The Return of a Cheeca Legend: Bruce Graham, Head of Bell Staff

Cheeca Lodge & Spa is proud to be one of the best resorts in the Florida Keys, offering unparalleled luxury experiences that keep our guests returning to Islamorada each year. In addition to premium amenities, we believe it’s the familiar faces of our dedicated team that make Cheeca beloved by generation after generation.

Recently, we sat down with our returning Head of Bell Staff, Bruce Graham, who has been part of the Cheeca family for over a decade. Read on to learn about how Bruce started his career in hospitality, his favorite part of working at Cheeca, and more.

How long have you been at Cheeca?

Eleven years. This was actually my first hospitality job—I was previously senior customer service agent for Fedex in Montego Bay, Jamaica.  

What made you return after the hurricane and your move to Chicago?

After Hurricane Irma I moved to Chicago to be near family, but the love for my Cheeca team and guests brought me home to Cheeca.

What inspired you to pursue a career in this industry?  

When I moved to South Florida from Montego Bay, Jamaica, I wanted to use my customer service background, and hospitality seemed like a great fit. Cheeca was actually presented to me by a staffing agency and I first arrived on an H2B visa. Once I obtained my US citizenship, it was a natural next step to become a permanent team member at Cheeca.

Can you explain your day-to-day responsibilities at Cheeca?  

Upon my return from Chicago, I was able to step back into the Bell Captain role. My day-to-day role entails overseeing the bell staff. My team is responsible for greeting all arriving guests and creating a first impression. During our guests’ stay, my team and I strive to provide a memorable experience which includes not only assisting with vehicles and luggage on check-in and checkout, but making recommendations and providing transportation to different area restaurants and attractions, and most importantly striking up conversations and making sure our guests are having a great time during their stay.

What kind of experience do you hope to craft for your guests, and what makes it stand out from what they experience at other resorts?

At Cheeca, we provide a luxury product, but our service is genuine and heartfelt, not stuffy. We recognize our guests by their names—this makes them feel special and welcome. Returning guests feel like they are coming home. You don’t get the same feeling at other resorts in the Keys or elsewhere.

What is your favorite part of working at Cheeca?

My favorite part of working at Cheeca is the one-on-one interaction with my guests. I have developed many friendships with returning guests over the years, have learned their personal stories, have seen their children grow—and they have gotten to know my story as well. It’s very rewarding to me.

What hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time?

Reading, swimming, and visiting my home and loved ones in Jamaica.

Get to know Bruce and the other members of our team when you stay at Cheeca Lodge & Spa. Book today!

The Best Summertime Drinks at Our Islamorada Tiki Bar

‘Tis the season for tropical drinks.

Granted, we’re blessed with beautiful Florida Keys weather year round, so it’s almost always a good time for a cool and refreshing beverage. However, we believe that the island’s warmest months bring on even stronger cravings for cocktails from our favorite tiki bar in Islamorada: The Tiki Bar at Cheeca Lodge & Spa.

Whether you prefer sweet or spicy, on-the-rocks or frozen, you can enjoy some of the best summertime drinks from our welcoming open-air bar.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with our Blueberry Mojito (Stoli Blueberry, Fresh Mint, Fresh Lime Juice, Simple Syrup, Fresh Blueberries), a traditional Cuban highball with a fruity twist.

The Island Old Fashioned (Zaya Gran Reserva 12 Year Rum, Cardamom Bitters, Turbinado Syrup, Club Soda, Orange Garnish, Luxardo Cherries) is our island-inspired update to Don Draper’s drink of choice.

If you like to keep things spicy, try the Hot Chili (Stoli Razberi, Triple Sec, Cranberry, Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice, Simple Syrup, Fresh Serrano Chili). As its name suggests, this cocktail gets its bite from the fresh serrano chilis.

In the mood for a classic frozen drink? You can’t go wrong with our perennially popular Pina Colada (Rum With Coconut, Pineapple, Dark Rum Drizzle)—poured into a cold glass and served with ocean views.

Finally, the frosty Mudslide (Vodka, Kahlua, Baileys, Crème De Cacao) is like liquid dessert. With a vodka kick.

For those seeking alcohol-free alternatives, we also serve crowd-pleasing Mocktails, including the No-jito (Fresh Lime, Mint And Soda) and the Un-bellini (Peach Puree And Club Soda). Or you can take your pick from our satisfying selection of fresh blended juices and smoothies.

No matter which beverage you choose, we highly recommend enjoying it alongside our menu of tempting beach bites. (Imagine: Conch Fritter Fries, Lobster Grilled Cheese, and Key Lime Pie.)

Enjoy the Tiki Bar and other on-site restaurants in Islamorada when you stay at Cheeca Lodge & Spa in the Florida Keys.

The Top 5 Treatments for Summer at Our Islamorada Spa

Summer often means increased exposure to sun, sand, and surf, a combination that calls for a rejuvenating treatment (or two) from The Spa at Cheeca Lodge. Our lush 27-acre oasis features a heated lap pool, cabanas with butler service, and other premium amenities. It’s the perfect place to slip away to for a little self-care, especially when the rest of the family is off enjoying our many on-site activities.

Treat yourself to the ultimate island indulgence with the top five treatments for summer at our Islamorada spa.

1.) Summer Breeze

The Summer Breeze massage is inspired by classic, stress-relieving Swedish techniques and uses light rhythmic pressure. This blissful service is enhanced with relaxation stretching.

2.) Barefoot Elegance Massage

With endless summer activities, your feet may be in need of a little extra love. Opt for our Barefoot Elegance Massage, which not only soothes tired feet, but promotes healing and relieves stress in other parts of the body.

3.) Ocean Cocoon Body Treatment

The perfect companion to a day at the beach, this refreshing treatment embodies the essence of the ocean with a full-body, salts of the earth scrub, followed by a soothing white algae body mask. The accompanying natural seaweed gel adds an ample dose of moisture.

4.) Vitamin Sea Facial

This seasonal facial is packed with vitamins and, like the Ocean Cocoon Body Treatment, it includes the added benefit of seaweed-based products that hydrate, replenish, and repair skin.

5.) Pick Me Up Facial

This quickie facial is the perfect choice for those with a busy summer schedule. It’s light yet effective, and designed for all skin types. Plus, it only takes 25 minutes.

In addition to our luxurious treatments, we recommend taking advantage of our unique selection of spa refreshments. Make your service even more special with a bottle of bubbly or a sparkling wine split, and satisfy cravings with a cheese course or tropical fruit plate. And be sure not to skip our extra sweet local favorite: the key lime tart.

Learn more about our Florida Keys spa and submit a request for summer spa services today.

The Cheeca Guide to a Kid-Friendly Florida Keys Vacation

School’s out in Florida, meaning it’s officially time to start enjoying the summer as a family. If you haven’t yet made plans for the season, we recommend planning a fun and kid-friendly Florida Keys vacation at Cheeca.

Spacious Accommodations

The spacious rooms and suites at Cheeca are perfect for a family vacation. Featuring classic West Indies style decor, these accommodations offer a quintessential island experience. Kids and adults alike can relax, unwind, and take advantage of an abundance of luxurious in-room amenities.

Family-Friendly Dining

With a variety of on-site dining concepts, there’s truly something for everyone at Cheeca. Delight in the tropically-inspired cuisine at our flagship restaurant, Atlantic’s Edge; transport your family to Naples, Italy at Mia Cucina; sample sushi in an oceanfront setting at the new Nikai Sushi Bar & Restaurant; or keep it casual at our welcoming Tiki Bar.

Camp Cheeca

As one of the more unique resort offerings in the Florida Keys, Camp Cheeca features entertaining and educational programming. Available Monday through Saturday, in full or half-day sessions, the camp includes a number of activities for ages 5-12. Kids can enjoy arts and crafts, scavenger hunts, lagoon swimming, beach exploration, and much more.

On-Site Activities for All Ages

In addition to Camp Cheeca, there are a number of on-site activities that appeal to all ages, like saltwater fishing, beach volleyball, and shuffleboard. Meanwhile, our full-service watersports facility offers snorkel trips, parasailing, guided jet ski tours, and more. Rentals and lessons are available daily.

Book your stay at Cheeca Lodge & Spa today and treat your family to an unforgettable, kid-friendly Florida Keys vacation.

Spend the Fourth of July in the Florida Keys

Here in the Florida Keys, we’re getting excited to celebrate one of our favorite holidays: Independence Day, now just a month away. Enjoy a Fourth of July getaway to Cheeca and check out the many family-friendly special events in Islamorada and beyond.

Independence Day Celebration in Islamorada

Head to Founders Park at Mile Marker 87 for a lively Fourth of July gathering from 6 to 10pm. Featuring entertainment and activities for children, teens, adults, and even dogs, it’s a can’t-miss local event capped off with a dazzling fireworks show. Food and drinks will be available for purchase.

Location: Founders Park, 87000 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, FL 33036

Marathon Beach Party and Fireworks Show

A full-day affair, the Marathon Beach Party is one of the most epic holiday events in the Keys. The festivities kick off at 10:30am with a patriotic parade, starting at Marathon High School and ending at Sombrero Beach, where admission will be free. The celebration will include food, drinks, entertainment, and of course, fireworks.

Location: Sombrero Beach, Marathon, FL 33050

Fireworks Show on Blackwater Sound

The still surface of Blackwater Sound amplifies this spectacular fireworks display in Key Largo. The show starts at 10pm, and the best seating can be enjoyed at nearby restaurants like Johnson’s Big Chill and Sundowners; reservations are recommended!

Location: Near Mile Marker 104 (bayside), Key Largo, FL

Rotary Club of Key West Annual Fireworks Show

Presented by the Rotary Club of Key West, this annual show is staged from the Edward B. Knight Pier starting at 9pm. From this vantage point, revelers can take in both the fireworks and beautiful views of the Atlantic Ocean. Food and beverages will be available for purchase, with sales to benefit the Rotary Club’s scholarship funds.

Location: Edward B. Knight Pier, White St, Key West, FL 33040

Stay at Cheeca Lodge & Spa and enjoy luxury Islamorada accommodations near all the Fourth of July action.

Stay Fit (and Have Fun) with These Vacation Workouts

Travel and fitness don’t always feel like the perfect pair; however, at Cheeca, the two go hand-in-hand. In addition to independent activities, our resort offers a variety of guided on-site classes, making it easy to stay fit (and have fun) while you’re away from home.

Paddle Board Yoga

For a challenging and unique yoga experience, take to the water on a stand up paddleboard (SUP). Every Friday evening and Sunday morning, we offer hour-long SUP yoga classes that welcome both beginners and seasoned yogis alike. It’s a great opportunity to practice yoga poses while enjoying the relaxing sound and motion of the ocean.

Adult Tennis Clinics

Our resort also features several adult tennis clinics throughout the week. Our half-hour beginner’s clinics are complimentary for guests on Tuesday mornings, while our more advanced clinics on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday mornings are $25 per attendee. Feeling a competitive? Join our tennis round robin on Tuesday and Saturday mornings at 10am.

Total Body Toning

Offering a classic workout experience, our Total Body Toning classes are held every day except Friday and are a great way to break a sweat. Head to our Fitness Studio and jumpstart your day with an invigorating session from 9 to 10am, led by a certified instructor. Our facility also features the latest equipment from Life Fitness.

Resort SCUBA Course

If you’re in the mood for something more adventurous, attend one of our hour-long resort SCUBA courses, held every Friday and Saturday morning. This class is highly recommended: The Florida Keys are home to the continental United States’ only living-coral barrier reef, and it’s certainly worth exploring.

Check our calendar of events for the most up-to-date look at the activities at our Islamorada resort.

Join us at Cheeca and enjoy these and other popular on-site offerings during your stay in the Florida Keys.

Live the Legend: The Evolution of Cheeca Lodge & Spa

Since reopening on March 30, 2018, Cheeca Lodge & Spa has been busy welcoming guests to our renovated resort—and it feels great to be back! Since 1946, we’ve been committed to providing the best tropical retreat in Islamorada. Now, with the last remnants of the hurricane cleared away and our vibrant island community once again thriving, we believe the best Cheeca experiences are yet to come.

We’re excited to share a few recent images of our recently reimagined property, from our inviting lobby to our famous 525-foot pier:

Guests entering the redesigned lobby.

Made in the shade: Our impeccably manicured grounds.

There’s plenty of room by the pool!

The Cheeca pier, illuminated at sundown.

Naturally, our stunning views remain the same.

Of course, there are plenty of changes that can’t be easily captured in a photograph, including several new on-site services and amenities. From updated water sports offerings to refreshed meetings and event space—plus an upcoming oceanfront pool planned for later this year—there’s so much to be discovered at our Islamorada resort.

The best way to experience Cheeca is by booking a stay in our luxury accommodations. We hope to welcome you to the Florida Keys soon!