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Barbary Beach House Key West Is A Haunting Good Spot For A Spooky Escape

The hotel’s Seven Days of Frightful Fun makes for a unique, socially distanced Halloween adventure.

The story of Count Carl von Cosel is... complicated. While some might describe this German-born Key West resident's exploits as creepy or even super-duper-creepy, others might go so far as to call him the Original Florida Man. But this radiology technologist—real name Carl Tanzler and most certainly not a count—was so bizarre and presumably deranged that it takes a truly special storyteller to do justice to this eerie tale of love, obsession and mummification.

Amy Andrade is the Director of Guest Experience at Barbary Beach House Key West, and she tells the Count's story with such enthusiasm and charm that you almost forget how super-duper-creepy it is. But this is October, and we are suckers for great tales of horror and the macabre, so we highly recommend reading "The Lost Diary of Count von Cosel."

Even better, though, is hearing the story in person, which guests of Barbary Beach House can do during the resort's Seven Days of Frightful Fun event that runs from October 26 through November 1. With Spooktacular elements for guests of all ages, the experience kicks off with a kids costume party and other youth activities at the Havana Cabana and continues throughout the week with a Pet Parade, an adults-only Halloween trivia contest and a Haunted Beach Walk, which promises to reveal the "dark side" of Smather's Beach.

The hotel hosts a weekly Sip & Tales session to enlighten guests with the many legendary stories of Key West's famous citizens and visitors, but this week's gathering will have a fittingly chilling twist. Guests will undoubtedly learn about von Cosel and his "bride," but locals will also join in on the fun by sharing other dark tales of Key West, and even some "close encounters from beyond." Yes, even extraterrestrials love stopping by Capt. Tony's Saloon to see Bob Dylan's stool.

Festivities will conclude with a Monster Mash party featuring plenty of prizes for the best and creepiest costumes. Dibs on Zombie Ernest Hemingway.

A Signature Taste of Barbary Beach House

Guests will enjoy a variety of cocktails during the week, but the must-try signature drink is the Rooster Margarita. Barbary Beach House was generous enough to share this recipe with us, but it definitely pairs better with a lagoon-style pool.



  • 1 oz. tequila blanco
  • Half oz. mezcal
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 2-3 slices of fresh jalapeno

How to Make It:

  • Combine all ingredients in a Boston shaker.
  • Add two scoops of ice and shake.
  • Pour margarita into a margarita glass and top with a few shakes of cayenne pepper.
  • Garnish with a lime wheel.

Keep It Spooky and Safe

Even as it celebrates Halloween, Barbary Beach House will be enforcing its Covid-19 health and safety protocols to keep guests and staff protected. In addition to higher standards of cleanliness and routine sanitization and disinfection of public areas throughout the resort, staff will be maintaining social distancing policies and ensuring that all guests are adhering to these policies. And no, Halloween masks do not count for face protection.