Our recent trip to Key West was ahhh-mazing, as you would imagine it would be. We’ve been frequenting the Florida Keys for a few years, so we’ve stayed at a plethora of places, but this time was our first time staying at La Concha Hotel Key West. We want to share all of the details with you about our stay.
Full transparency- we chose La Concha Hotel due its address. It’s true what they say, “location, location, location!” La Concha Hotel is most desirable due to it being right on Duval. It is in the center of everything! The hotel is fully accessible to all of the bars, restaurants, steps away from Mallory Square, and honestly, it’s just the best hub for spending a week in the Conch Republic.
The History of La Concha Hotel
We love a good history story, but La Concha Hotel has some good ones! We heard several during our stay, so here is the synopsis. La Concha Hotel was developed in 1926 and was the first luxury hotel. By the way, people on the island still consider it the only “skyscraper” even though it tops out at seven floors. At the time, no one had seen anything like it: marble floors, private baths, luxurious décor… all of which the hotel still has today, thankfully. It was known as the height of modern luxury and convenience. Due to this notoriety, it hosted many famous guests including Tennessee Williams, Harry Truman, and of course, Key West’s own, Ernest Hemingway.
There is a bit of a haunted history at La Concha Hotel, too. The stories are that there have been a few sightings of Papa Hemingway roaming the halls, or that the suite he stayed in for a number of months has occurrences of the TV turning on and off on its own. The ghost of a waiter who fell into an open elevator shaft can also be heard screaming at times (we’re told). There are reports of people having their white wine pushed out of their hand at the bar. That comes from a man who once ordered a glass of white wine, finished it, then walked to the roof and jumped off. Yeah, we know. Crazy stuff. We are happy to report that during the week that we were at La Concha Hotel, nothing of this nature happened to us. Whew!
The Service at La Concha Hotel
Note, our stay was still during Covid, granted as things were lifting, but still in the thick of Covid for the hospitality industry, so things were a little different. La Concha Hotel had a protocol in place that more than likely differs from their normal standards. For example, we did not have housekeeping for our room until the fourth day, unless we requested any needs. The spa, which we were excited about experiencing, was closed. This was super disappointing. There was no room service, however, the wine bar was open, as well as the Starbucks in the hotel, which we will get to. Otherwise, anyone we encountered, front desk, bartenders, pool staff, the concierge, and maintenance when we had an a/c issue, were all very hospitable and professional.
Our Guest Room at La Concha Hotel
The guest rooms have a rich, dark wood island-inspired design, almost leaving you feeling as though you have stepped inside of a Cuban bungalow. The dark wooden interior louvered shutters give the room a break from the Key West sun, which is needed. Comfort is definitely prominent in the minds of La Concha Hotel- the bedding, sofa, and linens are all top quality. The design, more than likely, hasn’t been updated in a while. Perhaps they are going for the same style that Tennessee Williams and Ernest Hemingway experienced during their stay. We weren’t hating it, just something to be noted. The guest rooms definitely did not match the modern aesthetic of the atrium upon arrival. With that being said, we had all the amenities we needed during our stay.
The pool is absolutely serene. La Concha Hotel provides towel service, comfortable lounge chairs, a cabana, (they had us at cabana), and the pool is surrounded by lush palm trees. If for some reason you are lying by the pool and you weren’t sure you were on island time, you will know by the time you kick your feet up and get a drink in your hand.
Speaking of that drink, the La Concha Hotel pool has a great poolside bar that opens at 11am. Each bartender we encountered made the most delish cocktails. Just tell them to make whatever they want- it will be the best thing you have ever tasted-promise! Our fave? The piña colada with key lime floater. Yum!
Wine-O is the wine bar and lounge at La Concha Hotel. Accessible from the hotel and outside, it exudes sophistication and elegance. This is the place you want to get a bit gussied up, enjoy a fine wine, a charcuterie board, and pretend you are mingling with Gertrude Stein and company back in Paris during those Hemingway days. Well, except you are in Key West, so maybe not. You get the point. It’s fancy. It’s not the place you want to walk into with your tank top and flip flops yelling, “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere,” though we have a feeling, because it is Key West, you would still be completely accepted and at home either way. Just know that you will feel more comfortable if you dress it up a bit. It is a nice diversion from the Duval Street Bar atmosphere, if you are looking for that, to have a glass/bottle of wine in a nice setting.
Need To Know
There are a few things that we feel are important for you to know before you go, so that you are able to have the best experience at La Concha Hotel:
- If you are looking for coffee when you wake, there is a Starbucks within the hotel, which is also accessible from the outside. If you go past the elevators on the main floor past the reception desk, there is a hidden door (literally) that enters the back of Starbucks. For breakfast, you will need to make plans at one of the many restaurants within walking distance. Hit us up for some recommendations.
- Utilize the concierge. He/she is sitting in the main lobby and is willing to help you find the best restaurant, a hat you are looking for (yes, seriously), make reservations for you on a snorkel trip, airport shuttle, and just about anything else you can think of.
- The gym is on the 7th floor and has the best view of the island, ever! Even if you don’t want to work out (ahem, just mentioning that for a friend) go to the gym just to check out the view. If you are interested in keeping your workout going while in the Conch Republic, first, kudos. There are a few treadmills, ellipticals, and free weights. It’s basic, but again, you’re in Key West so you won’t have a crowd with you.
- 430 Duval Restaurant & The Spa were both closed, due to Covid. If these are deal breakers for you, be sure to call the hotel prior to booking to see if they have reopened.
La Concha Hotel is a fundamental staple of Key West. Since it is steeped in history, we are thrilled to have finally experienced a stay behind its doors. We are also thrilled to have not had any run-ins with any ghosts during our stay, though we know some people will want to have such encounters, and may have a different experience.
If you are looking for the perfect location that is in the middle of the Duval nightlife, walking distance to everything going on in the hot spots of Key West, La Concha is an excellent choice. If you are open to the time of year you are going, we recommend checking out their seasonal specials. When looking at their website, it looks like they offer packages, depending on the time of year, so just keep in mind. Like most hotels and lodging in Key West, the high/low season most likely differs from what you are used to in your area. Be mindful. If you do stay at La Concha, be sure to let us know how your stay went. We would love to hear all about it. Also, be sure to check out our blog on the Top 10 Best Things to Do in Key West. Enjoy the Conch Republic!