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Spring Break in Style: Where to Stay in Key West

by Matthew Wexler
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Mar 31, 2017
Key West
Key West  (Source:Matthew Wexler)

Key West has lured luminaries such as Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway... and with good reason. From day drinking on Duval Street to sunset cruises on the open waters, the subtropical paradise tingles with worldly pleasures.

While many attractions are within easy walking distance, choosing where to lay your head at night is the first strategic step in ensuring that your Key West experience is the ultimate escape. Here are four options for every kind of traveler:


La Concha Hotel & Spa
La Concha Hotel & Spa  

La Concha Hotel & Spa

Developer Carl Aubuchon opened La Concha in 1926, and for nearly a century it's been at the epicenter of Key West's thriving Duval Street. Tennessee Williams finished writing "A Streetcar Named Desire" here in 1947, just before a series of tropical storms damaged the property. Over the years La Concha has seen its share of good times and tough times, and in 2015 it received a major renovation to restore it to its original glory.

La Concha's prime location is perfect for bar hopping and exploring local attractions, but you'll want to allow plenty of time to enjoy the hotel's amenities, including Top Spa, a stunning oasis that occupies the highest point in Key West. Treatment options run the gamut from massages to facials. Book a "ritual" experience, which includes a complimentary glass of wine and 30 minutes in a private spa suite, which is outfitted with a private balcony, stocked fridge, full vanity and sensory rain show.


Wine-O  

Melt away the evening at 430 Duval, the hotel's on-site restaurant where you can find Caribbean-inspired small plates, or the adjacent Wine-O, a sexy wine bar that offers more than 200 bottles from around the world.

Striking Distance: Bourbon St. Pub is the local gay watering hole, just brace yourself for a night that is bound to get out of control. Drink specials, go-go boys, and a massive outdoor patio and pool are the recipe for good times to be had by all. Fortunately, La Concha is only a stumble away. Upcoming events include Bourbon St. Pub's Boy Bunny Easter Weekend celebration (April 14-16).


The Marker Waterfront Resort
The Marker Waterfront Resort  

The Marker Waterfront Resort

Super cozy with views of tropical gardens and located within steps of the historic seaport, The Marker opened in late 2014 and offers refreshing maritime luxury. Take a closer look, and you'll find a thoughtfully curated collection of furnishings and design accents that include collaborations with local artists including works by local sculptors John Martini and Adam Russell.

Start your day with a relaxed, poolside breakfast at Cero Bodega where you'll find a Cali-Mexican inspired menu and innovative creations such as grouper hash with poblano peppers and yucca.


Danger Charters  (Source:Matthew Wexler)

Striking Distance: No Key West experience is complete without spending time on the water, and The Marker's convenient waterfront location is mere steps away from Danger Charters' Wind & Wine sunset sail.

Ranked the number one thing to do in Florida on Trip Advisor, the accolades shouldn't be underestimated. The friendly staff navigates the wind-swept schooner out to sea while the wine (8 varieties from around the world) flows freely. Passengers befriend one another as the sun turns to golden hues and the cool ocean breeze carries you back to shore.


Island House
Island House  

Island House

Leave your inhibitions behind at Island House, the men-only, clothing-optional resort in Old Town. Tucked in a quiet enclave, you'll see all types at Island House, and it's truly a celebration of gay sexuality. Leave the sneers and the pursed lips at home!

From seniors to twinks and everything in between, there is a sense of sexual freedom that permeates throughout the property. Tourists and locals alike gather around the pool and upper sundeck and the free - yes free! - happy hour for guests (including premium spirits) is one of the best deals in town.

Striking Distance: A quick stroll down Fleming Street amid the charming cottages and towering palm trees will lead you to Azur, a Mediterranean restaurant helmed by chef Michael Mosi. The menu's Greek and Italian influences ring true but also incorporates local ingredients like pink shrimp and other fresh seafood. Azur is also known for its philanthropic efforts and supports a range of local charities including AIDS Help, which has been a stronghold of support services in Monroe Country for more than 30 years.


Perry Hotel Key West
Perry Hotel Key West  

Perry Hotel Key West

For those looking to head off the beaten path, Stock Island is about a 15-minute taxi ride from Duval Street and feels as if you've escaped to a private nautical enclave. Soon to open at Stock Island Village Marina, the new Perry Hotel Key West (named after the commodore who laid claim to Key West) promises to be a stunning property that pays homage to the island's wharf history. Natural woods, exposed steel, and dramatic art installations deliver wow factor, along with access to the largest deep-water marina in the Florida Keys.

Two on-site restaurants will deliver American coastal cuisine with plenty of fresh seafood such as daily crudos, Florida lobster, Black Fin tuna, along with guilty pleasures such as lobster corn dogs and shrimp po'boys.

Striking Distance: Only 90 miles north of Cuba, charter a vessel with Harmony Yacht Vacations for the ultimate adventure. A customized itinerary will take you to Marina Hemingway in Havana, which can be used for accommodations throughout your stay.


For more information on planning your Key West getaway, visit www.flay-keys.com.


Matthew Wexler is EDGE's National Style and Travel Editor. More of his writing can be found at www.wexlerwrites.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.


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