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Recent Key West reviews

  • Delightful Home Away From Home

    "My husband, adult daughter, and I enjoyed 5 days at the Mermaid House. It is a delightful, interesting, a bit quirky (but in a good way), quiet home, located within walking or short biking distance from pretty much everything on Key West. We were there for the Half Marathon weekend and had quite a few friends staying elsewhere on the island. The two-level back deck was perfect for a small get together BBQ - fresh tuna on the grill from the Eaton Fish Market, which was a 5 minute bike ride. Barbara (owner) has stocked her home with just about everything, and a welcoming sign that says, "Feel free to use whatever you need." This is so nice, especially when one wants to cook and needs spices, olive oil, etc. My daughter fell in love with the back yard hammock. Every evening, she parked there and watched a movie. I fell in love with the front porch swing chair - every morning, I sat there with coffee and checked email. We all fell in love with the outdoor shower. Never used the indoor shower. Dave, the local manager, was accessible and helpful. And really nice! The Mermaid House was very comfortable for 3 people. We'd go back in a heartbeat. Thanks, Barbara!"
    Guest: MamaB Date of Stay: January 2015 Review Submitted: January 23, 2015
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  • Lovely place

    "We stayed here for a week along with 2 other couples. Place is beautiful and plenty roomy enough for 6 people. Comfortable beds, and very clean. Thoroughly enjoyed the pool and outdoor lanai, as during the hot afternoon hours, we would return to the villa and float, often repeating this when we returned home at night. Also used the gas grill. 1/2 block to groceries (Fausto's food palace), a block from Walgreen's on Duval, and within walking distance to all the nightlife. Great place and location."
    Guest: Pat Date of Stay: July 2014 Review Submitted: July 23, 2014
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  • Home away from home

    "My husband and I just spent Feb. in the Keys and stayed at casa de suenos.Loved it,everything is just as pictured,nice and well maintained. We met karen, the owner,very nice lady and was there to address any questions we had.The location was great,nice quiet neighborhood,and friendly people. It was only a 20 min. walk to Duvall,so we only used the car when we went to smathers beach,which is a very nice beach.Overall we had a great time and would recommend casa de suenos and this neighborhood,you will love it here...."
    Guest: Greg and Terri H. Date of Stay: February 2014 Review Submitted: March 19, 2014
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  • Casa de Cuba

    "What a wonderful week we had here in this lovely house. Fantastic location, spacious rooms, beautiful heated pool, .......we couldn't have asked for more!"
    Guest: Janie R. Date of Stay: January 2015 Review Submitted: January 19, 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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