Disclosure: Our stay at the Gardens Hotel in Key West was complimentary. However all opinions are sincere and are my own.
Walking into the Gardens Hotel is like stepping into another era. The whole world seems to slow down as you make your way into the original mansion which dates back to the 1800’s and is part of the national register. Beautifully decorated but still maintaining an air of intimacy you feel like you are walking into your own home.
The clear blue pool is surrounded by a lush tropical landscaping and on the far end emerging from the greenery a picture perfect gazebo sits overlooking the water, the ideal place to enjoy an afternoon cocktail or cozy up with a good book. The gardens, which cover much of the one acre property, where a labor of love by Peggy Mills who purchased the property in the 1930’s and spent more than 35 years creating the beautiful botanical gardens that opened to the public in 1968.
From the pool paths made from century old bricks take off in every direction calling you to explore. As you walk along the paths you will encounter huge tinajones imported from Cuba, Hawaiian and Japanese orchids flourishing in the trees above, antique statuaries, fountains and lanterns. Around every corner intimate seating areas tucked under the trees make you feel like you could spend all day here, and maybe you should.
The idilyc gardens look like they came right out of a book and as I walk along feeling like I am lost in some fairy tale land a group of Key West chickens crossing in front of me as I walk along the mossy paths brings me back to reality. You’re in Key West and this is what Key West is all about, getting lost and finding your peaceful place. This is what Hemingway and Truman and so many others felt when they first laid eyes on Key West, this is why people just want to leave everything behind and move here. This is paradise!
When I arrive at a new place I love to explore and usually the hotel is for me just a place to stay, of coarse I want it to be comfortable and the right hotel can makes your trip unforgettable but I don’t tend to spend much time at hotels. At the Gardens Hotel I experienced something completely different, instead of being eager to start some adventure outside it’s doors I couldn’t wait to see every corner of this beautiful place.
But you want to know if this is the right hotel for you, not if you should walk around the gardens forever. So let’s talk about the hotel. As with most bed and breakfasts each room in the hotel is different and has it’s own personality, lovingly decorated by the owner Kate. You can just feel that every piece of furniture, every lamp, every painting has been carefully and thoughtfully chosen.
We stayed in one of the Courtyard Rooms. Spacious and bright the room had a front verandah overlooking the courtyard and fountain and a smaller, private porch in the back. The bed was extremely comfortable and we woke up the next morning rested and refreshed and ready to enjoy a delicious complimentary breakfast outside by the pool.
Things We Loved About The Gardens Hotel
- Great location in a quiet residential area in Old Town, just a couple of blocks away from Duval street, shops, restaurants and attractions.
- Intimacy, comfort and charm that you will simply not find in a big chain hotel.
- Free wireless internet.
- Free breakfast is included. You can have it pool side or you can also eat indoors enjoying the air conditioning. The food was superb and the service outstanding.
- Wine bar.
- Beautiful pool with lot’s of space to relax and enjoy the Florida sun.
- The gardens are sublime. Lush vegetation and winding brick paths with sculptures and lots of places to sit to enjoy some alone time with a book or to share the beauty of the gardens and take in the delicious Key West tropical atmosphere accompanied by your loved one.
- Huge rooms with verandhas.
- Amazing service and the owner is simply a marvelous person, interesting, friendly and she does a truly amazing job of making you feel like this is your home and you are always welcome there.
- The staff was knowledgable and friendly and the service was top notch. We got the best recommendations for restaurants and attractions.
- Piano bar.
Things to Consider
If you are thinking of staying at The Gardens Hotel there are some things you should take into account.
- This is an adult only hotel that is best for couples.
- The staff leaves for the night so there is no one to cater to your needs or bring you room service if you get hungry at 2am in the morning.
- There is parking on site but it is limited.
- If you will be in Key West for just a couple of nights you probably won’t get to see as much as you would have hoped because you will have a hard time leaving this hotel. Seriously, this is the kind of place you just want to move right into and stay …. forever. So consider extending your stay a couple of extra nights so you can really enjoy everything this gem has to offer.
The Gardens Hotel is intimate and filled with charm and character. If you are looking for a romantic getaway it does not get more romantic than this, period. The place is gorgeous, the service outstanding and it is obvious why it has received numerous awards and had been featured in countless magazines and even a TV program.