Key West, Florida

Steven Brooke
Pack your bags and head to South Florida-this lively rental's already having a good time.

It may not look like much from the curb, but don't be deceived by the humble exterior. Step inside this original Key West conch cottage and you'll want to stay past your planned departure date.

When partners Troy Roberts and Hugh Fuller bought this warm-weather haven in 2005, they set out to create a rental that's always on vacation.

Frozen daiquiris inspired the array of calypso-colored paints that parade throughout the rooms. The vibrant palette sets the cottage in motion. Guests' eyes dance from bold fabrics and dashing artwork to the festive barware lining shelves and filling cabinets. "The house makes you feel good. You just can't help but have fun here!" says Troy.

Comprised mostly of glass, the rear of the shotgun-style cottage opens to a large covered porch. Guests can enjoy a pool and tropical foliage year-round. Inside, a small but fully stocked kitchen allows for family dinners or cocktail parties.

The 100-plus-year-old cottage once served conch chowder and Key lime pie to customers during its days as a diner. But even after several hurricanes, renovations, and owners, the home maintains its original flavor. And with its prime location exactly eight blocks from the beach, the marina, and the thrills of Duval Street, only one question remains: How soon can you get here?

(published March 2007)

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