1) Key Largo: Ocean Reef Club: The Ocean Reef (Wikipedia) Club ranges out to over 2,500 acres of outstandingly done landscapes that include the luxury of three golf courses, thirteen eateries, a tennis club, a cultural center and so much more. The area is gated and is extremely private and enclosed, making it one of the most exclusive retreats in this country.
However, due to this exclusiveness, it is not open to the public, no matter how rich you are, unless you have friends or family who a members of the reef club, you would be able to stay over at one of the four inns owned by the club with over 150 rooms. This enclosed community is home to big names, CEOs, and celebrities. Booking one of their special programs and packages like camps for kids or programs for adults is another way of getting access to the Reef Club.
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2) Casa Morada, Moorings and Morada Bay Beach Cafe
Casa Morada is another nice little accommodation to check out. This humble hotel houses sixteen suites lined with classic terrazzo floors and outdoor showers. Experience the joy of dipping, swimming, and splashing around in a pool on an island of its own overlooking Florida Bay. Usually around the high winter season, the rates usually start around $299 a night, which makes it a worthy purchase because a room includes breakfast, a mini-bar, and even yoga.
Perhaps one of the most questionably best accommodations in the Keys could be the Moorings Village. With eighteen attractively prearranged light-colored villas and cottages spread across the huge eighteen-acre land filled with over 700 coconut and palm trees equipped with its own 1,100-foot white sand beach, it is a winner.
What was once a coconut plantation which was threatened to be demolished and turned into a condominium development, the land was saved in 1988 by the farsighted French emigrant, Hubert Baudoin.
The Moorings Village is so beautiful it is a hit with big-name photographers like Bruce Weber and other fashion editors for photoshoots. Although Moorings does not have its restaurant, there are plenty of options surrounding the property like the popular Morada Bay Beach Café just opposite the highway which features tables on the sand for a more beach-like eatery environment.
Right next to it is Pierre’s, considered one of the best diners in Florida.
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3) Little Palm Island: Barefoot Experience
Little Palm Island could be one of the most interesting places to stay and should be experienced. To get there, you need to take a wooden yacht at Little Torch Key which would bring guests to Little Palm Island. Indeed, upon stepping foot on it, it feels like in the movies the island is designed to look like a South Seas fantasy island.
The rooms are purposely built with no TVs, phones, or internet connection. This truly interesting and magical experience rate starts at $990 per night.
4) Cottage Colonies
There are three colonies of cottages located right off Simonton Street in Key West’s Old Town, and these three places are unique with their designs and styles. Located at 526 Angela Street, guests would be able to stay in a jungle-like style theme at the Gardens Hotel.
The location is on the grounds of what was once known as the exotic tropical gardens that attracted many to Key West in the 1950s which was owned by the late Peggy Mills. Meanwhile, in Simonton Street, the cottages are old-fashioned, equally stellar, and come with their own charming classic porch swings.
Simonton Court is located at 320 Simonton Street. Created in the late 1980s out of a bunch of 1880s conch houses, the Marquesa models their cottages pure Key West style and is owned by hotel owner, Carol Wightman. The Marquesas boasts 27 comfortable rooms including two pools as well as the area’s restaurant, Café Marquesa.
The Marquesa is located at 600 Fleming Street.
5) Insider Dining Tips of the Key West
If you are lucky, some friendly locals might let you know about the local favorites, but you could also get it right here. The best tapas are served at 207 Petronia Street in Santiago’s Bodega, which was recently renovated and added in another new dining wing; 305.296.7691.
A 40-seater small café with a humble design located at 632 Olivia Street called the Seven Fish is a popular destination for seafood, but you should always reserve early as it is often fully booked; 305.296.2777. Azur serves mean Mediterranean dishes and it is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, located at 425 Grinnell Street; 305.292.2987.
6) Bar Hopping
Infamous for its harsh tawdriness, the bar hopping scene in Key West, especially the lower Duval Scene should be avoided, except for a place called the Porch. While people tend to want to escape anything that is rumored to be haunted, the veranda of a purportedly haunted mansion at the end of Caroline and Duval streets attracts young partygoers.
Live entertainment awaits guests at Blue Heaven, which once was a Hemingway haunt, located at 729 Thomas Street. Wine tasters would opt to go to the Enomatic wine tasting room in Gardens Hotel, and for a more lively mix of crowd, head over to Green Parrot at 601 Whitehead Street.
7) Key West’s Best Galleries
There are three renowned galleries of Key West located on the upper reach of Duval Street. Located at 1206 Duval lies a craft gallery called Hands On where weaver Ellen Steininger exhibits her handcrafts. It is not only for show as she sells wearable art, various handicrafts, and jewelry, which are not only designed by her but by strings of other up-and-coming artists.
Right next to Hands On is Archeo, located at 1208 Duval. Archeo Gallery holds an amazing assortment of exotic artworks from Iran, Indonesia, Africa, and China. One of their highlights is the Gabbeh carpets from the Qashqai tribe of Southwestern Iran.
Lucky Street Gallery is located at 1130 Duval and it is home to arts of crucial modern painters, photographers, and sculptors from Key West. Highlights of the gallery now are giant creatures made of steel by John Martini as well as abstract acrylic art on fused canvases by Helen Colley.
8) Tropical Cinema Experience
Enjoy a tropical cinema experience from Key West’s little treat called the Tropic Cinema. They run from classic films to the latest releases and are uniquely known for their designs, especially the unique art deco neon marquee sign.
Now the Tropic Cinema boasts three screens and not only screens films but presents simulcasts of performances, concerts, and operas, this place has proven to grow since its establishment by the Key West Film Society in 2004.
Tropic Cinema is located at 416 Eaton Street.
9) Popular Therapies of Key West
There are numerous healing centers in Key West, but one of the most trusted and valued therapists is the folks at White Street Healing Arts as they offer various ranges of therapies from acupunctures to chiropractic.
They are located at 1217 White Street.
If you are visiting Key West, but do not want to miss yoga classes, Shakti Yoga offers all kinds of Yoga with drop-in rates, starting from $15. They are located at 1011 Truman Avenue.
10) Sunset Panoramas
Perhaps one of the most perfect spots of the Key West to watch panoramic beautiful sunsets, head over to Louise’s Backyard which has a perfect view of the sea and is built up to multi-levels for customers to enjoy the view.
Perfect for sunset, particularly on the second-floor dining room, but keep in mind they only serve tapas on that level. Louise’s is located at 700 Wadell Avenue.
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