3 Reasons You Should Travel to Naples, Florida
Perched on the Gulf of Mexico in Southwest Florida, Naples is well known for its high-end shopping, white-sand beaches and world-class culture. But why else should you travel to Florida? Check out these 3 reasons that Forbes Magazine gives for why Naples should be on your bucket list.
Naples’ beaches are some of Florida’s finest. That likely explains why waterfront properties The Ritz-Carlton, Naples and LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort have cult-like followings. But a fun fact about the city: Good times can be had a bit more inland, too.
Four-Star Inn on Fifth and Club Level Suites, aptly named for its position on bustling Fifth Avenue, sits seven blocks from the nearest waves, but it more than makes up for any sandy shortcomings by going overboard with luxuriousness. The inn itself is an 87-room showstopper that, in 2012, was enhanced with new chairs, custom art, fresh drapes and more.
Across the street are the Club Suites, a set of impressive units that was also introduced during the 2012 makeover. Not only do these comfortable, cream-colored spaces (550 to 1,160 square feet) have separate living areas and contemporary touches, but they also come with furnished balconies that look out onto the buzzy, boutique-filled street. As a Club Suite guest, you have access to the rooftop sundeck, whirlpool spa, and lounge. At some hotels, the latter would be a yawn-inducing amenity only good for pastries or a complimentary New York Times, but here, club entry affords you a continental breakfast, afternoon snacks, evening hors d’oeuvres and a concierge who’s hungry to take care of any other needs you might have during your stay.
Not 20 miles from the Inn you’ll find JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, the esteemed brand’s first beachfront address in the continental United States. The property has long captured travelers’ hearts with its stunning location and has been recently renovated.
Inn on Fifth and Club Level Suites knows cuisine almost as well as it knows modern décor. Truluck’s Seafood, Steak and Crabhouse still packs crowds in on a nightly basis —, especially for Monday’s all-you-can-eat stone crabs.
Ocean Prime certainly knows its way around shellfish, snapper, and steak, too. The new establishment is the chain’s third location in Florida, but it’s the first one where you can tuck into truffle mac and cheese while, at the same time, devouring a view of Fifth Avenue.
Chef Smith’s 1500 South rests less than a five-minute drive away in a cute little corner of Naples Bay Resort. Inside you’ll find pearl-white walls, a red chandelier and a delightful menu of vibrant dishes that has captured the heart of the Obamas, Oprah Winfrey (Smith used to be the television icon’s private chef) and almost everyone else who’s ever bitten into one of the man’s fried chicken legs.
Outside of the famed chicken, Smith’s team does some marvelous things with bourbon-glazed veal chops and pan-roasted black grouper. A symphony of sides (grilled asparagus, bitter greens, and sweet potato gnocchi, just to name a tasty few) helps make the dining experience such a welcomed one to the area.
Not to be outdone by any newcomers, Sea Salt has been a staple on the Naples restaurant scene since 2008. Helmed by Fabrizio Aielli and his wife/partner, Ingrid, this is the sort of place where out-of-towners come on recommendation, locals come because it’s Tuesday and everyone comes dressed in his or her finest resort-chic wear.
All sides can appreciate the fact that the kitchen has a scholarly understanding of salt. You can see this from the trio of elaborate salts that arrives with bread service to the 100-plus varieties used in Aielli’s coastal Italy-inspired menu.
Still, we’re not sure if anybody will ever comprehend the skill it takes for sommelier Liset Zelaya to pair her ever-evolving wine list with the various dishes every evening.
Both during season and off-season, Naples has gobs of things to do – festivals, craft beer fests, seafood and music festivals – just to name a few. If you want to spend a few quiet hours with nature, you can enjoy the outdoors by tagging along on one of Everglades Area Tours’ adventures. Tour by guided boating, kayaking, or walking eco-tours. The tours are educational and fun.
For more about the Naples area, request a free copy of Naples Unplugged Magazine. This comprehensive travel guide is full of local tips that even residents may not know about.