Winter’s nasty deep freeze has met its sun-kissed alter ego: Florida’s Paradise Coast.
Guests staying at the Naples Grande Beach Resort should know. The 474-room 4-diamond resort is plunked in the heart of protected wetlands overlooking the Gulf of Mexico where the biggest past-times here are beach combing and laying down the towel atop the talcum fine sand to watch the sunset dipping into the sea.
Luxury seekers first started to arrive to this coastal paradise in the late 80s when it was known as The Registry created by the late billionaire Wayne Huizenga. A few flip-flops in ownership (it was a Naples Grande then a Waldorf Astoria under Hilton) in 2015, the 18-floor tower property has resumed its Naples Grande Beach Resort status. The luxe property underwent a $18-million dollar renovation that has re-imagined 21st century travel needs. Another recent renovation which occurred due to Hurricane Irma has created a whole new meetings and event space.
Luxury touches in haute coastal chic abound everywhere. As soon as you enter the gleaming lustrous marble lobby prepare to see a 22 foot vertical ring fountain crafted as only gizillionaires would in a smooth stainless steel with a custom designed art glass wall fixture in Hermes red at check-in.
Located in Naples, Florida which coincidentally has been deemed as the healthiest and happiest haven in the U.S. for the third consecutive year, the Naples Grande Beach Resort is a magnet for the corporate crowd weekdays but come weekends leisure travelers like families, couples and girlfriend getaways imbibe on the sweet luxury riches.
Naples Grande Beach Resort Highlights
Take a 15 minute stroll along a shady boardwalk or snag a ride on the continuous tram service that rumbles through the jungle passing thick mangroves to reach the ultimate white sands. Blissfully the sheer size of the resort surrounded by a 200-acre nature reserve and three-miles of beach means its rare for crowds to be seen. The spacious rooms reflect the relaxed Zen atmosphere of the entire property.
You can also start the weekend right on Fridays when champagne lovers enjoy #BubbleQ Happy Hour, a famous customary tradition at the property. During the holidays see a stacked multi-level display of Veuve Clicquot bottles shaped as a Christmas Tree. One insider even reports the resort has been the vintage label’s largest distributor. It might as well be judging by the ornate champagne tribute.
Plenty of room categories to satisfy the sun seeker. The tower has seven styles to choose from. Room sizes are huge, starting from 465 sq. feet for the Coastal View, Double Balcony, Gulf View and Signature Gulf View rooms. Every tower guestroom features a private angled balcony with breathtaking views of the city and the Gulf of Mexico. Then there are the new low-rise Garden Villa Suites with its ambiance of superb elegance.
My Signature Gulf View room had a floor-to-ceiling glass balcony door which opened funneling in the refreshing gulf breezes. Spectacular city-beach views. Styled in soft muted tones, the amenity list of in-room offerings gets a big thumbs-up. Geared for the corporate traveler and those who are dependent on their digital devices for survival prepare for ample USB ports, an iPod docking station, a mini-fridge which is becoming extinct in many luxury branded hotels, a Keurig coffee-maker and the prerequisite in-room safe.
Go for the healthy and happy approach.
Daily health and wellness classes and special boutique-like resort programming. Decompress with a daily yoga class, boost the heart rate with a high-energy indoor cycling class, or go for some Zumba and body sculpting classes. Guests also get to sample what’s in store at the nearby Florida Everglades with the 200-acre protected mangrove estuary that the hotel sits alongside.
There are pools, tennis courts with a pro shop, a fitness center, a newly expanded spa complex, and a top-rated 18-hole private golf course. Spa goers will enjoy the recently introduced Ayurvedic and Eastern therapies such as the soothing oil-based Abhyanga and Swedish-Thai massages in addition to traditional Western therapies. There’s a full-service salon convenient for last-minute touches and weekend makeovers.
Go off-site for local explorations. Within walking distance of a shopping complex known as the Waterside Shops and Artis, home of the Naples Philharmonic and the Bakers Museum. Tin City a few miles away teems in funky bo-ho shops chockablock of bric-a-brac from locally made products like handmade soaps and organic pooch pet food. Tour the Everglades National Park, head out on an air boat or jet boat, try some fishing or consider a private seaplane tour over the vast Everglades.
Dining at Naples Grand
Seven dining venues cater to the alfresco coastal crowd and to indoor ‘it’s four o’clock cocktail hour lingering around the bar’ crowd. Secluded in this water playground off the Gulf of Mexico fresh seafood are the signature dishes at The Catch of the Pelican but so is a premium steak. Other restaurants include the cosmo-chic Aura, casual coastal Oasis Pool Bar, on-the-go Spressi Coffee Bar. Rhode’s End is a Greek al fresco eatery decked out in Mediterranean Blue accents.
For pre and post cocktails, guests enjoy hanging out at Sunset Veranda for its crackling fire pit or Mantra.
Overall Impression: Lovers of the good life will immediately find solace at the Naples Grande Beach Resort.
You can make your reservations at the Naples Grande Beach Resort website.
Room rates vary based on categories, the day of week and the season. For a standard room for two persons, nightly rates range between $189 (low season) to $459 (high season) and up. Compare rates at Hotels.com, Travelocity or Expedia.
Photography by Ilona Kauremszky and supplied.