It started out as The Registry, billionaire Wayne Huizenga’s place, back in the late 1980s. Later it morphed into the Naples Grande, then Waldorf Astoria Naples under the Hilton umbrella. Now it’s back to independently branded Naples Grande.
Contrary to appearances, the Naples Grande Beach Resort does not suffer from identity crisis. It was, is and will continue to be a hallmark of sleek, hip vacationing and business meeting in North Naples.
In January 2015, the hotel celebrated its grand reopening at the end of an $18 million renovation and re-imagining that brings it up to speed in upscale resort trends. In its main landmark, copper-topped, 18-story tower, all 395 guest rooms and 29 gulf view suites have been sharpened up with new soft goods, paint jobs and bathrooms of granite and marble.
White beach and red roof: Naples Grande trademarks — Photo courtesy of Naples Grande Beach Resort
Arguably, the new carpeting with its stylized nautilus shell motif is the most striking upgrade, actually lending the resort its logo and coastal vibe. The tower’s dramatic lobby with its atrium stairways, designer water wheel and colorful lighting and art accents brought an element of Miami to the more demure Naples scene years ago. Lobby restaurant Aura and a fashionable bar and seating area introduce the resort’s elegance.
Outside, the Sunset Terrace displays one of the most spectacular changes to the resort’s design: an oversized chess board, water and fire feature, communal table and trendsetting furnishings create an impressive outdoor space between the lobby and the resort’s flagship restaurant, The Catch of the Pelican.
Here, the coastal theme continues with locally sourced seafood and tasteful brass and other nautical accents. Well-crafted dishes spin fine meats, fresh seafood and organic produce with Asian, Mediterranean and tropical influences. The renovation added openness and outdoor seating to the restaurant.
The patio overlooks the adult pool, now handily sequestered with decorative cut-out metal panels and landscaping. Need more privacy? The resort rents tented cabanas with TVs here and at the main family pool, where a 100-foot water slide makes a splash. Guests at both pools enjoy poolside service from the bar and grill between them.
Also for adults, the resort’s first-class spa comprises four Asian-style buildings, including a special spa suite, water features, a meditation labyrinth and an open-air relaxation bed. It offers free sunset yoga classes on the beach monthly during the winter season.
The beach in the resort’s name comes from Clam Pass Park, a county-owned, three-mile spread of fine sands that guests can walk to via a boardwalk through mangrove estuary or catch a ride to on one of the trams that regularly circulate. At the end, new Rhodes End serves casual Greek fare, and a concession rents chaises, cabanas, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and other recreational equipment.
To complete the recreational package, the Naples Grande Golf Course offers challenge on its 18-hole, par 72 Rees Jones designed course about 20 minutes away by car. It evokes old Florida, with grand and native live oak, bald cypress and pine trees.