Let me say first, that I had never heard of this resort, its storied past, recent fire and rebuilding before booking a last minute vacation here. I looked into Sunset Key, where we had stayed on another vacation, but it was booked. Cheeca was purely finding somewhere in the keys that had rooms at the last minute and didn't appear to be a dump.
After passing several frightening looking "resorts" on the way down from Miami we were a bit worried about what this place was going to end up being.
We were relieved as we pulled into the beautiful grounds and stopped at the guard gate. The grounds crew does a great job and was working from sun up to sun down keeping the place well manicured.
We drove up to the beautiful lodge and started the check in process. We had a quick tour by the bellman and then checked in. The whole process was very smooth and quick. You park your car under your room so that was very convenient.
That, unfortunately, is where much of the quality customer service ended. (More later)
It turns out that the area of the resort where we stayed was an older building but it was updated very nicely inside. It was considered a partial ocean view but besides a tree, we had a direct view of the ocean, especially from the screened in balcony. We watched the sunrise twice.
The shower was a nice, new tile-lined and there was a nice rain-shower head in it. There were two vanities with plenty of storage.
The AC worked great (a very important thing for my wife and I since we hate being hot at night).
The room had a 42 inch flat-screen which is what I expect at this price point but the signal into the tv was only SD which means the picture quality is pretty poor.
There was a revolving list of people who were in the room next to us during our week. For two of the days there were two men who were very loud until 1 or 2 in the morning that made it difficult to sleep.
The ice machine across from our building never gave me ice so I had to call and request an ice delivery whenever we wanted ice. That meant we had to plan 10-15 minutes before we actually wanted ice so it could be delivered. The first time we asked for ice an empty ice bucket was delivered so we had to wait for him to go back and actually put ice in the bucket.
The resort was full of families which created some irritations. There is an adults only fitness room and an adults only lap pool. People ignored both rule and brought kids into both areas. I mentioned it to a manager who said that they had a lot of kids and it was hard to control. Wrong answer!
One day it rained all morning and didn't clear up until about 2 p.m. The resort apparently let the person go home who was supposed to help guests at the adult pool. There were no towels available and the cushions were never put out on the wooden slat deck chairs. Again, that’s pretty poor customer service, especially when you are paying an extra $30 a day as a resort fee on top of the room fee.
The housekeeping staff was great. They got the room together in a quick manner every day and were very friendly. In another example of not getting things right, the housekeepers would put glasses outside of the room so they could be brought back to the restaurant but they would sit out there in front of the rooms for 24-48 hours at a time.
The thing that irritated me the most happened on our last night. It was our anniversary so I had worked with the restaurant to have a special cake to be made and delivered up to the room at an appointed time so I could surprise my wife. When it was 25 minutes late I finally walked down to find out what was going on. I was left waiting for 10 minutes while the guy I worked with went back into the kitchen. The guy finally ran out to say that the person just delivered it to the room. (Glad I was there for the surprise). I ended up having to walk back again because while they delivered the cake, they didn't deliver anything to cut or eat the cake with. Again, some common sense by the staff would go a long way.
The restaurant is ridiculously overpriced for the product. We ate one breakfast, lunch and dinner there purely for convenience, but if you can avoid them, try to at all cost. We actually got up and left one lunch because we were seated for more than 10 minutes and had never had a waiter stop at our table to even get a drink order. To give you an idea, breakfast for 2 ends up being about $50. I had to laugh that they charge $3 for a cup of coffee when, at the same time, they had free coffee at the edge of the restaurant.
There is a small par-3 course (short enough to only need pitching wedges) and nice tennis courts. There is also a nice little path that goes around the property that we walked one day.
We didn't try any of the water sports because the water was pretty chilly the week we were there.
So, to summarize, this place is immaculate and the staff is very friendly but, as a whole, clueless as how to provide 4 star service. If they can get their act together I'd recommend this place. With the current customer service I'd recommend going all the way to Key West and staying at Sunset Key, where they have their act together.
- 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 Islamorada, Florida - Florida Keys