Despite being an island, Key West lacks beautiful beaches. Sure, you’ve still got plenty of that Florida sunshine, but if you’re planning on basking in it all day, you’ll want to book a room as close to a pool as possible. Most of the historic inns and big-name hotels are centered around the Old Town’s main drag, Duval Street, which is home to Key West legends like Sloppy Joe’s (a popular Hemingway haunt). If you want to be near the action — but not necessarily sleep in it — make The Gates Hotel Key West your base for the weekend. The property sits across the street from the sea, but the real draw here is the cabana-lined pool, where you can easily while away the day noshing on grilled shrimp tacos from the outdoor food truck, The Blind Pig. And, when you’re ready to hit the town, you’re a quick drive away on the resort’s shuttle bus.
From the exterior, the two-story building resembles a roadside motel, but the rooms mimic a modern Miami beach house. Picture sand-colored curtains, light wood flooring, nautical-style mirrors, and Lily Pulitzer-inspired patterned pillows in shades of navy and mustard yellow.
The Gates’ secluded locale is part of the allure. If you’ve road tripped down to Key West, you can park your car (for free) and not worry about having to move it again until it’s time to leave. Most of the action here hovers around the pool, but the property also offers events like outdoor concerts and movies, as well as lawn games, like a resort version of a tailgate.
Who Will Love It
Families and friend groups will love the flexibility in accommodations, particularly the standard King rooms, which feature a sleeper sofa in the seating room (plus a poolside terrace).
Who Might Not
If you want to step out and be smack-dab in the heart of Key West’s lively nightlife scene, The Gates isn’t for you. In fact, it's the opposite: a resort that doesn’t need a party atmosphere to entertain visitors.
The L-shaped pool and adjacent rum bar give The Gates a Caribbean, resort-like feel. Cigar aficionados can puff on Cubans in the cigar lounge while cocktail lovers can sip on rum-fueled libations at poolside bar, Rum Row. If you’re looking for a quick bite, the permanently parked food truck, The Blind Pig, offers all-day service, starting with playful breakfast plates like “bootlegger-brioche” French toast with blueberry maple syrup. We loved the gourmet grilled cheese (with poached pears) and the straight-from-the-sea blackened fish tacos.
Complimentary yoga is held in the Sunset Green on Saturdays and Sundays. Guests can also cruise around town on one of custom-designed, blue-and-white bikes. The hotel also has their own "underwater library," which offers waterproof books available for free of charge. Fitness junkies will love the "Bootcamp in a Box," a 30-minute self-guided, instructional workout kit. To get to Old Town, take the property's complimentary shuttle.
Fees and Extra Costs You Should Know About
It’s $30 per pet, per day for furry friends 50 pounds or lighter. The Gates charges a $38 resort fee that includes the shuttle to the Old Town, onsite parking, high-speed wifi, and 10 percent off the onsite Starbucks. Breakfast isn’t included, but the poolside menu is on the more affordable side and plays into the destination's Latin and Caribbean flavors with creative takes on classic brunch fare. Our pick: the Cuban egg press -- a fun twist on a classic egg sandwich served with Applewood bacon on Cuban baguette.
How to Get a Deal
Florida residents, senior citizens, and AAA members can save up to 20 percent on stays at the hotel. The Gates also offers deals on advance purchases and stays of three nights or more. Rates jump up in high season (mid-December through May), so time your trip for the shoulder months to snag deals as low as $143 per night. Check the hotel's offers page for the latest deals, discounts, and promotions.
In the Neighborhood
The Gates sits at the entrance of Key West, about a 15-minute drive from Old Town’s bars and restaurants. Ubers can be pricy, so it’s a lot easier to hop on the hotel’s complimentary shuttle to Mallory Square (known for its nightly Sunset Celebration street soiree), which runs on the hour from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Fly directly into Key West International Airport. American Airlines is also launching a seasonal nonstop route from Boston to Key West Saturdays from February 15 through May 2, and hotel guests flying this route can save 20 percent off rooms at The Gates by using the code “HEYBOS.” Alternatively, take the three-and-a-half-hour drive from Miami International Airport along the scenic Overseas Highway, where you’ll be surrounded by water on both sides. If you’re heading from the west coast of Florida, you can jump on the Key West Express ferry from Fort Myers ($95 for a one-way adult ticket, about a three-and-a-half-hour ride).
If you’re looking for a wallet-friendly hotel that’s on the quieter side, The Gates Hotel Key West is your place.