I often chat with LGBTQ visitors while I’m out and about, and subtly get the 411 on how their vacations are going. One of the typical replies is, “We’re having an amazing time — everyone is so nice and we’ve met lots of new friends.”
Occasionally that’s followed by, “But I wasn’t able to get a room at my favorite LGBTQ guest house because it was sold out.”
Luckily, it’s possible to enjoy some of the amenities of our LGBTQ properties without being a guest. (I know because I love to mingle with visitors on weekends and imagine that I’m on vacation as well.)
Here’s my scoop on how to pool-hop like a pro in gay Key West — and get a warm welcome — even without a room reservation.
The Bourbon Street Entertainment Complex at 724 Duval St. includes a male-only guest house called New Orleans House. The property has a full-service tiki bar, Jacuzzi, pool, and two sundecks (check out the very top deck for lovely views of the island). All of these amenities are available to males 18 years old and older — free of charge — seven days a week.
On Saturday afternoons the place stages a Wet’n Wild pool party. The all-welcome event features local DJ Rude Girl spinning song favorites and a hilarious drag queen keeping everyone entertained with wacky pool games.
If you prefer a little more “chilled” day at the pool, the Equator Resort at 822 Fleming St. has a complimentary Saturday male-only pool party from noon to 4 p.m. (excluding special events).
The property recently refreshed its pool area and sundecks with new patio furniture including some VERY comfortable chaise lounge chairs perfect for an afternoon snooze.
The Equator offers two pools, two Jacuzzis and a full-service bar. I usually gravitate towards the pool closer to the bar, with its soothing waterfall and convenient location for acquiring ice-cold beverages.
The Island House Resort at 1129 Fleming St. offers an unprecedented 24-7 access to its facilities for non-hotel guests. The all-male clothing-optional island oasis offers 24-hour food and beverage service, a pool, Jacuzzis, saunas, a gym and some amazing poolside massages. One of my favorite go-to areas of the resort is the sundeck, with lots of water misters to keep cool while working on that perfect tan.
FYI, if you’re not a guest of the property, you’ll need to purchase a day pass that currently costs $30. Valid until 8 a.m. the following day, the pass entitles purchasers to full use of the resort (except for the guest rooms, of course). Please note that a valid photo ID is needed to enter and the cost of food, beverages and massages isn’t included with the pass.
My favorite day to visit is on Sundays for the Hot Naked Sundays pool party from noon to 4 p.m. The resort is packed with revelers and the eye-candy level is significant. Other attractions include drink specials and lots of prize giveaways. If you prefer only to use the bar and restaurant, no day pass is required.
For readers who prefer a little powdery white sand between their toes, beautiful blue-green ocean waters and gentle sea breezes — we’ve got you covered too. For one thing, Key West’s Higgs Beach was recognized as one of the world’s 11 best gay beaches in a 2018 “Gay Cities: Your Gay Travel Guide” article.
Please check out one of my past blogs, Florida Keys Beaches 101. You’ll find an overview that even includes our beach nicknamed to salute legendary actress Elizabeth Taylor.
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