Key West Travel Guide + Pier House Key West Hotel Review

February 5, 2019
key west travel guide what to do in key west where to stay in key west best hotels in key west best restaurants in key west

I am so excited to share with you my Key West travel guide. I recently took my second trip to Key West, and after two visits, I think I’m starting to get a handle on some of the best things to do and places to eat during your next trip to Key West. If I had to describe Key West to someone, I would say it is similar to a Caribbean New Orleans, but with more of a laid-back vibe. There are lots of open air restaurants, live music and amazing nightlife. It’s a great destination for all ages, and would be especially great for a couple’s getaway, a bachelorette party, and just a girl’s weekend.

In addition, I highly recommend the Pier House Key West as your place to stay because it is centrally located, has wonderful accommodations, and is the only full-service spa in Key West. Also, a special thanks to all of YOU, because many of your recommendations are also included in this post.

key west travel guide what to do in key west where to stay in key west best hotels in key west best restaurants in key west
key west travel guide what to do in key west where to stay in key west best hotels in key west best restaurants in key west

Where to Stay: Pier House Key West

In my opinion, the Pier House Key West is definitely one of the top hotels in Key West. It is conveniently located off the famous Duval Street (where all the big shops/restaurants are located), the rooms are very spacious, and the service was second to none. I had the opportunity to tour the property during my stay, and I was amazed the variety of room types available for booking. Not only do they have one and two bedroom suites, but they also offer townhomes for rent that are located right off the water with amazing views of the bay and Sunset Pier. Julianna and I had the pleasure of staying in a one-bedroom suite which included two double beds, a huge living room as well as a suite bath and powder bathroom. It was perfect for getting ready and we had plenty of room to spread out.

key west travel guide what to do in key west where to stay in key west best hotels in key west best restaurants in key west
key west travel guide what to do in key west where to stay in key west best hotels in key west best restaurants in key west

In addition, Julianna and I took advantage of some spa treatments at the Pier House Spa since it is the only hotel in Key West with a full-service spa. We both received massages, and it was so nice relaxing after a long travel day. Each day we also made sure to take advantage of the fitness center so that we could stay on top of our New Year’s health resolutions. 🙂 I also loved that the pool restaurant served coffee and breakfast daily (not included in stay). It was really convenient for getting our day started early, so that we could spend time exploring Key West.

If you get an opportunity to stay at Pier House Key West, then you have to have dinner at the hotel restaurant one night. It’s called One Duval, and the night I ate there I splurged on Surf and Turf with Lobster. It was unbelievable and all of the seafood served is super fresh, right off of the boat.

key west travel guide what to do in key west where to stay in key west best hotels in key west best restaurants in key west

Julianna’s Swimsuit

key west travel guide what to do in key west where to stay in key west best hotels in key west best restaurants in key west

Last but not least, I wanted to make sure I mentioned the Pier House Key West’s famous chart room. It’s an ‘odd’ little bar located right in the center of the hotel. I say ‘odd’ because it is a history staple that is not to be missed, and is unusually placed, similar to a hidden gem. It is where Mel Fisher, a famous treasure hunter, used to plan out his dives for searching for treasure in the 1980’s. Fun fact, Mel Fisher ended up finding his treasure from the Atocha shipwreck in 1985 off the coast of Key West.

Where to Eat in Key West

You can’t go wrong with any restaurants in Key West, as the food is amazing, but here are some of the restaurants I’ve visited and loved, or have been recommended by readers:

One Duval – This is the hotel restaurant located on Pier House Key West and features fine dining with a cuban flare.

Better Than Sex – Dessert restaurant that is great for late night. The vibe of the restaurant is somewhat promiscuous and a play on scandalous names. The desserts are to die for and I recommend ordering coffee/kahlua in a chocolate dipped glass alongside your dessert.

Blue Heaven – Casual, brunch location that is a famous among tourists in Key West. Lots of history.

Date & Thyme – I ate here for lunch everyday. It is a vegan restaurant with the yummiest smoothies, green juices and avocado toast. I also highly recommend the vegan burrito.

key west travel guide what to do in key west where to stay in key west best hotels in key west best restaurants in key west
key west travel guide what to do in key west where to stay in key west best hotels in key west best restaurants in key west

Seven Fish – Best place for seafood in Key West. It is a nicer dinner spot, great for a date night.

Bagatelle – Amazing brunch location, serves brunch late into the day and close by the Pier House Hotel. Known for their benedicts and Bloody Marys.

El Siboney – Cuban restaurant recommended by readers, has great reviews.

Waterfront Brewery – Great spot to grab lunch and a local beer. Located right off the waterfront promenade and serves great pub-style food.

Lattitudes – Lots of readers recommended this restaurant, but unfortunately we did not get to visit. It is located in the Westin Key West and you have to travel there by boat. I was told to sit on the patio for the most amazing sunset views.

What to do in Key West

The first time I came to Key West, I was able to knock out a lot of the ‘touristy’ to dos in Key West. This past visit, I feel like I traveled more as a local, checking out all of the hip spots that are recommended by those who visit Key West often. Therefore, I think I have a good mix of things you should do during your next visit to Key West.

Take a photo at the ‘Southern Most Point’ – it’s the southern most point of the United States and located 90 miles from Cuba. All tourists stand in line to get a photo here.

Visit the Ernest Hemingway House – home to the famous author, it was recently deemed a national historic landmark.

Enjoy a happy hour at the Sunset Pier – the Sunset Pier is a pier lined with rainbow color umbrellas. Great for photos or to watch the sunset.

key west travel guide what to do in key west where to stay in key west best hotels in key west best restaurants in key west
key west travel guide what to do in key west where to stay in key west best hotels in key west best restaurants in key west

Stroll Duval Street – great for tourist shopping and people watching.

Live music and drinks off Duval Street – make sure to stop in one of the open air restaurants and listen to live music. Key West is all about the atmosphere.

Sunbathe on Smather’s Beach – Key West isn’t known for it’s beaches, but this public beach is always bustling and great for it’s atmosphere.

Go on a champagne cruise or sunset sail around the keys. Lots of companies offer these kind of tours, and it’s a great way to check out the island from the water.

key west travel guide what to do in key west where to stay in key west best hotels in key west best restaurants in key west

Heart Sweater


Thanks to Pier House Key West for hosting me during this trip. As always, all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.

Bailey
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