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“Turn the other Cheeca”
Review of Cheeca Lodge & Spa

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Cheeca Lodge & Spa
Ranked #7 of 19 Hotels in Islamorada
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 12, 2012

Dang - I would love to give Cheeca a 5 but for almost everything I loved there was a corresponding downside. Plus side first - location - excellent, rooms very very nice, front gate, valets, shuttle, activities group - excellent! Pool very nice - even speakers underwater for music.
Restaurants - pretty nice. Biggest downside - Tiki bar wait staff. This bar is central to the location and a gathering point so pretty important that they do it right. I think the bartender was named Greg and along with a couple of constantly chatting women who bar tended on Friday and Saturday delivered service I would describe as : sluggish, indifferent, slow, and begrudgingly administered, Almost anytime we were there, some patron was wanting a refund or somebody unhappy about service. One guy next to us waited so long for his lunch that when it finally arrived he told the bartender I don't know whether to hug you or punch you,. One of our party even had a bar tab where staff increased tip amt. On Sunday there was a different bartender - lady - and everything worked like clockwork. They really need to fix this.
At this time the SPA is under renovation and closed - completely. we discovered this after we arrived, I think they were giving massages in a suite but our party just abandoned the whole spa thing. This was not conveyed to anyone so felt a little fleeced on the spa hotel pricing. Last item - we booked thru perfect escapes which gets you 12 checkin and late checkout 4pm. Other members in our group had a terrible time with the front desk regarding the late checkout and finally the clerk agreed to do late checkout in one room and all others had to pack up their stuff and go there until 4 - insane. I called desk and spoke with different front desk clerk who looked on the reservation and said - yes 4 pm for your group - no issues. On Sunday the hotel was mostly empty so no as though there was pressure to get the rooms free.
This is an exceptional location, beautiful rooms, pool, etc. Landscaping and beach are out of this world. Unless they sort out some of the service issues they will not make it which would be a shame and totally avoidable. Those of us who pay these prices know the service level they are supposed to justify. So CHeeca management - if you are listening - all problems were obviously a lack of coordinated management and in all cases just poor employees. Most of staff were really good and I think because they liked what they did. The crabby employees at the Tiki Bar must not have been managed at all - if they were I suspect they would have been fired long ago,

Room Tip: best deal one bedroom king with living room and kitchen overlooking garden
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with friends
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4  Thank Tom T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,570 - 2,576 of 3,432 reviews

Reviewed October 11, 2012

The other reviews of Cheeca Lodge are mixed, and that sums up our experience too. On the positive side, it is in a fabulous location, with good communal facilities. The staff made us welcome and were generally friendly and attentive. The location is one of the best on the Keys, in our opinion, as there are plenty of restaurants in the immediate vicinity.

On the negative side, our room did not live up to expectations. We had booked a room by the lagoon based on older TA reviews. It seemed that hardly any body else had reserved a room in that area, so we felt a bit out on a limb! We should probably have booked an ocean view room, with a bath on the balcony as others have recommended. The room was spacious enough but very tired. The decor just felt a bit dull. The bathroom in particular needed attention - we had a hole in the bath which had been plugged with some form of plastic! Very off putting, in fact we didn't use the bath at all during our stay.

We did use the hotel's bar and restaurant. The quality was good, but a little pricey. We would recommend trying Chef Micael's, a short stroll away.

Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
2  Thank JSN87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 10, 2012

We stayed at this hotel about a year ago and fell in love with it. Gorgeous views, good food, and exceptional service is what we experienced a year ago. However, this time we didn't have the same experience. Off the bat we were in a room on the other side of the hotel so we didn't have an ocean view (I think was our mistake when we were making the reservation). We had to wait a couple days to switch to a room with the ocean view and pay a bit more. We were willing to do that and even extended our stay. The lady who helped us made this happen but I don't think she was proficient at making this type of change. We had to call down to see if the new room was ready and they seemed like it was a big hassle to make the change. The rooms overall didn't seem as clean as we would like. But again for the ocean views we are willing to overlook these things.
Last time the food and service was one of the best parts. This time we were hard pressed to find good food. For the prices you expect to have wonderful food. At breakfast (amazing waffles with a vanilla whip cream) this time around we felt bullied into doing the buffet. My husband isn't a huge fan of buffets. I understand when we got there the first day after normal service and buffet was the only option. But the second morning we were in time to be able to order from the regular menu. I opted for the buffet and while I was in line for my omelet, my husband basically had to argue with the waiter to get what he wanted off the menu. We also had lunch one day and the chicken on my salad was like rubber. The burgers we had on a different occasion were less than desirable too. The bread was almost as dry as bread crumbs.
As far as service-we were greeted with Champagne which was great. After that first contact it seemed as if most of the staff was just annoyed with everything. We missed that welcoming feeling.
I hope the hotel is able to fix the food issues and service issues because we really would like to come back.

Room Tip: You have to make sure it says an Ocean View to be able to see water from your room.
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Michelle G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2012

I have read the reviews with a mix understanding, but hopefully this will help anyone reading this. Once I arrived, we were greeted (by Name) and champagne. The Bell Hop Brantley was excellence; he catered to all of our needs and beyond. Joel, took such good care of us and was a pleasure, even though he is Caine's fan. lol We checked into our hotel, and we catered to our room, (not newer building) to a building ocean front and older. We were less than pleased with our room, mind you it was a nice room. But, we wanted the rooms in the pictures. Yes, both rooms were water front but the newer buildings rooms were - let’s say Spectacular. The George Bush room is something you have to see too, fan or no fan....its huge a friend has that room.

Joel upgraded us to the newer building, and so glad we did. It was so close to everything. The rooms well, let’s say there OMG real nice. The rooms are so spacious and with the dark wood and light paint color the look so rich, the have the total Tommy Bahamas Feel. The rooms and makes you feel so spacious the TV must be 55 inch or so but we never even turned it on ..Not even for the Miami vs Notre Dame game-- that’s for you Joel...lol
The pool, was exceptional a little crowded since the other one is down for maintenance but not over crowded. We rented a sail boat, and instructor I think her name was Madgeline from NC, she was so awesome. This place treats you so special, and makes you feel pampered. I see it time and time again with other Patrons. The landscape is so amazing, exercise facility is so nice, though the spa was down do to some work, though they did offer massages in other places like the beach. This place offers you endless of things, like cabanas beach front, own snorkeling lagoon, but the best thing ever is the rooms in the new building, my bath tub was on my balcony, as seen in the photos, the water falls from the ceiling, the showers were so large with 3 different shower heads, 5 of your friends could join with plenty of room. The beds were turned down every night, maid service exceptional, pillows were down and memory, four on each bed for you’re choosing. The sliding doors opened giving you about 10ft of open space and about 23ft of total open view.
This is a must stay place, but stay ocean front in the new building and all of your dreams, needs will come true……amazing stay.

Room Tip: top floor ocean front in the new building and you cant go wrong ...wow Ask at this place and you w...
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank OurLadyND
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2012

If you are looking to chill out in pampered luxury in the Florida Keys, look no further. Without exception, the staff in this five-star resort are friendly, charming and helpful. Great for families and romantic weekends alike.

A lot of construction put the spa and gym out of action during our stay but hopefully all will be available when high season arrives.

Room Tip: Sea views are at a premium but rooms around the gardens and golf course can be much quieter and chea...
  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Stephen R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2012

Truth in advertising would go a long way so that visitors' expectations are met. Internet pics are beautiful and descriptives are well-written, but reality is the truer representation.
The positives: very friendly, unobtrusive staff who are courteous and prompt. The landscaping is beautiful and well-kept. The unit, 640, appeared to have been recently painted and it was quiet. The location is great- an easy drive to Key West or points north. The screened porch with very nice furniture and a fan was a nice place to sit in the evening. It was very nice to have cold, bottled water provided in the unit. The availability of kayaks to use and the 9 hole pitch and putt were appreciated.
The negatives: The unit had only ONE chair, a desk chair that was too low. Another chair was requested and one promptly arrived but it was a very low, large, plastic Adirondack for the outdoors. We brought in one of the porch chairs to use instead. Even a Holiday Inn has two chairs! One bar of soap in the bathroom the first day and only two wash clothes per day were allotted. Towels were adequate. The ceiling fan simply stopped on its own a few times. The lighting was much too dim in both the sleep area and the bathroom. The desk lamp was very dusty, as were the undercounter cubicles in the bathroom. The beds were sloppily made, especially the bed skirts, however, they were comfortable. The "deluxe lagoon view" is really just being able to look down on an widened, undulating, cement gully containing dirty water. It was not lit at night.
What was really bothersome was the fact that the adult pool and the spa were CLOSED. Neither was brought to our attention at reservation time or at check-in. (The reservations were made approximately 3 wks prior to our arrival.) These were the two biggest draws for us! Because the adult pool was closed, the other pool was very crowded; no chaise lounges were available on Friday or Saturday. They were available on the beach but ...two boys playing with a football, someone's music from 20 ft away and a family playing on their oceanfront porch all reminded one of being on a public, crowded beach. The adult pool was greatly missed!
If one is not familiar with the area, be aware that there really is not a beach for swimming. Don't expect the soft sand or crashing waves of Atlantic beaches further up the east coast. There is a fitness room which is adequate for a hotel but hardly state of the art! Upon entering I was invited to join a class (of one) in progress. It was then that I learned there was a fee and a schedule. "Didn't they tell you at check-in and didn't they give you a schedule?". NO.
To say the least, expectations were not met, especially given the cost and the web site's representation.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Rooms
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2  Thank carol r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2012

We have had the pleasure of staying at many luxury resorts, and this resort did NOT disappoint!!
We "teased" ourselves with only one night with a king suite in the main building.. including the tub on the balcony, and I'll simply say it was well worth the price tag! WOW! Upon booking a reservation do not be attracted to any other rooms, facing golf course views or lagoon views. Pay the extra $$ and you won't be sorry!! We were celebrating my birthday, and what a present it was! The room was spacious.. the view was to die for.. the poolside tiki bar was a treat.. and please do order the fish tacos.. yum!!!! I wish they'd deliver those up to our home on the west coast of Fl?! The hotel asked if we were celebrating a special occasion, and for my birthday they delivered a cheese and cracker tray, complete with fresh fruit and a few chocolate covered strawberries.. with champagne?!! They sure don't miss a thing at the Cheeca.. and I promise you won't be disappointed either!

Room Tip: oceanfront king suite in main building.. the only way to go!
  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank spoiledtravelers1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Cheeca Lodge & Spa

Address: 81801 Overseas Highway, Mile Marker 82, Islamorada, FL 33036-3631
Phone Number:
Location: United States > Florida > Florida Keys > Islamorada
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 Top resorts Hotel in Islamorada
#6 On the Beach Hotel in Islamorada
Price Range: $251 - $862 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Cheeca Lodge & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 214
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The "Queen of the Florida Keys", Cheeca Lodge & Spa has been an exclusive hideaway for celebrities, business leaders and U.S. Presidents for over 70 years. Set on 27 private oceanfront acres in Islamorada, Cheeca has been constructed with a porte-cochere entrance, traditional Florida Keys architecture, chic West Indies décor, and spirited tradition of “barefoot elegance” -- a term coined at Cheeca. Along with a new breakfast bistro and lobby bar, Cheeca boasts three distinctive restaurants: Nikai Sushi Bar and Lounge offering the Florida Keys’ freshest sushi, Asian-inspired fare and a unique selection of Japanese sake and wine; Atlantic’s Edge with a seasonal fine-dining menu of fresh local seafood, prime steaks and organic local produce; and its family-friendly Limoncello Italian restaurant serving up Tuscan favorites in a casually rustic setting. Cheeca Lodge & Spa features 2,400 square-feet of retail shops with a Cheeca Signature store featuring the latest designer fashions and accessories. An expanded roster of activities include offshore and backcountry fishing, parasailing, sightseeing, eco-tours, paddleboards, water trikes, kayaks, golf, tennis, pickleball, shuffleboard and more. The resort’s signature features include a classic 525’ wooden fishing pier, tropical gardens, crossing palms archway, nature trails, Tahitian-style Spa Lagoon, spectacular purple sunsets, 1100 feet of beaches, Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course, Camp Cheeca children’s environmental activity program, and access to world-class sportfishing. 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. 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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