Earlier this week, the online edition of Ocean Home magazine published a feature I wrote after a trip to Naples, Florida. It covers some of the most luxurious hotels and resorts in town, and A+A is pleased to re-post it here today.
Michael Welton October 23, 2023
With almost nine miles of beachfront, Naples looks west to the Gulf of Mexico with style, grace, and grand design.
Its downtown district is legendary. There’s Third Street South with more than 100 shops, galleries, and restaurants. There’s Fifth Avenue South with its promenade of boutiques, jewelers, and antique stores. And on Feb. 3, 2024, there’s the 20th iteration of the Cars on Fifth Concours, organized by the Ferrari Club of America and showcasing hundreds of Maseratis, Lamborghinis, Porsches, Corvettes and Ferraris to thousands of automobile aficionados.
The Inn on Fifth
This exhibition of exotic supercars can be viewed best from above on the balconies of the sumptuous Inn on Fifth boutique hotel. “It’s an upscale luxury experience,” says Shereen Ghandour, director of sales and marketing at the inn. “People fly in on a private jet, then shop, go to restaurants, to the theater, and to the beach.”
The Inn is actually two buildings across from one another on Fifth Avenue South. Each has been designed within an inch of its life, with a material palette of Carrara marble, birch-paneled doors with chrome banded accents, and carved stone pineapples above poolside courtyard entries. The main building offers 87 rooms, while across the street are 32 club level suites. Beach access is a short walk away, or by valet with cart. “It’s two minutes down the street,” says Ghandour.
La Playa Beach and Golf Resort
Alas, Naples took a direct hit from Hurricane Ian in September 2022, and a number of beachfront resorts have scrambled to recover. Among them: the venerable La Playa Beach and Golf Resort, established in 1968. It consists of three towers, on both the Gulf and on Vanderbilt Bay, all undergoing a sequenced renovation. Its Bay Tower offers 40 guest rooms and reopened on Jan. 20. Its Gulf Tower, with 70 rooms, opened back up at the end of February. Its Beach House, directly on the Gulf, offers 79 guest rooms and is slated for reopening on Jan. 15, 2024.
Families have been returning to this resort for decades – and for good reason. “It’s sophistication in a coastal setting,” says Linda Menshon, director of sales and marketing. “There’s a feeling of comfort and genuine care when people walk onto the property.”
The Ritz Carlton, Naples and The Ritz Carlton Naples, Tiburón
The Ritz Carlton brand values Naples enough to build two resorts here – one directly on the Gulf, and a second a few miles away. The beachfront Ritz Carlton, Naples was hammered by Ian when a renovation was already underway, but managed a complete redesign of its 474 rooms in just nine months – and added a new Vanderbilt Tower with a 4,000-square-foot club lounge. It’s the flagship resort for Ritz Carlton, so this resort’s redesign by architect Cooper Carry and Parker Torres Design is the definition of five-star elegance.
The Ritz Carlton Naples, Tiburón, also designed by Parker Torres, is surrounded by two Greg Norman-designed, 18-hole golf courses and an Audubon sanctuary and preserve. It currently offers 295 rooms, with newly renovated rooms and suites slated for 2024. Don’t miss its one-of-a-kind poolside experience with its winding, immersive waterpark experience known as “The Reservoir.”
Naples Grande Beach Resort
Nestled behind a 23-acre mangrove estuary, the Naples Grande Beach Resort was quick to rebuild its beachfront, cabanas, and restaurant after Ian departed. Its Clam Patch Beach is on the Gulf, accessible from the resort’s 474 rooms, 29 golf suites, and 45 villas with a five-minute tram ride or ten-minute walk on a path through the estuary.
The more intriguing tour of the mangrove estuary, though, is by kayak. It’s essentially a bug-free experience with views of birds, lizards, dolphins, manatees, and monkeys. “Our edge is our estuary – our guests love that piece of nature,” says Quin Miller, the resort’s marketing manager. “Nobody else has that.”
Edgewater Beach Hotel
Built in 1968 in the midcentury modern style, the Edgewater is one of three beachfront properties in Naples – including the La Playa and the Ritz Carlton, Naples – sited directly on the Gulf. Its 127 one-, two- and three-bedrooms suites have been renovated since Ian’s eight-foot waves pounded it last year. They’re spacious – and some include partial kitchens.
Besides its location on the beach, the Edgewater offers glimpses back to the now-hip 1960s architecture that’s celebrated across the country. Its walkways outside are laid in oversized, red terracotta tiles, its balustrades are composed of white-painted, punched-out steel, and doors to its suites are louvered mahogany.
A member of the waterfront-oriented Opal Collection, the Edgewater hangs its hat on approachable luxury. “It’s for either a sundress or cocktail dress,” says Paige Rhodes, director of sales and catering. And it’s also got that midcentury vibe, just waiting to be discovered.
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