Ritz-Carlton, Naples, Florida - My Family Travels

Recently renovated, this ultra-ritzy Gulf Coast resort retains its Old World style while catering to families with new programs and amenities.

The Ritz-Carlton, Naples is proof that this venerable hotel brand is giving more than lip service to its youngest guests. Friendly front desk staff on the lookout for newly arriving kids, separate pool areas for the active set and the serenity seekers, and an imaginative new children’s facility all work to make parents traveling with children feel welcome despite the property’s decidedly Old World décor and ambience.

The five-star, five-diamond hotel, which recently underwent a $22 million renovation, is situated on one of Naples’ most pristine white sandy beaches along Southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast. Despite the sophisticated, sleek décor, however, the 450-room, 22-year-old property comes equipped with all the wireless and electronic gadgets – including 32-inch LCD flat screen TVs – that kids need to feel at home.

The separate check in for children, where youngsters have their own computer to log into as well as welcome goodies and an invitation to participate in a scavenger hunt for prizes, is the first thing travel-weary parents will notice. The real draw, however, is the new Nature’s Wonders facility, a next-generation children’s program that puts the spotlight on ecology and nature. There are supervised activities, including eco-nature walks, a three-hour sail in the mangroves and even visits to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s Nature Center and the Naples Zoo. Best of all, parents are welcome to join in the fun.

The club itself is a mini-science museum with two touch tanks teeming with turtles and starfish, and seven aquariums filled with such kid-magnets as shark, moray eel and spiny lobsters. Children can don white lab coats and goggles and participate in guided experiments under the supervision of counselor/naturalists, enjoy the small theater and iMac computer station and stay for Critter Feeding Time. The program takes the place of the more traditional drop-off Ritz Kids program and is available daily for full- or half-day sessions for kids ages 5 and up. Also new is the 3,000-square-foot, multi-use, Gulf-front Beach House which, during vacation periods, becomes an entertainment and buffet center for families staying on the hotel’s Club floors. Club floor access also features a lounge area with four complimentary meal presentations daily – from fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies to grilled vegetables and finger sandwiches – as well as free soft drinks, designer coffees and alcoholic beverages – served up by an attentive staff.

Adults looking to combine a pampering massage with an eco-friendly sensibility can take advantage of the Ritz-Carlton Spa, a sumptuous multi-level facility with 30-plus treatment rooms. Several new wellness treatments were unveiled in 2008, including Elements, a Chinese astrology-based massage, as well as the Eco-Luxe Facial and the Eco-Luxe Cocoon, both of which use non-toxic, fragrance-free organize products by Osea. Take it one step further in the Eco-Room, which features organic cottons, bamboo and other sustainable materials.

There are seven restaurants on site, including Artisans, the only AAA five-diamond restaurant in southwest Florida, for high-end dining and an extensive wine list and Gumbo Limbo for casual Caribbean cuisine served in full view of the sunset. Work off those extra calories at the full-service fitness center or a round of golf at the sister property, the 295-room Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort located three miles away and accessible by hotel shuttle.

Resort Report Card

Name: Ritz-Carlton Naples
Address: 280 Vanderbilt Beach Road
Phone: 800/576-5704, 239/598-3300
Seasonal Rates: $$ – $$$$$
Hotel Setting: A
Hotel Staff: B+
Choice of Activities: A-
Quality of Amenities: A
Bonus: Petiquette includes puppy kindergarten and a personalized doggie biscuit / turn-down treat.
Note: Teens will love their ultra-hip lounge furnished with mega-screen TV, room service and every game system known to man.

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