(KEY WEST, FL) Since its renovation in 2000, Island House in Key West has been winning awards and applause from the gay press for its high standards of accommodation and service including the coveted “Best gay resort in the world” from Out Traveler Magazine in 2007. This year Island House has received the “Oscar” of all gay travel awards, the Planet Out - Gay.com Travel Award 2009 for Favorite Guest House, voted by more than 24,000 of the website’s readers.
What makes Island House so popular? Apart from the luxury which you might expect in a four star hotel, it is the staff and owners’ commitment to providing a fun, comfortable, safe and welcoming environment for all of their guests which makes Island House so special.
As soon as you enter the property you appreciate its atmosphere. Not only is Island House a clothing optional tropical paradise, but it is also attitude free. Too often gay resorts are aimed at the young and beautiful, but regardless of the photographs on its website (this is advertising after all) Island House guests come in all ages, shapes and sizes and no one gives a damn what you look like. You ditch those prejudices with every other piece of mental baggage when you check in.
The intimate scale of Island House is appealing. There are four buildings and 34 rooms on two levels arranged around courtyards and accessed by balconies and decks. Nudity is common, but mainly in the pool or on the sundeck. Most guests cover up when walking around or seated in the cafe.
The small, well-equipped gym and health club provide facilities not often usually found in guest houses and you can either treat the amenities as a form of relaxation or you can get serious with personal trainers and masseurs who can be arranged during your stay.
Social life centers on the pool bar and Café, which during Happy Hour each evening, brings guests together in friendly surroundings. You might end up talking to a designer from Milan or an electrician from Milwaukee; such is the variety of men who visit. After Happy Hour, because the food is so good, (the 24 hour café is open to non residents and is very popular with Key West locals who call Island House their “club”) guests will often stay on and eat here with new friends they have made.
Island House parties are notoriously outrageous, but it’s all about having harmless fun, and finding your inner child again. Often the staff will arrange group outings, a sunset cruise, or a day trip to the Dry Tortugas for example, to which everyone is invited. Key West seems to have a festival of some sort about once every month, and the Island House Boys, staff and guests, are always in evidence, whether it’s the Key West Drag Races, Gay Pride, July 4th, Tropical Heat, Pirate Week, Halloween, Fantasy Fest, Christmas or New Year. If you are less gregarious and just want time to yourself, everyone respects this too.
Guests keep returning for the liberating experience which Island House provides. It is an escape from the mundane, a chance to unwind, to be yourself, meet new people and to just have a good time too - exactly what a good vacation should offer.
Island House is a clothing-optional resort for men in Old Town Key West comprising 34 luxury rooms, a poolside café and bar, heated pool, fully-equipped gym, sauna, steamroom, two Jacuzzis, and erotic video room.
For more information on Island House, visit islandhousekeywest.com.