Find Bliss at the Ritz
There’s something particularly special about arriving at the Ritz-Carlton Naples. The long driveway. The Mediterranean-topped towers. The fountains. The Carrera marble. The ornate chandeliers, formal draperies and Persian carpets. The museum-quality artworks, especially the 18th and 19th century American and British oil paintings of the sporting life.
It’s grand. It’s luxe. And the recent remodels have added “casual” to its elegance. Now, doormen are dressed down in cobalt blue short sleeve shirts, black pants and running shoes. Within the soaring, window-walled lobby, there are new hardwood floors, lighter furnishings, blues and greens on the sea-shaded fabrics, and folks wearing flip-flops as often as business suits. Rooms with balconies, views of the Gulf, Frette linens, robes and slippers, and up-to-the-minute lavish amenities are warmer, a bit more beachy.
Modernity has moved the British manor house décor into the 21st century.
The resort’s 20-acre home is studded with cypress, palm and mangrove trees, and faces the Gulf of Mexico on almost five kilometres of seashell-strewn beachfront. I parasailed for the first time here. Others kayak, paddle boat, sail a Hobie Cat; play tennis or swim in heated outdoor pools. Spa goers discover that within the 51,000 square-foot pleasure-pampering facility, with its steam rooms, saunas, aqua lounges and outdoor mineral pool, there are a multitude of authentic wellness and prevention treatments, plus a 24-7 fitness facility and =H20+, a spa cuisine café.
As for food, it delivers to Ritz standards. There’s tea time and tapas and sushi. At The Grill, a Forbes Four Star, AAA Four Diamond-rated restaurant, there are steaks and a selection of seafood. There are cocktails, burgers and key lime pie at Gumbo Limbo bar, served with a sunset view.
For those who wish to leave the beach, there are many activities within a 16 km radius. The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort is accessible via hotel shuttle (about 5 km). Nearby, there are the Naples Zoo (about 10 km), the Naples Museum of Art, with a striking collection, and the Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts (about 5 km). Fifth Avenue South and Third Street, in the ultra-chic, low-rise downtown Naples, is a destination where puppies are pushed in baby strollers and shoppers are lured to mom-and-pop shops, art galleries and restaurants.
It’s definitely a ritzy vacation destination.