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Coconut Beach Resort
1500 Alberta Street
Key West, FL 33040
305-294-0057, 800-835-0055

Coconut Beach Home Page.

Welcome to www.weloveourlife.com. This is our page dedicated to our experiences while staying at The Coconut Beach Resort, Key West, Florida in October, 1997.


Accommodations Amenities Food Bar/Lounge Service Attractions Dining Nightlife Weather Tips



Accommodations

We didn't expect much, as we knew we would be getting one of the smallest units (basically a hotel room), and we weren't disappointed. Coconut Beach is a collection of older buildings remodeled into suites and rooms, surrounding a pool and spa. Our room was supposedly in the house Jimmy Buffett used to live in. It was a basic room with a king-size bed, small refrigerator, microwave, and bath. Unfortunately, there really was little else. When we wanted to eat something in our room, we ended up pulling a small table over to the foot of the bed and sitting on the bed. There was a very large walk-in closet and a huge bathroom - both a waste of space. It would have been nice if the size of the bath and closet had been reduced to allow for a seating area or a small kichenette. Our room did not have a view, and as the bath had windows which opened onto a front porch, we had to keep those curtains shut at all times. What we found most frustrating was an air conditioning unit from the room above which dripped incessantly directly in front of the outside door to our unit. When entering and leaving our room, water dripped on our heads. When we called the front desk to report the problem, they basically dismissed it and told us there was nothing they could do about it.

Resort Amenities

There is a beautiful public area that faces the Atlantic Ocean which includes a heated pool with waterfall, spa, and sun deck. Most of the time we spent at the resort was spent in this outdoor area. At night, after we returned from dinner, we would mix up some drinks and/or pour some champagne or wine into plastic containers, and go out and sit in the spa, which overlooks the ocean. We particularly enjoyed that. The temperature was not turned up so high as to make it uncomfortably warm. Coconut Beach claims to have a small, private beach...actually, a 6' x 12' strip of sand that sits just below the sun deck. We laughed at it, and stuck to the pool area.

Resort Food

There was no food service at Coconut Beach.

Resort Bar/Lounge

There was no bar at Coconut Beach. There is an outdoor bar nextdoor, at Louie's, and Coconut Beach makes a big deal of the fact that they give you a key to go over to the bar. What they don't tell you is that the bar does not open until late in the afternoon and until that time, they padlock it from the other side, so the key doesn't work.

Resort People/Service

We didn't have too much contact with the people who worked at Coconut Beach. We did arrive early, and they graciously allowed us to change in a public bathroom off the lobby and stowed our luggage for us so we could take a dip in the pool while our room was being cleaned. We were extremely disappointed in the front desk's response when we called to let them know about the air conditioner that was leaking above the entry to our room and we were getting dripped on everytime we tried to leave or enter the room. Basically they told us there was nothing they could do about it. We decided at that point that next time we went to Key West, we would stay elsewhere.

Area/Attractions

Coconut Beach Resort is located "on the quiet side of the island," as they put it. What this means is that it is not located near the heart of Old Key West and Duval Street. Duval Street was about a 6-block walk, and that is the upper end of Duval, not near the dining and shops, so it is quite a walk. We did not rent a car in Key West; next time, we would either stay closer to the heart of things or rent a car. The first night we were there, we didn't feel like walking back to our resort after a night out on the town, so we hired one of the many bicycle/rickshaw contraptions to take us back to our room. They look like big tricycles with a bench seat on the back. Fortunately, for those riding the bikes, Key West is flat.

Do not miss sunset at Mallory Square, at the bottom of Duval Street on the opposite end of the island. There are street performers galore. Sunset is a nightly celebration in Key West, as vacationers pack all available outdoor bars and balconies in the area to watch the nightly ritual. And when the sun goes down, everyone applauds.

We rented mopeds to get around. We enjoyed these for the first couple days, until they were towed. One afternoon we were down near Mallory Square. We asked a local policeman where we should park our mopeds (there were on apparent racks, as there were along Duval Street). The policeman showed us an area where all the mopeds were parked, and we parked and locked our mopeds there. When we returned a couple hours later, our mopeds were gone. We asked the same policeman if he had seen what had happened, and he smiled as he told us the mopeds had all been towed away as it was a No Parking zone. We asked if he knew who had towed them, and he kept the smile on his face as he recited a phone number. Lori copied it down and called the towing company on a pay phone. They were located one island north of Key West, and we had to have $120 cash ($60 for each moped) to liberate the bikes. We caught a cab to the island, telling our tale of woe to the cabbie, who informed us this was common practice in Key West - the cops and tow trucks had deals. We had already figured that out. The cabbie also warned us not to stop anywhere on the mopeds, as this was not a particularly good section. We held our breath as he took us through what appeared to be a warehouse district. We slid the cash into a tray underneath a barred window, and they gave us copies of the towing records. To our chagrin, we noted there was no violation noted whatsoever - the towing company had simply towed our mopeds at whim (and/or at the suggestion of our nice policeman). In order to pick up the bikes, the towing company had to destroy the locks. We had no choice but to ride the mopeds directly back to the place we had rented them for new locks. We decided simply to turn them in, as we did not want to deal with the hassle of corrupt policemen during the rest of our stay. It definitely put a damper on our vacation.

Do not miss the Hemingway house when you are in Key West. He is one of Lori's idols, and she thoroughly enjoyed visiting his home, especially all the multi-toed cats!

Dining

Crabby Dick's - 712 Duval Street, Key West, FL, 305-294-7729
Crabby Dick's Home Page
A bar and seafood place along the most popular street in Key West. We spent some time at the bar, where Lori discovered she does not care for Conch fritters (although you might). It is upstairs, and has a great covered porch overlooking Duval Street with plenty of seating for people-watching. The bar area has high ceilings and is nice and airy. This is a great place for cold beer and good burgers. We didn't try the seafood, but we're sure it's good, based on what we sampled.

Hog's Breath Saloon - 400 Front Street, Key West, 800-826-6969
Hog's Breath Saloon Home Page
This is a microbrewery. Keith said the beer was good, but not the best he'd ever tasted. Most of the saloon is outdoors. They have live blues music at all hours of the day. We actually ended up buying merchandise - huggies, a t-shirt, a sweatshirt, as the logo is kind of cool. This seemed to be a place the cool people hung out at.

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville Cafe - 500 Duval Street, Key West, FL, 305-292-1435
Margaritaville Cafe Home Page
This is a must for any devoted Parrothead. We went to a Jimmy Buffett concert a couple months before our trip to Key West. Lori has seen Jimmy many times and loves his music and way of life. Margaritaville is nice and cool inside, and has high, dark ceilings with bright colors. There is a very long bar along one side. We went there for lunch and several times for drinks. There is live music every night. If you get lucky, you might bump into Jimmy Buffett himself (we didn't, but Lori certainly kept her eyes open for him). Do visit the store nextdoor and pick up some colorful Buffett memorabilia.

La Trattoria - 524 Duval Street, Key West, FL, 305-296-1075
La Trattoria Home Page
This is a wonderful small Italian restaurant. Call to make reservations or do what we did - stop in early one evening, request a table, and they will tell you to come back in an hour or more. It was worth the wait. This restaurant was quiet and more refined than many in Key West. The salads were unbelievable, and Lori's simple Fettucine Alfredo was the best she had ever tasted. Definitely worth the wait.

Martha's Steaks and Seafood - S. Roosevelt Blvd. (A1A), Key West, 305-294-3466
Martha's Home Page
One night we took a taxi out to Martha's. Martha's is located next to Benihana, across the highway from a beautiful beach. Call first to make a reservation and request a table overlooking the ocean. We got there early and had a drink at the very retro cocktail lounge bar. The decor at Martha's is plush, with tropical prints and wood, and we sank into comfortable chairs at our table. Our waitress was most helpful, making recommendations and leading us away from things she candidly stated were "not having their best night." It was a most enjoyable evening, with fine food (seafood for Lori and steak for Keith) and impeccable service. Knowing we would be calling a cab for our trip back, we had a few after-dinner drinks back over at the very 70s cocktail lounge, complete with a bartender in tuxedo shirt and black vest who knew how to make any drink you could request. There were hundreds of cats outside the restaurant (Key West is full of cats), and here - like everywhere else - people seem to take care of the cats and the we saw the restaurant workers setting out heaping plates of foods for the grateful cats.

Duffy's Steak & Lobster House - 1007 Simonton Street, Key West, FL, 305-296-4900
This was probably one of the best meals we had in Key West. Keith had some mouth-watering steak and Lori had some wonderful seafood. Duffy's is a small, quiet, but open and air restaurant off the beaten path, in a quiet neighborhood a few blocks from Duval Street. The service was probably the best we had in all of Key West. Duffy's gave us a wonderful meal with superb service and we will be sure to go back when we return to Key West.

Half Shell Raw Bar - 231 Margaret Street, Key West, FL, 305-294-7496
Half Shell Raw Bar Home Page
Turtle Kraals Historic Waterfront Restaurant & Bar - next to Half Shell Raw Bar, Key West, FL 305-296-7172
Turtle Kraals Home Page
Half Shell Raw Bar and Turtle Kraals are sort of a Key West institution. Half Shell is as low-key as one can expect - unfinished wood reminiscent of anyone's attic, license plates from all over, no-frills wooden barstools. The primary attraction here is the seafood - especially oysters and clams - and ice cold beer in buckets. Turtle Kraals is the least bit more upscale (meaning they have tables with chairs), but very similar to Half Shell. They have delicious food, cold beer, and entertainment.

Nightlife

There is live entertainment nearly everywhere in Key West. All you need to is stroll down Duval Street, listen to the music drifting out of the clubs, and walk into the one that seems to fit your tastes best.

Weather

Key West has a tropical climate - in other words, it is usually *($&@$% hot and humid. We were there the first week of October, and it is still very warm then - in the 90s by day and down to the mid-70s by night. Air Conditioning is a must. Do not plan strenuous physical activity during mid-day and try to make sure you have a pool or the ocean nearby to cool off in.

Tips/Suggestions

Do not rent mopeds! Rent a car, walk, hire a bicycle/rickshaw instead. If you want to be within walking distance of the clubs and restaurants, stay more towards Mallory Square. Take casual attire, acceptable anywhere in Key West, and be sure your clothing choices are light-colored and cool.