In Naples, the Ritz Carlton Is an Angel in the White City

I was a recent guest at the Ritz Carlton Naples in Florida, a resort on the Gulf of Mexico that is not only the flagship for the brand, but perched on the Gulf of Mexico with views to die for. The property was hit hard by Hurricane Ian a year ago in September, but persevered through a renovation of all its rooms and the creation of a new Vanderbilt Tower – in just nine months. Ocean Home magazine online recently published a feature I wrote about it, and A+A is pleased to repost it here:

Naples, Florida is a 21st-century city bathed in bright white – from the sand on its snowy beaches to the walls of its sprawling strip malls and towering condominiums. But it’s home also to a golden-brown, 14-story-tall angel called the Ritz Carlton, Naples.

Inside, this resort’s all marble and double-height windows topped by half-rounds. And while other resorts may offer the same materials, this one’s a cut above: It’s staffed by a team of self-described “ladies and gentlemen” known for their grace and manners.

Case in point: During a recent stay there, it seemed nearly everyone knew my name.

There was Elliott, the youngish concierge in the 4,000-square-foot Club Lounge, the nation’s largest. It’s on the ground floor of the brand-new Vanderbilt Tower, a 14-floor expansion overlooking a beach by the same name. Not only did Elliott pull together a charcuterie out of the club’s closed-at-3-P.M. buffet for me late Monday afternoon, he remembered my surname with the flash of a smile on Tuesday morning.

And when I strolled through DUSK, the sushi restaurant staffed by a pair of splendidly grinning, let-us-both hail-you-at-once servers, I was greeted by a nattily attired stranger with shining eyes and gleaming teeth. He called me by name too, concerned about the quality of my six o’clock cocktail in the Lobby Bar.

Very nice, I replied, then returned to my mission out to the hotel veranda, seeking an ephemeral phenomenon slated for 7:28 P.M. It was the cosmic Green Flash that sometimes explodes above the setting sun – and the haunting turquoise waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Alas, there was no flash that night. And as it turns out, these waters are not always as calm as I found them. Back on September 28, 2022 when Hurricane Ian roared into Naples, an 18-foot storm surge nearly breached the Ritz Carlton’s first floor. A renovation begun in early 2021 was delayed, and the hotel was closed. But it persevered, using the opportunity to expand renovations to guest rooms and back-of-house areas.

Nine months after Ian departed – on July 6 this year – the completely restored resort reopened. Its staff of “ladies and gentlemen,” temporarily employed at Ritz Carltons elsewhere, returned to a hotel filled once again with starstruck guests.

The renovation happened so quickly that some still refer to it as a miracle.

But of course. What else would one expect from an angel in the white city?

For more, go here