by Terry Ward
Everyone wants a vacation in Florida. Families with small children, in particular, love the Gulf of Mexico, where the water usually resembles a lake and swimming is a calmer affair than on the state’s Atlantic Coast. The Hilton Naples puts you close to said place, just one mile from the beach, in a lushly landscaped urban area that’s surrounded by homes and condos. It also provides easy access, with a complimentary shuttle service, along with towels, lounge chairs and bottled water to enjoy upon arrival.
Divide your days between the beach at Clam Pass Park — a nice stretch of sand that sits alongside an inlet river– or relaxing poolside at the hotel’s swimming pool, complete with little water falls. The hotel also offers guests a few fun (and free!) recreational areas and activities, such as a basketball court and poolside Ping Pong table, along with bikes to explore Naples.
What really sets the Hilton Naples apart from its competitors is the extra friendliness of its staff, including many long-time employees who really go out of their way to make families feel welcome and ensure they’re enjoying their time. Pair that with the hotel’s general affordability, and this hotel makes for a satisfying stay.
Our Editor Loves
- Pretty pool with waterfalls
- Free shuttle to beach at Clam Pass Park
- Close proximity to Waterside Shops
- Horse Back Riding
- Water Parks
- Water Sports
- Connecting Rooms
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
The Hilton's 200 rooms and suites are spread between the second, third and fourth floors of the building (there are no ground floor rooms, but there are handicap-accessible options) and come in just a few straightforward configurations. Free Wi-Fi is standard in all rooms and suites. The bathrooms offer standard tub-in-shower configurations, though they're rather dated; soft room renovations are scheduled for 2015. It's important to note that only seven of the hotel's 200 rooms have balconies (including some of the connecting rooms), so if having a balcony is important to you, you'll need to make that clear when booking. Pool views should be requested, too; otherwise, you'll be looking at the parking lot or nearby buildings.
Standard Rooms have either two double beds or one king bed, the latter of which is the only one that can accommodate a rollaway bed for an extra charge of $15 per night. These rooms all have mini-fridges and you can request delivery of a microwave for use during your stay at no additional charge (call ahead to request when booking). All of these rooms have comfortable Hilton Serenity beds, 37-inch flat-screen TV's with HDTV and coffee makers.
If you're looking for more privacy, consider upgrading to a One-Bedroom Suite. This unit has a private bedroom with a king bed, and can be shut off completely from a living room area, where a sofa bed accommodates two people; there's also enough room for a rollaway bed to potentially sleep three guests. All One-Bedroom Suites have a wet bar with a sink, mini-fridge, microwave and coffee making facilities, as well as a single bathroom.
If you'd like breakfast to be included during your stay, consider booking a room on the hotel's Executive Level (fourth floor), where rooms have either a single king size bed or two double beds and give you access to the Executive Lounge's complimentary daily buffet breakfast (6:30 to 11 a.m. on weekdays and 7:30 to 11 a.m. on weekends) and afternoon snacks from 5 to 10 p.m. daily.
The biggest suite in the house is the Presidential Suite, also on the fourth floor Executive Level -- it has two separate bedrooms (one with a king bed and one with two double beds), as well as a living room with a sofa bed and basic kitchenette facilities.
A limited number of connecting rooms are available, and these include rooms with two double beds that adjoin to rooms with two double beds, or two rooms with single king beds can connect to each other.
We had stayed here previously so decided to return for a short break. As before the hotel was very comfortable and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. A problem with the a/c in our room was resolved satisfactorily by Bella and Myrna on the front desk. Anthony the concierge helped us to get tickets for the Everblades game, and Shannon, Krista, Marie and Paige provided friendly and memorable service in the restaurant. Thanks too, for the excellent quality of food produced by the kitchen staff, and to Andrea in the executive lounge.
We hope to return again soon.
Poor service, old mattresses, stinky pillows, some rats outside of Shula’s and cockroaches on my bed. Unfortunately my company have a deal with this hotel and we use it, I will look for a different option there.
For most families, spending time on the beach is a vital part of the daily routine. That might seem counterintuitive since the hotel is not located directly on the ocean (as is the case at several other nearby properties), but Naples is known for its beautiful beaches, with sugar-white sand and extra calm seas, and the Hilton Naples makes it very easy to get there.
The property runs a free shuttle service to the beach at Clam Pass Park (about 10 minutes away) -- a beautiful beach in North Naples that has been named among the top stretches of sand in the U.S., thanks to its natural beauty (Clam Pass refers to a river-like opening in the mangroves that connects the estuary to the Gulf of Mexico). It's a favorite fishing spot and a great place for the kids to cast out a line or paddle a kayak.
The hotel's shuttle bus runs three times a day at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m., to and from the beach during the week, and there's hourly service between the hotel and beach on weekends, from 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Once you arrive at the parking lot at Clam Pass, you'll board a free golf cart shuttle for another short ride along a boardwalk, over the mangroves and down to the beach itself (you can also walk the boardwalk from the parking lot, but it takes about 10 minutes and can be tiring with kids and beach gear in tow). If you don't feel like being at the mercy of the hotel's shuttle for getting to and from the beach, you can also drive your own car to Clam Pass and pay to park on the onsite lot (or visit one of the other nearby beaches).
All Hilton guests get a complimentary beach package that includes beach towels, chairs for lounging and bottled water. There are a limited number of umbrellas available from the hotel's stash, too, as well as beach toys, and you can also rent umbrellas from a kiosk on the beach. Another kiosk on the beach rents kayaks and paddleboards by the hour, and both offer a really fun way to experience the ocean or paddle back into the estuary to spot wading birds and enjoy the shady mangroves.
Back at the hotel, the onsite pool and hot tub -- open from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily -- are set on a nice ground floor pool deck that has both sunny and shady areas and plenty of reclining chairs for lounging throughout the day. The long, lagoon-style pool maxes out at about 8 feet, but be aware there aren't any lifeguards on duty. Kids love splashing in the waterfall grotto lining one end of the pool.
Basketball, Ping Pong and Bikes
There's no game room at the hotel, but there is a Ping Pong table by the pool and an outdoor basketball court for free play (grab the gear from the front desk when you want to play). Additionally, the hotel has free bicycles for guests to use -- a fun way to set out for a pedal on the palm-lined sidewalks surrounding the hotel or to visit the Waterside Shops, right next door, with many upscale shops and casual-chic restaurants.
Family Travel Packages
The Hilton Naples also often offers year-round family travel packages that give you access to local attractions, such as the Dolphin Explorer Excursion, so be sure to inquire about packages when booking. And if your kids are gamers, you can also consider booking the Wii are Family Package, which gets you access to Wii and board games in your room.
Shula's Steak House
The only onsite restaurant, Shula's Steak House is a rather upscale affair. It's an NFL-themed chain that pays tribute to the Miami Dolphins and is known for having excellent steaks and seafood. While it's on the fancy side, it's still family-friendly enough to offer high chairs.
Breakfast is served every day from 6 to 10:30 a.m., with kid-friendly offerings like silver dollar pancakes, vanilla French toast, waffles and egg sandwiches. A kid's menu is offered for lunch and dinner (it's the same for both), with lunch served from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily and dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. The kid's menu has steak strips, mini Caesar salads, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chicken fingers, hot dogs, hamburgers and pasta, but be aware that prices are the on the steeper side (between $9 and $16). If you're looking for a more casual dining experience, you can sit by the pool and pick up the nearby telephones to order poolside-dining service, available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.
Room service is also available from Shula's, and offered from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. every day.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
The hotel offers free parking, an ATM, snack shop and a recently updated fitness room, open 24 hours a day.
The Art of Smart Timing
The hotel is open year-round, but you'll find yourself sharing the resort with crowds of people during the busy holiday season leading up to and after Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as around spring break in March and April. Summer in Florida is notoriously steamy, but the Gulf of Mexico usually offers a breeze, so even during these months, it's nice to be outside.
Occupancy is lower during June, July and August, especially on weekdays. You'll find the best rates during the shoulder season in September, when school is back in session, as well as during June.
The Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, about 30 minutes from the hotel, is the closest major airport to Hilton Naples. Flights are usually cheaper, however, into the Tampa (2.5 hours away) and Miami airports (a little more than one hour away). You can find all of the major car rental companies at all of the airports and since parking is free at the Hilton, it's a good idea to rent a car.
For Mom and Dad
Opt for babysitting services, which start at $18 per child, per hour, and head to Fifth Avenue, where boutiques, restaurants and wine bars await. Illuminated with candlelight, the terrace at Bistro 821 is a romantic spot to enjoy fresh seafood and delicious steaks. Finish off the evening at Avenue Wine CafÃ© for live music and cocktails on the outdoor patio or inside the stylish lounge.