Vacationing at the Naples Grande Beach Resort
With summer here and a year’s worth of being at home during the pandemic, there has never been a better time to hop in the car and get away for a weekend. Our choice? The Naples Grande Beach Resort, a four-star resort overlooking the Gulf of Mexico that is only two hours across Alligator Alley. It turned out to be a great escape, perfect for couples or families.
We stayed in a Gulf View room, which had a king-sized bed, his-and-her sinks, a desk for those taking a work-cation and, most importantly, a furnished balcony with views of the gulf. The property is massive and has three separate pools. The family-friendly Mangrove Pool is for the little ones, complete with a 100-foot waterslide. For a more peaceful sunbathing experience, there is the adult-only Palm Terrace Pool, which has a Jacuzzi. For those who like to actually exercise on vacation (not us), there is also the Hibiscus Hideaway lap pool.
Speaking of staying active, the resort’s private 18-hole, par-72 Naples Grande Golf Club is just a 10-minute drive from the resort. They also have 15 tennis courts and were named one of the top 50 tennis resorts in the world by Tennis Resorts Online.
Naples Grande Beach Resort owns three miles of white sand beach right on the Gulf of Mexico. While the resort is set back just under a mile from the water, they offer a golf cart tram service to the beach – or you can take a 15-minute stroll down the boardwalk. The boardwalk winds through a 200- acre protected mangrove estuary, replete with information plaques on the different species that inhabit the mangroves. It feels like you’re moving through a tropical rainforest.
Once you reach the beach, you can set up camp with a lounge chair or in a beach cabana. The lounges are included; the cabanas are $150 for the day and come with a queen-sized beach bed, two lounges and two umbrellas. They offer kayak and paddleboard rentals, but we were content just relaxing in our beach cabana. Though the heat and humidity are definitely back for the summer, the sea breeze and a dip in the gulf kept us cool and comfortable.
If you do need a break from the sun, take a trip to the spa. The stress melts right off the moment you enter, with calming music, the aroma of essential oils and a friendly staff. The spa at Naples Grande offers just about every treatment you can think of, from facials to body wraps to manicures and pedicures. After living through the chaos of the past year, their classic Swedish massage was a godsend. The 50-minute massage felt more like 15, so we recommend 80 minutes if you can carve out the time from your beach/pool day.
There are six on-site dining options at Naples Grande. Between the Mangrove and Palm Terrace pools is the Gulf Coast Oasis Restaurant, ideal for a poolside lunch or a sunset cocktail. At the end of the boardwalk, Rhode’s End is a casual lunch spot (definitely try the Rum Runner). Overlooking the water, it’s also the best place on property for viewing those famous West Coast Florida sunsets.
Though Mantra Lobby Lounge seems like your average hotel bar, it actually has a superb Pan-Asian menu. We recommend the Dagwood roll – shrimp tempura, cucumber, avocado, honey Sriracha, chipotle mayo and sesame seeds – and the chicken stir-fry.
The Catch of the Pelican restaurant was our favorite. Offering both indoor and outdoor dining, it’s the most formal option. Specializing in local seafood and premium steaks, we were blown away by both. For starters, the tuna poke and the Brussels sprouts – made with sweet peppers, oranges, toasted almonds and unagi, and tossed in a balsamic reduction – are a must.
For the main course, we ordered the eight-ounce filet mignon – delicious, with a garlic potato puree, roasted asparagus and bordelaise sauce – and the shrimp rice bowl – fresh shrimp with a jerk seasoning, served over coconut rice and topped with a mango salsa. (A special thank you to our server Zoran for making our dining experience impeccable).
After getting our much needed R & R, we packed up the car and headed back to the East Coast. The trip home was just a little more relaxed.
Naples Grande Beach Resort
475 Seagate Drive