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“What a Great Place” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Cheeca Lodge & Spa

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Cheeca Lodge & Spa
4.0 of 5 Resort   |   81801 Overseas Highway, Mile Marker 82, Islamorada, FL 33036   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #5 of 19 hotels in Islamorada
Tampa, Florida
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“What a Great Place”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2012

Ok, this is our 2nd stay at the Cheeca Lodge. An absolutely beautiful resort. Last year we rented a Ocean Front King Room (900 Building) The rooms, & lobby, are "Tommy Bahama" decor. The view was spectacular, and service even better. This year we opted for the Balcony "tub" room (main Building). More pricey, but if you are looking for an incredible romantic location/room, this is it. They offer free "van' service to nearby locations, food/bars (we suggest the Moray Bay). But, the food on property is really good. We would "highly" recommend the Cheeca Lodge. If you don't want to pay the extra for the "balcony tub" room, definitely get the "ocean front" room.

Room Tip: Ocean front rooms (balcony tub or regular) are definitely the best.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
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1 review
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2012 via mobile

We were there for the memorial long weekend: the hotel was full. They were certainly not capable of accommodating that many people: at least half an hour waiting for any services, breakfast, lunch, dinner, pool, beach... The worst food: ceviche in vinaigrette and cappuccino made with water. The weirdest and slowest waiters...we re-ordered the same brand of beer more than once at each meal and would get a different one each time. The worst mosquito paradise- please sanitate the area. The longest waiting list to get a massage at the spa and of course, not more than one person at a time. The worst materass...still suffering from the back pain. Resort has good potential but the manager needs to be changed ASAP

  • Stayed May 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CheecaSales, Director of Sales at Cheeca Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, June 4, 2012
We appreciate your feedback, and certainly wish you had a better experience. We are, however, glad that you think we have good potential! We are reviewing your comments with our service staff and will use them to improve our restaurant service. We are so sorry the mosquitos were out – we do our best to control them and will try harder to keep them at bay in this tropical environment. We apologize that your mattress was not up to your standards. Our management staff is devoted to making each guest experience a positive one – we hope you will come back for another visit.
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San Jose, California
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 26, 2012

I recently spent a week long vacation with my husband and two little toddlers at Cheeca...Overall the hotel is located in a stunningly beautiful location with lavish grounds. We stayed at the suite with kitchen with was a nice size room.....but not CLEAN at all.....everything was dusty upon our arrival including soap scum around the bathtub...room service food was mediocre again for a five star price…one more thing the bedroom had a bench at the foot of the bed that was made of hard material...and one night I rushed to the bedroom in the dark (my baby was crying) and hit my feet against the bench....which left me with black toenail....the next day my husband hit his leg against it and at the end of our stay my 3yr old son hit his leg against the same bench.....I gave my feedback to the front desk staff but they just gave me a dirty look. on the top of everything this is NOT A CHILD FRIENDLY resort for a children under 5yr old....we have 1yr and 3yr old and we found many challenges/issues with the room - soaking bathtub was so deep that I need it to get to the bath tub with my 1/3 yr olds to give them bath....the shower wasn’t child friendly too for the little ones since there was no way to turn off the top head to adjust the shower head to child size...sinks were so high that my 3yr who is pretty tall (41in) was unable to wash his hand and we need it to use trash can as a step stool to wash his hands. Bedroom and living room TVs were on the same wall thus my kids couldn’t hear the cartoons while my husband was watching a movie....Cheeca kids club is only for school age kids 5yr-12yr old....no toddlers......the resort it is a great place for single people or couples....again only if the service level improves....and will match the price
.... the management seems not to care at all....we were surprised with how terrible, unfriendly, unprofessional, and incompetent the staff at Cheeca Lodge was.... at the check out I wasn’t ask about my stay experience (we travel a lot and stayed at many 4 and 5 star hotels and at all those places we were always asked for our experience and how they could improve in the future.....not at Cheeca!!!!!) I have asked for the manager at the time of my check out just to give them honest feedback....and was told by the receptionist that he/she was "IN THE MEETING" (at 11am when evereyone is checking out...how convenient) and will email me/call me....yeah....still waiting for the phone call/email......this place didnt meet our expecation at all and i would never go back there again.....

Room Tip: our rooms were facing a lagoon and the area was pretty quiet...we picked 3rf floor which was nice, o...
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 1 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CheecaSales, Director of Sales at Cheeca Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, May 29, 2012
We greatly appreciate your feedback. We are so glad you liked Cheeca’s location and lavish grounds, and that you think Cheeca is a great place for couples. We deeply regret that our housekeeping department did not live up to your expectations and we are addressing this issue right now. We apologize that the cushioned seat at the foot of your bed caused so much discomfort to your family – that is very unfortunate. We were very dismayed that you thought our front desk staff was discourteous – again, our apologies.
Many families visit Cheeca Lodge year after year, and we were so disappointed that you felt your room amenities were not suited for your toddlers. Camp Cheeca is offered to children five to 12 years of age and features a fun-filled, exciting agenda of activities that are geared to children of that age. We do have a competent staff of professional babysitters for toddlers at Cheeca. Please know that every member of our management staff does indeed care about all of our guests. Our mission is to provide the ultimate vacation experience for each and every one. We were very distressed about your feelings towards our staff and so sorry that a member of our team was not available to meet with you upon your request. We will use your review to help us improve our services. Again, thank you for your comments.
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Contributor
20 reviews 20 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2012

I recently spent 4 nights here iwth a friend. The grounds are lovely. There are 2 pools, both are great. The adult only pool was fine contrary to some of the reviews I have read. I definitely recommend this hotel but was not thrilled with the Keys in general.

  • Stayed April 2012, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CheecaSales, Director of Sales at Cheeca Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, May 29, 2012
Thank you for your nice review. We’re glad you found our grounds and pools enjoyable. Thanks for the recommendation, and hope you will return again.
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canton
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2012

The main building is beautiful. I booked a room overlooking the golf course. We called it the ghetto. The elevator did not work so we had to carry our luggage up the stairs. The ice machine did not work. Our shower door did not close and the soap dish was falling off the wall inside the shower. We called to have the shower dorr fixed but they did not fix it. We could upgrade to an oceanview room for only $150.00 more per night. The grounds are beautiful,pool was very nice.

Room Tip: If staying in the golfview rooms the 2nd floor is better. we had a slight view of the ocean too.
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CheecaSales, Director of Sales at Cheeca Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, May 29, 2012
We appreciate your comments, and are glad you were pleased with our grounds and pools. We apologize for the problems you had with your room – one of our bell staff would have gladly carried your luggage! We have addressed the issues you had with your shower, elevator and ice machine. We hope you will consider a repeat visit to Cheeca very soon.
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New Haven, Connecticut
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2012

My fiancé and I stayed at Cheeca for three week-nights in May. Overall the hotel is stunningly beautiful and the grounds are really large and well-maintained. Would be a five-star if not for the awful service we received. Here are our reflections:

Highlights:
-Beachfront: The hotel has really huge water frontage on the eastern/Atlantic side of the island. This means lots of sun during the morning, and tons of chairs facing the beautiful ocean. This isn’t one of those swimming/body-surfing types of beaches. The water is very calm, and the sea floor is rocky and/or full of seaweed or small shells, so it isn’t so pleasant to walk on barefoot. They do have two “beaches” where you can walk down into the water, but there is a lot of seaweed in this part of the ocean and it tends to accumulate on the beaches.

-Pools: The resort has three large pools—two right near the beach and another full-size lap pool (theoretically adults-only, with lanes and everything) next to the spa and fitness center. The main pool by the beach has plenty of lounge chairs and food service, but also, often, a lot of kids. There is also a salt-water pool that was very nice, although maybe not so clean and is also populated by a friendly school of rather large fish. There are also two hot tubs: one by the main beach pool (often filled with kids) and another “secret hot tub” behind the tennis courts. We found a condom wrapper carelessly tossed by this second hot tub, which may indicate how secluded it is from the rest of the resort but also how terrible the service/maintenance staff is (the wrapper had clearly been there since at least the night before).

-Activities: There is a mandatory resort fee. This is just a way for the hotel to artificially deflate their room prices, but even so the price is reasonable for what you get. The amenities we made most use of were the free sea kayaks (great for exercise and exploring), free unlimited DVD rental, and fitness center (quite impressive for a hotel gym, with plenty of weights and machines). There is also free golf, but golfers be warned—the course is kind of a mini—the biggest club you need is probably a nine-iron. Plus free tennis on nice, lighted courts, and free bike rental. The hotel will also rent you these fun-looking one-person sailboats or a paddle-board for not-outrageous prices, and take you on a variety of boating tours.

Lowlights:
-Service! The manager, HR department, and most of the staff for the Cheeca Lodge should be fired immediately. My fiancé and I were continually surprised with how terrible, unfriendly, unprofessional, and incompetent the staff at Cheeca Lodge were. Examples include:

1) Being kept on hold for 20 minutes while the operator (or manager?) tried to reach the front desk staff to see if there were any other rooms available for use to move to, and then having no one call us back despite being promised they would do so;
2) Having hotel staff operating a large, noisy tractor to clear seaweed from the beach at 11 AM—prime beach time—right in front of our beach chairs;
3) My fiancé (who’s almost 25) being carded at the tiki bar while standing there in a bathing suit that obviously had no pockets and ultimately being refused service when she explained that her ID was in the room (even though we were both served champagne when we checked in without so much as a glance at either of our IDs);
4) Being told we could go on a snorkeling tour in the morning only to be told later the same day by another staffer that there was actually no tour scheduled;
5) Being told by the front desk that we could use the spa’s sauna and steam room for a daily fee then later being told by spa staff that we’d have to book a spa service to use the facilities;
6) General lack of regard for the wellbeing of guests – the condom wrapper, overhearing staff members grumbling about having to serve people by the pool, glass bottles and cocktail glasses left in the sand on the beachfront without being cleared;
7) And the icing on the cake: receiving blank stares and no apologies at all from the front desk staff when we told them about all of the problems we’d had with the staff. Unclear if they were partially deaf or just ignorant.

Overall, the impression we got from staff was that nobody was in charge, the left hand had no idea what the right hand was doing, and that nobody much cared if that made things more difficult for guests. Wake up Cheeca Lodge and get your act together!

-Restaurant: The lunch and tiki bar food was mediocre, which was pretty disappointing given what a great location the hotel is in and how luxurious it feels (if you can ignore the terrible service). The restaurant dinner prices were simply too high for us to be willing to risk it after our experience with the fare at lunch. Who pays $50 for a steak unless you’re at a renowned fine dining establishment? Especially when you can get a delicious one for $29 at Morada Bay across the street, and dine directly on the waterfront while watching the sun set.

The other thing to know about the restaurants is that they’re really just one restaurant with three different menus (and maybe different chefs). The space is all connected. BUT: if you want the best seating (on the veranda with views of the ocean) you have to be willing to pay the exorbitant prices for the “main” restaurant. And if you want to eat sushi, you have to stay indoors at the sushi bar. Ridiculous seating policies if you ask me.

-Thin walls. We could hear the TV and conversations on the other side of the wall quite clearly. Kind of ruins the romance to hear the couple on the other side of the wall arguing over a sports game or talking loudly on their phone.

Bottom line: this place is beautiful and it would be truly magical and luxurious if the staff could be properly trained and managed. We’d return, but not until those staff issues are fixed.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CheecaSales, Director of Sales at Cheeca Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, May 29, 2012
We value your comprehensive review and found your comments very insightful. We thank you for your positive comments about our beachfront, pools and salt water lagoon, and enjoyed reading that you found Cheeca beautiful and would return after we address the service issues you mentioned. We were delighted you agree that our resort fee offers reasonable value for all the amenities it includes: tennis, golf, fishing rods, sea kayaks, bicycles, shade cabanas, fitness center, DVD movie rentals, in-room coffee, tea and bottled water, wireless internet, guest internet station with DSL and printer, local and 800 calls, guest fax services, daily newspaper delivery, local shuttle service and valet or self-parking.
With regard to our beach, the only living coral reef in the continental U.S. is located just off Cheeca’s shoreline, which prevents the surf-like waves from reaching our beach (like those found at beaches at other destinations). However, the reef is surrounded by crystal clear waters and creates spectacular fishing, snorkeling and diving adventures.
As you can imagine, we were devastated by your comments about our service. We apologize for the shortcomings you mentioned and we are doing our best to correct them all. Our grounds department works very hard to keep our 27 acres of lush tropical gardens in perfect order – it is very unfortunate that the debris you found at the hot tub was not picked up sooner. It is a state law that staff members serving alcohol must be sure that the guests they serve are of age; we apologize that this policy inconvenienced your fiancé.
All guests at Cheeca are welcome to use the Spa’s Fitness Studio from 6:00 a.m. until midnight. However, the steam rooms and saunas are only offered to guests who have booked treatments at the Spa. Our sincere apologies that our front desk staff did not convey this information to you more clearly.
Cheeca Watersports offers a daily snorkel trip at 3:00 p.m and a morning snorkel trip at 10:00 a.m. on all mornings except for Tuesday and Thursday. By offering such an abundance of snorkel trips, they can accommodate most guests who want to get out to the reef. They are happy to schedule private excursions on Tuesday and Thursday for guests who cannot adjust their vacation itinerary to our scheduled trips. Cheeca Watersports does require four people to run an excursion on the per person charters. Their policy is to state this to people when they take the reservation. Of course, guests are welcome to pay for the additional slots or do a private charter. All of us here at the resort offer sincerest apologies if we failed to state that policy, and we appreciate the opportunity to refresh these details with the staff to avoid confusion.
Your comments about our restaurants and service are also appreciated. While all of our food and beverage venues are in the same general area of the resort, they are different restaurants with different menus.
Thank you for your comments. We will use your discerning feedback to improve the total guest experience here at Cheeca Lodge & Spa.
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NYC and Greenwich, CT
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 23, 2012

My kids who are 13 and 15 were always trying to get us to go to the Cheeca Lodge and perhaps we waited a bit too long. I think that if your kids are under 10 years old you will have an ok experience at Cheeca, but only if you are not too fussy and can spare the $$ without expecting a luxury experience. For the rest, however, it maybe a disappointment.

My main complaints are – there is really not that much to do for teenagers and the place is so rundown, you feel like you are in a third world country, being ripped off, without the compensatory cultural experience.

The room – the closets are tiny, barely enough for one (or very short trip), but we had a suite that sleeps 4, and one closet that barely accommodated my clothes never mind the rest of the family. And we travel light! So we had to keep stuff in our luggage, but the room lighting was so poor that I had to go outside to see anything inside my bag, at noon! The dressers are barely useful - the dresser drawers are tiny, tiny, and way too narrow, and careful! only a slight pull away from completely coming out and landing on your toes.

The food was acceptable, but breakfast buffet was ridiculously expensive. Nothing is included in the mandatory “resort fee” except the bikes and kayaks. Everything else has to be booked separately. The fishing trip is easily $200 more if booked through the hotel. Drive or bike to the marina and save yourself the price of a lovely meal elsewhere ;)

The young girls who book the little sailing boats have no idea who took which boat and when so try NOT to be too stressed if your reservation is 5-10-15-30 mins late or not at all. And do not book the last slot of the day as your odds of actually getting a boat are pretty slim.

The pool chairs – well, most cushions were stained and we had a hard time finding 4 chairs in the row without at least one being broken. The adult pool is better, but someone else’s half-eaten lunch was there for 3 ½ hours, and only when I took a pic with my cell phone and emailed it to the front desk was it cleaned up. Not sure when they do their general housekeeping, but clearly NOT when it might be helpful to the guests as the adult pool’s bathroom trash was overflowing at 9 am and a tiny gym was out of towels at 8:15 am.

Oh yes, completely forgot… there is some sand, but NO beach… and in – none-what-so-ever. Bring water shoes if you even think that you will go into the ocean to go kayaking or sailing. The tiny shells and rocks are brutally painful.

The salt water pool looks like it harbors every know specie of the marine bacteria and only the insane would let little kids play in it. I am not a biologist and it might actually be fine, but it looks disgusting.

The only activities I can think of that a kid over 12 would want to do is a bit of golf, some tennis and fishing off the pier. All fine and perfectly acceptable, but hardly enough to justify a visit or the expense.

I truly believe that how much you enjoy Cheeca Lodge depends completely on your expectations. And, I suppose at $250 a night – I would have been ok with this experience, but we were paying close to $700, and were extremely disappointed.

Room Tip: Try to get a small suite with a screened in porch overlooking the man-made lagoon. The light is bet...
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  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
CheecaSales, Director of Sales at Cheeca Lodge & Spa, responded to this review, May 29, 2012
Thank you for your perceptions about our resort. We take great pride in being one of the finest oceanfront luxury resorts in the Florida Keys, and it is always disappointing to read reviews like yours. We did not live up to your expectations, and we regret that. Cheeca Lodge underwent a multi-million dollar renovation in 2009, so we were sad that you were so disappointed in your room and in the Keys in general.
Cheeca hosts many teens throughout the year. They can enjoy fishing off our 525-foot landmark wooden pier, or hop on a beach cruiser bicycle for a self-guided tour of Cheeca and Islamorada. They can play tennis, golf or kayak the quiet waters off our shores in a sea kayak. All of these activities are covered in Cheeca’s resort fee, along with unlimited in-room movies, shade cabanas, access to the Fitness Center, wireless internet access, in-room Starbucks Coffee, bottled water, daily newspaper delivery, local and 800- phone calls, local transportation around Islamorada, and valet or self-parking.
We feel sad that your family did not enjoy your time here, and for the issues you had with beach chairs and with housekeeping around the pools and fitness center.
The type of beach found at Cheeca is typical for any beach in the Florida Keys, which are a string of tiny islands comprised of coral rock. The only living coral reef in the continental U.S. is located just off our shores. The reef is surrounded by crystal clear waters and creates spectacular fishing, snorkeling and diving adventures, but it also prevents surf-like waves from reaching our shores and creates the type of beach found here in the Keys.
The saltwater snorkeling lagoon is fed with continuously circulated ocean waters and stocked with a myriad of local fish. This ecosystem directly reflects the conditions of the ocean waters, which vary greatly with the wind and weather. This lagoon is perfectly safe to swim and snorkel; we apologize that it did not meet your expectations.
We take your comments to heart, and really do hope you will consider a return visit to Cheeca.
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Additional Information about Cheeca Lodge & Spa

Address: 81801 Overseas Highway, Mile Marker 82, Islamorada, FL 33036
Location: United States > Florida > Florida Keys > Islamorada
Amenities:
Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Top resorts Hotel in Islamorada
#3 On the Beach Hotel in Islamorada
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Cheeca Lodge & Spa 4*
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The "Queen of the Florida Keys", Cheeca Lodge & Spa, an exclusive hideaway for generations of celebrities, business leaders and U.S. Presidents. Set on 27 private oceanfront acres in Islamorada, Cheeca – reopening Dec. 15 - is has been constructed with its original porte-cochere entrance, traditional Florida Keys architecture, chic West Indies décor, and spirited tradition of “barefoot elegance” -- a term coined at Cheeca – all intact. Along with a new Lobby Bar. Cheeca will boast two distinctive restaurants - Nikai Sushi Bar offering the Florida Keys’ freshest sushi, Asian-inspired fare and a unique selection of Japanese sake and wine, and Atlantic’s Edge with a seasonal fine-dining menu of fresh local seafood, prime steaks and organic local produce. The new Cheeca Lodge & Spa will also feature 2,400 square-feet of new retail shops with a Cheeca Signature store featuring Tommy Bahama products. An expanded roster of activities will include on-property flats boats with seasoned local guides for backcountry fishing, sightseeing, eco-tours, kiteboarding, and a junior angler program for teens.The resort’s signature features – classic 525’ wooden fishing pier, tropical gardens, crossing palms archway, saltwater snorkeling lagoon, nature trails, Tahitian-style Spa Lagoon, spectacular purple sunsets, secluded white sand beaches, Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, Camp Cheeca children’s environmental activity program, and access to world-class sportfishing – will remain intact.Located just 90 minutes south of Miami International Airport in the Florida Keys, Cheeca Lodge & Spa is just a few hours by air or drive from major East Coast U.S. and Canadian cities. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Cheeca Hotel Islamorada
Cheeca Resort Islamorada
Cheeca Lodge Florida
Cheeca Lodge And Spa
Cheeca Lodge Islamorada
Cheeca Lodge Spa

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