photos by Barry Fitzgerald
Located within view of Key West South Beach and around the corner from the Southern Most Point of the United States sits a unique and very special combination of privately owned historic residences bearing a proud Key West - Cuban architectural history. Uniquely situated directly across the street from each other on exclusive Upper Duval Street these prominent turn-of-the-19th-century properties have been perfectly renovated by the heirs of their original owners. These delightful residences now stand united in the 21st Century and are offered together as South Point Selection Key West vacation rental.
Bits of History: As well known as Duval Street has become as a tourist destination, most folks don't realize the fact that in the early to mid 1900's Duval was an important residential street with many private homes. The Upper (southern) end of Duval was close to the famous Gato Cuban Cigar factory and the breezes of the Atlantic Ocean. So during that time a unique combination of fine homes for wealthy cigar merchants and modest cigar makers cottages for workers sprang up all around - next door and across the street from each other - creating a fascinating melange of hand-crafted wooden homes. Today most of these historic homes are acknowledged as art forms in-and-of-themselves and are placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of these residences have been renovated, with a rare few, such as South Point Selection now available to rent as upscale private vacation homes.
Layout: When rented as a private residential estate this property consists of a grouping of residential homes that directly face each other across historic Upper Duval Street near the Southernmost Point of the United States, with 5 - Star Quality Amenities. They include, Viva On Duval, a romantic elegant two-story home displaying special fairy-tail charm, and Twice As Nice, a rare combination of historic "twin-set" cigar maker's cottages that were originally built to match each other in the early 1900's. This type of "double design" is infrequently found around Key West within the prolific collection of turn-of-the-century wooden cottages built on the island by early ship builders. You can rent Viva On Duval by itself when renting it individually as a private 3 bedroom 2.5 bathroom vacation villa. Likewise, Twice As Nice was designed so it can be easily be rented separately as a 4 bedroom 4 bathroom villa, and can also function separately as separate two bedroom cottages (subject to availability). Separately the twin-set cottages are known as Havana Moon and Cockadoodle Cottage.
If you have a larger group looking for a larger private historic residential southernmost destination, your first choice will be to rent the properties as the South Point Selection, i.e. Viva On Duval and Twice As Nice combined together. Please be sure to click on the links above for each separate property for a detailed description of the properties.
Grounds: A wonderful feature of this unique combination of southernmost properties is that you have plenty of space to be together and also take your privacy when you need it with 3 buildings, two fenced yards, 2 private swimming pools and sunning and dining decks, a 2nd floor balcony, and three covered front porches. Staying true to the original 1930's design of the Viva On Duval larger home, the front yard of the main house is planted with neatly trimmed green lawn outlined with tropical foliage. Grounds of the Twice As Nice twin-cottages have also been completely renovated to meet modern luxury vacation standards. The front of the property is landscaped with colorful tropical foliage. The original back yard was transformed to a nice size swimming pool and large concrete sun deck for pool side sunning.
Parking: The north side of the main house has a long driveway that offers off-street parking for up to two standard sized vehicles. There is off-street parking at the twin-cigar cottage property for up to three vehicles.
Location: The location of these prominent homes offers unprecedented opportunities for Key West "people-watching." So when you are not out and about sight seeing, dining, or at South Beach down the street, simply sit on one of your several spacious porches, kick back and watch the world of Key West walk by. And by the way, if you're a connoisseur of Fantasy Fest you cannot find a better private seat to view the parade. Today there are only a few such historic estate homes that are available for rent as private, single-family residences. Most homes of this type have been made over into apartments or bed and breakfast accommodations.
Viva On Duval: Main House (Second floor) - 2 king size beds, 1 queen size bed. All bedrooms are on the 2nd floor, all three bedrooms serve as suites.
Green Room - king size bed
Blue Room - king size bed
Okra room - queen size bed.
First Floor - 1 queen sleeper sofa in the living room.
Twice As Nice: Twin Cigar Cottages - 3 Queen size beds, 1 king size bed.
Amenities: Upscale renovation and luxury furnishings. 2 swimming pools (optional heat), sun and dining decks, 3 expansive porches, and verandah overlooking Duval St. 3 fully equipped upscale kitchens, central a/c, telephone, flat screen TV's in each bedroom, large flat screen TV in living room of main house, stereo, 3 washer / dryer units. Linens and towels are provided. Catering can be arranged. Maid service can be scheduled for an additional fee.
Activities: Elegant Upper Duval St. - Close to the Southern Most Point of the United States - you can see South Beach from the upstairs verandah of the main house. Cafe neighborhood features art galleries, wonderful eateries and internationally famous fine restaurants, coffee and tea house, fine gift and clothing stores, "Grand Vin" wine tasting, "Flamingo Crossing" home made ice cream. Here you start at the top of Duval St. near the Atlantic Ocean and can take the 20 min stroll to the Gulf of Mexico (remember it takes 3 to 4 Key West streets to equal the distance of a typical city block). Sailing, boating, diving, museums, nightlife.
Restrictions: Smoke free house. Only well behaved children. Smoking permitted outside only. This property is not appropriate to stage loud parties. As with all private vacation homes, occupants of this property must adhere to the Sound Control / Noise Ordinance of Key West - ARTICLE IV Sec. 26-191. Absolutely no pets please.