“This is the best hotel ever,” said my 6-year old niece as we walked around the Naples Grande Beach Resort ready for a weekend of family fun.
As we toured the property with the director of sales and marketing, my niece spotted the pool slide at the Mangrove Pool, which twists 100 ft. around a rock tower through landscaped waterfalls. She immediately started saying that she was going to go on it over a “million times.” The director of sales and marketing challenged her to go on the slide at least 20 times throughout the weekend. I have to say, I’m pretty sure she went down that slide over 20 times in just the first afternoon. And not only did she go on the slide about 20+ times, I’m sure I did, too, as did my brother, sister-in-law, nephew, and dad. It was the spot for family fun.
The beach-style entry to the pool was perfect for those traveling with little ones, as we were with my 3-year-old nephew in tow. It was easy for the adults to relax on a lounge chaise with a book, while also keeping a close eye on the kids as they played in water that barely reached their waist. We all had fun at the beach-style entry pool, as we sat, talked, and hung out as the kids ran around and had fun (while my niece continued to go down the slide repeatedly).
For the adults who need a time-out from fun with the kids, or just need an hour or two of quiet time, at the Palm Terrace Pool is the spot as it’s exclusively for adults.
The Florida summer weather isn’t always scheduled with sunshine, as we had a few afternoons of rain storms, but that didn’t stop the fun. The staff made sure the kids (and parents) had something to do as they waited for the storms to pass. On one Saturday early afternoon, the rain started up mid-day and lasted a couple of hours. Most of the guests, still wet from the pool, waited in the outside terrace by the Sunset Veranda for the rain to stop (or for themselves to dry off from the pool). Suddenly the hotel’s activity coordinators set up a bracelet-making station that was quickly filled with kids working on their masterpieces. It was the perfect distraction for the unhappy kids who were pulled away from the pool.
Speaking of the activity coordinators, Melesse, who helped with the bracelet-making station on Saturday, was so nice and helpful. My nephew kept saying he wanted one more bracelet for his mom, and Melesse went ahead and helped him make one all on his own as a surprise. My sister-in-law ended up wearing her crafted kid bracelet everyday, which resulted in one happy 3-year-old boy. Whenever Melesse saw us or the kids at the slide or around the pool later that day, she would say hi—the kids were loving that the staff knew them. If my niece was alone on the slide and she got a comment, she would run down to us and tell us whatever sweet or funny thing the staff told her. The guys who monitored the slide were also very friendly and chatty with the kids as they waited for their turn.
Beyond the Pool
The property is gorgeous, the staff is superb as everyone was always helpful and accommodating. For the guestrooms, we opted for two rooms across the hall from each other, this guaranteed everyone had a very comfortable bed, and we had easy access to each other—as the kids often went from one room to the other.
Though, the property doesn’t sit directly on the beach, it does have easy beach access via a shuttle that comes around every few minutes. The shuttle picks guests up at a boardwalk near the pool and whisks them for a 5 minute ride on the boardwalk over the mangroves before arriving at the beach deck. Here, guests can rent beach chairs and umbrellas, and kids have a shaded area to play with buckets and shovels or borrow some for sandcastle-making near their beach chairs.
Dining & Entertainment
One afternoon I went to Spressi around 1 p.m for a coffee, buy it was closed. One of the servers who was working the greeting area for Aura asked what I needed, then she went to the back, and returned offering to make me my drink of choice.
Our breakfast at Aura was also delicious, and as someone who has a food allergy, they were very helpful in trying to find alternatives for the acai bowl I had my eye on. For those clients with food allergies, you can let the hotel know before their arrival to make sure the chefs are aware and alternatives can be prepped if needed.
A few times during our stay we opted for a poolside lunch, not only did it arrive quickly, it was a decent sized portion for a poolside meal; one that even the kids enjoyed. There’s also wood fire pizza and gelato served by the Sunset Veranda in the afternoons. We opted for a beachside lunch at the Greek Rhode’s End on the beachside boardwalk, where the options included Mediterranean dishes such as grilled octopus, hummus and pita, feta flatbreads, and burgers with tzatziki sauce.
For those seafood lovers, suggest checking out Catch of the Pelican, which is kid-friendly and offers locally-sourced seafood and steaks. There’s also a weekend brunch on Saturday and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with a focus on a fabulous Bloody Mary Bar. On Sunday through Thursday evenings, guests can also enjoy a happy hour from 5-7 p.m. featuring specially priced bar bites and cocktails. There is also a lobby bar offering a Friday night Happy Hour where the drinks are $5 at 5 p.m., $6 at 6 p.m. and so on.
Also on Friday evenings around 8 p.m. there is a fire show with a fire throwing guy, as the weather permits, outside by the Sunset Veranda.
Spa & Wellness
The property offers a variety of wellness classes such as spinning, zumba, and yoga depending on the schedule. And, for your clients who would opt for some spa time during their stay, keep in mind the spa will be getting an upgrade this Fall. Check out the details in our “U.S. Hotspots” feature in the August issue.
We ventured to downtown Naples a couple of nights during our stay, whether it was for dinner, or ice cream with the kids, getting outside and strolling around the peaceful downtown was enjoyed by all. Naples is such a charming and friendly town. One evening we were standing outside a bar, listening to the band, when the guitar player walked outside with his guitar in hand to show the kids as he sang his tunes. The next evening we stood inside by the door since we had kids in tow, one the band members (from a different band than the night before) gave my niece his guitar pic when she dropped a few bucks in his tip jar (her idea), and then he invited her on to the stage, strapped his guitar around her, and let her rock out for a few beats. The music might not have been the best, but the smile on her face was definitely the biggest as the crowd cheered her on.
On our last day, after spending a full day at the beach and pool, my 3-year-old nephew kept repeating over and over, “I want to stay here forever, I don’t want to go home, I want to be here forever,” as we prepped to go home. And all we could do as we all looked at him was say, “Yes, us too…us too.”
For more information, visit naplesgrande.com.