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Recent Key West reviews

  • Just as advertised!

    "Excellent location, clean, comfy, and close to all the fun things to do in Key West. Everyone we met at this community were very pleasant and we had a great time. And the location - right next to the pool - allows you to use the pool restroom as a second restroon during pool hours. Only negatives are the units have very thin walls (you can hear your neighbors TV or music), and a lot of light bulbs were out. Found some replacements, but not enough. Otherwise, this condo offers excellent value for the money spent. Will consider again."
    Guest: Tom G. Date of Stay: December 2014 Review Submitted: December 18, 2014
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  • California to Key West

    "My family had a wonderful time at Ellen's Retreat in Key West. It is located in a quiet area centrally located to everything. The lushly landscaped back yard with a large deck and pool were perfect for relaxing and dining al fresco. This home is beautifully decorated with all of the amenities of home. The living area had plenty of seating for guests to watch tv in one area and read a book in another. The photos on the website are great but it is even better in person. We will definitely stay at Ellen's Retreat the next time we visit Key West."
    Guest: 4California Date of Stay: June 2014 Review Submitted: July 21, 2014
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  • Perfect Escape From The Polar Vortex

    "This Key West getaway condo is a wonderful escape from the freezing temperatures of the northeast. I was here once before and noticed this time that there is a beautiful new ceramic tile floor which gives a bright airy feeling to the place! l loved also that the beach was right across the street, and from Key West by the Sea I could bike to most anywhere on island. The kitchen had everything I needed to prepare meals and after dinner on warm evenings it was great to be able to cool off with a refreshing dip in the pool which is just a three minute walk from the apt. It feels like heaven to wake up in the morning and walk through the lovely flowers and garden that surround the pool area. It's very convenient and easy to get around this complex with their elevators and push carts for luggage, groceries, and laundry. The location is very nice - only a quick trip to downtown by car, bus,or bike, but far enough away if you want to retreat from the hustle bustle of the main drag. Great place for adventure or total R&R. Only wish I could have stayed longer!"
    Guest: Sue Date of Stay: December 2014 Review Submitted: March 28, 2015
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  • Fun for family reunion

    "I brought a group of 21 family members with ages from 8 - 80. It is a nice house in a great location. We were one short block from Duvall street and walking distance to many of the attractions - southernmost point, Hemmingway house, Fort Zachary state park and the marina near the Westin. The grocery store is just around the corner so we could carry everything and we did not need cars. The house is pretty and most of it has been renovated. The dishwasher did not work but they tried to fix it and then replace it but could not do it during the holidays. The management offered to send someone to wash dishes but we declined. The area can be a little noisy. We did not hear noise from the crowds as much as the roosters. (For some historical reason, Key West has roosters wandering the town. They like to announce morning starting at about 4 am.) We rented both the 7 bedroom and 4 bedroom 'attached' house. The 4 bedroom is newer and in better shape. Overall, we had a good time and the rental was good."
    Guest: DC Planner Date of Stay: December 2014 Review Submitted: January 5, 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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