4 Tips for Planning Your Florida Keys Wedding

First and foremost: Congratulations on your engagement!

If you’ve decided on a beach wedding, we like the way you think. Offering beautiful weather and ocean backdrops, our vibrant island community is the ideal choice for a destination wedding. And at Cheeca Lodge & Spa, we are proud to be the full-service venue of choice for elegant ceremonies and receptions in Islamorada, FL.

Wondering where to begin? Below we’ve shared four tips to help you start planning your Florida Keys wedding.

1.) Timing is Everything

It’s important to keep in mind that a destination wedding requires some advanced planning for both you and your guests. For example, save-the-dates should be in the mail a bit earlier than a local wedding (think: 10 to 12 months ahead of time) to make it possible for your nearest and dearest to schedule PTO, book transportation, and make other travel arrangements.

2.) The Site Visit

We recommend visiting Cheeca before your big day—consider it a “venue vacation.” Take time to sit down with our dedicated on-site coordinators and discuss your vision, and set up meetings with our some of our preferred Florida Keys wedding vendors. We’re happy to refer the best local entertainers, hair stylists and makeup artists, photographers and videographers, and more.

3) The Wedding Planner

Enlist the help of a full-service wedding planner or day-of coordinator for added peace of mind. The expert planners and coordinators at Cheeca offer diverse, personalized services that ensure a seamless experience for you and your guests. These services may include securing outside vendors, providing event timelines, overseeing design and the placement of decor, and more.

4.) Enjoy Yourself!

Remember why you chose an island wedding in the first place, and make sure to schedule time to soak up the relaxing Florida Keys atmosphere and our on-site amenities. In addition to stunning event spaces, Cheeca offers luxurious accommodations, world-class dining, nearby adventures and activities, and a 5,700-square-foot spa.

Learn more about Florida Keys weddings at Cheeca Lodge & Spa, and submit a request for proposal today.

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.

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!

Earth Day (and Every Day) at Cheeca Lodge & Spa

Earth Day always inspires us to reflect on our own environmental efforts at Cheeca Lodge & Spa. We believe travelers are more interested than ever in planning eco-friendly vacations and seeking out businesses that support sustainable tourism. In fact, according to a recent article by the South Florida Reporter, responsible tourism is on the rise and will continue to be a top travel trend for 2018.

At Cheeca, we are dedicated to becoming the most eco-friendly resort in the Florida Keys. Our property is located in one of the most pristine and environmentally sensitive regions in the world—hence its perennial appeal as a top travel destination. As a steward of our environment, we have launched a number of programs to promote green travel and minimize our carbon footprint:

  • Cardboard: Cheeca recycles 100% of its cardboard, which has reduced garbage disposal costs. According to our recycling company, Cheeca produces and recycles the most cardboard in Islamorada.
  • Glass: Cheeca also recycles its glass.
  • Water: Cheeca’s wastewater treatment plant recycles 31,000 gallons of water each day through a water reuse plant. This grey water is used for irrigation of the gardens and golf course. When the new lodge was built, water cisterns were added under the lodge to collect rain water from the main lodge tower roof and the air-conditioning drain lines. This water is pumped into the irrigation lake.
  • Scrap Materials. Scrap metal, wood pallets, golf cart and car batteries are recycled. Fluorescent light bulbs, small batteries, old paint and chemicals are taken to the Monroe County Landfill for recycling.
  • Cheeca Lodge does not allow jet-skis and other thrill craft in the waters surrounding the resort. They destroy sea grasses and endanger marine life. They are also a source of noise pollution.
  • Cards in rooms encourage guests to save water and detergent by giving them the option of how often they would like their sheets changed and their towels replaced.
  • Our Camp Cheeca Environmental Awareness Program for children ages 5-12 teaches campers about the fragile Florida Keys environment with a wide variety of entertaining and engaging activities.
  • A sign at the end of the resort’s trademark fishing pier encourages “catch and release” fishing, discourages discarding fishing line and garbage into the water, explains proper fishing etiquette, and offers instructions on who to call if an injured bird or other sea life is spotted.
  • Cheeca uses biodegradable and low-phosphate cleaning products whenever possible.
  • Our restaurants limit the use of disposable items like Styrofoam cups and plastic utensils whenever possible.
  • Cheeca Lodge supports numerous local, regional and national environmental conservation groups like the Turtle Hospital and the Florida Keys Wild Bird Center, among others.
  • The resort dims and limits the use of outside lights on the beach during turtle nesting season.
  • Cheeca is changing all lighting throughout the property to LED which consumes up to 90% less power than incandescent bulbs.

We strive for sustainability every day, and we encourage our guests to enjoy a green travel experience with minimal impact on the surrounding island landscape. This ensures that generations of future travelers can continue to discover our piece of paradise for years to come.

Book your stay today at one of the most eco-friendly resorts in the Florida Keys.

The Animal Lover’s Guide to the Florida Keys

From red-shouldered hawks to six-toed cats, unique residents inhabit nearly every corner of the Florida Keys. It’s no surprise that this tropical archipelago is a favorite travel destination among animals lovers.

At Cheeca, in keeping with our commitment to eco-friendly tourism, we encourage our guests to seek out humane local organizations—such as wildlife rescues and rehabilitation centers—that allow visitors to appreciate the animals without disrupting their natural habitat. (Although, in the case of the Hemingway House cats, cuddles are encouraged.)

Learn more about our top picks for unforgettable Florida Keys animal experiences below.

The Turtle Hospital in Marathon

Located in Marathon, The Turtle Hospital first opened its doors in 1986 with a mission to “rescue, rehab, and release” injured sea turtles. This veterinary center offers guided, 90-minute educational tours that include a presentation on sea turtles, a behind-the-scenes look at the rehabilitation facilities, and an introduction to the permanent residents. Reservations are highly recommended.

Location: 2396 Overseas Highway, Marathon, Florida 33050

Florida Keys Wild Bird Rehabilitation Center

Open to the public 365 days a year, the Laura Quinn Wild Bird Sanctuary provides a humane, natural, and protected refuge to hindered birds. Permanent residents include Leopold the barred owl and Charlie the turkey vulture, among many others. Alongside the sanctuary, the Mission Wild Bird (MWB) center features three wings: administration, education, and an avian hospital.

Location: 92080 Overseas Highway, Tavernier, Florida 33070

National Key Deer Refuge

The 8,542-acre National Key Deer Refuge is most well-known as the home of the endangered Key Deer, unique to the lower Florida Keys and a subspecies of the White-tailed deer. However, the Key Deer share this refuge with a number of other endangered species, including the Barram’s hairstreak butterfly and the Lower Keys marsh rabbit. Stop by the Visitor Center in Big Pine Key for tips on where to observe the wildlife.

Location: 179 Key Deer Boulevard, Big Pine Key, Florida 33043

Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum

Travel a bit further south to Key West and get acquainted with the many polydactyl (six-toed) cats that reside at the Ernest Hemingway Home and Museum. The 40-50 cats that live on the property grounds are believed to be the descendants of Ernest Hemingway’s cat, Snow White. Following a tradition started by Hemingway, each of the beloved felines is named after a famous person.

Location: 907 Whitehead Street, Key West, Florida 33040

Ready to explore? Book your stay at Cheeca Lodge & Spa and check out these (and other) popular Florida Keys attractions.

The Legend is Back: Cheeca Lodge & Spa to Reopen on March 30, 2018

Mark your calendars: It’s almost time to Live the Legend. Cheeca Lodge & Spa is set to reopen on March 30, 2018, and we can’t wait to welcome guests back to our iconic—and completely renovated—Florida Keys resort. Months of hard work by General Manager Bob LaCasse and the entire Cheeca team have resulted in a completely reimagined experience, albeit one that delivers the same thoughtful service that generations of visitors have grown to love.

Our resort has come a long way since September:

The upcoming March reopening will reveal a number of exciting property renovations, from a lobby redesign to refreshed meeting and event spaces. Guests are encouraged to check out our new bistro dining concept, Mia Cucina; renewed Jack Niklaus-designed golf course; upgraded water sports and fitness offerings; and more. In addition to our many facility enhancements, we’ll also be introducing new services and amenities that can be enjoyed throughout the resort.

Alongside these changes, and perhaps one of the more symbolic representations of our #KeysStrong spirit, our beloved 525-foot wooden fishing pier (the longest in the Florida Keys) will be completely rebuilt.

Feeling inspired? Fortunately, you can still book our limited-time reopening offer through March 7. This exclusive deal includes up to 20% off your stay in Islamorada, plus a credit to help you enjoy everything our updated resort has in store!

Whether you are a loyal guest or plan to visit Cheeca for the first time, we invite you to experience the best of the Florida Keys at our legendary resort.

The Legend Lives On: Stories from Our Team

Following the destruction left in the wake of Hurricane Irma in September 2017, the team at Cheeca Lodge & Spa in Islamorada was faced with the difficult task of rebuilding our beloved Florida Keys resort. And each individual—some facing their own, more personal devastations as a result of the Category 4 storm—rose to the challenge. Under the expert guidance of General Manager Bob LaCasse, our staff has spent the last several weeks restoring and upgrading this legendary resort, and all with an admirably positive attitude. From taking on new roles at the property, to helping neighbors in the community, the team has worked together to reopen one of the best resorts in the Florida Keys.

Here are just a few of our stories:

 

“On my first day back at the resort, I couldn’t believe the devastation. I was walking in with one of my coworkers and we were walking slowly, looking around, and we were crying. Then Bob [LaCasse] drove up on a golf cart and stopped to pick us up—he told us don’t worry, it’s all going to be ok, we’re in this together, cry if you need to, but we’re coming back strong.

I couldn’t believe that our general manager took the time to personally comfort us like that. It stays with me to this day.”

Yolanda Aguiar, Laundry Supervisor

Yolanda Aguiar has been with Cheeca for two years. Since the hurricane, she has helped with inspecting rooms, counting inventory, and more. When she’s not at Cheeca, she can be found volunteering at her church.

 

 

“I’ve been doing special projects, cleanup, pressure washing, painting, working on safety, whatever I can do to help move the reopening along. Now that we’re getting closer to reopening, I will help the Director of F&B prepare the banquet team to start welcoming our groups back!

It’s so nice to see people from all different departments coming together to maintain the resort.  It’s wonderful that everyone is willing to do any project, whatever it takes . . . It’s going to be a good year.”

Ismael Sandoval, Banquet Supervisor

Known by many team members and guests as “Smiley” due to his warm smile and sunny disposition, Ismael Sandoval has been with Cheeca for 13 years and has over 25 years of hospitality experience.

 

 

“I have been really impressed, not just with how everyone is working together every day, but how caring everyone was after the storm. Everyone was looking after each other and making sure everyone was ok on a personal level . . . I lived in employee housing on property and although I didn’t really lose any personal belongings, I lost my home. Thankfully, the resort provided me with a room and I feel very fortunate.

It’s been a ride, and we’re so proud of the community, but we’re all ready to get back to our ‘normal.’ Bring it on 2018!”

Taryn Brown, Lead Reservations Agent

Taryn Brown, the “Booking Queen,” has been with Cheeca for almost 10 years. Although this is her first luxury hospitality position, she has spent many years previously in guest services and call centers.

 

Thanks in no small part to the dedication of these and other team members, Cheeca Lodge & Spa is set to reopen on March 30, 2018. Reserve your stay today and look forward to the return of a legend!