Kimpton Hotels operates 70 hotels in a dozen or so countries, with another 30 in the works. But it seems to belong in Key West, where the city’s official “One Human Family” motto aligns unmistakably with the San Francisco-based company’s “Stay Human” mantra.
Upscale, yet low-key and authentic, both Kimpton and Key West — company and community — are committed to people — their own, their guests, even their pets.
“All five Key West properties are pet-friendly, for no extra charge,” said Megan Coccito, sales and marketing director for Kimpton Key West, who added that the company regularly ranks among the nation’s 100 best places to work. “When we first closed some of the properties for renovations in 2018, the owners made sure everyone was paid for a full 40-hour week, even if there wasn’t enough work, because they didn’t want to lose good people. They really value their employees and our individuality.”
Kimpton Capital Partners in August 2019 paid $109 million for the collection of six Key West Historic Inns that innkeeper Julie Fondriest had owned for 20 years. The new owners combined two of the inns, Chelsea House and Key Lime Inn, both on Truman Avenue, consolidating the collection from six inns to five cleverly designed boutique hotels, the concept that helped launch Kimpton in the mid-1980s.
“Key West is such a natural fit as a Kimpton destination, with its distinctive island style and vibrant local scene,” said Mike DeFrino, CEO of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants. “Key West is rich with the kind of history and welcoming culture that our guests value in their stay experiences. We look forward to bringing our signature heartfelt hospitality to this unique market.”
While the exteriors and charismatic character of each property will remain intact, each hotel has a new name, and has been renovated, updated and elevated to meet Kimpton’s standards of luxury and hospitality. Merlin Inn is now Ella’s Cottages. Key Lime Inn and Chelsea House became Winslow’s Bungalow’s, named for painter Homer Winslow. Lighthouse Court is now Lighthouse Hotel; Cypress House is Ridley House and Albury Court will reopen as Fitch House later this summer, Coccito said. The collection now includes 219 total rooms that will range widely in price based on time of year and type of room, from $175 to $600 per night.
Each hotel features a bike-sharing service, free continental breakfast and locally made amenities.
“Waterfront Brewery has created a signature beer for us that will be served to guests upon arrival,” she said.
But most of all, Coccito emphasized, “Kimpton is truly committed to being involved in and supportive of the Key West community. It’s really exciting to work for a large hotel company that truly cares about its people and its community and wants to be involved.”
Three of the five Kimpton Key West hotels are now fully open and operational, with the other two — Fitch House and Ridley House — reopening around September, she said.
Kimpton executives had planned a grand opening party for May 2020, to introduce the company, collection and community commitment to Key West locals. Obviously that couldn’t happen, Coccito said. But it will be rescheduled.