Duval Street is Key West's version of Bourbon Street in New Orleans. Famous for its bars, nightlife, music, occasional carnival atmosphere and people-watching, it's the main drag through Key West's historic district as well as the area immediately around it. Duval Street is frequented by arty party people, sailors, writers, divers and salvagers, gays and straights. The city's motto is "One Human Family," and Duval Street is where the human family goes for a wild night out.
Crowne Plaza La Concha
Don't be fooled by the Crowne Plaza La Concha's relatively tame exterior. This hotel on Duval is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The tallest civilian building in Key West, the La Concha is where Tennessee Williams finished writing "A Streetcar Named Desire" and Ernest Hemingway began "To Have and Have Not." Accommodations are luxurious in an old Florida style: rattan chairs, floaty white curtains. The hotel's rooftop bar, The Top, has been the place to watch Key West sunsets since the hotel opened in 1926.
The Heartbreak Hotel declares that it is in the middle of the Fantasy Fest block of Key West -- the fest is the city's October street carnival and costume extravaganza. The hotel is surrounded by the shops, restaurants and nightclubs that keep Duval's 700 block going well into the early hours, but presents itself as offering a quiet respite from the action on the street. The hotel has clean, comfortable and cheap accommodations with fully equipped kitchens. Heartbreak Hotel has no pool, no phones and does not accept spring breakers.
New Orleans House
New Orleans House is a men-only guest house that is part of the Bourbon Street Pub and Garden Bar complex. Rooms, done in a breezy, tropical style, have kitchens equipped with microwaves, air conditioning and ceiling fans. The hotel boasts a 15-man whirlpool and a clothing-optional sundeck. The Grand Balcony overlooks Duval Street and its festival. Guests must be 18 or older.
Marrero's Guest Mansion
Marrero's Guest Mansion, about a half-block from Duval, is a beautifully restored Victorian house surrounded by tropical gardens. The house was built in the 1880s by a prominent cigar maker, ostensibly to lure his young wife to the island. According to legend, she liked it so much she stayed and still haunts the place occasionally. Like many accommodations in Duval, this is an adults-only guest house with a clothing-optional pool area.
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