The 114-room Cheeca Lodge was one of the original luxury properties on Islamorada, dating to 1946 and earning plenty of celebrity cachet over the years (high-profile guests have included George W. Bush). The property was rebuilt after a fire gutted its main building in 2009, and now has bright, spacious rooms with tropical-luxe decor and massive bathrooms. The lush grounds are especially pretty at night, with Tiki-torch-lit paths. But the hotel's beach is manmade -- there's even a rock ledge on the water's edge -- making it muddy at times and less than ideal for swimmers and waders. And the family pool can get crowded; those traveling without children will probably prefer the much calmer adult-only pool.
Located in Islamorada, between Key Largo and Marathon on the Florida Keys
Cheeca Lodge is located on the Atlantic side of the village of Islamorada, made up of a small cluster of tiny Keys, between Key Largo and Marathon. There is less to do here than on neighboring islands, but there are still several small restaurants nearby, and plenty of attractions within driving distance. Water sports enthusiasts will find plenty to keep them occupied: there's kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, and windsurfing, not to mention sport fishing -- Islamorada advertises itself as the "sport fishing capital of the world."
90-minutes from Miami International Airport
4-minute drive from the Theater of the Sea marine life observatory
26-minutes from snorkeling at the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park