We just got back from 5 days at Cheeca. We flew into Fort Lauderdale and it was a very direct 2 hour drive. There is a Winn Dixie and Publix about 20 minutes from the hotel, so if you want to pick up essentials before you get there, you can. There is also a Trading Post food store right outside the hotel's entrance. There is a CVS and Dollar Tree about 1 mile north of the hotel for other "little" things you may have forgotten.
I'll start with all the many positives:
~The view from the beach is so calm and relaxing; water is an incredible aqua-green color
~We never had trouble getting a seat on the beach; there are even 2 tiki huts that you can sit under, but they are a little harder to get.
~Grounds of the hotel are lush and tropical; it feels like you're in a rain forest when you're walking through the resort.
~Every single staff member (except one - will discuss later) was beyond friendly and accommodating and truly wanted you to be happy. We had nothing but amazing interactions with housekeeping, maintenance, check-in, water sports staff and sports club staff
~Champagne on your arrival and daily turn-down service with chocolates makes you feel very special
~Yes, the $39 daily resort fee seems steep, BUT just about everything is included in that: DVD rentals, kayaks, life jackets, bikes, golf clubs, balls, tees, tennis rackets, balls, wifi, Starbucks coffee in room and lobby, daily newspaper, bottled water in your room each morning, fishing rods, shade cabanas, and fruit infused water at the pool. For a family of 4, it more than paid for itself.
~You can fish right off the pier at the hotel, unlike many other resorts where you have to either hire a charter or go to a fishing spot. The rods are free, but you do have to pay $10 for the bait. I heard some guest saying they went across the street from the hotel and found bait much cheaper. We were just thrilled that everyday you could walk onto the pier and fish without the cost and hassle of a charter. However, there were plenty of charters available.
~Robbie's Marina is about 3-4 miles south of the hotel. You can go there to feed the tarpon which is an unforgettable experience. Just beware of the aggressive pelicans!
~Very close to the hotel is the Morada Bay Cafe which is an open beach area on the Gulf where you can watch the most beautiful sunsets. It is open to the public...you can just head there and sit in one of the Adirondack chairs and relax
~We stayed in a one-bedroom resort view villa. We have food allergies, so whenever we travel, we need a kitchen. We travel frequently (the US, Caribbean, and Europe), so have experience with many different accommodations with kitchens. The room description says fully equipped kitchen, but that is a little misleading. While the kitchen was nice, it was VERY limited. There was only a two burner stove that took forever to heat up. There was also a microwave and dishwasher. Unfortunately, there was NO oven or toaster oven, and no eating area other than a very narrow counter with two chairs. Not great for a family of four trying to eat dinner. There is a screened-in balcony (very nice), with four chairs, but there is no view at all. Not bad for eating, but to sit there to enjoy the atmosphere, you are only left with tree leaves and branches to look at. The kitchen also lacks little things like pot holders, colander, dish towels, sponge.
~The room itself is no bigger than a one bedroom in a Hampton Inn or Marriott Residence Inn. No eating area, and the living room has a small love seat, and chair. Really only sits three. For a family of four, one of us had to sit at the chair at bar, or go into the bedroom to watch TV. Not a lot of room.
~The pool is small and just "ok". You really cannot enjoy the beach except for a quick dip (like most of the Keys), so you would think they would put a little more into entertaining guests with a rocking pool. There is an adults only pool for swimming laps which was very quiet. Getting a chair at the pool was a little tough.
~What's even more disturbing about the inadequate pool is that there is an area called "Spa Island". It is huge and looks like it could've been a lazy river. Instead, it is just an enormous area of the property with water and some bridges and platforms in it. Aside from some yoga in the morning, there is absolutely NOTHING done with this area all day. It would be a great addition to use this as another activity area for the resort instead of just sitting there.
~There is a Cheeca store that sells some high-end clothing and a "few" souvenirs and sundries. I felt like there should be more offered there (drinks, snacks, etc.)
~The concierge (didn't get her name but was a women in her 50's or 60's with blonde hair) was just awful. We asked if it was possible that any of the restaurants in the hotel could work with food allergies. She had a disgusted look on her face and acted as if we were bothering her. She said in a nasty voice, "Just ask one of the servers." We were trying to avoid getting all ready to go out to eat, sitting down and then finding out they had nothing for us to eat.
Overall, we had a wonderful time, and would go back in a heartbeat. It really was a little piece of paradise. Just be prepared for some limited swimming and small rooms.
- Also Known As:
- Cheeca Lodge
- Cheeca Hotel Islamorada
- Cheeca Resort Islamorada
- Cheeca Lodge Florida
- Cheeca Lodge And Spa
- Cheeca Lodge Islamorada
- Cheeca Lodge Spa
- 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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