Naples' Best Hotels: From Nautical to So Nice

Naples has no shortage of hotels and resorts in all shapes and forms. Many take the form of high-end, full-service beach enclaves where no whim is left unattended. They regularly make it to best-of lists all over the place.

This list, however, expands beyond just the brand-name Naples resorts to let you in on a few of the lesser known gems, some of them away from the beach. For instance, you will of course find the beachfront Ritz-Carlton Naples, one of the most lauded in the brand, but also Park Shore Resort, which resides in a lovely Naples neighborhood and provides shuttles to the beach.

Two of the listings - Cove Inn and Naples Bay Resort - reflect the destination's maritime reputation with marinas and other amenities for boaters. Another puts you up in the midst of downtown Old Naples actions, while yet another provides comfortable accommodations and easy access to the Florida Everglades.

The listings' locations range from Bonita Springs to Marco Island and Everglades City, from beach side to downtown and bay side. You have your choice of the best in each location and setting. No matter if your vacation is a twosome getaway or a family destination gathering, the hotels and resorts of the Naples area fit your needs.



Port of the Islands Resort and Marina
Photo courtesy of Sunstream Hotels & Resorts

For those looking for a wilderness experience on their Naples holiday - without having to hit a campground - this is a good, centrally located option. Red barrel tiles, stucco and a faux bell tower give it a Mediterranean look, and the atrium lobby feels luxury lodge-like. The rooms, however, serve the purpose of sleeping in modest comfort. They are especially plain and motel-like in the two-story main building, with a shared balcony and mini-fridges. Others encircle the pool and line a canal in a one-story configuration with their own screened porch and a kitchenette. The condo hotel complex's rooms are in a rental program. They are snatched up in season by fishermen, hunters and explorers who take advantage of the resort's tour concession partners, which operate out of the property's marina. Adventure packages are available.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: It is the most full-service accommodations near the recreation and wildlife-watching opportunities in the Everglades.

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Park Shore Resort
Photo courtesy of Sunstream Hotels & Resorts

You feel as though you are part of the local population when you stay at this lovely property, tucked into a pretty Naples neighborhood north of the downtown area. The Park Shore Resort offers self-catering condominiums with full kitchens surrounded by beautiful grounds and is only a short distance from the closest beach. The pool and its craggy waterfall, a hot tub and a sunning area occupy an island set in the midst of a fountained lake that the condo buildings surround. You will also find the property's popular Island Pub there. Leisure facilities include tennis courts, racquetball, volleyball and basketball.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: This is somewhat of a secret hideaway whose neighborhood feel puts it in a class by itself.

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JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

The biggest resort on Marco Island – and about to get bigger as it transitions into a JW Marriott brand – 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. 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. To come by 2017: an adults-only accommodations tower with a rooftop pool and celebrity-chef restaurant.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: The biggest resort on Marco Island also happens to be its best in many ways.

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Cove Inn on Naples Bay
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

A throwback to Naples' early resort days, when fishing trumped luxury, this is a friendly place next to the Naples Dock. It resides in the town's original neighborhood, Crayton Cove, circa 1915, and retains that neighborly feel. The units - most individually owned - range from motel rooms to efficiencies and one- and two-bedroom accommodations with full kitchens. Each unit is decorated in individual style. Because it has its own marina, Cove Inn welcomes boat-in arrivals. Everyone gathers at the chickee bar for happy hour then disperses to the property's and nearby Crayton Cove restaurants - all with salty flavor. Its old-fashioned coffee house is a local favorite for breakfast.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: This place preserves the nautical, easy-going spirit of old Naples.

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The Ritz-Carlton, Naples
Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton, Naples

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 27 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.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: For the money-is-no-object vacationer, the Ritz-Carlton is the gold standard.

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Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa
Photo courtesy of Courtesy of Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort

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.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: It offers everything families, couples and business vacationers need in a hotel.

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Edgewater Beach Hotel
Photo courtesy of Edgewater Beach Hotel

Edgewater recently underwent a rebranding and face-lift that upgraded its suites with top of the line stainless steel kitchen appliances, glass mosaics and a soothing color palate that mimics their views of sea and sand. Naples' only all-suites resort, its 125 units contain full refrigerators, microwaves and dining ware in their kitchenettes. The renovation also brings quartz countertops, state-of-the-art refrigerators and other modern touches. The small details make the difference here: a complementary electric trolley to Fifth Avenue South, a 2 p.m. cookies-and-milk buffet, ensuite bathrobes and a beachside s'more fire pit. 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.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: It is Naples' only all-suites property on the beach.

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Club Level Suites at Inn On Fifth
Photo courtesy of Inn on Fifth

In the thick of all the hip action downtown on Fifth Avenue South, Inn on Fifth provides an attractive alternative for nightlifers and metro-types. Located next to the Sugden Community Theatre and in the midst of bars, restaurants and shops, it keeps its guests blissfully sequestered in luxurious, sound-proofed accommodations decorated in chic contemporary style. Late 2012, the fashionable inn took another step up with the addition of a concierge-level, all-suite component across the street from the original hotel. A rooftop pool in the inn and hot tub in the all-suite club create quiet retreats. Two on-site restaurants reflect the upscale level of accommodations. Plus there's an intimate spa in the original hotel.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: With its convenient downtown location, great restaurants and sophistication it makes the perfect city getaway.

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Naples Bay Resort
Photo courtesy of Naples Bay Resort

Naples's newest resort, swank and boating-oriented,opened in 2008. By combining private yacht and recreation club settings with an Italian-motif boutique property, Naples Bay Resort can offer guests incredible amenities that include boat docking (also rentals) and a playtime complex. Said complex, a short walk away from the main resort, contains a lush lazy river and four pools – lap, zero-entry for family, waterfall and adults-only – plus an intimate spa, high-tech fitness center and friendly pool bar and grill. The yacht club is part of the main hotel and includes a handsome, private waterside lounge that is open to guests for buffet breakfast. Harbor-side, Mereday's Fine Dining manages to reinvent Naples cuisine. Plushly appointed accommodations range from hotel rooms to one- and two-bedroom suites to cottages. A free shuttle makes the short distance to the recreation club and also drives (stocked with beach towels and bottled water) to the beach.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Naples' newest resort is also one of its nicest and offers a good alternative to the beach.

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Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club
Photo courtesy of Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club

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 to Highway 41 on the resort's east side. A full-service spa and one of the resort's five dining venues overlook the greens. Its most popular restaurants overlook the beach. HB's on the Gulf and Sunset Beach Bar & Grill stay lively with drinkers and diners daylong, but especially come sunset. Naples Beach Resort caters equally to business and leisure travelers, particularly families in the latter category with its free kids program. A fitness center, hydro-grid tennis courts and water sports rentals complete the recreational options here.

Recommended for Best Hotels because: Naples' oldest resort keeps up with the times with full-service amenities.

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Meet Chelle Koster Walton

Chelle Koster Walton – the Local Expert for Naples, Florida and the Caribbean – has been covering the destination for 30 years. Her top-selling Sarasota, Sanibel Island, and...  More About Chelle