When Cheeca Lodge opened its doors in 1946, the first guest to check in was President Harry Truman. It was perhaps a sign of the notable figures that the hotel would host in the future—specifically Paul Newman, Bing Crosby, Katie Couric and Jack Nicklaus (who designed the on-property golf course in 1981.) But among Cheeca’s laundry list of boldfaced guests, one in particular holds a special connection to the property: President George H.W. Bush. The former President started a “Presidential Sailfish Tournament” at the resort in 1990, and it continues to be held annually each January.
Located in Islamorada, a “village of islands” in the Florida Keys, the beachfront resort offers guests an array of activities, from windsurfing to parasailing at sunset. But at Cheeca, vacationers are typically more drawn to fishing—either off of the resort’s wooden pier or in a chartered boat. (With more then 500 species of fish, Islamorada is known at the Sportfishing Capital of the World.) Fresh, exquisitely prepared seafood is a staple at the hotel’s three restaurants: Atlantic’s Edge serving up local cuisine, Nikai for sushi and Limoncello for Italian fare.
The rooms, traditionally decorated with dark wood and warm accents, are the luxury equivalent to a humble fishing lodge. There are 214 in total, though one suite stands out as a favorite among guests. Below, Cheeca Lodge’s General Manager Deanne Gabel offers a glimpse inside.
The most requested room:
Premier Ocean Front Suites in our main lodge.
What makes it so special:
At over 840 square-feet, the Premier Oceanfront Suite is one of the largest oceanfront accommodations in all of the Florida Keys. The suite is popular with couples as well as families—it can accommodate up to six. In addition to the very spacious interior, the large open-air balcony features a seating area as well as a romantic soaking tub (with overhead waterfall faucet) and incomparable vistas of the Atlantic.
We always honor and respect the privacy of our individual guests, but having said that, numerous A-list Hollywood celebrities, fashion and sports icons, Washington elite and celebrity chefs consider Cheeca their home-away-from-home when in South Florida. Emeril Lagasse recently filmed an episode of his Food Network show at Cheeca.
This depends on the season, but the yearly average rate per night is around $500 per room per night.
Your personal favorite:
The Bush 41 Presidential Retreat.
This large oceanfront suite is named for one of our most prestigious and long-time guests, President George H.W. Bush. The suite features memorabilia personally donated by President Bush, including a piece of the Berlin wall and beloved photos of his time in the U.S. Air Force and fishing at his beloved Cheeca Lodge & Spa.
Started by former president George H.W. Bush in 1990, the Presidential Sailfish Tournament has become an annual favorite of serious anglers worldwide and is a part of the Gold Cup Series of sailfish tournaments.