Sunset Key Guest Cottages, a Westin Resort Rating: 4.5 Pearls
This 40-room resort caters to the upscale traveler with luxurious, beach-chic cottages and high-end amenities. It is located on Sunset Key, a residential island off Key West, and is affiliated to the Westin Key West, with which it shares some features, such as the fitness center and the restaurants. The hotel itself has wonderful amenities, including a lovely pool, a gorgeous beach with palm trees and clear waters, and a pleasant spa. Its location, though idyllic and exclusive, might be somewhat inconvenient for travelers who want to be close to shops and restaurants (the hotel only has one eatery on-site).
Marquesa Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Refurbished from 1884 conch houses, the Marquesa Hotel is a compound of four buildings surrounding lovely interior gardens and two pools. A narrow staircase off the lobby leads to the individually decorated rooms. Light and airy rooms feature flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and cozy sitting areas with ottomans. Bathrooms are basic and clean with shower/tub combos and marble sinks. Suites have private terraces with cute wicker furniture and some are adjacent to one of the hotel's pools. An appealing on-site restaurant, Cafe Marquesa, serves fresh local seafood. No children under 14 are allowed at the hotel, providing this property with a distinctly romantic feel. Free Wi-Fi and parking add value, and the Old Town location two blocks from Duval Street is convenient. Though it doesn't have quite as many amenities as the Sunset Key Cottages, some would argue that it has more of an authentic boutique vibe -- and many will prefer its Old Key West location to the Coral Lagoon's location on Marathon.
Coral Lagoon Resort and Marina Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The Coral Lagoon Resort & Marina has 25 airy, cheerful cottage units that dwarf typical hotel rooms. They're tasteful and homey, with a tropical color palate of yellows, greens, and blues; full kitchens; porches; and high-tech amenities including flat-screen TVs with cable, DVD players, and iPod docks. Its location on Marathon makes it popular with sport fishermen, and the property's marina make it especially convenient for guests with boats. The lack of services, however, makes it a better fit for do-it-yourself travelers.
The Weatherstation Inn Rating: 3.5 Pearls
This charming, 8-room property is housed in a historic building on a quiet street in Old Town Key West, within walking distance to some of the major tourist attractions, and to a couple of good beaches. Each of its rooms has a distinct character and few amenities (a flat-screen TV and little more), but they come with charming decor (four-poster beds, antique touches) and relaxing views of the well-tended grounds. The hotel has no amenities whatsoever -- just a tiny pool -- but there are some great freebies like free Wi-Fi, free parking, and a free quality continental breakfast.
Eden House Rating: 3.0 Pearls
Eden House has had the same owner for nearly 40 years, and numerous loyal customers return year after year for the affordable prices and friendly vibe. The 39 rooms can be bare-bones, especially the semi-private ones with shared bathrooms and no TVs or mini-fridges. Even the higher-level rooms are fairly plain, though, with small bathrooms, simple (verging on bland) decor, and very little furniture (aside from the apartment-style rooms). This historic hotel does have a nice pool courtyard surrounded by palm trees, lovely grounds with deck areas, hammocks, and koi ponds throughout, and tons of freebies (Wi-Fi, parking, and happy hour) that make it a good value.