photos by Barry Fitzgerald
Some travelers – You, Perhaps – want to 'really live' the original local downtown Old Town Key West scene, as close as they can possibly get to the historic waterfront and famous Sloppy Joe’s Bar. You’re looking for an authentic Key West vacation and you want to be in the ‘mix of it all.’ But when you tell friends or travel agents that you’re seeking a genuine and reasonably priced 4 bedroom (with en-suite baths and kitchens) vacation rental house within a few hundred yards of Mallory Square Sunset Celebration the response is predictably, “Ooh, that’s nearly impossible. There are only expensive luxury hotels near the 200 block of Front Street.” Well that’s not the case anymore. Now you can rent the private Key West Quarter House vacation rental.
The authentic presence and spirit of the Key West Quarter House have much more in common with the real Key West than the shiny new hotels that dot the landscape just 2 blocks away. And tiny historic Ann Street where it’s located is notable and cool too. A mixture of important original buildings, some turn-of-the-century residential houses, and all sorts of nearby local business establishments create an eclectic island city neighborhood for resident artsy types, ‘Key West cosmopolitans,’ modern mariners, and laid-back tourists alike.
Just A Little History: Originally built sometime in the late 1800’s the Key West Quarter House is an all wooden 2-story structure that sits on a small City block off Front Street with a colorful and interesting history. Around the time the neighborhood emerged, the population of the island was exploding as Key West rapidly became the “Cigar Capital” of the world! It is written that one skilled worker alone could produce “one hundred million hand rolled cigars a year! (www.keywesthistoricmarkertour.org) And Ann Street, right where this house is situated, was in the ‘mix of it all’ from the very beginning.
Modern Day Key West: Today it’s hard to tell for sure, the exact origins of this house, but I found it on the historic 1864 Key West map by Henry Wellge, published by J.J. Stoner. Its endearing wooden ‘Conch House’ architecture reflects the historic context of the island as it has evolved over time. Like most Key West historic buildings, it has been transformed by local island traditions and regulations that have evolved through the generations. Yet today it stays firm in its place and enjoys a unique and comfortable identity all its own.
A GREAT LAYOUT FOR A LARGER GROUP:
The Key West Quarter House stands today as a large 2-story wooden house and is a great layout for a larger group consisting couples or families that want their own privacy yet want to be together. A renovation of the building redesigned the floor plan so the house can be utilized as 4 separate suites or as one larger house, and it works really well.
When you rent the entire Key West Quarter House vacation rental, the downstairs back of the house is the common area and main gathering place for everyone and provides plenty of room. Comprised of ½ of the entire downstairs, here you have an open living room / kitchen area that spills out onto the screened in porch that spans the entire width of the house. The spacious galley kitchen has been recently upgraded with stone tile counter tops, tiled floor, full size black appliances, and a breakfast bar with beautiful round bar stools and ample counter space. A wooden dining table, large enough for everyone to sit, is placed on the screened-in porch for Key West style ‘al fresco’ dining, and is easily accessible through the French doors that join the living room/ kitchen area.
Accessed from the back of the house through the privacy gate, it is situated to encompass ½ of the downstairs of the entire house. The downstairs back interior offers over 600 square feet of private living space, plus the large covered back porch. Truth be known, the living room kitchen area and porch area is as large as most free-standing Key West conch cottages.
The roomy private fenced back yard with Jacuzzi, becomes your private outdoor hangout. The whole back yard scene has been kept with real old-style Key West charm. Honestly, when you’re back there, you’d never believe you’re in downtown Key West.
The entire interior of the house was just recently renovated and received beautiful new furnishings and 4 flat screen TV’s throughout. When the house is rented in its entirety it provides a great setting for a family event or gathering of friends, with the added feature that each ‘quarter suite’ provides a bedroom with full private bath, its own living room area, and kitchen, ensuring plenty of privacy for everyone.
All rooms in the house have nice quality furnishings and the cool colored palates that create a calm and relaxing tone. Bedrooms and bathrooms in each suite are located off the hall, and offer large closets. All bathrooms provide tubs with in-tub showers and nice vanity sinks.
Upstairs – 2nd floor – 2 King size beds – one in each quarter-suite.
Downstairs – 1st floor – Back – 1 King size bed; Front – 2 Twin size beds.
3 Queen sleeper sofas (2 upstairs and 1 downstairs in back)
Amenities: Four Equipped kitchens, microwaves, a/c, satellite TV. Covered front balcony-porch with view of Greene Street (on the Historic Seaport Harbor Walk – between the seaport and Mallory Square). Private covered back balcony-porch off both upstairs bedrooms. Wonderful screened-in porch with table for al-fresco dining, large fenced back yard with Jacuzzi. Linens and towels are provided. Shared washer / dryer.
Parking: Private off street parking for two cars when the entire house is rented. But really, you don’t need a car so leave it at home. If you arrive by car plan to park it in your designated private parking space and enjoy walking or biking around the island.
SWIMMING POOL NOTE: If you have your heart set on lounging around a swimming pool, Dante’s Key West is close by at 951 Caroline Street. Dante’s is a beautiful resort-style pool-bar restaurant right on the Key West Harbor Walk. The swimming pool, open from 11 am til 7 pm, is large and immaculately kept. The scene is casually elegant and offers a real taste of the Key West “resort life” without the expensive cost of renting a luxury hotel. Between the Suite Escape vacation rental, and Dante’s resort style pool bar restaurant you can have it all at an affordable price!
Activities: Around the corner from Sloppy Joes Bar, 100 yards from Duval Street, and short stroll to the famous Key West Historic Seaport. Just down the street from the Mallory Square Sunset Celebration, the Key West Aquarium, Mel Fisher Treasure Museum, the Custom House Museum, too many great restaurants to mention. Close to theaters, shopping, water sports and beaches.
Area: Live a little waterfront history. Without a doubt, this historic location is as close as it gets to Front Street in a private authentic vacation rental. Downtown Old Town Historic Key West on the border of the Historic Seaport. Green Street is part of the Key West Harbor Walk that goes from Schooner Wharf to Mallory Square. One block off Duval Street, walk to all Old Town Key West features.
Restrictions: Smoke free house. This property is best for adults, but well behaved children are okay. We do not accept guests less than 25 years of age unless accompanied by an older adults or guardian. Smoking permitted outside only. Absolutely no pets. (Please don't ask!)
When rented as a whole house by the same group, there is a maximum occupancy of 12 persons. The house is best suited for 8 to 10 persons.
For detailed descriptions of each individual suite, please click on the links below:
Downtown Porch Garden Suite
Crow’s Nest Suite