Stepping off the airplane in Key West and right onto the tarmac, I thought “is this my new east coast coastal paradise? Don’t get ahead of yourself this is not Hawaii it’s Florida”.
With a short beautiful drive I arrived to my destination The Gates Hotel Key West. The Gates Hotel is nestled into the main highway hidden behind the walkable sidewalks, lush palms and additional tropical hardscape. This calm tropical feeling continues into the newly remodeled modern hotel interior. The staff greeted me with smiles and individual personal welcomes. I was introduced to my getaway trolly for short trips to the hot spots of Key West as well as additional on site activities including the sister property next door 24° North Key West. When I arrived to my room I immediately began to relax with the look and feel of the room. The soft and hard tones from the textures and colors used in my room created a spa like feeling while the large window allowed the tropical view including natural light reflection dancing from the pool in the center courtyard to become my private spa suite. And yes the key lime scented toiletries, plush linens and in room coffee made it very difficult to ditch my bag to explore Key West. It was very comfortable.
Knowing my evening was scheduled with outdoor dining enriched with local heritage and fresh food it was easy to return from my afternoon of exploring downtown Key West by hotel trolley service. With the temperature outside cooling we met at the onsite bar Rum Row for champagne and conversation.
Soon we moved to a well designed in both layout and decor upper deck where my interest in food truck dining was taken to a new level. With the explosion of food truck culture it was perfect to see this modern transition to the hotel industry. Food trucks offer a fresh menu due to storage capability and often cater to local in season items.
Our theme was “Good Eats at The Gates” and it was a wonderful dinner in by A Catered Affair. The menu included Shrimp Ceviche, Lobster Cakes with Citrus Salad including Empanadas, Jerk Chicken and Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad. Each item was paired with Chef Distilled Rum.
As the evening turned to night we had the opportunity to make cigars with The Rodriguez Cigar Factory. The Rodriguez Family being the first family of cigars in Key West. We closed our evening by moving to the outdoor covered bar to discover The Gates Hotel signature drink a Rum and Cigar Tobacco mixed drink called Up In Smoke. If you love to dabble in mixed drink recipes it’s going to be perfect for you, try it.
The following morning we met for a quick ride into town for breakfast at Blue Heaven. This restaurant hosts a large outdoor dining patio that includes live chickens at times, local art and a mini sound stage. Today our schedule includes a casual bike ride utilizing bikes from The Gates Hotel. We stopped at a screenprinter meeting local craftsmen COAST.
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My excitement was a private tour of the sister property 24° North Key West next door and understanding how they truly complement each other. The decor carried from each hotel has the modern look and feel of a calm spa. This hotel amenities available to guests of The Gates Hotel include open lobby with computer work stations, stunning views of both the main boulevard and the private large pool surrounded by tropical landscape that includes water features an outdoor bar and fitness pavilion. The concept of amenitie sharing is brilliant. When traveling on a family vacation I suggest booking both hotels if booking more than one room.
Our final and last scheduled stop of the evening was a sunset cruise and what a great way to close the evening – to view the sun melt into the evening is magical.
The first outing of the day was an eco friendly nature paddleboard tour. I secretly wanted to give this a try and it was perfect. With a casual on the dock restaurant we gathered to share lunch and to celebrate a birthday. We returned for a relaxing afternoon on property to regroup for a true evening out in downtown Key West followed by a unique team building experience. Our first stop was the First Legal Rum Distillery. With a guided tour followed by a rum sampling including a history of the ‘Spirited’ side of Key West we were off to our next stop. We popped into the art gallery of photographer Jorge de la Torriente Da La Gallery for a private champaign meet and greet with the artist. Being Key West we hit the streets to our dinner destination Nine One Five a farm to fork restaurant and wine bar. Our final destination and most exciting was the team building experience of #WheresPinky scavenger hunt with the main goal being capturing the pink coconut flamingo. I must admit the puzzle and walking the streets of Key West was a blast and although my team secured the coconut flamingo we did not win but in truth the experience out weighted the competitive spirit.
My final day and I have no desire to return home but to only fill my remaining time with new people and adventures of Key West. After meeting the media group for a patio breakfast from The Bline Pig, an on property fold truck, we decided to regroup to adventure to the southern most point in the United States to conclude our memories before everyone went separate ways. My biggest discovery of the Southern Most Point in the United States is it comes with a tourist line of happy people from all over the world and is a must do. Once we secured our group photo and individual memories we said our good byes and parted ways.
I slipped off by foot on a photo adventure mapping my way to The Gates Hotel trolley service pickup area. During my photo walk I enjoyed the beauty of the the slow pace and when approaching a tourist area the light scattering of local street artists peddling art. The unique porch front homes popping with color including overhead power lines criss crossing between wind twisted trees gives you a feeling of a friendly community and worth exploration by foot or bike. Returning to The Gates Hotel I packed my bag wishing I could take the convinces of this modern hotel home with me. What I did know was The Gates Hotel Key West with its perfect location, amenities and modern flare was perfect for me and I would recommend this to anyone with a travel list too.
The Gates Hotel | Key West
3824 N Roosevelt Blvd, Key West, FL 33040