk, but we consider it small enough that we're planning on having around 1000 people on the island that weekend.
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    Jun 23, 2012 9:26 PM GMT
    Thank-you for the review. I've been debating for awhile whether to try it out. Your review makes me more interested in venturing down.
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    Jun 23, 2012 9:52 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    a303guy saidAs a former Floridian that survived the hurricane season from hell (2004) in Daytona Beach, fall months + Florida just make me a little queasy, el cheapo hotel rates or not. We may wait till our winter season is over up in CO, and zip down there in late April for a quick defrosting.

    Understandable. Although Sashaman and I have the luxury of only being a few hours drive to Key West (193 miles in our case), so our preparations and reservations can be made a lot closer to the actual arrival date.

    Sometimes I don't finalize until 2 or 3 days before, and if no tropical storm has appeared by then, one's unlikely to reach the Keys within the next 8-10 days. During the off season rooms are so available that we can always find a nice one on such short notice. But I realize planning a flight in from Colorado can be a different matter.

    And that's when we plan our SMART Ride charity bicycle ride to Key West, this year 16-17 November. There's a risk, but we consider it small enough that we've planning on having around 1000 people on the island that weekend.


    As a side note, I was shocked to learn that Island House was fully booked this weekend becuase there weren't any special events going on and it's off season. We had checked into staying an extra day in case the weather made it too difficult to travel back today - but that wasn't an option at Island House because all the rooms were booked.

    I'm sure you can find rooms on a few days notice but just wanted to make sure the guys know that isn't necessarily going to be the case at this particular property on the weekends.
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    Jun 23, 2012 10:11 PM GMT
    sashaman saidAs a side note, I was shocked to learn that Island House was fully booked this weekend becuase there weren't any special events going on and it's off season. We had checked into staying an extra day in case the weather made it too difficult to travel back today - but that wasn't an option at Island House because all the rooms were booked.

    I'm sure you can find rooms on a few days notice but just wanted to make sure the guys know that isn't necessarily going to be the case at this particular property on the weekends.

    True, any given hotel may be booked up, but overall in KW you should be able to find something off-season at a good price. We booked for June 11 on the 9th, for 5 days. On Thursday we extended for another day until Saturday, though that was the limit, another party had reservations beginning Saturday after 3 PM for that room. Though we could have moved to another available room, we did need to get back home.

    So off-season is usually a good time to find immediate vacancies at a good rate in KW. And indeed, we walked past plenty of hotels with Vacancy signs out. After all, if everything was booked solid, the prices wouldn't be at their lowest, would they?

    Plus we keep ourselves on the e-mail lists of several gay hotels. We'll get an e-mail blast around Wed or Thur, before a weekend when a hotel is seriously underbooked, offering unadvertised specials so their rooms won't go empty.

    Since we're retired and just 4 hours away we can be packed and on the road under 24 hours. We've gotten rooms that go for over $300 in season for barely $90 for 2. Including complimentary breakfast and unlimited free happy hour drinks, and free parking. So look into getting on mailing lists.
  • turtleneckjoc...

    Posts: 4685

    Jun 23, 2012 10:21 PM GMT
    a303guy said
    Art_Deco said
    a303guy saidthanks for this! I've seen their ads for years, and always wondered what it was 'really' like. My partner and I are planning a vacation for this fall (admittedly, NOT the best time to be in the Keys) and this will help with the decision making process.

    Actually we like the Fall, prior to the high season rate increases. The temps come down but the crowds and the rates are still low. We'll be there the weekend before Thanksgiving, may even stay through Thanksgiving, haven't decided yet, be there at least until Wed, Nov 21.


    As a former Floridian that survived the hurricane season from hell (2004) in Daytona Beach, fall months + Florida just make me a little queasy, el cheapo hotel rates or not. We may wait till our winter season is over up in CO, and zip down there in late April for a quick defrosting.


    You could actually come down in October and you have missed the peak of the hurricane season, which is a month earlier in September.

    I survived the season from hell as well. A summer without electricity for the most part! The eye of all three storms (Charley, Frances and Jeanne) passed through an area that is about 30 miles to the south of where I am and I'm in the Orlando area.

    Recently, I talked to some of my co-workers who have frequented Key West and the verdict is in--they all fly down from Orlando. The only way they would drive down there and back (likely an 8-9 hour drive) would be if they were staying a week. For a weekend trip, it's better to fly down and back and Southwest Airlines will have a daily non-stop from MCO to EYW starting this fall. The fare I found for a hypothetical date isn't that bad, a little more than $200 round trip.
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    Jun 23, 2012 10:25 PM GMT
    Sounds like its worth a try.
  • a303guy

    Posts: 829

    Jun 23, 2012 10:37 PM GMT
    turtleneckjock said
    a303guy said
    Art_Deco said
    a303guy said.


    You could actually come down in October and you have missed the peak of the hurricane season, which is a month earlier in September.

    I survived the season from hell as well. A summer without electricity for the most part! The eye of all three storms (Charley, Frances and Jeanne) passed through an area that is about 30 miles to the south of where I am and I'm in the Orlando area.

    Recently, I talked to some of my co-workers who have frequented Key West and the verdict is in--they all fly down from Orlando. The only way they would drive down there and back (likely an 8-9 hour drive) would be if they were staying a week. For a weekend trip, it's better to fly down and back and Southwest Airlines will have a daily non-stop from MCO to EYW starting this fall. The fare I found for a hypothetical date isn't that bad, a little more than $200 round trip.


    True this, although wasn't it Ivan that nailed us twice in Oct? hehe - no matter, THAT certainly couldn't happen again, now could it?

    I agree on the fly-down part - as much as I like driving (its what I do for a living) when it comes to vacation time, i wanna get where I'm going - pronto! I'm actually in near Gainesville FL this summer, so driving down to Orlando for a quick flight to KW is handy - my partner could just meet me there or in Orlando. hmmmm.....
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    Jun 23, 2012 11:24 PM GMT
    Not as nice as the "straight" resorts? The last time I went to KW, I slept in a small closet that had just enough room to stand at the foot of the bed. There was a little brass plaque that said "Goldie Hawn once hung her knickers in this closet" or something. There was a shower down the hall, in another closet. I didn't care - I only went there to sleep - but it was a little pricey for a closet. But that was 20 years ago.
    (The time before that, I think we slept in the truck, but my memory is a little hazy.)