Where else in Key West can you find ghosts of literary legends, a luxurious rooftop spa overlooking the island, rooms with soothing dark wood plantation furnishings and coastal inspired window shutters, an upscale wine bar, and hauntings, too? For a completely legendary Key West hotel experience, consider making La Concha Hotel & Spa your choice while visiting Key West. Click here to see the latest prices at La Concha Hotel & Spa.
There is so much history within these walls. In 1889, Key West was the largest and most prosperous city in Florida, largely due to the cigar makers, sponge divers, and Henry Flagler’s railroad. Imagine the grand opening of the glorious La Concha Hotel on January 22, 1926 – with marble floors, private baths, and an elevator!
La Concha opened on the 14th anniversary of the East Coast Railway connecting the island with the mainland as the first Key West luxury hotel. At 7 stories high and 100 rooms to start, this Key West hotel icon cost $768,000 to build and $130,000 to furnish. A room with a shared bath would cost $3 and for an additional 35 cents, you could enjoy a steak dinner at the hotel restaurant.
Once connected by the railroad, the rest of the world came en masse to Key West to vacation. Broadway stars, dignitaries, famous authors, and presidents all stayed at the tallest building in downtown Key West called La Concha. In 1927, Juan Trippe, president of Pan American World Airways located his office in the hotel and began airline service from Key West to Cuba. Tennessee Williams finished the acclaimed “A Streetcar Named Desire” while in residence at La Concha in 1947 and Ernest Hemingway mentions the hotel as “its prominence on the horizon” as rum-runner Harry Morgan sails away from the island in “To Have and Have Not” published in 1937.
Why choose La Concha for your Key West hotel?
There are many Key West hotels to choose from depending on your budget and vacation expectations. Here are a few of the reasons I would recommend La Concha (and be sure to keep reading to see the reasons I wouldn’t recommend it as well!).
Location – You’ll find La Concha Hotel & Spa at 430 Duval Street – right in the center of all of the action. Yet the rooms are quiet and comfortable. It’s just a short walk to Mallory Square for the requisite sunset celebrations. In the other direction, the Southernmost Point is also an easy stroll.
Happy Hour – the hotel restaurant, 430 Duval, is a delightful refuge from the Key West heat and provides one of the best upscale Happy Hour values on the island. Fresh seafood and tasty apps are served in a cool space designed for festive conversation. Breakfast, all-day small plates, and inventive dinner entrees complete 430’s delicious food offerings.
Wine-O – a wine bar, trendy lounge, and retail outlet all wrapped up in a sleek, sophisticated area. Check out their Wine-O Happy Hour for an early afternoon/evening adventure for your palate.
Top Spa – if the idea of your own private spa suite designed with a balcony overlooking the island, shower, 55″ flat screen TV, and a mini-fridge stocked with an assortment of nourishing snacks and water makes you smile, then Top Spa will be a favorite place to relax during your visit. Exceptional pampering and service awaits, along with a complimentary glass by Wine-O Wine Bar with every package.
Pool – the La Concha pool is a welcome oasis for the hot and tired traveler. It’s more of an immersion pool than one for lap swimming as it’s only 3 1/2 feet deep, but it is totally refreshing and relaxing. The pool bar provides cool libations to sip on while you feel as though you’ve totally escaped the sometimes hectic Duval Street scene.
Duval Street Shuttle Service – when a bright blue electric car arrives in the front of the hotel with a smiling driver, don’t hesitate to jump in for a ride! Our happy driver Louis explained that the shuttle runs from 9:30am until the electric car batteries run out – (usually around 7pm). The complimentary shuttle runs from the Pier House sister property up and down Duval Street all day. You’re given blue wrist bands to let the driver know you belong to the hotel if you need to flag him down for a ride back “home”.
Why La Concha might NOT be the best Key West hotel for you…
Room size – remember this hotel was built in 1926, with an addition in 1956. The rooms may not be as large as those in more modern hotels. If a larger sized room is a requirement, look at their deluxe room, balcony, and suite options.
Kids pool – the hotel pool is only 3 1/2 feet deep and is designed more for adult relaxation than diving children. Children were still enjoying the pool, but parents have to be diligent to keep them from jumping or diving in.
Ghosts – if you’re deathly afraid of things that go bump in the night, this may not be the best Key West hotel for you. It’s been said that the mischievous spirit of Ernest Hemingway might still be seen (or heard) in the suite where he stayed with his mistress Martha Gellhorn (later wife #3) in the 1930’s. Another ghost said to haunt the 5th floor elevators is that of a waiter who fell to his death in the 1980’s when he backed into an empty elevator shaft pulling a loaded beverage cart on New Years Eve.
Our Key West Hotel Experience
We were invited for a complimentary stay at La Concha Hotel and Spa in return for an honest review – and we’ve now found our “go-to” Key West hotel to stay. It was everything we could have hoped for in an island visit and thanks to the dedicated and passionate staff, we left with a new appreciation of how much fun Key West can be…even in the middle of a hot summer!
If Key West shows up on your travel radar (and if not, why??), please consider La Concha Hotel and Spa for your stay. And be sure to give General Manager Mike Rice and Hotel Manager Robert Duffy a great big “Hello!!” from us!
If you’re looking for more fun in Key West, check out some of the Top Tours…