Air Force Inn – Homestead Florida ARB – Lodging Review

, Air Force Inn – Homestead Florida ARB – Lodging Review

The novel experience of staying at an Air Force Inn lodging on Homestead Air Reserve Base for a Key Largo dive trip was… surprisingly great!

, Air Force Inn – Homestead Florida ARB – Lodging Review

I had no idea what to expect from “base housing – turned – base hotel.” I think I imagined grey-painted rooms with bunkbeds and a communal open-shower bathhouse! What a pleasant surprise when we arrived. I had a basic understanding of the conveniences of staying on base – we would not have to unload all our dive gear into the hotel room every night, but could leave it in the car since on-base crime is practically unheard-of; that was one major plus. Besides security, I knew there would be wifi and air conditioning. That’s more than a lot of places I’ve stayed, and at the extremely reasonable $60 a night, I was game for giving it a try.

, Air Force Inn – Homestead Florida ARB – Lodging Review

To get on base, my dive partner had to present his military id, and I my driver’s license. We passed through several security gates. I have no pictures of those – there were signs reminding you to not take photos at the checkpoints. We followed the directions to the inn; not really sure what we would find. We checked in at the front desk, received the usual plastic hotel room keys, then set out to find our lodging.

The Homestead Air Force Base Inn was formerly four or five pods of barracks. I suppose, if there was a threat from Cuba, they would resume their barrack function. We never had to fight for a convenient parking spot! During our stay, we might have seen a dozen guests ranging from active military to retirees as were in our dive group. Several of our NAS Jax Skin Scuba Diving Club members are retired military.

, Air Force Inn – Homestead Florida ARB – Lodging Review

We grabbed our backpacks, and headed to see the room. Surprise! Quite nice! It was a little larger than a regular hotel room. There was a queen bed, and a dining table with two seats.

, Air Force Inn – Homestead Florida ARB – Lodging Review

There was a lounge chair by a large television on a large dresser. It was a very rainy weekend, so I actually made use of that comfy lounge chair and did a good bit of reading.

, Air Force Inn – Homestead Florida ARB – Lodging Review

Also, there was a roomy closet area complete with ironing board and iron, safe, plenty of hangars, and a luggage rack.

, Air Force Inn – Homestead Florida ARB – Lodging Review

There was a vanity area, separate from the bathroom, with blow dryer and the usual amenities; shampoo, conditioner, and soap. The bathroom had toilet and shower with curved curtain rod, and more soap. There wasn’t any body wash, shower cap or other frills; but what we needed was provided.

, Air Force Inn – Homestead Florida ARB – Lodging Review

On the other side of the bed, there was a small desk area with a light, and even a “big” mini-fridge and freezer, and a coffee maker with piles of coffee supplies. Just like a hotel room – but larger.

, Air Force Inn – Homestead Florida ARB – Lodging Review

We set up the office space as our coffee center – complete with electric kettle, French press, and coffee supplies.

, Air Force Inn – Homestead Florida ARB – Lodging Review

We were unable to make our own Cuban coffee since we had not thought to add a single electric burner to our “coffee kit.” Having gotten used to Airbnb stays; we hadn’t completely thought that out, but will be researching tiny single burners before our next hotel stay!

, Air Force Inn – Homestead Florida ARB – Lodging Review

We had brought all our own coffee supplies, but it was nice to see the variety of tea and coffee items provided; cups, stirrers, sugar and cream right in the room for that early morning jump-start or late-night pick-me-up.

, Air Force Inn – Homestead Florida ARB – Lodging Review

If I had any complaints at all, it would be that the air conditioning unit was noisy – but that happens in any hotel with this style unit; so not at all a bad reflection on the Air Force Inn. Another benefit was all the safety items. Unlike a commercial hotel; the Air Force Inn had fire extinguishers every couple rooms on the outside, and more inside each room, as well as sprinkler heads everywhere, security lights, and all sorts of safety features in every room. Obviously, safety is very important on base!

, Air Force Inn – Homestead Florida ARB – Lodging Review

There also was a safe in the closet, and a luggage rack which I immediately commandeered.

, Air Force Inn – Homestead Florida ARB – Lodging Review

There were a few other differences between staying in a commercial hotel and staying on the Air Force Base. At 4:30 p.m., we could hear colors being piped! Also, the reading materials in the room were military-geared, with Officer’s Club menus. All-you-can-eat seafood night for $12 caught my eye! There were no elevators; but any excuse to sneak in some more steps and stairs is fine with me.

, Air Force Inn – Homestead Florida ARB – Lodging Review

In the hotel lobby, there were patriotic cushions on the lounges and sofas, so pride was definitely a theme. I wandered in on Saturday morning, before heading out for a dive. I went to check their coffee machine and happened to catch Meghan and Harry’s Royal Wedding, with a trophy and “Military Family” magazine below the telly. How appropriate, as he also served.

, Air Force Inn – Homestead Florida ARB – Lodging Review

What I Learned:

Safe and secure lodging is great – the ability to leave gear in our car was convenient. For a civilian, another shocker was the price – $60 a night. And that’s not all – that is the final, end, ultimate, entire price. No county taxes, hotel fees, cleaning fees, handling fees, bed taxes, or anything else. Two nights? $120. Total. Also, we were there for a short visit, but if you were staying longer, other features are available; some bases have incredible views, all have tracks for exercise – this one had a rubberized running track, and if we stayed longer, I would have liked to have logged some miles on it. When travelling by car with all that luggage space, we have gotten in the habit of bringing our down pillows and sheets. This time we let down our guard and didn’t, and we regretted it. Those barracks sheets were just a tad bit thin and coarse.

Some good references:

Air Force Inns – Homestead ARB – link to where we stayed.

Homestead Air Reserve Base – history and information about the base where we stayed.

How to Stay on Military Bases Cheap – this is a very brief, but all-inclusive reference site for links to Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, and Army lodging.

Vacation With Military Lodging –  more good links and brief eligibility description.

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If you’ve never tried Airbnb, click here to use my discount code to get $30 off your first trip!
Right now, this code will give you $40 in travel credit for new Airbnb guests. I’m not sure how long that promotion will last, then it’s back to the $30 discount.

 

 

 

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