On March 28Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:If you’re looking for a little (a lot of) rest and relaxation on your trip to Naples, look no further than The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Naples. This Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star spa boasts 33 treatments rooms, saunas, steam rooms and hot and cold plunge pools. Pair with a significant other for the “Tranquility for Two” treatment consisting of 50- or 80-minute customized massages (with optional warm stones or deep-tissue techniques), book the organic seaweed leaf wrap which uses the power of seaweed to detox and soften your body or try some “Vital Time” which combines a facial and massage to wipe away any daily stress. When you’re not receiving a treatment, get a workout in at the onsite fitness center with a personal trainer, group classes or meet with a nutritional consultant to fine tune your diet.
On November 21Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:If you have two days to spend in Naples, there’s plenty to do to fill your time (and no, it’s not just lounging poolside).
To start day one, tour downtown and Old Naples, either with the Naples Historical Society, or hop a Segway and go the two-wheeled route. Either way, you’ll get a good feel for Old Naples, as well as learn some things along the way.
After your tour, spend some time along Fifth Avenue South and peruse the windows of the various boutiques and galleries, filled with original finds. If you feel the hunger pangs approaching or need a caffeine fix, you might even stop into a sidewalk café for lunch or a cup of coffee.
When it’s time for the sun to set, head to the beach and join in the tradition of toasting another day as the sun melts into the Gulf. But if you'd rather do your drinking indoors, The Grill at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples has a spectacular wine list and arguably the finest New York strip in the city.
For day two in Naples, get up bright and early and head south towards the Everglades. A visit to Big Cypress National Park — the Everglades’ northern neighbor — is the perfect introduction to Mother Nature, Florida-style. Here you can canoe, kayak, hike, or go on a ranger-led program such as a hike, canoe trip, or boardwalk stroll.
After lunch on your way back to Naples — and after you’ve had a chance to freshen up a bit — visit the Naples Museum of Art (open seasonally October through June). The museum’s 30,000 square feet spread over three stories and encompasses 15 galleries as well as a glass-dome conservatory. The entrance gates are by metal artist Albert Paley, and be sure to look up once inside to discover chandeliers by glass artist Dale Chihuly. Inside the galleries you’ll find world-class paintings, sculpture, drawings and other works of art.
Once again, when it’s time for the sun to set, make your way over to the beach to watch it slip into the Gulf. You may even decide to dine overlooking the Gulf, and the sunset provides the perfect backdrop to your evening.
On September 18Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:When you’re planning your visit to Naples, there are plenty of hotels to choose from; it just depends on if you’re looking for — a resort, boutique hotel, or bed and breakfast.
Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, sits right on the Gulf of Mexico and boasts its own private beach complete with cabanas to enjoy, not to mention its onsite pools and luxurious amenities. In addition to the pool and beach, kids will love the high-tech entertainment lounge, which hosts Wii bowling tournaments. All but 11 of the 450 rooms in this resort have private balconies, so you can experience the sunset first hand from your own guest room.
Edgewater Beach Hotel, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel, also sits on its private beach on the Gulf of Mexico. This contemporary beachfront hotel offers suites with a crisp, clean design and plenty of amenities, such as flat-screen TVs in the bedroom and living room; a kitchen with a refrigerator, toaster and microwave; and a sleeper sofa.
If you wish to stay in the middle of the downtown action, make reservations at the Inn on Fifth. Formerly a bank built in the 1950s, this elegant inn is done up in Mediterranean décor and features marble flooring, elaborate chandeliers and wrought-iron balconies. Situated in the heart of downtown Naples, this hotel is surrounded by boutiques and restaurants.
On November 12, 2011Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:The restaurant scene in Naples is quite diverse, from flip-flops-right-on-the-beach casual to fine dining with your toes in the sand. What’s unique about Naples is that many of the eateries are locally owned, and 40 of those owners have organized to create Naples Originals. The group fosters the independent restaurant community with events, deals and more. And many area restaurants stick to the local-is-better ethos and feature locally sourced ingredients, as well as fresh seafood from the Gulf of Mexico.
Several of the most popular spots to eat in Naples are found in The Village on Venetian Bay, where all of the restaurants overlook the tranquil bay, and in downtown Naples along Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South.
On November 12, 2011Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:Romance is where you find it, and that can be nearly any restaurant in Naples. However, if you’re looking for tried and true romantic jaunts, be sure to make reservations at any of these five places, many of which overlook the Gulf of Mexico:
1. The Turtle Club. Bury your toes in the sand and watch the sun set over the Gulf from your fine dining, on-the-beach table at the Turtle Club on Vanderbilt Beach. Or, if you’re done with the sand for the day, reserve an indoor table, which still boasts a remarkable view of the beach.
2. Gumbo Limo. Another perfect beach spot is Gumbo Limo at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. The casual, laid-back atmosphere is just what you need for a perfect, relaxing evening.
3. H.B.’s on the Gulf. This restaurant at the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club overlooks Naples Beach; grab an outdoor table and watch the sun set, and wait for the stars to begin to shine overhead.
4. Baleen. Another place to try if you’re looking for a Gulf view is Baleen. Seafood entrees are served indoors and out, and the laid-back style will remind you why you’re in Florida.
5. Truluck’s Seafood, Steak & Crab House. For a restaurant away from the beach, try Truluck’s Seafood, Steak & Crab House on Fifth Avenue South. Music from the piano bar quietly wafts over you while you enjoy a glass of wine and fresh seafood.
On November 12, 2011Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:If you’re visiting Naples in March, you can certainly pay a visit to nearby Fort Myers for some spring training baseball games. If you plan ahead, you can catch the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins before the real season starts. If the NFL or NHL is more your speed, a quick two-hour drive across the state will have you ready for a Miami Dolphins or Florida Panthers game, respectively.
Of course, if you’d rather sit back with a pint and watch the game on TV, there are plenty of bars in the area where you can cheer on your favorite team.
On November 12, 2011Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:Starting your day off in style is important, and there’s no better way than brunch. These Naples restaurants will have you ready, fork in hand with some of your brunch favorites:
1. The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. Lucky for you, brunch is offered every day of the week at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. The extensive breakfast buffet has all the usual suspects — an omelet station, waffle bar, eggs prepared a number of ways, bagels and lox, breakfast meats, and fresh fruits and pastries.
2. M Waterfront Grill. Make your way to Venetian Bay and M Waterfront Grill — between 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Sundays — for creative brunch entrees made with fresh, organic ingredients. Try one of the restaurant’s classic dishes such as the signature organic vegetable omelet, made with aged cheddar cheese and green onions and topped with a four-cheese fondue.
3. The Dock at Crayton Cove. The Bloody Mary bar is one of the highlights at brunch at the Dock at Crayton Cove. Concoct your own creation using a selection of juices, flavorings and condiments. You are the mixologist here.
4. Naples Tomato. If you like to be in control, try the create-your-own pasta station during lunch at Naples Tomato. Of course, there’re also traditional breakfast favorites, including mouthwatering red velvet pancakes.
5. Le Lafayette. The brunch buffet (served November through May) features a French flair at Le Lafayette in the Third Street South neighborhood in downtown Naples. For $37, the menu changes every week but you can expect to be able to create your own omelet and choose from fresh seafood and delectable French pastries.
On November 12, 2011Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:If you’re looking for live music during your visit to Naples, you’re in luck — you may just have to work a bit to find it. Pianists tickle the ivories nightly at a new piano bar inside Seasons 52 at the Mercato Center; or try Vergina’s off of Fifth Avenue South in downtown Naples, Little Bar in Goodland on Marco Island, or South Street City Oven (open mic night anyone?).
Each Thursday from November through May, and the third Thursday from June through October, music ranging from jazz to rock to folk to steel band floats through the air in the courtyards and plazas of Third Street South in downtown Naples.
On November 12, 2011Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:When packing your bags for your trip to Naples — as with most tropical vacations — don’t overdo it. Stop. Take a breath. Relax. Sunny weather doesn’t require your entire wardrobe.
If you’re visiting in the summer, throw in a few pairs of your favorite shorts and tank tops, in addition to your walking shoes and sandals. You’ll also want to bring a few resort casual outfits for dinners out; bring a light sweater, too — restaurants tend to keep the air conditioning cranked to beat the heat, and those who chill easily will feel it. An umbrella is a good idea, as well; summer storms pop up in the afternoon and can put a damper on sightseeing if you get caught without covering.
In the spring and fall/winter, long pants and capris will get you through the day, and a light sweater or jacket will keep you warm during the cool evenings. As always, it’s always smart to check the weather just prior to your trip.
Of course, sunscreen is a given. The bright Florida sun can get you any time of year!
On November 12, 2011Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:If you’re thinking about planning a trip to Naples, you can be assured that it’s the right time to visit — whenever it is you’re thinking. When winter wears out its welcome up north, the warmer weather and sunnier Florida skies beckon. And if you call Florida home, summertime is the right time to plan your stay.
That being said, Naples does get hot during the summer — it’s Florida, after all — and the humidity is at a premium. If you wilt in the heat, summertime may not be the optimum time to plan your visit.
Of course, Florida also tends to be a hotspot for Spring Breakers, so be prepared for some crowds (and rowdy college students) if you visit during March.
On November 12, 2011Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:A great way to explore the culture of any area is to visit its museums, and Naples is no exception.
The Naples Museum of Art is open seasonally (October through June), and boasts 30,000-square-feet of space spread over three stories and encompasses 15 galleries, and features a glass-dome conservatory. The entrance gates are by metal artist Albert Paley; look up once inside and you’ll find chandeliers by glass artist Dale Chihuly. Inside the galleries you’ll find world-class paintings, sculpture, drawings and other works of art.
Gallery Row, a part of Third Street South in Old Naples, flaunts more galleries than any other place in Southwest Florida, and is a go-to spot for collectors. From contemporary to modern to regional works of art, you’re sure to find something to adorn your walls at home.
The Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida has a unique history. While it started as a middle school classroom exhibit created by students and teachers studying the Holocaust, the space eventually flourished into a museum with more than 1,000 World War II and Holocaust artifacts, many of which were donated or permanently loaned by local survivors and liberators.
On November 12, 2011Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:One of the quieter destinations in Florida, you’ll certainly find plenty of romantic ways to spend your time in Naples. Here are the five best things to do to spark some love:
1. Watch the sunset. Watching the sun set is romantic wherever you are. But watching the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico is particularly beautiful. Make an evening of it — pack a picnic, spread a blanket and take on the naturally beautiful tradition, topped off with a star-studded sky.
2. Take a catamaran cruise. Another way to watch the sun set, or to spend the day under the sun, is on a catamaran cruise. Sails billow overhead as you sip a cocktail and let the wind flow through your hair, while the boat glides over the water.
3. Visit the Naples Botanical Garden. Sure, giving your loved one a dozen roses is romantic; what if you could give her an entire garden? Well, you can essentially do that with a visit to the Naples Botanical Garden. Each of the seven gardens features distinct flora, all of which are beautiful and inspiring.
4. Get pampered at the spa. Gently melt the cares of the world away during a couples massage at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Naples. Make your appointments so that the two of you can relax together, and then spend some time at the exclusive mineral pool on the Spa Terrace, just for spa guests. The 104 different minerals in the pool will envelop you.
5. Shop for some sparkle. Window shopping on Fifth Avenue South can be quite romantic, especially when you stop into a boutique and pick out just the right piece of jewelry, followed by dinner at one of the intimate cafés.
On November 12, 2011Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:No vacation would be complete without a bit of retail therapy, and fortunately for you, shopping is certainly a must-do in Naples.
Make your way to downtown Naples and window shop along Fifth Avenue South. Most of the boutiques are independent, but you’ll find fun shops such as Fresh Produce here. Or, stop into Peach Tree Designs, a chic home décor destination where you’ll discover everything from distressed wood frames to unique table lamps and coffee table books.
Third Street South, off of Fifth Avenue South, houses some more recognizable names such as Eileen Fisher and Tommy Bahama. Stop by the Beach House of Naples for a new swimsuit, or some fun accessories from your favorite designers.
A unique, almost Venetian, shopping experience can be found at the Village on Venetian Bay. Unique gift shops, one-of-a-kind accessories and kids’ apparel and resort-wear can all be found here.
If you’re looking for Nordstrom or Saks Fifth Avenue, you’ll want to visit Waterside Shops. Browse the racks at Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft, Brooks Brothers, Anthropologie, J. Crew, Talbots, Banana Republic and more.
Of course, there’s always outlet shopping at Miromar Outlets, just north on I-75.With all the possibilities, the only question you’ll ask is, “Do you have this in my size?”?
On November 12, 2011Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question:During your stay in sunny Naples, it seems as if the possibilities for activities could be endless. Luckily, we’ve come up with a list of the five best things to see and do in Naples:
1. Go to the beach. Located on the west coast of Florida, one of the best things you’ll find in the area is the Gulf of Mexico beaches. Throw down a towel or pull up a lounge chair and soak in the rays, taking the occasional dip in the warm waters of the Gulf.
2. Take the trolley. If you’ve had your fill of fun in the sun and want to explore a bit more, hop aboard the open-air Naples Trolley and follow its route. When fancy strikes — say you happen upon a street filled with inviting boutiques — you can hop off, then hop back on to complete the outing.
3. Shop the boutiques. Perhaps you’ll take the trolley to downtown Naples, where you can window shop along Fifth Avenue South. Most of the boutiques are independent, but you’ll find fun shops here such as Fresh Produce, where you’ll find beachy sportswear for men, women and kids. Or, stop into Peach Tree Designs and get inspired to make a change in your home.
4. Naples Museum of Art. If you’re looking for something a bit more cultural, the Naples Museum of Art is open seasonally (October through June), and its 30,000 square feet is spread over three stories encompasses 15 galleries and a glass-dome conservatory. The entrance gates are by metal artist Albert Paley; look up once inside and you’ll find chandeliers by glass artist Dale Chihuly. Inside the galleries you’ll spot world-class paintings, sculpture, drawings and other works of art.
5. Visit the Everglades. Of course, the Everglades aren’t too far away, and an airboat ride is the best way to explore the storied swamplands. Stay on the water and grab a cooler to watch the sun set aboard a catamaran cruise.