While the Florida Keys have been temporarily closed to visitors because of the COVID-19 crisis, Key West’s LGBTQ hoteliers have been busy upgrading their properties and incorporating new health and safety measures — just in time for the Keys’ reopening on June 1.

Equator Resort Florida Keys

The 34-room Equator Resort is implementing a wide range of initiatives to benefit guests’ health and safety in the “new normal.” (Photo courtesy of Equator Resort)

Key West has five wonderful LGBTQ-oriented lodging options, and their teams have all been very diligent about getting ready to welcome guests again (with a focus on safety, yet while also maintaining our island’s laid-back state-of-mind).

Representatives at all the properties have reported that they’re compliant with city, state and federal health guidelines, including the new ones related to COVID-19 (too many to list here, but you can find them on their websites and social media pages). Just please remember to bring your own masks and favorite island attire, and you should be A-okay.

Among the LGBTQ properties is the 34-room clothing-optional all-male Equator Resort at 822 Fleming St., featuring two pools and wide sundecks (“social distancing approved”), loungers, whirlpools and a Tiki bar. All guests will be temperature-checked at check-in, and each room will be left vacant for a day after its occupant’s departure so it can be ozoned, cleaned, disinfected and sanitized. More hand sanitizer stations will be available for guests, and the property has a refreshed lobby, pool area and sundecks with new furniture. Management has also implemented a new text-messaging option that enables guests to text the front desk staff directly with any housekeeping or concierge requests, allowing increased social distancing.

The Island House Resort at 1129 Fleming St. has also made some changes to adapt to the current COVID-19 crisis. The all-male clothing-optional island oasis plans to offer a streamlined café menu and has placed additional tables around the pool to allow for proper social distancing. The Café will have limited hours of operation from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, with breakfast (the eggs benedict is AH-Mazing and offered all day), lunch, dinner and beverage menus available. Currently, the gym can be used on a reserved-time-slot basis only. Staff will intermittently close the gym throughout the day to do a thorough clean-and-sanitize treatment, complying with CDC guidelines.

The New Orleans House at 724 Duval St. (located in the center of the Pink Triangle entertainment district) is a male-only guesthouse with a full-service tiki bar, Jacuzzi, pool and two sundecks. The top sundeck, which offers lovely views of the island, just received a fabulous facelift. And the 14 guest rooms have undergone extensive renovations and now feature new bedding and flooring.

Key West’s legendary La Te Da plans to welcome guests back to its hotel, restaurant and bar. (Photo courtesy of La Te Da)

The 17-room Alexander’s Guesthouse is an LGBTQ property that also welcomes friends of the LGBTQ community that are age 21 or older.  Located at 1118 Fleming St., the entire property has undergone a deep cleaning and refreshing process and will reopen its doors to guests starting June 4. Daily detailed sanitizing practices will be performed when cleaning rooms and throughout the property. The guesthouse will continue to offer its scrumptious tropical breakfast but, instead of self-serve style, food will be served to guests by an employee with a protective mask and gloves.

Alexander’s late-afternoon happy hour will still delight guests, but will have social distancing parameters in place (with bartenders donning masks and gloves) and a protective plexiglass shield.

Last but not least, the all-welcome age-21-and-over La Te Da at 1125 Duval St. incorporates a well-appointed 15-room hotel, restaurant and bar with stylish poolside dining, piano bar and live entertainment with cabaret-style shows. Unfortunately, the property’s famed entertainment venues will be closed until further notice (sigh), but the restaurant, bar and hotel will be open — albeit with a limited capacity. Don’t forget to ask about the restaurant’s daily specials, because you never know what the ever-so-talented owner/chef Christopher Rounds might be planning.

FYI, please note that all Keys lodging establishments are encouraged to limit occupancy to 50 percent capacity through June 15, and some properties have temporarily removed their online availability information. So it’s best to call ahead to be sure and get your preferred accommodations.

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