My husband and I met some friends for a business convention in Naples, Florida. We had always heard wonderful things about Naples, but to my surprise, I was not blown away by it. Yes, Naples is pretty and has a nice beach; but for me, it did not live up to all the hype.
Luxury Vacation in Naples
Naples, located in the southwestern part of the state, is an enclave to the rich and richer, and the cosmetic surgery crowd in the southwestern part of Florida. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with either of these things, but I was not expecting to find them in this small pocket of Florida. Naples appears to generally be a getaway for snowbirds and the affluent alike. However, I enjoyed the preppy factor of the Polo shirt and khaki wearing men and women, all bright and colorful.
Everything is Better at the Ritz Carlton
We stayed at the Ritz Carlton, which was decorated beautifully inside, but the hotel was just “common”, and for Ritz rates, I was expecting something that would really knock your socks off or at least stand out from all the other hotels.
The service, food, and activities at the Ritz were perfection, up to typical Ritz Carlton standards. I have no complaints in that whatsoever. The pools were impeccable but the beach is just okay, a typical Florida beach.
One night we gathered at the Ritz’s onsite restaurant, Gumbo Limbo’s, for their great happy hour specials and dinner. Service and the food were impeccable. Give the red snapper ceviche a try, yum! The sunsets were quite the attraction in Naples and the beaches were packed come sundown.
Delicious Seaside Dining
The best thing we did was to dine at a great seaside restaurant called Miramare Italian Ristorante located on the Venetian Bay. The food was divine, the service impeccable, and they had a superb wine menu. I recommend the Agnolotti Di Vitello, ravioli filled with veal in a truffle cream sauce and be sure to save room for dessert. The desserts were the best part, the decision was unanimous.
Naples does have impressive shopping opportunities and maybe second to none in the state of Florida. I preferred the quaint Waterside Shops and Village on Venetian Bay, where they had lots of womens apparel shops with bright, colorful clothing and cute little bistros and cafes. Bayfront Shopping Mall is the premier shopping destination and it is one ritzy complex. Others that are popular and great to stroll around at include Mercato, Third Street South, Tin City, and 5th Avenue South. As you can see, Naples is “the” place for retail outings.
Golf is a popular sport in Naples. You will find a large number of courses, many which have hosted golf championships. Naples touts the fact that per capita, they have more golf courses than anywhere in the world.
Maybe I will go back and try something different in Naples. I want to be wowed by it. Anything you would you recommend?