Luxury Living in Key West, Florida
Key West is the southernmost island in the continental U.S., and it has more in common with the Caribbean than it does the Florida mainland. Located 90 miles from Cuba, this is the laid-back and sun-kissed destination Jimmy Buffett made famous in classics like Margaritaville and Changes in Latitude, Changes in Attitude. The American writer Ernest Hemingway had a house in Key West, and it’s still a main tourist attraction today.
If you’re looking for well-manicured golf courses and soaring Art Deco condos, then head to West Palm Beach or Miami. However, if you want to rub elbows with artists, writers, parrot-heads and quirky beachcombers, then a vacation home in Key West is the perfect way to escape those wind-chilled, northern winters. The only thing that’s chilled in the Keys is the pina coladas.
Bahamian Style Houses
Island life in Key West begins with a Conch House, or what is otherwise known as a Bahamian style home. It’s the type of architecture Bahamian immigrants first developed in the Keys in the 19th century. Made of wood and set on post or piers, a Conch House is light, airy, and often painted with bright colors. Think pineapples and mangoes. Typical characteristics of a Conch House include horizontal weatherboarding, a gabled roof, and a porch stretching across the entire length of the first or second floor, which gives the house a Neo-classical look.
Many of the Bahamian homes in Key West have been turned into historic inns. The homes are larger and more luxurious the closer you get to Duval Street, which is the main thoroughfare in Key West and known for its world-class restaurants, nightlife and shopping. In other words, if you’re contemplating a second home in Key West, location is everything.
What’s better than a Bahamian vacation home on Duval or Caroline Street? How about a luxury houseboat docked in Key West harbor? Every night in Key West people flock to Mallory Square to see the sunset; the colors streaking across the southern sky are legendary. If you had a houseboat, all you’d have to do is head up to the upper deck of your boat and take a seat. No crowds. No fuss. No worries.
From hardwood floors and plasma TVs to wet bars, party decks and hot tubs, a modern houseboat is a study in upscale amenities. Houseboats can be customized, too. If you think you need a classic stateroom or a gym, then add it. The next thing you know your second home will start to look like a luxury cruise ship. If location is everything, is there any better real estate than the azure blue waters of the Florida Keys? Just be sure to hop off the boat every once in a while to enjoy some conch fritters and Key Lime pie.
Key West Resorts
Buying a vacation home in Key West isn’t for everybody. It’s an island that beats to a different drummer. A two-week holiday at a classy resort, however, will give you the chance to soak up island life. Casa Marina and The Reach, both of which are Waldorf Astoria Resorts, are located on the largest private beach in Key West. After a morning of sunbathing, head out for some deep-sea fishing, scuba diving or snorkeling. Maybe you’ll even be lucky enough to hook a Marlin like Ernest Hemingway.
If you do decide to buy a vacation home, just make sure the one that got away refers to the fish and not that beautiful Conch House on Simone Street.