If you flying in, the best option is to arrive in Miami, hire a car and drive down the Florida Keys to get here. It’s a long way back so make sure you have your Perry Hotel reservation in early to avoid disappointment!
The Perry Hotel Key West is the brain-child of Brad, Warren and Blaire Weiser – the son’s of the famous hotel magnate Sherwood “Woody” Weiser who was responsible for Miami’s first five star hotel, the famous Grand Bay, and went on to build or manage over 100 hotels across North America and the Caribbean. I only mention this because as soon as you enter the spectacularly appointed lobby of the Perry Hotel Key West you know some big names must be behind it as you immediately feel something is different about this place. It’s nautical design shouts understated elegance and serenity. A hotel that knows how good it is – yet doesn’t feel the need to brag.
In keeping with the distinct character of Stock Island as an industrial area as well as an important fishing port the brothers designed a modern three-story hotel which pays tribute to the areas rich history while still garnishing a resort feel. The lobby itself is a testament to this as smooth wood reclaimed from old fishing boats compliments cold, hard concrete columns and the reclaimed propellers – a room which is as much about telling a story of the space as it is welcoming guests with its sleek couch’s and inviting views through to the Stock Island Marina.
A world away from the traditional Key West style – and all of it’s touristy gimmicks – the Perry Hotel Key West may only be a few months old but it has already been lovingly embraced by locals thanks to it’s unique concept of community inclusion. It’s not often at a modern resort-hotel you can watch fisherman unload their days catch from your balcony, take a stroll and chat with residents living on house boats or saunter into bespoke galleries – and I truly wish it was more common. Thanks to Perry Hotel’s strong sense of place in Stock Island and the progressive idea of preserving areas of the Stock Island Marina for local artists and residents to use with favorable rent conditions, they have cultivated a destination in itself above and beyond any resort. A place where locals are welcomed and invited in, rather than kept out behind large fences. And in doing so – the Perry Hotel Key West has regenerated Stock Island, breathing fresh life to businesses while staying true to the areas strong maritime heritage. Much like the Key West of Old.
The intrepid design of the Perry Hotel – leading Architectural Digest to vote it one of the top hotels opening this year worldwide!– does not stop at the lobby and flow’s through the hotel, leading to captivating rooms so beautiful you never want to leave. Each of the hotel’s 100 rooms offers step out balconies so you can enjoy the stellar views of the Stock Island Marina as the sunsets – or rooms facing away from the Marina are appointed with luxurious outdoor showers.
Inside every detail is perfect as you would expect in a newly built hotel – high pressure showers, high quality toiletries, designer furniture and even a coffee capsule machine if you are having trouble dragging yourself from the smooth, crisp sheets. And as a digital nomad I can confirm their WiFi is 100% up to speed and trouble free – though the bobbing yachts in the marina and fisherman hauling in fish did distract me from getting any significant work done here! There are also three suites on offer with separate living rooms and grand bathrooms should you want to splash out – and their wrap-around terraces are to die for!
Of course, regardless of the excellent connections to their local environment in the Stock Island Marina Village – the Perry Hotel is still a resort and has plenty of amenities to ensure a fabulous stay for its guests. There are two terrific restaurants attached to the hotel which offer ‘sea-to-table’ dining thanks to connections with the local fisherman, with pool/dockside dining and the option to be indoors or out. Oh yea – there’s a pool, and a large one at that allowing everyone to have their own privacy as they dip into its cool embrace or lie around on the white sun-chairs taking in the Key West sun and people watching. Should you ever wish to leave there is a free shuttle service to the Old Town and Beaches most hours of the day to save you the hassle of traffic and parking in Key West, and back at the hotel there is an excellent concierge service for any information you might need locally about Stock Island or in Key West. The hotel is also pet-friendly, has direct marina access, an enviable fitness center and free on-site parking.
Ready to book? You can see the latest availability and best prices for the Perry Hotel Kerry West right here!
Since the Perry Hotel Key West had only recently opened when I arrived there will still be a great many local projects not completed but already there was so much to explore! First off – be sure to take a wander through the Stock Island Marina – a 220-boat slip which is actually the largest deep-water marina in the Florida Keys. Here you will see house boats, mega-yachts, commercial fisherman and water sport operators all side-by-side thanks to the marina’s unique policy of setting aside enough space at cheaper prices for residents and commercial use. It was actually here – right in front of the Perry Hotel – that I found Namaste Eco Excursions, one of my favourite all time tour guides who took us out to find some of the best snorkeling spots in the Keys! The marina is also a great place to search for sunset tours, diving, kayaking, paddle boarding and more – there are even cruises to Cuba run out of here!
In the greater Stock Island Marina Village you can also find a great little Cuban coffee shop, two dog parks, an organic community garden and plenty of local artist studios and work spaces (plus a supply shop for provision). This makes a nice change from the resort dining style if you really want to drink with the locals and get a glimpse of what life is really like here. In the future there is set to be a coral conservation group opening up here and an on-site distillery, plus many more interesting things I am sure. And all this without even stepping foot on Key West – as I said, a completely different and more authentic experience!
Of course – No matter how much the Perry Hotel Key West and the Stock Island Marina offer, you are going to want to go explore Key West’s old town….Even if just for a few hours! I won’t get into all the attractions here, as that would entail an entirely different post, but given the heat in the middle of the day (and the questionable quality of Key West Beach’s) I would recommend taking advantage of the resort facilities and water tours during the day and head down to Key West Old Town in the evening when it is cooler and you can take advantage of the plentiful happy hours which offer half off drinks and appetizers! Click through to get a complete look at all of the Key West highlights.
Be sure to take part in the nightly Key West sunset celebration at Mallory Square and then go in search of delicious Key Lime Pie, make your way to the southern-most point in the continental US or just wander Duvell Street in awe of the (slightly grotesque) bars and clubs with flashy neon lights. Sadly, the Perry Hotel Key West shuttle only runs until 8pm but don’t worry – Uber is now in Key West so there is an affordable way to get back to the hotel!
Now you're all set and prepared to explore our big wide world, why not sort out everything else out all in one go? If necessary for your travel plans make sure you have brought proper travel insurance, protected your privacy by getting a secure VPN, compared all the top hotel booking sites to find just what you're after, reserved an unbeatable rental car price and - of course - booked the best flight deals!
Many budget travelers (including me) indulge in worldwide airport lounge access, so we can experience luxury while still slumming it in economy. Naturally, we would never leave home without a more a more general travel guide since we couldn’t possibly cover everything here!
Just add an adventurous attitude and plenty of smiles - they go a long way - and that about covers it all! Now go out, find your own path and don't forget to share your best inspiration stories with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram...I'd love to hear from you!