One of Marco Island's hotel trinity - along with the Marriott and Marco Beach Ocean Resort - on its wide, crescent beach, the Hilton is the smallest and, relatively speaking, most modest. The pool deck and, just steps away, the beach are the places to be by day. The resort offers a full line of water sports activities and takes the kids in tow with its Hot Shots program and movie nights. While the kids are playing foosball and learning arts and crafts, parents can play tennis on Har Tru courts or repair to the stand alone spa. Three venues serve food poolside, in a lounge with live music or in the cafe serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Formerly Waldorf-Astoria Naples, its distinctive red-capped tower and 15 Har-Tru tennis courts dominate north Naples's mangrove-fringed estuaries. Luxurious but with beach casualness, the resort's style impresses from the moment you walk through the front door into the sleek, chic lobby with its circular waterfall, smart bar and Aura restaurant. Outside, the family pool, one of three, has a 100-foot water slide and private cabanas. Families can engage their offspring in the kids' program while they hit the spa or golf course. Tram service along the boardwalk traverses estuaries to Clam Pass Park, a 3-mile stretch of plush sands with all manner of water-sports rentals. Fifty luxury bungalows with Asian flair edge the tennis courts; another 395 rooms and 29 suites overlook the gulf. All of these are spacious and furnished with a dry bar, walk-in shower, soaking tub and class. Guests enjoy privileges at a private golf club.
The Ritz-Carlton changed the face of the Naples resort scene when it came to town in 1985. Now there are actually two Ritz-Carltons in Naples, the only town that can make that claim. The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort shares amenities with the original beach property, meaning guests can take advantage of 36 holes of elite golf and a well-reputed golf school. The list of amenities ranges long and wins the resort all the kudos and awards the industry affords. An estuary boardwalk leads to its gorgeous white-sand beach. Its spa is extraordinary, with its own juice bar/healthy cafe. Service, fine dining, outstanding family programming, the highest quality room appointments and amenities and a feel of privilege put the "ritzy" in the experience.
Rising along bay waters in the north Bonita Springs area, it offers full-service golf, spa and recreational amenities in a beautifully appointed and landscaped package. Guests take a quick ferry ride to reach the beach on a private island. There's plenty of water to play in besides the sea, however, as the resort boasts a number of lovely pools including one with a corkscrew slide and another with a lazy river. Its many restaurants and bars provide a wide array of food and beverage options. Families especially like the pool bar, the kids club, the s'more fire pits, the climbing wall and a number of water sports rentals and tours.
If you want the same wide beach as the nearby Marriott resort, but prefer more intimacy and exclusivity, Marco Beach Ocean Resort is the place to book. It is more elegant, although it feels a bit cramped with its 12 stories shoe horned in between condo buildings. One of its greatest asset, Tuscan-style Sale e Pepe overlooks the beach with indoor and terrace seating. The sumptuous guest rooms all face the gulf with fully equipped kitchens. The swimming pool and its pool bar are elevated to a fifth-floor rooftop. Guests have club privileges at a nearby golf and tennis facility.
The biggest resort on Marco Island also happens to be its best in many ways. It spans a long spread of wide, sugar-sand beach. It has the best swimming pool features, the most full-service spa, some of the island's best shops, a full range of water sports options and great dining. It also offers two off-site golf courses. By 2017 it will be upgraded to a JW Marriott property. Guests feel the glam the minute they walk into the marble lobby with its sweeping staircases down to the pool and beach level. Families enjoy the slide pool, a pizza parlor, a game room with table tennis and a remarkable kids' program.
Recently converted from a Waldorf Astoria property, Edgewater has undergone a face-lift that began in its seven-floor tower and continued into the older four-story wings that reach out to gorgeous white beach. Naples' only all-suites resort, its 125 suites contain full refrigerators, microwaves and dining ware in their kitchenettes. The renovation brings cool farmhouse sinks in some of the units and other modern appointments. The small touches make the difference here: a complementary electric trolley to Fifth Avenue South, a 2 p.m. cookies-and-milk buffet, bathrobes and s'more fire pits. Date palms flank the pretty boutique hotel's lap and family pools. Coast restaurant serves fresh, new American cuisine in the suave lobby, poolside and beachside.
This longtime, family-operated fixture on the barefoot, casual Vanderbilt Beach scene comes in two parts: There is a two-story, Old Florida beach motel with a small swimming pool in the shadow of next door's towering high rise and, across the street, a four-story bay-side condo building. The efficiencies and apartments in the older beach building have an easygoing feel, while the condos sport a bit more elegance. All 34 units come with fully equipped kitchens (no stoves in the beach efficiencies), but plan on at least one dinner at the inimitable and highly hailed Turtle Club restaurant on site. It serves lunch and dinner inside or outside on the patio or in the sand. A private fishing dock and a tennis court add to the convenience of the compact property.
This resort, which dates back to the 1940s, is located on 100-plus acres of serenity on the Gulf of Mexico. Its golf course - Southwest Florida's first resort course - spreads into town from the resort's east side. A full-service spa and one of the resort's four restaurants overlook the greens. Its most popular dining venue sits between its pool and beach. HB's on the Gulf stays lively with drinkers and diners daylong, but especially come sunset. Naples Beach Hotel caters equally to business and leisure travelers, particularly families in the latter category with its free kids program. A fitness center, Har-Tru tennis courts and water sports rentals complete the recreational options here.
LaPlaya's gracious Southern-style lobby, Thai spa, exercise room, rocky waterfall pool, pool bar and trendy restaurant menu put it on par with Miami Beach's boutique hotels. Rooms show a meticulous attention to detail; some have Jacuzzis with sea views, and all are luxurious with four-poster beds, fine bed linens, goose-down pillows, private balconies and marble baths. Of its 189 units, 141 face beachfront with private balconies. The "golf" part of the name refers to privileges on a course 15 minutes away. The "beach" part is obvious--a delicious slice of sands that gives way to the property's lush tropical pool and garden.