Owner and quirky Key West character Mike Eden bought the half-century-old Gibson Hotel in 1975 and turned it into Eden House. Today it’s one of those places that engender such loyalty and repeat business that on my last visit a front-desk staffer, once a frequent guest, had just 4 months earlier left her life in Illinois to come work here. While it’s a great example of a typical KW tropical hideaway—pool, hot tub, hammocks, and sundecks amid lush landscaping—the secret sauce has to be the alchemy from a mix of guests from twentysomethings to seniors, plus friendly, helpful staff such as Ryan and Randy, who more often than not reflect the owner’s no-nonsense, often irreverent sensibility; it’s on full display during the daily afternoon happy hour. Another plus is an impressive variety of quarters—from shared-bath “budget” doubles to an entire floor of a house, sleeping up to five—all with low-key island touches such as wood paneling, slate floors, plus a glass-brick wall here and a stained-glass window there. At attached restaurant Azur, guests get a 20% discount off breakfast and lunch.
- Frommer's Staff