Saturday, September 13, 2014

Flying from the UK to Key West

London to Key West is a 13 hour journey 
London to Key West is 4,554 miles and the flying time is 13 hours, via Miami airport. I fly out of Heathrow at 11am and walk through the door of my Key West guesthouse at 8pm the same evening. Once in my Key West room, I down a glass of complimentary wine, catch a quick shower, and am out by 8.45pm and by 9pm sitting in Virgillio's, potent martini in hand, looking out at the crazyness of Duval Street and preparing to eat at the bar from their wonderful Italian menu. And relax.

Then because of the martini(s) consumed, the jet lag is hours from kicking in, so a detour via Bourbon Street pub is inevitable. Hit the pillow after midnight. All in one day.

As I write (August 2014), I've done the London to Key West trip 18 times - 18 flights out, and 18 flights back. Yes it's a long way but it's worth it.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Best hotel in Key West

Best hotel in Key West is the Pier House resort
The best hotel in Key West 2014 is the Pier House Resort with an ideal Old Town Key West location, perfect ocean views, a private beach, relative seclusion and it has the best bars. It's a luxury, expensive, four star hotel (there are no 5 star hotels in Key West)  located just off Duval Street. If you can afford their magnificent ocean view rooms I highly recommend the Pier House.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

What to do in Key West when it rains

If you're reading this then it's probably raining in Key West and you're looking for ideas about what to do. First, I'm sorry it's raining and I hope it passes soon. Anyway, what to do? The traditional answer in Key West when it rains is:  DRINK! You have a multitude of choices and you'll find the bars packed today if it's raining. But there are alternatives, of on...
What to do in Key West when it rains.   Here on Duval Street someone has a different option than a rain poncho.  

Saturday, April 19, 2014

When is the best time of year to visit Key West?

Best time to visit Key West is January to May
Most visitors say the best time to visit Key West is January to May because the weather is perfect: it's not unbearably humid yet, and it's so cold at home. In fact, from November to March Key West is the hottest place in the entire contiguous USA. As a result, it's peak season, very busy and super expensive in Key West in these months. The off season (June to December) has its charms, but big downsides too, as I explain below, including a month by month guide.

Let's start with some Key West best time of year Frequently Asked Questions….

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Top 10 posts on Key West Lookout

Here are the top 10 most read articles on this blog since I started Key West Lookout in 2009. Key West Lookout is written by me and only me. I am a regular Key West visitor, and have been taking vacations in Key West since 1998. My aim is to provide the best, most comprehensive and most up-to-date Key West vacation guide on the planet. My views here are totally independent, I have not accepted a penny for views negative or positive. See you in Key West!

#1: Best time of year to visit Key West

#2: Key West hotels

#3: Top things to do in Key West

#4: What to do in Key West when it rains

#5: Key West restaurants

#6: Gay Key West

#7: Best cocktails and martinis in Key West

#8: Key West guesthouses

#9: Planing a Key West vacation

#10: Key West pictures




Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Planning a Key West visit

You're planning a Key West vacation, maybe you've never been to Key West before. It's a fantastic place for a vacation with many things to do, lively, beautiful and friendly. And, of course, the weather is fantastic for most of the year.
Planning a Key West visit. Key West is a small island, 126 miles down a dead end highway, and can be a busy place. So make sure you've done your planning. Shown here is Duval Street by the setting sun. It's not normally this quiet, this is taken during the summer when crowds are fewer.
This post will answer these questions:
  • How to get to Key West?
  • How bad is the traffic?
  • Where to stop off on the way down the Keys?
  • When to visit?
  • How long to stay in Key West?
  • Do you need a car / what to so with the car while in Key West?
  • What to wear in Key West?  How formal is Key West?
  • Where to stay and what to do?
  • How good is Key West for children?
So click on the link below and let's get going....

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Fantasy Fest 2014 Live

Fantasy Fest Key West
I am visiting Key West for Fantasy Fest 2014 in October - I will be live blogging the parties, surprises, stories and debauchery. Updated 27 July 2014: OK getting tangibly close now. The better half and me had a brainstorm about fancy dress for the Masquerade March one more time and, again, came up with no inspirations or firm plans. Here's the ideas we covered: high heels and drag (but he refuses to do drag so this is out), Fred Jones and Daphne Blake (couple from Scooby-Doo - but very difficult to get right and not look like a random odd couple from 70s), Mario brothers (easy to do but nothing to do with Key West and i don't think anything to do with anime), Pikachu the Pokemon (well this is really not my era, well after my time, and so I feel no affinity for these characters; also I predict half of Key West will be dressed up in this way!), high heels al la Elton John (random idea, no originality), pirates (nothing to do with theme; also the other half of Key West will be dressed in this fashion), cowboys (Key West cowboys??!!).

So that's the extent of the brainstorm. I sincerely hope you are having more fruitful and creative ideas for Fantasy Fest.

14 June 2014: It's not too late to book to visit Fantasy Fest this year but time will be running out. My guest house contacted me this week as they have had a cancellation and there was a vacancy (there was a mix up as I already have a room booked and did not want a second one!). But it goes to show that there are rooms available for the busiest week of the year in Key West. It's such great fun so, if you are in doubt, book - but do it now!

20 April 2014
Been really busy and have done a little worrying but no creative thinking at all about what costume to wear for Fantasy Fest! WHAT ARE WE GOING TO WEAR??!!

March 2014: 8 months to go. Had a drunk brainstorming session on theme for Masquerade March. And came up with inspirational idea... LOBSTER. 

I am going to come fully dressed as a fully dressed lobster (thermidor?). Brilliance. What do you think?

Asked to interview member of committee to ask the logic behind strange choice of theme but no reply. If you know someone on the Fantasy Fest committee please can you ask them if they would do an interview with me please.

Lots in the press about nudity and lewdness and body painting (instead of clothes) at Fantasy Fest 2013 and how to prevent in 2014. Ok, if you're a prude don't come. Keep the nudity to the nude zone and let the locals go to the non-nude zone. Maybe I'll change my mind come October when I (hopefully) witness it, but this is Key West getting all nanny state on us. Come on, relax, let's have the Key West spirit of the 70s/80s back.

click below for earlier updates…

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Shopping in Key West

Fun shopping in Key West
Here's the best shops and stores in Key West. I've chosen these shops because, like the best of Key West, they are unique, off beat, a little bit strange. So if you're after towels, rum, salt, hot sauce, hammocks, and kitsch tropical ware - Key West is the place for you. Pack a spare suitcase.

The best 9 stores in Key West are:
  • Salt, a small boutique store for interesting items made in, or near, Key West - including honey, art, jewelry and salt. A really beautiful shop.
  • Key West's first legal rum distillery. As well as the shop, this is where they actually make the rum. See the making in action and then buy the result.
  • Peppers of Key West. Hundreds of chilli pepper sauces from around the world. Sweet to mega hot. Tasting bar is free.
  • Leather Master. Fun toys and clothes for naughty boys. Recently has added a new section for ladies so I hear.
  • Assortment Inc. With Fast Buck Freddy's now closed, where do we get our outrageous tropical themed gear? At Assortment Inc of course.
  • Towels of Key West. Cheeky, camp and fun towels and t-shirts.
  • Cocktails of Key West. As above. Could they possibly be targetting gay men?!
  • Key West Hammock Company. Fantastic selection of hammocks but also fantastic metal murals of fish shoals and turtles for your garden wall.
  • Timmy Tuxedo's - 50 years and counting. Maybe the apostrophe is in the wrong place, but who am I to argue? They even have a website - Google it.
Here are some pictures and more details if you can't visit in person any time soon.....

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Sloppy Joe's Bar Key West

Sloppy Joe's Bar on Duval Street Key West
Sloppy Joe's Bar is Key West's most famous bar and its most iconic facade. Sloppy Joe's history is as famous as its exterior. Show me a visitor who's visited Key West and NOT taken a picture of Sloppy Joe's! The bar has live music every day and Key West's best live webcam is right outside the bar so you can wave to your friends in real time. From the building's construction in 1937 through its Hemingway connection, this bar is beautiful, and different, by day and by night. You'll find below more pictures that you'll ever need or want to see of Sloppy Joe's - all taken by me over the last few years.
The main bar inside Sloppy Joe's Key West
Sloppy Joe's January 2014 facade
Red neon of Sloppy Joe's signage

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Beautiful Key West

Beautiful Key West
Key West is a beautiful collision of nature, the ocean and the sun at full power. Get off Duval Street and take the time to get into the relaxed and tropical vibe. Beauty in plants, flowers, trees and animals combine with the ocean and spectacular, varied, historic architecture. Add the backdrop of weather (often blue skies) then Key West's getting pretty high on the beauty scale.

You have to come here in person and walk around the place. So all I can give you is an impression. Everything you see below is available in a few square miles in Key West Old Town. All these pictures are all mine and unadulterated by Photoshop or the like.

If you're visiting Key West, take some time to get off Duval Street and explore. If you're not, then sit back, look at the following pictures, and dream tropical!

The ocean
Dolphin in Key West - this taken in the Outer Mole (very near where the cruise ships dock)
>>> MORE below for Beautiful Key West Trees and Flowers; Animals; Sunset….

Friday, February 14, 2014

Key West signs

Key West sign. This is a good sign (Schooner Wharf)
There are some fantastic signs in Key West. Visually striking signs, funny signs, historic signs, homemade signs, famous signs...I take hundreds of pictures of signs, logos and signage. Here is my selection of my favorite Key West signs.

One Human Family in the Conch Republic
Birthplace of Pan American World Airways Key West - Caroline Street and Whitehead St
Half Shell Raw Bar - Eat it raw
To see dozens more Key West signs click below....

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Most beautiful Key West houses and homes

There are some deeply beautiful homes on Key West.  They are all in Old Town Key West and so very walkable in an hour if you are in a rush or a few hours if you just randomly wander down a few streets in Key West.

Here are a just a few highlights to make you want to come to Key West and also to make you jealous of these beautiful and historic homes.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Alexander's Guesthouse Key West

Alexander's guesthouse Key West
Alexander's Guesthouse in Key West is currently the best gay guesthouse in Key West, without a doubt. Alexander's has 17 well maintained rooms, an excellent team and a social happy hour. Its location on beautiful Fleming Street is perfect - enough away from the madness of Duval Street but close enough to walk there in 15 minutes. Prices of the rooms, which vary significantly, range from $175 to $420 per night. Unsurprisingly, it is also currently ranked the best guesthouse of all 97 in Key West.

The 5 best things about Alexander's
1: It's really friendly. Both the staff and the guests.
2: The basics are gotten right, always. The service is excellent; the property and rooms are spotless and excellently maintained.
3: Happy hour (free for 1 hour from 5 to 6pm) every evening at the pool bar in Alexander's. Very social, very fun.
4: It's not bland and standardized like a hotel. The rooms are all different, and have character. You're in the middle of the community in a residential area in Key West Old Town.
5: It's gay. See other gay hotels and guesthouses here.

Click below to see videos, loads of pictures taken my me, a history of Alexander's, the Alexander's ghost and cat, why Alexander's is called Alexander's, and a room by room guide....

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Duval Street Key West

Duval Street is Key West's main street with dozens of bars, restaurants, shops and lots of loud and/or weird people. It's always busy - to get some tranquility just fall back a few blocks from Duval, if you want to. Duval Street evolves down its length from Gulf of Mexico (Front Street) to Atlantic Ocean (and the Southernmost point end). The very noisy end is the Front Street end - after 5 blocks it gets less hectic and more interesting. Don't assume all Duval Street is like the first few blocks: if you can restrain yourself from going into the alluring bars in the first few blocks, you've got many more treats awaiting you further along.... I really like Duval from Eaton Street and up.

Here's some pictures of the journey up Duval Street. starting at the bottom at the intersection of Duval and Front - the center of town. Click below