10 best gay resorts and gay hotels in Key West

Stefan Arestis

Key West is super gay! This small island in south Florida is a notorious gay mecca, with a whopping 30% of its 25,000 residents identifying as LGBTQ. 

The island's history as a gay destination dates back to the 1950s when well-known LGBTQ celebrities like Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Jerry Herman, Leonard Bernstein and Elizabeth Bishop have since made it their home. Subsequently in 1983, Key West became the first place in the US to elect an openly gay mayor (Richard A. Heyman), then in 2000, the island's motto became: One Human Family“.

We've visited Key West on several occasions and always had a blast, especially on the gay scene on Duval Street. There are so many things to do for gay travellers and with regards to to the hotels, it was never a case of ‘please can we have a double bed', but more – ‘which of these many gay hotels should we stay at on this trip?'

There is an impressive number of different gay resorts in Key West to pick from, so we've put together our 10 favourite, which also includes gay hotels and guesthouses. 

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Find out more

01

Island House

men-only + clothing-optional

Island House is a fabulous gay resort in Key West that's clothing-optional and men-only!

Why we love it


  • Infamous men-only and clothing-optional resort!
  • Just minutes walk to the gay scene on Duval Street
  • Fun twice-weekly pool parties
  • Jacuzzi, swimming pool and pool bar to enjoy

Island House is notorious across the entire LGBTQ community of south Florida. It's also one of the largest male-only clothing-optional resorts we've ever been to.

Whether you come here to enjoy the facilities on a Day Pass or stay overnight, Island House is a gay man's paradise! They have clothing-optional pool parties every Wednesday between 5-8pm and on Sundays from 12-4pm. These are always a lot of fun and attract plenty of attendees looking to mingle.

There is a large outdoor Jacuzzi as well as a heated pool with its own poolside bar, both open 24 hours a day. Happy Hour takes place between 5-6:30pm where free drinks are available for guests. Upstairs overlooking the pool is a large sundeck area, perfect for working on your tan or perving on the talent below. Indoor facilities include a gym, steam room, sauna and another Jacuzzi, all of which are available for guests to use at any time. 

Island House has a variety of basic rooms, some with private bathroom, others shared. In addition, they have more lavish suites and apartments to rent with a group of friends. If you don't want to stay the night, you can still come to one of the pool parties or purchase a Day Pass to use the facilities. An exciting gay man's paradise to say the least!

STAY WITH A GAY LOCAL

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02

Alexander's Guesthouse

LGBTQ mixed + clothing-optional

Alexander's Guesthouse is a clothing-optional gay guesthouse in Key West very open, with a mix of gay men and women

Why we love it


  • Gay guesthouse in a lovely restored Conch house
  • Clothing-optional
  • Sunning decks, swimming pool, Jacuzzi and bar
  • One of the friendliest hotels in Key West!

Alexander's Guesthouse is a clothing-optional gay guesthouse in Key West open to all sorts of fun.

It's full of character, set in a restored 3-story Conch house from 1902. A Conch house is a typical Key West house dating back to the 1800s. They're made from wood and set on posts, which allows air to circulate under the floor. The style was developed by immigrants from the Bahamas who were back then referred to as “Conchs”.

What makes Alexander's unique is that there is a mix of both men and women, staying here, which makes it feel less cruisy. It's proudly gay-owned and operated, but also welcoming to straight friends. It's super friendly. That was our main takeaway – an easy place to quickly make new friends.

Alexander's has large bedrooms with king-sized beds and private balconies. Communal areas include several sunning decks, a pool and Jacuzzi. Some of the communal spaces are clothing optional as well. They also have a cocktail happy hour at their aptly named inhouse bar: the Pink Monkey Bar. If you're visiting Key West as a group of friends, we recommend renting out one of their larger apartments.

03

New Orleans House

male-only + clothing optional

If you want to be in the heart of the action, The New Orleans House is right on the main gay street in Key West

Why we love it


  • Gay guesthouse in the heart of the gay scene
  • Male-only and clothing-optional
  • Free breakfast, happy hour and gym included
  • Free entry to the Bourbon Street parties

New Orleans House is part of the Bourbon Street Complex, which has gay parties going on until 4am. It is the only male-only clothing optional resort in downtown Key West, directly on Duval Street.

The rooms are located upstairs in the Bourbon Street Complex, directly above the bars/clubs, so it's very noisy until very late at night/early in the morning! But hey, you can always sleep during the daylight hours right?

While the guesthouse is not the most luxurious, you do have free access to the facilities of the Bourbon Street Complex, which includes a 15-man Jacuzzi, gym, swimming pool and a clothing-optional private sun deck area. A continental breakfast is included for guests and served on the huge balcony overlooking Duval Street, perfect for watching the world go by.

If you've come to Key West to party till the early hours and want to be based right in the heart of the gay scene, then this is the ideal place to stay, especially on weekends when the gay scene here really comes alive!

However, if you just want to chill and relax, then avoid staying here as the parties downstairs go on until 4am. As a result of the high noise levels, the New Orleans House is a cheaper option compared to the other gay resorts of Key West. 

04

Equator Resort Key West

male-only + clothing optional

Equator is a men's only resort in Key West where you are free to wear as little as you like

Why we love it


  • Personable gay male clothing-optional resort
  • 11 complimentary adult male channels available on the TVs
  • Onside masseuse available for, er, consultations!
  • Pool, Jacuzzi, bar and sunbathing areas

The Equator Resort is another male-only clothing-optional resort in Key West based on Fleming Street. It's smaller and more personable than Island House with a wide mix of rooms ranging from standard queens to larger apartment-style suites.

We love all the complimentary extras included in the price of your stay, like the continental breakfast with freshly baked pastries and ELEVEN different adult male channels in the rooms – ooh la la!

There is a ground floor pool with sunken Jacuzzi, a small bar and an area for sun lounging. Upstairs there is a larger sundeck area, which we found to be more private and better for sunbathing. They also have a complimentary happy hour every day, which is perfect to socialise with other guests and make new friends. They is even an onsite masseur available for, er, consultations(!) offering a range of treatments including specials for couples.

If you want to stay in an exclusively gay, clothing-optional resort, but not as large and overwhelming as Island House, then this is the place for you. Also, if you want more privacy, we recommend asking for a room near the front of the building, away from the pool area.

If, however, you're a social butterfly and want to be at the heart of all the action, we recommend you book one of the rooms near the pool or on the upper-level sundeck.

05

La Te Da Hotel

mixed + adults-only

La Te Da is a large gay friendly venue with an excellent restaurant, Cabaret theatre and several rooms to rent

Why we love it


  • Adults-only hotel on Duval Street
  • Home of the Randy Roberts drag and cabaret shows
  • Famous Sunday gay tea dance pool party
  • Look out for hilarious and charismatic owner/Chef Christopher

La Te Da is a large gay friendly venue with an excellent restaurant, Cabaret theatre, bars, swimming pool and an intimate hotel.

Although it's not clothing optional, it is exclusively for adults. It is particularly popular with gay couples as it's well located on Duval Street, just down the road from the main gay hangouts. We love the cabaret show they have here every evenings, especially Randy Roberts!

There are just 15 rooms at La Te Da, which makes it super personable and friendly. The more high-end rooms feature marble baths, vaulted ceilings and hardwood flooring. The communal relaxation area includes a large pool and sundeck. On Sundays, La Te Da hosts a gay tea dance party in the afternoon, which is a fun alternative to the more boisterous pool party over at Island Gardens.

We love La Te Da because it's ideal for couples, no screaming loud children and minus the cruisy atmosphere you tend to get from the male-only resorts. The restaurant/bar is a popular gay hangout, part of the Key West gay scene. Look out for the very charismatic and hilarious owner Chef Christopher, who may even let you touch his crown! The food is also divine, so make sure you come for a meal even if you're not staying here.

06

The Gardens Hotel

mixed + adults-only

The Gardens is a very classy and pretty hotel in Key West that's adults-only and welcoming to all orientations

Why we love it


  • Beautiful 4-star hotel with lush gardens
  • Two swimming pools and a bar
  • Excellent tropical breakfast each morning
  • Walking distance to the gay bars yet very quiet at night!

The Gardens Hotel is a super classy, 4-star hotel, famous for its wine collection. It was named β€œThe Prettiest Hotel in Key West” by The New York Time’s List and we couldn't agree more! All the buildings are stunning and surrounded by lush gardens.

It also has the perfect location, just around the corner from the gay scene of Duval Street. Despite this, The Gardens Hotel is totally peaceful at night – perfect if you want a place close to the gay parties but also want a good night's sleep!

Although the crowd is mixed, we felt extremely welcome as a gay couple. The rooms are spacious and really beautifully decorated. All rooms have a shared balcony or patio. The hotel has its own private parking area for guests, which is a big deal in Key West – parking is getting harder to find and more expensive each year!

The buffet breakfast is excellent – one of the best we've had from all our hotel stays in Key West. We always had ours by the outdoor pool which is surrounded by beautiful gardens, a bird aviary and fountains.

The main highlight of The Gardens Hotel, which it is so famous for locally is the wine gallery. They have a smart card system for wine tasting so you can do it yourself at any time of the day, or, join one of their wine tasting evenings. The Gardens Hotel is perfect for gay couples who want to be close to the gay scene but far enough from it to have a break from it when needed!

07

Kimpton Ridley House (Cypress House Hotel)

mixed + adults-only

Kimton Key west is a little gay friendly heaven in Key West for LGBTQ travellers

Why we love it


  • Adults-only hotel in three historic homes
  • Only 23 guestrooms so super intimate and personable
  • Full of character: set in a charming historical conch-style building
  • Gay friendly AND pet friendly!

Kimpton Ridley House is a gay friendly, adults-only, 3-star hotel, located a few blocks from Duval Street. It was previously known as Cypress House Hotel, but has recently undergone a change in ownership, although note many websites still refer to it as the Cypress House.

The majority of the staff working here are gay. The building is full of character, set in three historic homes, including two Victorian and one Bahamian Eyebrow (named for the low front roof).

There are 23 spacious ensuite guest rooms at Kimpton Ridley House, some of which have private balconies or access to decks/common balconies. The common areas of the hotel include a large outdoor lap pool, landscaped sun lounging area and kitchen area. Also note: they are pet-friendly, unlike many other hotels in Key West!

Kimpton Ridley House is well known for being a gay friendly hotel in Key West. The majority of the staff are gay (and super cute!), so they obviously have no problems allowing gay couples to share a bed. We love that it's set in a charming historical conch-style building, which gives it so much character. Also, the fact that there are only 23 rooms available means it's more personable compared to some of the larger commercial chain hotels in Key West.

08

Southernmost Beach Resort

mixed + adult only areas

The Southernmost Beach Resort is one of the most luxurious and stunning hotels in Key West, and very gay friendly

Why we love it


  • Huge stunning resort right on the beach
  • Three swimming pools and four tropical bars
  • Delicious restaurant/cafe on the beach
  • Lush spa and super-modern fitness centre

Stunning…simply stunning!

The Southernmost Beach Resort is one of the most luxurious and exquisite hotels in Key West. It's huge, set over six acres of land in two historic buildings. It's also located right by the beach so you're never far from an ocean view.

Put it this way, visually it's so beautiful and perfect that it has become a popular location for gay weddings in Key West.

There are 261 elegantly furnished rooms, suites and luxury private guesthouses to book. Each room is decorated in a modern style, spacious, with plenty of storage space. They have three different swimming pools, including an adult-only zone.

There are no fewer than four tropical bars to enjoy either beside the pool or the beach. There's also a private section of beach here for the exclusive use of guests, which includes an attached tanning pier. Sunsets on that pier are gorgeous!

Other perks of this gem of a hotel include a large fitness centre, outdoor yoga classes and the deluxe Petite Spa for massages and beauty treatments. We recommend the Southernmost Beach Resort to couples looking to splash out and celebrate a special occasion. Visually, we rate this as our favourite gay friendly hotel in Key West!

09

Simonton Court Historic Inn and Cottages

mixed + adults only

Simonton Court is a gay friendly adults-only hotel in Key West

Why we love it


  • Intimate resort in an 1880s renovated cigar factory
  • Spacious rooms, cottages and townhouses available
  • Four swimming pools and lush garden
  • Tropical island feeling here: serene and tranquil!

Simonton Court is a gay friendly adults-only 4-star hotel set in a large 2-acre compound. The compound includes historic cottages, a Victorian mansion, a townhouse and an 1880s cigar factory.

The cigar factory was converted into a hotel where you can book a room to stay in. Alternatively, you can book one of the annexed cottages, which is where the cigar factory workers used to live.

The rooms are spacious, decorated with many of the original features still in place. The beds are extremely comfortable, or as Seby put it – “it felt like I was sleeping in a cloud!”. In terms of communal spaces, there are no fewer than 4 pools here and a pretty brick courtyard area where breakfast is served. Depending on which type of accommodation you choose, you may even have a pool right outside your door.

This is a slightly more intimate resort than the Southernmost Beach Resort and full of charming history dating back to the late 19th century when the cigar industry was booming in Key West. We loved the flowering vines and palm fronds, which made it seem like we were on our own tropical island. The Simonton is an ideal option for couples looking for a unique, serene and peaceful stay in Key West.

10

NYAH Key West

budget + adults-only

NYAH means Not Your Average Hostel and the NYAH Key West is definitely that, very gay friendly and with fabulous pool areas

Why we love it


  • Excellent budget option
  • Adults only and gay friendly
  • 3 swimming pools and 2 Jacuzzis
  • Walking distance to the gay bars of Key West

Budget-friendly gay welcoming hostel…tick!

Yes, Key West is very expensive. Put it this way: most locals have at least 2 or 3 jobs just to make ends meet! As such, accommodation options in Key West are famous for being pricey. Even for a basic guesthouse or Airbnb, you need to budget for a few hundred dollars a night.

The NYAH hostel serves as the ideal solution to LGBTQ budget travellers in Key West.

NYAH stands for Not Your Average Hostel, and NYAH Key West is definitely that! With a Build Your Own Room concept you choose all the add-ons you want – kinda like booking a flight with JetBlue or Spirit Airlines! There are 36 rooms to choose from, each sleeping between 4-6 people. For couples, we recommend booking one of their private bungalows. A continental breakfast is provided daily free of charge.

The NYAH has three outdoor swimming pools, two Jacuzzis and multiple deck areas for sunbathing. There's a bar with a daily happy hour every afternoon. It's super sociable here, perfect for meeting other travellers and quickly making new friends. In terms of location, the gay scene of Key West is on your doorstep – just a few minutes walking down the street!

Find out what to do during your gay holiday to Key West

What to do in Key West?

Key West is a gay mecca with so many fun things to do. We love the tours recommended by GetYourGuide because they always inspire new ideas, are super easy to book and won't break the bank!

Happy travels are safe travels

We recommend you always take out travel insurance before your next vacation. What happens if you suffer from illness, injury, theft or a cancellation? With travel insurance, you can have peace of mind and not worry. We love World Nomads travel insurance and have been using it for years. Their comprehensive coverage is second to none and their online claims process is very user friendly.


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Stefan Arestis

Stefan is the co-founder, editor and author of the gay travel blog nomadicboys.com. As a travel nerd, he has explored more than 80 countries across 5 continents. What he loves the most about travelling is discovering the local gay scene, making new friends and learning new cultures. His advice about LGBTQ travel has been featured in Gay Times, Gaycities, Pink News, Gay Star News, Attitude and Towleroad. He has also written about gay travel for other non-gay specific publications including Lonely Planet, The New York Times, The Guardian and The Huffington Post. Stefan is also a qualified lawyer, having practised as a commercial property litigator in London for over 10 years. He left his lawyer days behind to work full time on Nomadic Boys with his husband Sebastien. Find out more about Nomadic Boys.

6 thoughts on “10 best gay resorts and gay hotels in Key West”

  1. First of all, I wanna say that you guys made for each other. its like love still exists. The list of resorts that you have shared is amazing and the photos are very eye-catching. When the lockdown is over, I will definitely explore one of these resorts.

    Reply

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