by two cruisers
August 20, 2006
I was so enchanted with the architecture, plants, and local color, I turned the wrong way on Elizabeth. Oh, well got some sight seeing done while we located The Garden House. We had searched the Internet looking for just the right place to stay in Key West. My first choice was a hotel adjacent to Mallory Square. At $400 per night we quickly ruled that one out. Some of the affordable places were on the east end of the island. Knowing about the parking problem, we decided to find a place within walking distance of the attractions we were most interested in. We had read that parking spots were at a premium. In fact, our bed and breakfast didn’t provide parking spaces. We had to use a small parking lot at the church next door. For a charitable contribution we could park in one of 5 or 6 spaces allowed the B&B. The room was about $180 per night with taxes. The office for the bed and breakfast was a side room off the front porch. It was tiny. On the other side of the office was the locked gate entryway to the garden and pool and rooms. The proprietor could monitor access and conduct his business. We were escorted through the gate and down a narrow walkway lined with lush plants and an overcrowded bike rack. Our room was named the Royal Poinciana. It looked really good….. on the Internet. Actually it was quite sparse, bed, bed tables, one wicker chair with a sagging bottom, a chest of drawers with a TV on top. The ceramic tile floor was a good idea for island living. Our private lanai (patio) had two comfortable wicker chairs and a table. We had hoped it would be a little more private than it was. Not only was it in full view of the main entry, there was no gate or screen to discourage others from sharing the space.
The innkeeper was surprised by the bicycle parked on the patio. Told us he would take care of that. That did become a source of aggravation. The couple in the room above us decided that our private lanai was a good place for them to store their bikes where they could keep an eye on them from their window. The French doors in our room leading to the lanai had sheer curtains, which meant we had no privacy when the bikers came and went. It also made using the space awkward due to being crowded by bikes. When the innkeeper finally got through to them that the lanai was rented to us, they retaliated by stomping around upstairs. There was also a well attended beer and wine happy hour from 5-6 pm. In the morning we found the continental breakfast to be modest if not skimpy and the hostess wasn’t very good about cleaning up sticky tables or putting out clean dishes. On second thought $400/night on Mallory Square sounds pretty reasonable.
From journal Key West Kudos