100-room resort opens in Key 

The new Gates Hotel hits that perfect note that most of Key West strives for — casual AND elegant. It’s located at the entrance to Key West — what locals call “the triangle — but its upscale appointments make it feel as if it could be on any remote island paradise.

The décor is very coastal, warm wood tones and blues throughout, with enough modern edge to make it feel new and fresh. The lobby, featuring comfortable wicker chairs and vaulted ceilings, offers a straight shot through to the rum bar out back, where locals are always welcome.

Rum Row, the resort’s bar designed by local Marky Pierson, celebrates the Keys’ rum running tradition. Rustic elements such as old crates, barrels, maps and ship wheels look as if they have been weathered by the sea create an interesting and relaxing atmosphere to sip in the shade by the pool’s edge.

The list of rum drinks is extensive. Guests and visitors can try Up In Smoke, The Real McCoy, Tomoka Mojito or a Moraze 75. On a recent afternoon the bartender recommended a Hilda’s Chi-Chi — made with house-infused pineapple vodka, pineapple juice, coconut milk and a shot of coconut water. The taste is fresh like only truly home-made concoctions can be. Of course, the resort has its own cigar club, too. Guests can choose from a wide variety and congregate in the special cigar-smoking “lounge” poolside.

The Gates offers a hip alternative to the standard pool bar concession. The Blind Pig (a nod to the old slang for a speakeasy), is actually a food truck. It is already getting serious attention on Tripadvisor and Facebook by dishing out a selection of small bite and taps in the “Conch fusion” style — cuisine inspired by Key West’s Cuban, Bahamian, Caribbean, and Floridian roots. The menu is extensive for this type of operation and it’s open fromm 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. After the sun sets, try the namesake entrée. The Blind Pig dinner is smoky pulled-pork with aged cheddar cheese, barbeque glaze and sweet onions served on pretzel bread.

The Gates currently has 100 rooms online, and another 145 expected to be ready soon. For more information, visit gateshotelkeywest.com.


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