Unlock Key West: Your Local's Guide to Paradise

Welcome to the island life of Key West! Ever wondered where the locals go for the best experiences? Look no further than our expert concierges, Julie Rodriguez and Bryan Valentine, who are ready to share their insider tips and favorite spots with you. Let’s dive into their wealth of knowledge and uncover some of the island’s hidden treasures, ensuring your stay in Key West is nothing short of extraordinary. So sit back, take notes, and get ready to explore the secrets of Key West like a true local.

First off, a big thanks to Julie and Bryan for taking the time to share their favorite places to go, eat, drink, set sail, and just hang out on their day off. This is the inside scoop, and some shares are the secret places you’ll be happy to find out about after you visit. So without further ado, here’s our Q&A with Julie and Bryan.

Q: What are the most frequently asked questions from guests at our resort?

Julie: Guests often inquire about our shuttle service, pool amenities, and refrigerators in rooms.

Bryan: One of the most asked questions is – What are the best excursions down here in Key West? Depending on the family or couple, we usually recommend the Island Adventure Eco tour and the Sunset Sail.

Q: Can you share some of the most memorable or quirky guest requests you’ve received?

Julie: Lots of questions about our islands, chickens/roosters. A guest once asked me if they have the right of way in the streets. Another question I had was on the jet ski tour: do we get to stop at Hemingway’s House or do we stop in Cuba?

Bryan: The most memorable guest was a bride who got alcohol poisoning and sunburn a few days before the wedding.  I sent her to IVs of the Keys and Key West Aloe for she would not go to the hospital or Urgent Care. She came to my desk the day before the wedding and was so grateful.

Q: How long have you lived in Key West, and how long have you been a concierge?

Julie: With 48 years of island life and two decades as a concierge, I’m deeply rooted in Key West.

Bryan: Having called Key West home since 1990 and 14 years as a concierge.

Q: Everyone wants to know where the locals go, so tell us about your go-to place on the island.

Julie: Higgs Beach, Southernmost Beach Cafe, Capt Tony’s, Green Parrot and Schooner Wharf Bar.

Bryan: My favorite go-to places are Hot Tin Roof, Southernmost Beach Cafe, Cafe Sole, Little Pearl, Lola’s, Nine One Five, Blackfin, Bagatelle, Blue Heaven, Banana Cafe, and  La Grignote for breakfast.

Key West is a world-class culinary scene. What’s your personal favorite restaurant or dining experience in town?

Julie: Latitude’s

Bryan: See above as he listed a slew of great food and dining experiences across the island. 

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Q: What’s your top recommendation for a water-based activity in Key West?

Julie: Seaplane ride to the Dry Tortugas and Sunset Sails.

Bryan: Fury’s Island Adventure, Commotion Sunset Sail, and the jet ski tours are a blast. Photo courtesy of Bryan Valentine

Q: Can you share a hidden gem or secret spot that guests should visit?

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Julie: Discover Fort Zachary Taylor’s private beach, a/k/a the secret beach. Photo courtesy of Julie Rodriguez

Bryan: I have always spent the majority of my off time on the water down here from deep sea fishing, sandbars, and just exploring the backcountry. I still do trips out to the Marquesas Keys and Dry Tortugas.

Q: Where’s your favorite bar in Key West for a great night out?

Julie: Mojitos at Louie’s Backyard and The Hot Tin Tini (my favorite martini) at Hot Tin Roof.

Bryan: Smokin Tuna Saloon and The Green Parrot are my favorite bars.
The Historic Seaport district has to be one of my favorite places in Key West. That’s where Schooner Wharf Bar and many other places are located.

Q: What do you want people to know about the Southernmost Beach Resort experience before they visit?

Julie: The experience is relaxing and we have everything you need at our beach resort – there’s really no need to leave our property. Our Beach Cafe serves breakfast, lunch & dinner and the resort has live entertainment and lots of fun activities.

Bryan: First off, Southernmost Beach Resort is an incredible property with an unmatched staff in terms of friendliness and care. It’s the perfect place to sink your toes in the sand and make memories in Key West that will be with you forever!

Photo of Sunset courtesy of Julie Rodriguez.

Ready to experience Key West like a local? Let Julie and Bryan, be your guides to unlocking the best of Key West. With their insider tips and personalized recommendations, your travel experience promises to be unforgettable. Welcome to paradise – we can’t wait to see you, and be sure to say hi to Julie and Bryan when you arrive. #somolife