Re-imagining a hotel is no small feat— from the established restaurants and amenities to well-known features of the property—breathing new life into institutions takes tremendous vision and a bit of magic. On the Gulf Coast of Florida, The Ritz-Carlton, Naples accomplishes just that, contemporary design without abandoning the true character of this traditional and esteemed resort.
The stately hotel overlooks the gently lapping surf of the Gulf Coast. Sitting on the outdoor private balcony on Club Level, I enjoyed a beautiful Floridian morning overlooking the pools and restaurants below. Gulf breezes made for the perfect temperature and I was anxious to hit the beach. A boardwalk through an indigenous vegetated area leads guests from the sprawling pool terrace to the Sand Bar. Steps from the beach, panoramic views of sand and surf make a great setting for an afternoon snack. Adjacent to the Gumbo Limbo Restaurant, guests are never left wanting for culinary experiences on property.
Brand-new Terrazza restaurant is Italian fare with genuine bravura. Chef Anabella Morillo conceptualized the restaurant, spending time in Italy becoming inspired by the authentic and traditional cooking methods. All the pastas in Terrazza are handmade and never frozen, making for delectable dishes. The octopus was a favorite of mine and my travel companion's, grilled to perfection for a delicate, genuinely Italian masterpiece.
DUSK is another notable re-imagined locale within the resort, with its color palate made to match the setting sun’s hues outdoors, a nod to classic boardwalk hideaways. There are cozy corners to catch up with friends and a sushi bar that blends local flavors and masterful mixology are pre-dinner destinations for many guests. Melt-in-your mouth Kobe sushi left me yearning to stay at the bar in lieu of my fine dining dinner reservations—the bartenders and sushi chefs were in a carefully choreographed ballet behind the bar, seamlessly serving craft cocktails and artful sushi side-by-side.
After tearing myself away from DUSK, I headed to The Grill, a fine dining atmosphere that is simply exquisite. A local favorite, the previously darker oaks and rich interiors have been re-designed to reflect lighter, more contemporary interiors. The sparkling chandeliers and original artworks are as dazzling as the menu offerings and extensive wine list.
Accommodations at the Ritz have also been updated. The tastefully decorated and environmentally appropriate rooms blend with the surrounding atmosphere, making guests feel they are at their own residential beach getaway. All 450 rooms have a white-sand beach view which doesn’t disappoint, and the gently lapping Gulf Coast waves create a welcome respite and calming aura. Bulgari bath products waft through the air and make suite-stayers feel like Florida royalty. Public spaces are equally relaxing and well-appointed. Bites restaurant off the main lobby is a popular afternoon hangout for tapas in an elegant, yet unstuffy setting.
The spa is also of note—from the private aqua lounges to sprawling two-story facility and an outdoor mineral pool—this relaxing retreat is one that shouldn't be missed. Guests can enjoy a signature massage, soak in the late-afternoon sun on the private veranda and sipping fruit-infused water for a truly serene experience.
Closed during renovations, the hotel took the time to breathe new life into it's walls. Re-opened October 2013, the volume has been turned up, once again making it a front-runner for Florida getaways. From the in-house flower and décor team to fresh finishes on seemly every surface, the attention to detail is noteworthy. Expected of all Ritz-Carlton properties, customer service and hospitality goes above and beyond, every encounter was professional, knowledgeable, and accommodating.