Many consider Naples to be a sleepy town in Florida, but with almost too much to do in hot spots like Miami and Fort Lauderdale, my husband and I were more than happy to take a break and relax in this charming west coast town. That’s not to say we were struggling to find things to do. Activities like the Naples Botanical Garden and the Dolphin Explorer cruise were enough to keep us busy on a short two-night stay in the area. But, we could have just as easily stayed on-property at the Waldorf Astoria Naples to collect shells on the beach, enjoy a guided mangrove tour or get a couples massage at the spa.
What was supposed to be a quick getaway to Naples with two of my daughters (ages 9 and 10) turned into a couples escape with my husband (I know, I know, woe is me). Fortunately, the Waldorf Astoria Naples offers a wide variety of amenities and services, making the hotel a good fit for both couples and families. From alligator rafts and a 100-foot water slide at the family pool to aromatherapy massages and sugar scrubs at the Waldorf Astoria Spa, there’s something for everyone, and it’s surprisingly affordable.
Yes, you get the luxury and opulence you would expect from the Waldorf Astoria brand, but with rates starting at $149/night in the off-season May to September, a stay here can easily fit within many travel budgets. Even when I stayed in mid-April, the walk-up rate was just $159/night. Take a look at four great things about the Waldorf Astoria Naples:
1. The beach. As you would expect, the Gulf Coast beaches are gorgeous with soft, white sand and calm, warm waters. When you arrive, you’ll be given beach towels and escorted out to open beach chairs (so bring some tipping money). For an extra fee, you also can rent umbrellas ($20/day) and luxury day beds ($75/day). For little ones, the staff creates a new play area in the sand each day complete with buckets, shovels and umbrellas for shade.
While the beach is fabulous (I really could have spent all day lying on my beach chair enjoying the gulf breezes), the one downside is that it’s just over half-mile from the hotel. Yes, it’s on-property, but you need to walk or take a golf cart along a boardwalk through a mangrove forest to get to the beach. And, the line can be long at the end of the day to get a ride back to the hotel. My husband and I walked back, but for those with little ones and lots of beach toys, it can be a real trek.
2. The kids’ activities. While my own brood was not with me during my stay at the Waldorf Astoria Naples, I did get to take a look at all there is for children to do at the resort. First, the Mangrove Pool for families has the only hotel water slide in Naples and it’s a must for kids, particularly given the beach-style gradual entry. There’s also the Waldorf Astoria Kids Club for children ages 4-12 ($49/day). Activities change every day and include making seashell necklaces, flying Frisbees and creating tie dye t-shirts, even ice cream socials. There’s an indoor arcade for kids, too.
The resort also offers a pizza-making class on Saturday mornings. The cost is $29 for each mini chef, and little ones receive a chef’s hat and an embroidered Waldorf Astoria Naples apron to take home at the end of the class.
3. The spa. While close in proximity to the family pool, the indoor/outdoor spa couldn’t have been more of a quiet and peaceful oasis. The Waldorf Astoria Spa offers everything you’d expect from a spa – massages, facials, pedicures – with a few bonus services and features, like a meditation labyrinth, tuning fork therapy and vegan manicures.
The Waldorf Astoria Spa even offers a Spa ‘Til Dawn package (to the tune of $3,999!), which includes various spa treatments, a moonlit dinner, breakfast in bed and chauffeured airport transfers. Meanwhile, teens and tweens (ages 12-15) can enjoy a selection of spa services when accompanied by an adult, including massages, facials, body treatments, and of course, manis and pedis.
4. The recreation activities. As I mentioned above, if I never left the resort, I would have easily been able to fill my two days at the Waldorf Astoria Naples. My husband plays tennis so it was nice to see a whopping 15 clay tennis courts, as well as daily tennis clinics and weekend round robin tournaments. There are also plenty of water sports to enjoy, like sailing and windsurfing, and three swimming pools. Like to golf? There’s a private golf course available to resort guests just minutes down the road.
Since I was training for my second marathon during my stay, I took advantage of the fitness center. It was huge and very well-equipped. Not just one cardio machine, but more like ten (treadmills, ellipticals, etc.). You can even work out one-on-one with a personal trainer if you choose to do so during your vacation.
Erin Gifford is a mother of four from Washington, D.C., who shares her family travel tips, advice and adventures at Kidventurous. She was hosted by the Waldorf Astoria Naples as a guest of the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau. However, all opinions expressed here are her own.