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Naples Resorts: Seasons in the Sun, Sand and Surf



Naples is the land of posh resorts. With both The Ritz-Carlton, Naples and The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort – the only city with two Ritz-Carltons – you know that the Naples vacation scene is high end and seriously service oriented.

Vacationing on the beach began 70 years ago with the opening of Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, which we rank number one on this list for its genteel blend of Old Florida style and contemporary, full service amenities – including an 18-hole golf course, stand-alone spa, tennis, watersports, dining, a free kids club, and a variety of accommodations.

The list picks the crème de la crème from the region’s menu of full service destination resorts – from Bonita Springs in the north to Marco Island, a resort world unto itself. Some of the most popular resorts lie on the beach facing the Gulf of Mexico. Naples Bay Resort, however, is one exception. It appeals to boaters with its full scale marina, complete with boat rentals and dockage.

Many are part of an upscale chain, but some, such as Marco Beach Ocean Resort and LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort, boast their own unique personalities. We have rated the resorts in the order we feel reflects the best, but ultimately, the guide will lead you to properties that best fit what you are looking for in a fantasy resort vacation.


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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.




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 outdoor 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 Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples
Photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort

Naples' second Ritz-Carlton resort operates amid 27 holes of lush, Greg Norman-designed greens. The Rick Smith Golf Academy, a putting course and practice area, and a clubhouse with pro shop make this a complete golf resort. Its symbiotic relationship with its elder sister on the beach gives both properties the most complete menu of leisure activities possible. Guests at the golf resort have access via shuttle to the beach resort's spa, beach, kids' program and restaurants. Its own Lemonia restaurant gives guests a reason to stay on property. A gourmet pastry shop, pool grill, cigar bar, room service and other lounges fill the dining-entertainment bill. The golf resort also has an on-property fitness center, four lit tennis courses and a pool. Overlooking the greens with private balconies, 295 rooms and suites have it all, from cuddly robes and over-sized marble bathrooms to plush beds and furniture.


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Naples Grande Beach Resort
Photo courtesy of Naples Grande Beach Resort


This hotel recently underwent an $18 million makeover and is once again Naples Grande, following its tenure as Waldorf Astoria Naples. Its distinctive red-capped tower, villas and 15 Har-Tru tennis courts dominate north Naples's mangrove-fringed estuaries.Luxurious but beach casual, the resort's style impresses from the moment you walk through the front door into the sleek, chic lobby. Outside, the family pool, one of three, has a 100-foot water slide and private cabanas. Families can engage their offspring in the fine kids' program while they hit the spa or golf course. Tram service along the boardwalk traverses estuaries to Clam Pass Park with all manner of water-sports rentals. Fifty luxury bungalows edge the tennis courts; another 395 rooms and 29 suites overlook the gulf. All are spacious and furnished with a dry bar, walk-in shower, soaking tub and class. Guests enjoy privileges at the private 18-hole Naples Grande Golf Club.


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.


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.


LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort - A Noble House Resort
Photo courtesy of LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort Naples


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 gardens.


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

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. 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. The property currently undergoes a transformation to the JW Marriott brand. When complete in 2017, it will have added a new adults-only tower with a celebrity chef restaurants, among other major upgrades.


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.


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 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. The resort 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. 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

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