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Historic Pier House Resort, Key West, Florida
Receiving a $10 million Renovation

KEY WEST, Fla., Aug. 20, 2008 - Pier House Resort and Caribbean Spa has just begun a renovation of all guest accommodations and some public areas in an effort to remain a truly original Key West property with modern and eclectic comforts, decor and amenities. The resort started the transformation in mid-May and anticipates completion by October 2008.

Pier House is unique in that no two guestrooms are physically alike on a floor, the renewal maintains characteristics of the 142 rooms and suites guests have grown to love. Warm and vibrant color tones are used throughout all five buildings bringing light and character to each space.

Soft palettes of green, blue, yellow and salmon with accent colors in bright pink, orange, and green frame the teak and mahogany furniture. The furniture is custom-designed with one-of-a-kind pieces like poster beds, specialty vanities, cabinetry to house the dresser, flat-screen TV, coffee amenities and an upholstered bench, and rattan desks. Distinctive fixtures, finishes and fabrics highlight the eclectic decor.

General Manager Joy Smatt says, "It's important for our guests to feel that Pier House remains faithful to its reputation for delivering an extraordinary vacation experience, providing the comfort and attention that makes each guest feel perfectly at ease. Times change and our guests' needs must be anticipated."

It started in the early 1960’s, when the rest of the world was discovering the appeal Key West held for its resident population of Conchs, free spirits, outlaws and eccentrics, and the island was just beginning to be recognized as a world-class tourist destination. And with this awareness, came a restoration movement that would restore the Old Town area to its glory days.

Builder/designer David Wolkowsky, a Key West native, realized the potential of this revitalization and the importance of preserving the past by making it work for the future.

In 1962 he rescued a condemned bar, the original home of “Sloppy Joe’s” of Hemingway fame. From there he developed property on lower Duval and Front Streets including “Pirate’s Alley” and the Original Cigar Factory. In 1963 Wolkowsky accomplished a major coup with the purchase of choice waterfront property near Mallory Square for $106,000. This deserted area around the old Cuban Ferry Dock, a haven for the homeless, was destined to become a one-of-a-kind tropical resort.

Locals watched as their hometown boy lifted the 1890 Porter Steamship office off its foundation and moved it 300 feet out, setting it on pilings in 40 feet of water. He transformed the Steamship office into “Tony’s Fish Market”, a restaurant and cocktail lounge where guests could relax and watch shrimp boats in the channel on their way into port. In 1967 Wolkowsky and architect Yiannis B. Antonidis began construction on a motel around the restaurant with 50 unique rooms, to which 50 more rooms that faced the ocean where quickly added. The completed structure was christened “Pier House Resort Motel”.

The original Pier House Resort, which cost $370,000 to build, also included the Chart Room, a cubbyhole of a bar where Jimmy Buffet is said to have begun his career.

By the mid-seventies, a fine dining restaurant, known as the Pier House Resort Restaurant was the Key West “in” place for tourists and locals alike. The likes of Tennessee Williams, Truman Capote and Peter Fonda could be found dining on stone crab claws and yellowfish and listening to live piano music.

And in that sense, although Key West has changed a great deal in the past 35 years, Pier House Resort and Caribbean Spa has remained the same. Defining the island as much as being defined by it.  Through various expansions and renovations – such as the addition of the Caribbean Spa – Pier House Resort has remained in a class of its own on Key West. Indeed, the “flagship hotel of the Key West state of mind”.

Ai Group, a multi-disciplinary design firm based in Atlanta, took inspiration from the local color and flavor of Key West. Suzy Leveille, a principal at Ai Group and the managing designer, states, "We designed for the guest personality at Pier House. This resort attracts a sophisticated, free-spirit seeking an experience that echoes individuality."

All bathrooms are redesigned to offer more space, and feature earth tones with sandy and porcelain tiles, glass showers, rain showerheads, specialty bathroom vanities, and chrome fixtures. Local artwork will grace the walls of guestrooms and public areas.

Internal and external corridors are enhanced with new paint, wall covering, custom artwork and upgraded lighting. The Atrium building's front lobby will be revamped to improve guest check-in, concierge and business center services. A new elevator will also be added to this building.

The Harbour View building suites with spiral staircases receive new half-bathrooms upstairs. All balcony furniture will be replaced with plush neutral pieces.

The resort features upgraded security for guestroom key access and hard-wired fire safety systems. Most case goods were manufactured in the United States, including the beds, wall cabinetry, desks and fridge.

Available now are six new stylishly appointed one-bedroom suites featuring near panoramic views, modern earth-toned decor, vibrant artwork, thoughtful amenities including specialty vanity mirror, signature spa collection toiletries, spa robes and rain showerhead, flat screen TV, sitting room, and infinity balcony.

Pier House Resort has provided guests with a sanctuary where free spirits, Conchs and socialites have felt at ease for nearly forty years. This tropical hideaway is nestled in lush gardens, harbourfront at the Gulf of Mexico, and located in the heart of historic Old Town.


 Pier House Resort and Caribbean Spa
One Duval Street
Key West, Florida
(800) 327-8340 (305) 296-4600


Also See: Hyatt Key West Resort & Spa's $11 million Redesign Provides Extensive Upgrades and “Green Certified” Status / January 2008
The Blackstone Group Completes $12 million Renovation of the The Key Largo Grande Resort & Beach Club and Branding to Hilton / July 2008


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