It’s fair to say that no hostelry is more “front and center” hereabouts than this former pineapple factory, which helped put Key West on the map as a vacation destination upon opening in 1968, provided a hangout for the likes of Truman Capote, and helped launch careers like those of treasure hunter Mel Fisher, chef Norman van Aken, Bob Marley, and Parrothead-in-Chief Jimmy Buffett. Besides location, it offers good service and 6 acres’ worth of bells and whistles including a sweet little beach and the island’s largest, most comprehensive spa. Last refurbed in 2008, rooms come in various flavors, but tend toward a low-key, traditional style (for more contemporary and opulent, go for the spa rooms); most also sport balconies or patios. All that plus the fairly friendly, social vibe seems to engender a good degree of loyalty both among repeat visitors and management; one recent general manager, for example, was on the job for 20 years. New ownership and management, already big local players, thankfully haven’t messed with the formula that’s made Pier House a veteran favorite.
- Frommer's Staff