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Ten luxury hotels worth the splurge: Cheeca Lodge, Islamorada, Florida

Recommended by Contributing Editor RaeJean Stokes

For a taste of the Caribbean without having to leave the States, Contributing Editor RaeJean Stokes recommends Cheeca Lodge, a resort in the Florida Keys where she spent three days this summer. Set on 27 acres of oceanfront property on the east side of Islamorada, Cheeca has everything you’d expect from a world-class resort: a gorgeous setting, spacious guestrooms with modern amenities, gracious service, and lots of recreational options.

Onsite there’s a par-three golf course and tennis courts (use of these amenities is included with the resorts daily $39 resort fee), two pools (including one just for adults), a 525-foot fishing pier, a fine-dining and more casual restaurant, and a spa that offers treatments ranging from oceanside couples massages to facials for teens.

The resort also runs sport fishing excursions (starting at $28) and snorkeling trips ($34). “I saw sea turtles, sting rays, and tons of fish,” says Stokes of the snorkeling excursion. “The staff that runs the trips is amazing. Besides having a great sense of humor, they remembered everyone’s names throughout the duration of our stay.”

Cheeca has 199 guest rooms, suites, and adult-only beachfront bungalows. “The rooms in the main lodge were recently remodeled and boast gorgeous bathtubs. You can soak in the tub while looking out at the sea because they’re placed near the middle of the room with a removable door,” says Strokes. “The rooms all also have plasma TVs and nice comfy beds.” Rates range from $149 to $1,098 per night.

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