by Lisa A. Grimaldi | April 02, 2018

The 214-room Cheeca Lodge Resort and Spa on Islamorada in the Florida Keys has reopened, following a $25 million restoration to repair damages sustained from Hurricane Irma. Among the areas of the resort hardest hit by the storm were the lobby, the surrounding landscaping and a 525-foot-long oceanfront dock, while guest rooms suffered water damage.

"Easter is a really big weekend for us every year," noted Bob LaCasse, Cheeca's general manager, adding that the restoration "allowed us to bring our guests back in-season. During the time while we were closed, the staff worked in every type of job you can imagine in the cleanup process. It really strengthens the team, so the entire staff is bonded. When you go through a crisis like this, you almost become family."

According to Keys tourism officials, 80 percent of Florida Keys lodging properties are now hosting visitors. Among the latest news:

  • The 106-room Havana Cabana Key West Hotel on Key West is scheduled to open this month
  • The new 12-acre, "luxury inclusive," adults-only 135-unit Bungalows Key Largo is set to open in May
  • On Duck Key near Marathon, the 60-acre Hawks Cay Resort has partially reopened with 100 villas along with the Calm Waters Spa, the Sunset Pool, the Coral Cay kids' activities center, and the Angler and Ale restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The resort's dolphin program is open as well. The main hotel, with 177 guest rooms, a saltwater lagoon, three pools and three restaurants, is slated to reopen this summer.