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Cheeca Lodge offers the Best of Paradise

Cheeca Lodge offers the Best of Paradise Cheeca Lodge offers the Best of Paradise
By Bill Vanderford

Imagine a Caribbean paradise with magnificent sunsets and sunrises, some of the best food in the world, aquatic options too numerous to mention, including fishing's coveted "Grand Slam", an award-winning camp for kids to properly learn about the environment, and a romantic, laid-back atmosphere usually reserved for royalty in a secluded, historic compound. You've just discovered Cheeca Lodge at Islamorada!

Throughout the world, knowledgeable travelers are aware that the finest accommodations in the Florida Keys are found at Cheeca Lodge. This beautiful resort actually dates back to 1946 when it was known as the Islamorada Olney Inn. It was discovered and restored by dreamers Carl and Cynthia (Chee) Twitchell in 1960, and they combined their names to make it "Cheeca". The Twitchell's completely refurbished the old hotel and made it one of the most popular gathering spots in the Keys. It has long been the personal favorite spot for Presidents, including George Bush. In fact, the George Bush/Cheeca Lodge Bonefish Tournament annually raises thousands of dollars for deserving charities. Within the Cheeca compound are nature trails with an adjacent saltwater stream that contains many of the local fish species and the award-winning Camp Cheeca program for youngsters that began in 1989. This unique camp is designed to educate children from 6 to 12 years of age about the fragile ecology of the Florida Keys, and was fashioned after the "Aquatic Wild" program developed by the State of Florida.

One of the best parts of any visit to Cheeca Lodge is the culinary experience at the Atlantic Edge Dining Room, which is an elegant , semi-circular room with sweeping views of the beach, ocean, and fishing pier. Specialties include fresh seafood, mouth-watering steaks, and an interesting array of tasty appetizers. One might also choose to dine in the casual atmosphere of the Ocean Terrace Grill, which overlooks the pool and ocean, or the Curt Gowdy Lounge that is decorated with trophy gamefish and celebrity photos.

The large, air-conditioned guest rooms in the hotel section feature paddle-type ceiling fans and most have private balconies with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. One might also choose to stay in any of the 64 villas that are scattered throughout the tropical gardens and meandering ponds, streams, and lagoons on the property. These units are fully-equipped for cooking and have enough space to bring the family.

Though much of the Florida Keys has been inundated with strip malls and gyp joints, the 27 acre compound at Cheeca Lodge is still an oasis in this insanity of commercialism. Here, one can still find the romance and unique lifestyle that originally brought the dreamers like Carl and "Chee" Twitchell to this gorgeous paradise in the first place!

Since lodging prices constantly fluctuate in the Florida Keys, call for reservations before departing on a trip. Contact the Cheeca Lodge toll-free at 1-800-327-2888. For additional information about the Keys, contact the Florida Keys and Key West Visitors Bureau toll-free at 1-800-FLA-KEYS.

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