I'm kind of like a chameleon of my environment. Wherever I go, I can blend right in with the setting, and you'll be hard pressed to tell that I'm not an actual local. In Washington, I fit right in with the power brokers. In Vegas I was hanging with the high rollers, and when you put me on a ski mountain, I can easily be mistaken for a Nordic guide. So what happened to me when I arrived at the Doubletree Hotel in Key West? My beach bum nature just seemed to rise to the top, and my inner Jimmy Buffet came pouring out in song...
It's Five O'Clock Somewhere
It's only half past twelve. But I don't care,
It's five o'clock somewhere.
Actually it was almost exactly five o'clock when we staggered in to the DoubleTree Grand Key Resort, fresh off our dinner at the No Name Pub. The DoubleTree is at the far east of Key West, leaving it well separated from Duval Street and all the craziness that Key West is famous for. It does offer an hourly shuttle into the chaos if that's what your plans call for, picking up and dropping off at both the North and South ends of Duval Street. For a family visit though, we found it nice to be away from the center of activity, and by activity I of course mean drunk people.
I Used to Have Money One Time
I used to have money one time
Life of adventure and crime
I used to have money one time
Now I ain't got a dime.
OK, it's probably not quite as bad as that, but Key West is not a cheap place to stay, especially on a Saturday night in the summer (How about another round of applause for my planning skills? Lori: "Hon, let's try and avoid the party crowd while we're in Florida OK?" Me: "Sure babe, how about Key West on Saturday night?") The DoubleTree had the cheapest rates available, which made me a little nervous, but I'm guessing that the rate is mainly based on the hotel's location as it's a nicely maintained property with a real island feel to it as soon as you walk in. Parking is included in your rate, and Hilton Gold and above get free internet (which was good) and free breakfast (which was great!).
This Hotel Room
This hotel room got a lot of stuff
A laundry bag and a shoe shine cloth
Thirty-two hangers and a touch-tone phone
Well a light that comes on when I'm not home
Apparently I'm a little tougher to impress than Mr. Buffet, as thirty-two hangers and a touch-tone phone just aren't that impressive to me. I did however, very much like the look and feel of the room. Again it feels very "island-y", even having a ceiling fan which I'm sure helps create a tropical atmosphere, but which we never used as the air conditioner worked just fine. The room also sported such "toes-in-the-sand" features as...
...a work desk with high speed internet, and...
...a 40" LCD TV. This is a perfect combination for me, as I only want to feel like a beach bum, I don't actually want to be one. I have work to do and sports to watch. Not necessarily in that order.
10,000 Seats and One Bathroom
Nobody seems to know the lyrics to this small, forgettable song, which seems appropriate as the bathroom in our room could adequately be described using the same adjectives. The sink area and vanity counter are outside of the bathroom, which is nice, but other than that there's not really a lot to say about the bathroom. It's still probably more impressive than the thirty-two hangers though.
Never been so happy
Never felt so high
And I think I might have found me my own kind of paradise
Our balcony overlooked the pool, which provided a peaceful, tropical feeling....until you opened the door. As soon as you opened it all you could hear was yelling and shouting from the people who I can only guess were too drunk to find their way to the free shuttle for Duval Street. We kept the door closed and it felt just like we were in a tropical paradise.
So I'll put on my Bob Marley tape
And practice what I preach
Get Ja lost in the reggae mon
As I walk along the beach
The DoubleTree is located right across the street from the ocean, but there is no beach to speak of. There is, however, a super wide sidewalk that runs all along the coastline, making for a fantastic place to go for a walk. With the waves coming in and the ocean breeze...if you don't need to have your toes in the sand, it's a perfect place to sit and watch the world pass by.
While I was originally disappointed to not be staying right downtown, a little time spent wandering around Duval Street the next day was enough to cure me of that desire. I prefer a little separation from the chaos when I'm traveling with my kids, and for that the DoubleTree Grand Key Resort was perfect. They shuttled us in and out of the city, and left us with a peaceful, relaxing place to lay our heads. As long as we didn't go near the pool. Apparently it's always five o'clock down there.
Written by Steve Pratt