by Janet Malin
Naples is one of Florida’s most popular beach destinations — known both for its sophistication and its charm. With a prime spot on the Gulf of Mexico and miles of white sand beaches, Naples seamlessly blends the benefits of the coast with the rich cultural scene of a cosmopolitan city. The world-class resorts, year-round access to outdoor activities and restaurants to suit every taste and budget make Naples a solid choice for a great family vacation.
There are plenty of hotels to choose from and Naples Grande makes its mark as an ideal spot for traveling families. With three pools and a beautiful beach and protected estuary surrounding the property, the Naples Grande has a non-pretentious vibe that appeals to parents and children alike.
Our Editor Loves
- 100-foot twisting waterslide
- Mangrove estuary surrounding the property
- 3 miles of white-sand beach
- Connecting Rooms
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The resort recently completed an extensive renovation and rebranding (the property was formerly a Waldorf Astoria hotel) and its 474 guestrooms and suites have a coastal design that's comfortable and inviting.
All of the rooms and suites have private balconies with inviting furnishings and indirect views of the Gulf of Mexico. Flat-screen TVs, coffeemakers, bathrobes and mini-refrigerators are standard, and cribs are available free of charge. Wi-Fi is available throughout the hotel and is included in the resort fee.
There are several room types available and while the offerings in the main tower of the hotel vary only slightly, the rooms on the higher floors offer the best views.
The Coastal View guestrooms occupy the lower floors of the hotel's tower and have private balconies and garden views. The mangroves between the hotel and the beach obstruct the view of the Gulf of Mexico, but the gardens are a lovely alternative. Rooms with one king or two queen beds are available.
The Gulf View guestrooms are situated on floors 6 to 11 of the tower and offer beautiful views of the Gulf of Mexico and the city of Naples. Choose between a king bed or two queens.
Signature Gulf View
The hotel rooms on the top floors of the tower are the Signature Gulf View option and offer the best views of the Gulf of Mexico. These rooms have private balconies and guests can choose between a king bed or two queens.
The name says it all here and Double Balcony guestrooms have two private balconies from which to choose. This room type is available in all three categories: Coastal View, Gulf View and Signature Gulf View.
The Tower Suites offer a master bedroom with one king bed and a separate living space with a dining area suitable for four people. In addition to the full bathroom with dual vanities and whirlpool bath, there's a half-bath located in the foyer for guests. There's an option to turn the suite into a two-bedroom accommodation by adding a connecting guestroom with two queen beds -- quite handy for families who want to stay together, but want additional space.
Garden Villa Suites
With over 700 square feet of living space and two terraces, the Garden Villa Suites are spacious and tranquil. Set apart from the tower guestrooms, the one-bedroom Garden Villa Suites overlook the reflecting ponds and gardens on the property. The master bedroom has a king-sized bed and there's a sleeper sofa in the living room.
The Grande Suite
Equivalent to the penthouse of the property, the Grande Suite occupies the tower's top floor and offers sweeping views of the Gulf of Mexico, the cityscape, and the inland waterways of the mangrove estuary. The suite is quite spacious with almost 2,000 square feet of marbled flooring and a very large living and dining area. There's a separate master bedroom with one king bed and an expansive bathroom with a Jacuzzi tub and glass-enclosed shower.
We have stayed at the Naples Grande several times - we love the location, close to shopping, beach, many restaurant options, like the two pools for kids and adults. Resort fees and parking are a bit expensive. Pillows were not comfortable though.
We enjoyed everything here, from the food to the room and the beach access! My husband had a spa treatment and said it was top notch! I would recommend Naples Grande for business or leisure travel. The staff is helpful and friendly and overall it was a great experience.
If your family is happy with a fun pool and a picture-perfect beach nearby for swimming and building sandcastles, the whole gang is sure to find contentment here. One of the resorts three pools, the Mangrove Pool has a 100-foot winding waterslide and a beach-style entry that's a relief for both protective parents and new swimmers. The maximum depth is about 4 feet, but be aware there's no lifeguard on duty.
Nearby, the Palm Terrace Pool has a more laid-back vibe and is exclusively for use by adults. There's a whirlpool and private cabanas with butler service available, making for a nice escape from the high-energy atmosphere of the Mangrove Pool. The third pool, Hibiscus Hideaway, is tucked in a corner of the property and is primarily for lap swimmers. All three pools at the resort are open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
Loggerhead Kids Club
There's a modest arcade open daily from 10am-6pm and a kids club that is open only seasonally. Loggerhead Kids Club doesn't operate on a predetermined schedule (and its hours and fees vary, too) so its best to check with the concierge to see what's available during your stay.
While there's a lot to do on property, the real fun of vacationing here comes from the natural highlights just off the hotel grounds. Follow the .5 mile raised walkway through the mangroves and find yourself on a beautiful stretch of sugary white sand and calm blue water.
The beach is the perfect place for a day of family fun and the hotel provides a generous assortment of buckets, shovels and other sand toys -- a nice touch for traveling families. While there's no lifeguard on duty here, the gently lapping waves and shallow warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico offer a certain peace-of-mind to concerned parents. Beach lounge chairs and towels are included in the $30-per-day resort fee, while renting an umbrella will cost an additional $25 per day.
A convenient alternative to the scenic (but-sometimes-unbearably-warm) walk from the hotel to the beach is to hitch a ride on the open-air tram that runs continuously along the boardwalk. Kids get a kick out of the experience, too, as the tram gently bumps along the wooden boardwalk through seemingly never-ending mangrove tunnels.
What the Gulf waters lack in surf-able waves, they make up for in dolphin sightings and roaming manatees. This area is home to hundreds of year-round resident manatees and countless species of native Florida birds, too. The best way to enjoy the wildlife and the 200 acres of protected mangrove estuary that surround the hotel is to take advantage of the kayaks and paddleboards that are available for rent at the beach. Single and double kayaks, paddleboards, and other water sports can be arranged by the Boucher Brothers, a third party vender that has a booth in the sand. Check with the concierge, as rates vary by season.
Located in the lobby of the hotel, Aura serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and is a great option for family dining. The breakfast buffet ($25 for adults, $12.50 for kids under 12) is impressive and children love the make-your-own waffle station complete with fresh whipped cream. Lunch and dinner focus on coastal cuisine and kids' menu standards such as cheeseburgers and spaghetti and meatballs are available for $9.
Gulf Coast Oasis
The Gulf Coast Oasis is the resort's poolside dining option and is a great place to grab lunch and take a break from all the action. Sandwiches and salads are on the menu here, and the children's meals are the usual suspects -- hotdogs and grilled cheese sandwiches, for $9. Reward the kids for their good behavior with an alcohol-free mocktail -- there are several on the menu and the "Blueberry No-jito" is a favorite.
The Rhode's End
This is a great family friendly spot to grab lunch or enjoy a cocktail and light dinner at sunset. Perched right on the beach, The Rhode's End specializes in Mediterranean dishes like grilled octopus salad and hummus and pita. A kids' menu is available with staples like hotdogs and grilled cheese sandwiches for $9.
The Catch of the Pelican
For families looking for a sophisticated meal on property, The Catch of the Pelican specializes in local seafood and grilled meats and is open for dinner only. The terrace is a perfect spot to dine alfresco while taking in the sunset.
Spressi Coffee Bar
The lobby coffee bar, Spressi, serves illy Italian coffee and light breakfast fare to go. The offerings are rather limited -- think croissants and muffins -- but still handy in a pinch.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
While the $30-per-day resort fee may seem a bit steep -- there's actually quite a bit included. Wi-Fi access, beach towels and chairs, use of the resort's bicycles, 10 percent off rentals of kayaks and paddleboards and (bonus!) two drinks (inclusive of certain beer and wine), included per day.
The fully equipped, 8,000-square-foot fitness center is located on the first floor of the hotel near the elevators and is accessible 24 hours per day. The daily class schedule varies and personal training can be arranged through the concierge.
The hotel has a fleet of approximately 20 adult beach cruisers that are available to guests free of charge on a first come, first served basis. Arrangements are made through the concierge, who can also provide a map showing area bike paths and suggestions on where to ride.
Babysitting services can be arranged through the hotel's concierge.
Overnight valet parking is available onsite for $25 per night. A more affordable option is to self-park at $15 per night.
The Naples Grande Spa offers signature massage, facials and body treatments and welcomes children ages 12 to 17 if they are accompanied by an adult. Children under 12 are invited to join mom or dad in the Hair & Nail Spa and are likely to opt for the child friendly "Berry Sweet" manicure and pedicure offering.
There is an ATM available in the lobby of the hotel.
The Art of Smart Timing
The hotel is open year-round, but you'll find yourself sharing the resort with crowds of people during the busy holiday season leading up to and after Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as around spring break in March and April. Summer in Florida is notoriously steamy, but the Gulf of Mexico usually offers a breeze, so even during these months, it's nice to be outside.
Occupancy is lower during June, July and August, especially on weekdays. You'll find the best rates during the shoulder season in September, when school is back in session.
The Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, about 30 minutes from the hotel, is the closest major airport to Naples Grande. Flights are usually cheaper, however, into the Tampa (2.5 hours away) and Fort Lauderdale airports (1.5 hour away). You can find all of the major car rental companies at the nearby airports and having a car will come in handy for day tripping to surrounding areas.
Naples Grande is the closest luxury resort to downtown Naples -- its unique shops, restaurants and art galleries are only a bike ride away. The hotel provides guests with complimentary use of their bicycles for two-hour increments and on a first come, first served basis.
While the hotel doesn't provide shuttle service, taxis can be arranged and are readily available at the entrance of the property.
If you have a rental car, make a day trip out of a visit to the nearby beach town of Marco Island or Everglades National Park.
For Mom and Dad
Have the hotel arrange a sitter for the kids and head off property for dinner along Naples' posh Fifth Avenue. Lined with quaint wine bistros, boutique hotels and open-air restaurants, this area draws a crowd in high and low seasons alike. Enjoy live music, an occasional street performer and guaranteed good people watching.