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“Our new Key West home!”
Review of Equator Resort

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Equator Resort
Certificate of Excellence
Minneapolis, MN
Level 3 Contributor
19 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Our new Key West home!”
Reviewed 23 February 2014

As longtime Big Ruby's fans, we were a little nervous about staying at Equator for the first time.

It took only a few moments for our doubts to be erased. We have found our new winter getaway in Key West! The staff (kudos to Michael, Tim and Perry) is always smiling and helpful, and made us feel at home right away.

Equator has done a nice job of combining its property with the former Coral Tree. There are two pools, two hot tubs, and lots of loungers, all surrounded by lush tropical plantings. Most visitors, but not all, ditch the bathing suit, but the atmosphere is very low-key and mellow.

Don't skip happy hour! Besides the free-flowing beer, wine and frozen drinks, it's where you'll meet people from around the country and the world, and share tips on restaurants, shopping, etc. The scene is always loud and filled with laughter, and the host/bartender makes sure your glass is always full.

Breakfast is fine, with a variety of pastries, along with hard-boiled eggs, cereal, yogurt and fresh fruit. There's a fridge and microwave in your room if you want to pick up your own food for meals or snacks.

The location, close to Duval Street but far enough away from its noise and crowds, is convenient for some great restaurants (Help Yourself is an organic cafe/market across the street that's perfect for lunch, and Mangia Mangia, one of our faves for fresh pasta, is just around the corner), and the bars are a safe, quiet 10-minute walk.

Key West may not be "as gay" as it used to be, but it's still a beautiful, relaxing place to escape from winter. Wonderful restaurants, fun bars, good shopping, charming architecture and Equator!

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank ptuch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Location
  • Sleep Quality
  • Rooms
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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (55)
Date | Rating
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English first
Rockville Maryland
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 February 2014 via mobile

My husband and I visited the Equator for a week in the middle of February 2014. Over the years we had gone to the Oasis and Big Rubys but now we went back to the Equator and were very pleasantly surprised.

We had stayed away from the Equator because the property was small and getting some sun was always difficult, but now they bought the property next door which had been part of the Oasis, and it has made a huge difference. They removed the wall between the two properties and now there is a lot more sun available.

The entire property looks well-kept and new paint is everywhere. They are really making an effort to try to keep this place first class. They renovated the new building and I hear they are continuing the renovation in the existing property.

Our room was very nice with new furnishings. A flatscreen television, refrigerator, and microwave were all in the room. The back of the new property faces south so the rooms with balconies had lots of opportunity for sun.

Breakfast was timely and simple, mostly carbohydrate oriented foods, yogurt, fresh fruit and hard-boiled eggs. The late afternoon cocktail hour was a real surprise and a treat. Beer, wine and frozen drinks all served their outdoor bar and all free.

The staff were wonderful. Everyone was very polite, kind and professional. A special shout out to Michael who had to deal with our ever-changing schedule because of canceled flights. Whoever owns the Equator, take note. he's a keeper!

The Equator is not cheap which may have been the reason there were so few young people visiting. Still, the men were all nice and respectful and everyone seemed to be having a nice time.

Some minor critiques are:

You really can't find a place to lay in the sun all day. Having to move from one side of the property to the other is required if you want a whole day in the sun.

As the property is reasonably small you are never away from hearing a whirling air-conditioner when outside.

Our room air conditioner was very loud and a constant droning background noise. I'm not sure if they can do anything about this but it was annoying nonetheless.

Some protein other than hard-boiled eggs would have been nice for breakfast.

Stayed February 2014, travelled solo
Helpful?
3 Thank Rockville_Roamer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 February 2014

This is one of the few exclusively gay men's clothing optional guest houses. The pool area was very nice along with the hot tubs (although the water was close to boiling in the hot tubs). There is a daily afternoon happy hour that has the potential to be very nice. Unfortunately times have changed and many who use to stay at gay B&Bs are not able to afford the high prices of travel or they forgo the gay accommodations for something less expensive. Those who did stay were not near as friendly as the guys who use to stay at these types of places. I also think the management was not all that friendly. it's run more like a motel than a guest house or B&B. It use to be that when you stayed at a gay b&b you were treated special. Now straight owned establishments accept gay people with open arms and so for places that are exclusively gay, they really need to go above and beyond to satisfy the needs for the gay customer or they will be lost to the gay friendly establishments. There was little value in staying here.
The rooms were fair -- noisy air conditioning unit and construction sounds from renovations.
The breakfast was something you'd get at a motel 6 (toast your own frozen waffles, walmart mini-muffins, yoplait yogurt).
Amenities- the pools were nice and so were the lounge chairs. The lounge chairs on our deck were really too big -- we had to have them turned sideways in order for them to fit on the balcony. Bicycles should be free-- add a few more dollars and throw them in as an amenity for staying - like the happy hour.

Room Tip: I would suggest a balcony room. (no fitness center or room service)
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  • Stayed February 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Bill S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Atlanta, Georgia
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 February 2014

Key West gay lodging is expensive. Very expensive. Luckily at the Equator you can get a better price and a nicer room then you would at the trashier Island House. A friend and I had a huge room with two full sized beds, beautiful bathroom and shower, private deck for $299 a night. A tiny room with a queen sized bed at Island House was more than that a night.

Equator is clean and easy breezy. Free continental breakfast (which is not bad) and free happy hour. Pools and hot tubs have sun and are clean. Rooms are clean. Staff is nice enough but you have to track them down. For example - we needed to be buzzed after lunch (we had already checked out) and were completely ignored by the two staff members sitting in the office. Not cool.

The good - renovated rooms, good location, all male clientele, clothing optional, breakfast and happy hour.

Areas that need improvement: outside bathroom/shower is nasty. Everyone heads to Island House for the day so it's pretty ho hum/quiet in the pool area. When you leave, you are asked to tip 10% of the total bill. We would have had to tip $100 yet we didn't go to the happy hour and nobody was around during the breakfasts - help was indifferent. I'm more than happy to tip the maids but they want you to tip everyone at the end. We put $20 bucks each in the envelope but per their recommendation, it would have been over $100. Unbelievably bad policy.

This is my second time there and I must say that Alexanders is my favorite spot as it's cleaner, nicer, friendlier, and cheaper. But do stay at Equator before wasting money at Island House. You can just walk down there and hang out as long as you buy a drink or eat some food, or get a cheap day pass.

  • Stayed February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Steve T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pembroke Pines, Florida
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 1 February 2014

I go to Key West often. Sometimes with friends and sometimes alone, just to relax. This was a solo trip for me. I had never stayed at Equator, but decided to give it a try since my usual accommodations were already booked. And I must say that I had a really enjoyable time.

The front desk was helpful and friendly. They also offer a happy hour with free drinks, which is a really nice way to get to know some of the other guests in a casual atmosphere.

The highlight of my trip was the massage I had. They have a massage therapist (Rich) on staff who will give you a massage in an outside area or in your room. I have had many massages in my life, but I have to say that this was absolutely the best massage I ever had!!

The room was relatively small, but since I was alone, it was perfectly comfortable and I felt was a good value for the price.

I would have to say that I would choose Equator next time I come to Key West looking for a quiet, relaxing stay (and get another massage!).

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Nicholas L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 January 2014 via mobile

First of all, this is a male only, clothing optional resort.
However, it is not a uncontrolled bacchanal. It is a beautiful well-appointed resort. The guests, to a man, were polite and cordial and very non-judgmental. Several strangers became pleasent acquaintances. A group of genuine gentleman, many of whom happened to be nude. No judgement.
It is not comfortably within waking distance of Duval Street, but it is a short cab or pedi-cab ride away.
There was a problem with our room when we arrived and it was dealt with by the time we returned from lunch.
The breakfast and happy hour were delightful. The front desk and pool boys were great and both competent and cordial. In all fairness, the cleaning staff was
both non-communicative and stoic, very out of place in this surroundings.
Well a bit pricey, I can't imagine a better resort of its kind.
We will return!

  • Stayed January 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank TRMoorehead
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Fribourg, Switzerland
Level 4 Contributor
33 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 January 2014

Our motivation to write reviews on tripadvisor is to give our point of view to other travelers, to be honest and objectif. Even if we see here more and more (excellent) notes which are more like advertisings then reviews... we as tripadviser community know how easy such fake reviews may be published. Unfortunaltly the Equator Resort seems to have also many of them....
Here now our Point of view:

Key West is a real paradise. But if you'r looking for "men only" accomodations unfortunaly there is no more real choice. The only two real ones are Equator and Island House. We decided to give Equator this time a chance, just to compare.
The good things:The Resort is big, clean and there is enough space around the pools. Yes there you find 2 pools and 2 hottubs. During happyhour you get free dinks, as many as you like..
And now the things that made us not "happy":

-We had a check-in without any "welcome" or smile from the receptionist... he was very busy to take our credit card and make sure that we pay our 4 day stay...
-Our "Deluxeroom" is advertides as with "French porch"... but don't expect a nice veranda as you see them often in Key West... no at Equator it is a window door, you may stepp out with your feets, if you have a small size...
-The floor in our room were always wet, due to the humidity... no possible to change it with the airconditioner... that one was old and very noisy... also when you put on the light in the bathroom it went on with a noise like a big motorbike (due of the ventilator)...

-The size of the room is correct (for the price you pay). But what kind of furniture and decoration do you expect in a pricy gay guesthouse? Unfortunetly we had the impression that everything in our room came out of an antique shop or strait from the flea market.

-Breakfast was nothing special (basic and not specialy varied), just ok and boring.

-During our stay we never saw a staff member with a smile saying hello or good morning.... but everytime during our breakfast they came relatively importunately to ask about our room number.. to make "quick" the room up...

-The "new" Manager showed up only once: during X-mas happy hour...

-On our check-out nobody could be found at the reception for almost 30 min. Tryed to call but phone stayed at reception... So we handed over the keys to a staff member... he was not at all interested, no word, no smile, no thanks.... no byebye...

And so we walked out and know that next time we'll stay at THE other one...

Room Tip: ask for a room with a real balcony!
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
9 Thank Jean-PhilippeetUrs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Equator Resort

Property: Equator Resort
Address: 822 Fleming St, Key West, FL 33040-6904
Phone Number:
Region: United States > Florida > Florida Keys > Key West
Amenities:
Business Centre with Internet Access Free Breakfast Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 21 Speciality Lodging in Key West
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Number of rooms: 34
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The all male - clothing optional Equator Resort in Key West meets all your needs and expectations to experience a relaxed and private escape. Beautifully designed and landscaped this high end post modern Caribbean resort invites our guest to enjoy a secure and exclusive all male experience. Offering numerous accommodations options ranging from island views, pool views with private balconies or our private owners suite all our rooms provide private baths. Included in each night stay are: Complimentary Continental Breakfast daily with fresh locally baked savory pastries, Complimentary Happy Hour daily with selections of frozen drinks, beer, wine and liquor options, Complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the property and 9 complimentary adult male channels in each room. Only 3 blocks from Duval St and nestled in the heart of Historic Old Town Equator is the only choice for location, comfort and privacy. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Equator Hotel Key West
Equator Resort Key West, Florida

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