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Recent Key West reviews

  • Perfect Place

    "Three adult couples spent the week and Cocout Cabana is exactly what we anticipated and had everything we needed. Location was perfect, just off Duval Street. Everything accessible by foot or bike. House was exactly as shown in photos, well maintained, clean and comfortable. Linens and beds were great. Heated pool was great for lounging between activities. Thank you Dean!"
    Guest: Janet Date of Stay: January 2015 Review Submitted: February 10, 2015
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  • Simply Amazing Vacation

    "Get ready for postcard views everyday from your balcony. You can not beat this location, quiet, clean, perfect. I will be a future guest here, we can't wait to get back."
    Guest: Bobby F. Date of Stay: October 2014 Review Submitted: November 3, 2014
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  • Wonderful owner, wonderful place

    "Rooster Retreat is clean, well maintained and in a great location. We've stayed in a few different Shipyard condos and after this stay we're definitely hooked on this one. Since it's an end unit there's less noise from neighbors and the fact that we could see the sun coming up each morning, from the back porch, was a lovely morning treat. The photos accurately represent the unit. The beds and pillows were comfortable, towels plentiful and the kitchen had everything we needed for the week. We didn't use the grill on the back porch but it looked to be in working order. This condo has the best bathroom storage of any Shipyard condo I've seen. Between the medicine cabinet and a shelving unit on the wall, four of us could store all of our daily toiletries without a problem. We stayed in one unit where the only place to put things was the back of the toilet (that place clearly had an owner who didn't spend any time in the unit). Marie was prompt , clear and friendly in all of her communications. I talked briefly with Karen, the owners' local manager, and she was also personable and professional. We rented bikes from Eaton Bikes. Eaton delivered them to the unit and sent me a txt with the location of the keys so that we could hop right on the bikes after our arrival. Perfect! We always go to Faustos grocery on Fleming for our weekly breakfast and beach food needs and then eat out each evening. I left other recommendations in the guest book at the Rooster Retreat. We had a great week and hope to return soon - maybe we'll bring more friends next time and stay at the bigger place!"
    Guest: CherieD Date of Stay: December 2014 Review Submitted: December 31, 2014
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  • Holiday week

    "Great place to stay! The condo is clean, tastefully decorated and comfortable. Great back patio and close to the pool as well. The owners are wonderful and very helpful. I'd definitely book this condo again! The location is central to everywhere. Easy walk to Duval St, Mallory Square and Southernmost Point. The parking space was right in front of the door and a great time was had by all."
    Guest: Alison Date of Stay: December 2014 Review Submitted: January 7, 2015
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Key West Travel Tips

Key West is a veritable hot spot for literary icons, both today and in the past. This small Florida island was loved by the likes of playwright Tennessee Williams, and poets Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens and Shel Silverstein.

Today, beloved children’s author Judy Blume keeps a home here, and every January for more than 30 years, writers and readers from around the country gather at the high-profile Key West Literary Seminar - spread over two weekends - for lectures, readings, discussions, workshops and parties. The event has featured the likes of Joyce Carol Oates, Junot Diaz and Gore Vidal.

Key West should be high on the list of travel locations for any literary lover and creative soul because of its deep history in extraordinary American literature. Ernest Hemingway even kept a fabulous estate in Key West that today has been converted into a museum and bookstore. Visit the beautiful and historic Ernest Hemingway Home and then check out some of the writer's rumored favorite spots.

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

Hemingway’s stately, olive-shuttered two-story cottage at 907 Whitehead Street in Old Town Key West is no doubt a visitor favorite. If you’re a die-hard Hemingway fan, you’ll have to brave the crowds and come here.

The home was built in 1851 from limestone excavated from the exact land upon which it is built. Hemingway bought and lived in the estate from 1931 until 1940 with his wife and kids before he left for Cuba. This spectacular estate, which includes a rear guesthouse and is surrounded by elegant gardens and rustling palms, is still the largest residential property in Key West.

You might be surprised to see that the beds are made in full linens and the home looks recently lived in - it’s as if the family just stepped out for lunch and will be home shortly. Here are the highlights you should take note of inside and around Hemingway’s marvelous estate:

The Ritzy Pool

A pool this large - or any pool at all - in 1930s Key West was a luxury. To fill it, construction workers had to drill to the salt-water table deep in the ground and install a water pump. Hemingway’s wife - Pauline - had the costly pool built as a surprise for Hemingway while he was in Spain in 1938 working as a correspondent during the Spanish Civil War.

The Happy Cats

Hemingway’s six-toed cats - or polydactyls - are legendary. Recently uncovered letters from Hemingway to a friend explain just how sad he was at the loss of one of his cats - Willie. The Hemingway Home and Museum curators maintain that each of the 40 to 50 cats on the grounds is a direct descendant of Hemingway’s first cat, a white polydactyl named Snowball (Though they don’t all have six toes on each paw, all are said to carry the gene for polydactyly). The cats living here are very friendly and many will actually pose for pictures. They’re all vetted and well-taken care of - not your average strays!

The Lush Gardens

The Hemingway House gardens are stunning, featuring a vibrant array of tropical flowers - shrimp plants, heliconia, bleeding hearts and the funky looking pelican flower - and banana, Barbados cherry, papaya and Spanish lime trees, among many others.

Other Literary Tour Stops

410 Caroline Street is Jessie Porter’s home - a fifth-generation Key Wester - who was good friends with Robert Frost. He spent several winters in the cottage in Porter’s backyard. The site used to be the Heritage House Museum, though it has been closed since 2010. If you want to see things the iconic Frost saw, at least take a stroll past the home!

Green Parrot Bar and Sloppy Joe’s Bar are rumored to be hangouts of Hemingway and his friends like Wallace Stevens.

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