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Touring the US East Coast - Day 7

Written By:
Alain Kasteleyn
February 10, 2014

Today we have a full day in Key West. We also have some work planned! First of all we need to meet Alex, the International Sales Manager for the Remington Group of hotels (they own the ‘Inn at Key West’ where we are staying). All good stuff and we think there’s lots to learn.

We met Alex for breakfast at 08:00, and talked over what we planned to do business-wise and how we believed we could work with the hotels owned by the Remington Group. Alex detailed how his organisation worked, and our ideas matched up to what he told us. We talked about The Inn at Key West, and then drove over to another of the organisation’s hotels; the Pier House Hotel. This is located close to the central area of Key West, north of Duval Street, near to where we were the previous evening. We drove our car to the property and parked up there. The hotel was very nice, and we got the chance to check several rooms, the facilities offered and again we were able to quiz Alex about all kinds of things.

Site visit completed we walked into Central Key West and headed straight to the La Concha hotel, again part of the Remington Group, to check that place out! Busy, busy, busy! Enough of work, the remainder of the day was spent doing touristy things. Very touristy things in fact, such as visiting ‘Ripley’s Believe It Or Not’ museum (decide yourself if this might be worthwhile….!), grabbing a Margarita at ‘Margaritaville’ (yep, Key West is also a cruise ship destination and as such hosts one of these establishments). We also headed back to the Pier House Hotel and had a quick beer at the Chart Bar, one of the oldest bars in Key West. The hotel was built around the bar.

We then took a good old walk around the town, looking at the fabulous architecture; basically this is wooden type buildings, with large porches, wrap-around balconies on the upper floors, surrounded by really lush vegetation. Very colonial in its nature, but truly beautiful! And there is street after street of houses and buildings like this. We loved it, and the idea of living in a building like this, sitting out on the porch, or balcony, watching the world go by, caught the imagination. Then the reality that we’d have to return home fairly soon hit us, so we headed to the same bar from the previous evening to drown our sorrows!

During the walk around town, we’d spotted a restaurant that looked interesting; it was called ‘Sarabeth’s’, and this is where we headed back to for dinner. Once again it was located off the main, and busy, Duval Street. There was a terrace, and friendly servers, yet again who chatted and laughed with us. The food was to die for and straight away we thought this was a place we could easily recommend to people.

Fed and watered, and feeling a bit tired, we headed to a bar and met up with Alex, the business contact from that morning. The idea was to have a quick nightcap (not the designated drivers, of course!), say goodbye and then head our separate ways. However, it started to rain and rain and rain. The bar staff were busy mopping up a leak from the ceiling, water was filling the gutters, people were running into the bar completely soaked, and the car was a fifteen minute walk away. Not good! Eventually the rain stopped, and Alex offered to drop us at the car park so we could easily pick our car up and drive back to ‘The Inn at Key West’. We arrived near to the car-park and water was lapping over the pavements, and the streets looked like rivers. The car-park seemed as though it was surrounded by a moat! Amazing to see, but scary all the same.

So, we said our goodbyes and got into our car. We slowly left the car park and tried to drive as carefully as possible, trying to imagine where the kerbs and pavements were. A couple of blocks later the flooding was over, so we were able to speed up and drive safely back to the hotel. In all, quite a busy and eventful day and a memorable journey back to base!

**Alain’s top tips**

  1. Many of the supermarkets offer a ‘loyalty card’ and you can sign up for this straight away. If they do need a USA address, just put down the hotel street address. You can get some good bargains and quite a bit off your bill at the check-out. Do this at the Customer services desk before shopping.
  2. More often than not your hotel room will have a small refrigerator, so you can buy chilled items and store them in the hotel room.
  3. If you buy alcohol from a liquor store or supermarket you will need to show a photo id. Make sure you have your driving licence with you.
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