The 12 Best Hotels In Key West (2024)

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Shayne Benowitz, Contributor

Forbes Vetted

With a “come as you are” spirit and turquoise waters, Florida’s Key West, the island at the southernmost point of the continental U.S, offers a breezy tropical escape. However, the city is much more than just “Margaritaville,” as the late singer-songwriter Jimmy Buffet famously wrote in 1977. It has long attracted artists and writers from novelist Ernest Hemingway—whose 1850s era home you can still visit—to Judy Blume, who owns a bookstore on the island today. Beyond the nightly sunset celebrations at Mallory Square and the raucous bars lining Duval Street, the best hotels in Key West offer a laid back and sophisticated slice of island life that few other cities can match.

For a destination with so many excellent lodging options to choose from, we’ve gone ahead and tackled the hard work. For those looking to be close to all of the action, we recommend Opal Key Resort And Marina and The Marquesa Hotel, located near Mallory Square and the Old Town. For a serene and relaxed stay, our top pick is the beachfront Casa Marina Key West, and for families, it’s hard to top the Parrot Key Hotel and Villas. For travelers looking to live it up in luxury, Ocean Key Resort And Spa and The Mansion On The Sea have it all. Below, we’ve outlined more of our selections for the best hotels in Key West for 2024.

Best High End Resort In Key West: Ocean Key Resort And Spa

Ocean Key Resort And Spa

Who Will Love It: Those who love the full resort experience
All-Star Amenities: Balinese-inspired spa; pool on the harbor with lounge chairs and cabanas; upscale restaurant
What Not To Miss: Margaritas and live music at the tiki-style Sunset Pier bar overlooking the harbor
Location: Key West Harbor

At the foot of Duval Street on the Key West Harbor, Ocean Key Resort and Spa is the stuff Key West vacation dreams are made of. There’s a brilliant blue pool that mirrors the color of the ocean, the Sunset Pier bar juts out into the harbor (offering unobstructed sunset views) and the hotel offers the island’s best spa. SpaTerre specializes in Balinese and Thai treatments like a rice and turmeric skin scrub followed by a flower petal bath. The resort’s signature fine dining restaurant, Hot Tin Roof, serves an elevated take on the island’s classic “Floribbean” fare—think seared black grouper in coconut curry and crispy whole yellowtail snapper.

Ocean Key Resort has a breezy beach house aesthetic with polished limestone floors, rustic wood-paneled ceilings and cool-toned turquoise and lime furnishings. As an added bonus, each of the resort’s 100 rooms and suites boast balconies with full or partial harbor views.

Best Hotel In Key West Old Town: The Marquesa Hotel

The Marquesa Hotel

Who Will Love It: Anyone who loves an upscale B&B-style hotel
All-Star Amenities: Two courtyard swimming pools with an air of privacy; a sophisticated restaurant
What Not To Miss: Arrange for warm banana bread and coffee delivered to your room for breakfast in bed
Location: Old Town

A boutique hotel on Fleming Street in the heart of Old Town, Marquesa is one of the most sophisticated lodgings on the island. With just 27 rooms inside four restored, Victorian-style conch cottages dating back to the late 1800s, it’s all charming tin roofs, pastel siding and white wrap-around balconies with lush tropical flora. Tucked away beneath palm fronds, you’ll find two secluded courtyard swimming pools. And while no two rooms are exactly alike, most are spacious with high gloss Brazilian cherry hardwood floors and a mélange of substantial, wooden furniture, sourced from the West Indies to the Philippines and England. Its eponymous café is widely regarded one of the best in Key West with creative preparations of local seafood, like the seared black grouper with basil blue crab and saffron aioli.

Best Boutique Hotel In Key West: The Grand Maloney

The Grand Maloney

Who Will Love It: Boutique hotel aficionados obsessed with design
All-Star Amenities: Secluded courtyard swimming pool
What Not To Miss: Complimentary morning espresso on the porch beneath the royal Poinciana tree
Location: Downtown

Since its opening in May 2022, the Grand Maloney has become one of Key West’s hottest new hotels—and it might just be the most stylish, too. With only five rooms and one freestanding carriage house (decked out with its own private outdoor shower), the boutique hotel is situated inside a 19th century Victorian-style mansion with a wraparound patio and porch, a stately turret and a rare brick façade just a block off Duval on lovely Caroline Street. Owned by a multi-generational Key West family, the historic architecture was preserved, while the interiors have been updated with luxurious finishes and designer furniture. No two rooms are alike and some follow a color-coordinated scheme—the Red Room’s ceiling is painted fire engine red, the Yellow Room’s shower is tiled in canary yellow, etc. While there’s no restaurant onsite, the best of Key West is at your doorstep. A small courtyard swimming pool is the icing on this high-design cake.

Best Hotel In Key West Near Mallory Square: Opal Key Resort And Marina

Opal Key Resort And Marina

Who Will Love It: Sunset worshippers desiring the full waterfront resort experience.
All-Star Amenities: Courtyard swimming pool; waterfront restaurant; rooftop bar.
What Not To Miss: Watersports embarking from the onsite marina, from snorkeling to parasailing, sunset sailing and fishing charters.
Location: Key West Harbor

Perched at the mouth of Key West Harbor, Opal Key Resort & Marina’s waterfront promenade runs seamlessly into Mallory Square where Key West’s nightly sunset celebration features all manner of entertainers, from musicians to the beloved “Cat Man” whose cats jump through hoops on command. The resort’s onsite marina positions travelers within steps to watersports companies that will whisk you off on snorkel excursions, sunset sails, jet ski tours and parasail adventures, as well as fishing guides for private charters. At just a block from Duval Street’s nightlife, restaurants and entertainment, Opal is as centrally located as it gets. Guestrooms are spacious, ranging from single rooms to three-bedroom suites, featuring balconies overlooking the harbor or courtyard swimming pool, while the onsite restaurant offers seating directly on the marina, as well as an elevated rooftop bar for some of the best sunset views in town.

Best Value Hotel In Key West: NYAH Key West

NYAH Key West

Who Will Love It: Group travelers on a budget, especially bachelor and bachelorette parties.
All-Star Amenities: Courtyard swimming pools; hot tub.
What Not To Miss: Nightly happy hour in the lobby and complimentary continental breakfast.
Location: Old Town

An acronym for Not Your Average Hotel, NYAH lives up to its name. Housed inside a compound of conch cottages in the traditional Victorian style with tin roofs and white balconies, NYAH oozes Old Key West charm. The novelty comes with NYAH’s flexible guestrooms, which can sleep up to six people in twin bunk beds. While strictly no frills, rooms are clean and functional, with a private bathroom, mini fridge and individual lockers; and beds are surprisingly comfortable, each with its own night-light and charging station. A spacious central courtyard in red brick is home to three small swimming pools and a hot tub encircled by lush, green foliage providing ample space to relax and soak up the sun. Situated within a block of the Historic Seaport and a short walk to Duval Street, the area’s residential charm with pastel conch cottages and quaint cafes, restaurants and art galleries offers up the magic sought from a Key West vacation.

Best Hotel For Families In Key West: Parrot Key Hotel And Villas

Parrot Key Hotel And Villas

Who Will Love It: Families seeking a resort away from it all with ample grounds for kids to play
All-Star Amenities: Four swimming pools; white sand terrace with hammocks and lounge chairs overlooking the Florida Bay; observation deck; onsite watersports; complimentary shuttle to Old Town
What Not To Miss: Discover the resort’s sculpture garden throughout its landscaped grounds, featuring works by both local and international artists.
Location: New Town

Tucked away in a corner of New Town overlooking the Florida Bay on the island’s northern side, Parrot Key Hotel & Villas has the feeling of its own private paradise. And while you’re a solid 10 to 15 minutes to the attractions of Old Town (by complimentary shuttle), you won’t mind the slightly isolated location once you surrender to Parrot Key’s luxurious, tropical environs. With both traditional guestrooms, as well as suites and villas that range from one- to three-bedrooms, it makes for a perfect family getaway. With four swimming pools and a waterfront white sand terrace with hammocks and lounges, there’s plenty of space to spread out for play or relaxation. The open-air Grove Kitchen & Bar anchors the resort with fresh Keys classics, from conch fritters and ceviche and locally caught fish.

Best Hotel In Key West Near The Seaport: The Marker Key West Harbor Resort

The Marker Key West Harbor Resort

Who Will Love It: Visitors who want to experience authentic Key West with the modern conveniences of a luxury hotel
All-Star Amenities: Three swimming pools; pool bar; casual bar and restaurant; guest rooms with balconies
What Not To Miss: A soak in an en suite tub; Key West Soaps bath products; mimosa breakfast at Starboard
Location: Historic Seaport

The design of the Marker, on Key West’s Historic Seaport, succeeds in bringing the watery hues and breezy style of Key West indoors. Large, modern guest rooms have bright blue blankets, water-reminiscent carpets and crisp white walls and linens. Most rooms have balconies for soaking in Key West’s balmy ocean breeze. For full water immersion, book a Harbor View room which offers views of sailboats bobbing in the sea. The hotel truly offers the best of Key West from the iconic architecture (tin roofs and white porticos) to the climate appropriate cuisine—including fish tacos and a key lime colada.

Best Hotel For Couples In Key West: Sunset Key Cottages

Sunset Key Cottages

Who Will Love It: Couples and anyone who enjoys secluded luxury
All-Star Amenities: An intimate spa; fitness center; tennis courts; lagoon-style swimming pool; private beach and dock.
What Not To Miss: Dinner on Latitudes’ terrace at sunset; a couples massage and dinner on the beach
Location: Sunset Key Island

If your idea of island living includes a more quiet residential feel, pass over Key West’s Old Town and book one of 40 cottages at Sunset Key. The hotel on 27-acre Sunset Key Island, a ferry ride away from Key West, is the Key’s most exclusive destination. Couples with bronzed skin laze the day away on the hotel’s private beach, work up a sweat on the tennis court and cool off with a dip in the lagoon-style swimming pool. Cottages, ranging from one- to four-bedrooms, have wraparound porches and balconies, masculine wooden bed frames and full kitchens with quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances. Some cottages even boast private pools. Make a reservation at Latitudes restaurant at golden hour a meal of fresh fish and to see natures stunning sunset show.

Best Beachfront Hotel In Key West: Casa Marina Key West, Curio Collection By Hilton

Casa Marina Key West, Curio Collection By Hilton

Who Will Love It: Those who crave plenty of pool and ocean time
All-Star Amenities: Beautifully landscaped pool deck; private beach; spa and fitness center
What Not To Miss: A day spent luxuriating by the iconic pools overlooking the ocean
Location: Casa Marina

Oil tycoon Henry Flagler, who also built the Overseas Railroad connecting Key West to the mainland, created the Mediterranean Revival-style Casa Marina. With 6.5 oceanfront acres, stucco arcades and a Spanish tile roof, the resort on the National Register of Historic Places channels the glamour of the Roaring Twenties. The hotel officially opened on New Year’s Eve 1920 and has been a favorite of celebrities and visiting dignitaries ever since. The high-ceilinged lobby has Cypress wood beams and columns and glossy hardwood floors. And while guest rooms with neutral contemporary furnishings are a bit basic for such an opulent historic structure, all is forgiven at the elaborate poolscape where two symmetric pools flank a wide walkway leading to the 1,000-foot-long soft sand beach reserved exclusively for guests.

Best Historic Hotel In Key West: The Mansion On The Sea

The Mansion On The Sea

Who Will Love It: Devotees of historic architecture
All-Star Amenities: Oceanfront zero-entry infinity pool lined with lounge chairs, hammocks and a bar
What Not To Miss: Complimentary continental breakfast on the patio overlooking the Atlantic
Location: Southernmost Point

The ornate sea foam green and conch shell pink Victorian mansion at the southern end of Duval Street is the historic Mansion on the Sea, originally built as a private residence in 1897. Today, it’s home to 18 unique guest rooms and a sublime zero-entry infinity pool dotted with hammocks leading to an oceanfront sun deck. Over the years, the mansion’s hosted everyone from Ernest Hemingway to Leonard Bernstein and John F. Kennedy, and you’ll find ephemera from its long history throughout the lobby, including one of Thomas Edison’s original phonographs. Every guest room has its own unique layout and design, many decked out with four-poster beds and original art. The poolside bar is a great gathering place for co*cktails and lobster pizza, and the mansion also provides a complimentary continental breakfast.

Best Off-The-Beaten-Path Hotel In Key West: The Perry Hotel And Marina

The Perry Hotel And Marina

Who Will Love It: Anglers and modern explorers
All-Star Amenities: 220-slip marina; fishing and boating charters; swimming pool; fitness center; fire pits
What Not To Miss: Crab beignets and grouper gnudi swimming in crawfish thyme butter at Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen and Bar
Location: Stock Island

Separated from Key West by the narrow Cow Key Channel, Stock Island is the area’s last working waterfront and feels more industrial than the rest of Key West. The Perry Hotel and Marina, which opened in 2017, gives travelers unprecedented access to this slice of “old Key West” where longtime Keys families, fishermen and artists reside. There’s nothing old timey about the clean lined hotel with plenty of raw concrete, exposed steel and natural wood. With its location in Stock Island Marina Village, fishing and boating charter possibilities are endless. The hotel’s excellent Matt’s Stock Island Kitchen and Bar (where fresh seafood featured in dishes like cioppino and shrimp and grits comes directly from the working boats on the waterfront) is worth visiting even if you’re not staying at the hotel. Hotel guests can also lounge by the waterfront pool and sip a co*cktail by the fire pits at sunset.

Best Pet-Friendly Hotel In Key West: Kimpton Key West

Kimpton Key West

Who Will Love It: Travelers seeking the perfect Old Town oasis with their pets
All-Star Amenities: Lushly landscaped courtyard swimming pools at each of the property’s five locations
What Not To Miss: Lounging in a hammock at the Lighthouse Hotel, gazing up at its namesake historic lighthouse, while sipping a Hemingway daiquiri
Location: Old Town

What was previously a collection of historic inns across Old Town is now Kimpton Key West. Comprised of the Ridley House, Winslow’s Bungalows, the Lighthouse Hotel, Ella’s Cottages and Fitch Lodge, each offers a slightly different perspective on the idyllic Old Town oasis. With its range of locations and varying price points, no matter which you choose, each property enjoys a lushly landscaped courtyard pool and Kimpton’s updated interiors in a nautical scheme with a palette of soft blue and cream and Balinese-inspired dark hardwood furniture.

There’s a feeling that here, no two rooms are alike, and the most interesting design touches are preserved from the original properties, like stained glass windows in one room or a spiral staircase leading to a loft in another. While there’s no onsite restaurant, a complimentary breakfast is served at each property and Winslow’s Bungalow and the Lighthouse Hotel boast pool bars. As with all Kimpton hotels, pets are welcome free of charge with no restrictions and they offer pet beds and food bowls on loan along with other furry-friend amenities.

Why Trust Forbes Vetted

The Forbes Vetted travel team has researched, written and published dozens of hotel guides featuring cities across the globe. The travel section is overseen by Vetted’s senior travel editor, Astrid Taran, a 7-year industry veteran who’s visited over 30 countries. The writer of each of our hotel roundups is handpicked based on their area of expertise, whether they are area locals or avid travelers who have visited the destination frequently—and all have bylines in other reputable travel publications. Further, this story is regularly checked to ensure that all prices and information are as current as possible. It was last updated in September 2023.

About Shayne Benowitz, Your Key West Guide

Before I launched my career in journalism and travel writing over a decade ago, I worked for a water sports company in Key West and spent my days taking passengers snorkeling at the reef, sunset sailing and parasailing. My favorite destinations include boating and beaches, whether that's sailing the Mediterranean from Sardinia to Corsica or spearfishing in uncharted waters in the Bahamas. With a firm belief that where you stay sets the tone for your trip, I love discovering new hotels. Over the years, I've checked into nearly every hotel in South Florida. Today, I split my time between Manhattan and South Beach, and I get back to Key West frequently. My writing has appeared in Condé Nast Traveler, Afar, Nat Geo Traveler, the New York Post and Catamaran Literary Reader.

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The 12 Best Hotels In Key West (2024)


Where do celebs stay in Key West? ›

More than a century of refined hospitality in Key West. Opening on New Year's Eve, 1920, Casa Marina is a legendary destination with guests including Hollywood celebrities, to US Presidents, and dignitaries.

How to choose a hotel in Key West? ›

So, my advice when picking a place to stay in Key West is to consider four factors: location, property type, design, and price. Although it's easy to walk or bike to pretty much everything on the island, decide beforehand whether you'd prefer a more secluded area or want to be in the midst of the Duval Street action.

What is the best part of Key West to stay in? ›

The Best Area to Stay in Key West

With that in mind, Old Town (also known as the Historic District) is the best area to stay, whether it's a charming bed-and-breakfast in the Heart of Old Town or a more luxurious hotel in and around Downtown, Casa Marina, or the Historic Seaport.

What's better, Key Largo or Key West? ›

Which is better for vacation - Key Largo or Key West? If you're looking for the quintessential Florida Keys experience - Key Largo is your best bet. If you're looking for eclectic entertainment, spirited bars, and parties that roll all night long - Key West is certainly for you.

What famous person has a house in Key West? ›

The Ernest Hemingway House was the residence of American writer Ernest Hemingway in the 1930s. The house is situated on the island of Key West, Florida.

Where do rich people live in Key West? ›

The priciest neighborhoods in Key West are The Meadows, Old Town, Casa Marina and Truman Annex. The Meadows is the smallest of these. In the late 1800's and early 1900's The Meadows was underdeveloped grassland and contained a few homes, several cigar factories, a few stores and the Key West dairy.

Where to stay in Key West for the first time? ›

Best Places to Stay in Key West

Stay in the heart of Key West at the Conch House Heritage Inn. With the charming abode just a block from Duval Street, some of the best Key West attractions are within walking distance. Pier House Resort & Spa is the beachside escape you've been looking for.

What is the cheapest month to go to Key West? ›

The fall (September–November) is the low season in Key West, and room rates can drop by 50 percent or more. The hot, storm-prone summer months also see lower prices, and you'll find decent discounts in April and May after the winter crowds thin out.

Does it matter where you stay in Key West? ›

That depends entirely on what you're looking for! New Town has the feel of an accessible tourist town. Old Town is quintessential Key West, with close proximity to restaurants, activities, and all the things that make Key West unique.

How many days do you need in Key West? ›

As you can see, Key West is more than just an island destination; it's a kaleidoscope of history, culture, and natural beauty that is sure to leave you wanting more! And 3 days is the perfect amount of time to spend in Key West to be able to see and do it all.

What month is good to go to Key West? ›

The high season stretches from December through April. December through February are the “coolest” months of the year, all things being relative, with average highs in the mid-seventies. Many consider March and April with their pleasant mid-eighties temperatures to be the best time to go to Key West.

What is the safest part of Key West? ›

Safest Key West Area Neighborhoods
  • Sunset Key.
  • Stock Island.
  • Big Coppitt Key.
  • New Town.
  • The Meadows / Casa Marina.
  • White Street Gallery District / Midtown.
  • Fort Jefferson.
  • Key West Intl Airport.

What is the prettiest key in Florida? ›

While Key Largo is undoubtedly the prettiest of all the Florida Keys, it's also one that's home to plenty of activities for the avid beachgoer. With scenic views like this, it would be tough not to fall in love with such a beachside beauty!

Why is Key Largo so popular? ›

Key Largo is a popular destination for many. It has been dubbed the "Diving Capital of the World" as the living coral reefs, a few miles offshore, attract thousands of scuba divers, sport-fishing enthusiasts and scientific researchers each year.

Do celebrities go to Key West? ›

When it comes to celebrity homes, it is often assumed that most A-listers will have a residence in places like Los Angeles, New York City, or Miami. The thing is, Key West has always been incredibly popular with big names.

Who is the most famous person in Key West? ›

Key West Legends
  • Ernest Hemingway. Ernest Hemingway fell in love with Key West when he arrived in the early 1930's. ...
  • Mel Fisher. ...
  • Jimmy Buffett. ...
  • Harry S. ...
  • Henry Flagler. ...
  • Tennessee Williams.

Where is the famous picture spot in Key West? ›

A trip to Key West wouldn't be complete without a selfie at the Southernmost Point Buoy. It's more than a landmark; it's a bucket list tick for the wanderlust with the painted buoy with 90 Miles to Cuba as the backdrop.

Do any famous people live in the Keys? ›

Famous residents from that sector include Presidents Harry Truman (Key West) and Richard Nixon (Key Biscayne), author Ernest Hemingway (Key West) and Donald Trump (Palm Beach). Many high-end residential projects , in fact, have been built on the former estates of bygone business leaders, like William K.


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