by Terry Ward
Colorful buildings and a sparkling marina conjure the Italian and French Riviera at this upscale resort, which caters to the boating crowd with 97 boat slips and rentals at the ready. Even if you don’t come with your own boat, nor plan to rent one, however, there’s still much for families to love at Naples Bay Resort.
First, know that you’re on the water here, a marina set on Naples Bay, but not on the beach and Gulf of Mexico, which is about 1.5 miles away and easily reached by the resort’s regular free shuttle service. The four-star hotel, which opened in late 2007, is actually a collection of about 80 rooms and suites surrounding the waterfront marina, with an additional 40 cottages, independently owned and located near the property’s shared clubhouse. Full-time residents also live on the property, which has a lot to do with the excellent quality and upkeep of the resort’s recreational areas.
The property’s four swimming pools make for plenty of water-based fun and include a 5,000-square-foot lagoon pool with exciting walk-through waterfalls, as well as a lazy river. While there isn’t a kids club onsite, Naples Bay Resort organizes themed events for children during school breaks. The resort also offers free shuttles and bicycles on which to explore nearby Fifth Avenue, where cute boutique and coffee shops await. And there are six lighted tennis courts on the property, as well as paddleboards and kayaks to rent for paddling around the marina’s calm waters.
Our Editor Loves
- Lazy river and four swimming pools
- Free shuttle to beach and downtown Naples
- Boats for rent at onsite marina
- Horse Back Riding
- Water Sports
- Connecting Rooms
- Family Room 5+
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Spacious, contemporary and supremely comfortable, rooms are a highlight at Naples Bay Resort. This is truly the spot for a vacation with all the comforts of home.
The most basic room here is the 500-square-foot deluxe guestroom, which really only works for a small family of three with a young child, as there's room for a Pack 'N Play (but not a rollaway) and there's only one king bed. These rooms have mini-fridges, but do not offer microwaves.
It's worth upgrading to the 1,000- and 1,300-square-foot, One- or Two-Bedroom Suites (respectively) at the marina, all of which have full gourmet kitchens with stoves, microwaves, full-size refrigerators and all the pots, pans, utensils, plates and glassware you need to whip up a proper meal for the gang.
The One-Bedroom Suites have a master bedroom in a separate bedroom and a living room area (no sofa bed), where you can request a rollaway bed for a steep $45 per night. These units have a washer and dryer.
Two-Bedroom Suites are similarly configured with a king bed in the master bedroom and an additional bedroom with a queen bed, again with a living room with room for a rollaway bed (but sadly, no sofa bed). These units also have a washer and dryer.
Tip: All of the marina guestrooms and suites have balconies, but don't offer equal vistas. "Marina Views" are far prettier than "Waterway Views," the latter of which overlook a small canal winding through the property. Plush bedding, pillow-top mattresses, granite and tile bathrooms, flat-screen TV's, Wi-Fi access and Bose Wave entertainment centers are standard amenities in all of the guestrooms and suites.
If you're planning to stay seven or more nights at the Naples Bay Resort, you might consider renting one of the two- or three-bedroom cottages, located near the resort's recreation club. Each configuration has two private bathrooms, a full gourmet kitchen, a living room with a sofa bed and a screened-in, outdoor lanai area overlooking the recreation area. The Two-Bedroom Cottages are more than 1,700-square-feet in size and have a master bedroom with a king bed and another room with a queen bed, with room for a rollaway in the living room to sleep a total of seven people. Three-Bedroom Cottages are seriously spacious at more than 1,900 square feet, and have three separate bedrooms with a king bed in the master and a queen bed in each additional room, as well as a sofa bed in the living room that sleeps two and offers room for a rollaway bed; this units sleeps up to nine guests total.
The mattress was horrible. So soft that you sink in, which made it impossible to sleep or change position at night. We asked the front desk after the first sleepless night three times for help and the answer was “the mattresses were purchased a year ago so there is nothing we can do”. Very disappointing. We would have given it the highest rating if we had been able to get any sleep.
by Eric M
Excellent location, very clean and tidy hotel and great value for money. Our suite was huge with plenty storage and fully equipped kitchen. Pool area was excellent and very quiet. Literally could not fault it.
As is this case at most any Florida hotel, it's all about water activities at Naples Bay Resort. Even though the property isn't located on the Gulf of Mexico, most families plan at least some time down on the beach since the kind you find in Naples -- sugary, white expanses with gently lapping waves -- are among the finest beaches in the country, and exceedingly family-friendly. The resort's free shuttle service does beach runs to and from the property to the Naples Pier beach throughout the day, every two hours between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., and you can also request to be dropped off at nearby Fifth Avenue on the way if you prefer to head there. Additionally, resort buses can take you farther afield to other beaches and destinations around town for set fees that start at around $30 per run.
Chairs and umbrellas for beach use are available on a first come, first served basis and when the resort is at full capacity, they can be in short supply, so be warned.
Plenty of families pass on the beach entirely, however, and spend their days enjoying the meandering lazy river that winds through lushly landscapes gardens at the resort or swimming in the enormous main pool, with zero-entry access and waterfalls that are two stories high.
The hotel also offers an adults-only pool and hot tub, as well as two other, family-friendly hot tubs. There are no lifeguards on duty at any of the resort pools, and children who aren't potty trained are required to wear swimming diapers.
The hotel's main recreation area, where you'll find most of the pools (save one, located at the marina), is located near the cottages. A shuttle bus runs between there and the marina-side guestrooms and suites, though it only takes five minutes to walk between the two areas.
Since the resort is a fully functioning marina, one of the best things to do is rent a boat. Fish at a local spot, have a picnic on a deserted Gulf island or scout for dolphins in the bay's calm waters. You can rent paddleboards or kayaks onsite, too, and these make for a fun outing, paddling out to nearby restaurants in Naples Bay or exploring the mangrove areas around the resort. Rates are very reasonable for both, with kayaks available to rent for $20 for four hours ($30 for tandem kayaks) and stand-up paddleboards for $15 an hour or $25 for four hours.
If you're family takes to tennis, you'll be well served here -- the resort has six Har-Tru courts that are illuminated for night play. Court fees are just $10 per slot and include tennis rackets and balls.
Bicycle rentals are also available for exploring the area; they cost just $15 for a full day (eight hours) and come with helmets, a bike lock and a map of the bicycle-friendly streets in Naples. Resort guests can even rent the bicycles for a flat rate of $70 if staying for seven days.
Many guests take advantage of the full kitchens in their suites to prepare meals, but there are a few other options for dining onsite, too. The day starts with breakfast on the bay at the hotel's Yacht Club, where a breakfast buffet is offered daily, 8 to 11 a.m., with a spread of bacon, sausage, pastries, cereals, fruit and yogurt, along with cooked-to-order hot items, such as eggs, pancakes and waffles. The hotel offers room packages with breakfast included.
Right on the water's edge and near the marina pool, the casual BlueWater Bar & Grill is a good choice for lunch and dinner. It offers outdoor dining with a menu of sandwiches, salads and wraps for adults, and a kids menu that's $8 across the board for lunch and dinner. Kids' offerings include cheeseburgers, hot dogs, grilled or fried chicken fingers (all served with French fries or seasonal fruit), as well as cheese or pepperoni pizza. Good behavior can be rewarded with tasty cold treats, too, such as push pops, cookie sandwiches and Jolly Rancher popsicles. Lunch is served daily at BlueWater Bar & Grill, between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., and dinner is an early affair, served between 4 and 7 p.m.
There are a few other restaurants on the property, but they are operated by independent owners and not related to the resort. One of them is BONEFISH Grill & Restaurant, a national chain known for fresh seafood. It's open for dinner daily, and there's indoor and outdoor seating. High chairs and coloring books are provided for kids, and the kid's menu, which ranges between $6 and $8, has fish sticks, chicken strips, popcorn shrimp, grilled tilapia and mac and cheese.
Another restaurant, Mereday's, provides room service, though you won't likely find options for kids on the fancy menu. Families can also take the dinner shuttle to Fifth Avenue for more restaurant and cafÃ© options (available 6 to 10 p.m.).
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Pack 'N Plays are offered free of charge to guests with children, but cribs cost $50 for three days ($15 each additional day) and high chairs are $45 for the week.
There's an ATM for making cash withdrawals in the hotel's lobby.
The resort fee (between $25 and $36 per day, depending on the season and room type) covers self and valet parking, the resort's shuttle service, Wi-Fi access throughout the property, a daily newspaper and access to the fitness center.
If your room doesn't have a laundry machine, you can wash clothing in the onsite washer and dryer at the Captain's Lounge at the marina.
A provisioning shop for boaters at the marina sells snacks and drinks, as well as essentials, such as sunscreen and medications.
The hotel's excellent spa, The Spa at Naples Bay Resort, offers a variety of treatments (massages, facials, wraps, herbal bath soaks) and has steam rooms, a sauna, aqua lounge and an adults-only pool, all of which are free for guests to use whether or not they have a spa treatment.
The hotel's 2,500-square-foot fitness center is open daily from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and has treadmills, elliptical machines, bikes and technogym equipment. Personal trainers are available and yoga classes ($15 per person) are offered several times a week.
The Art of Smart Timing
The hotel is open year-round, but you'll find yourself sharing the resort with crowds of people and boaters 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 and bay usually offer a breeze, so even during these months, it's a pleasant time to be outside. You'll find the best rates during the shoulder season in September, when school is back in session, as well as in early June.
The Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, about 30 minutes from the hotel, is the closest major airport to Naples Bay Resort. The resort can arrange transportation to and from the airport for up to four people for $75 (and $6 per additional person). 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 included with your resort fee, it's a good idea to rent a car during your time here.
For Mom and Dad
The hotel offers a babysitting service with trusted local sitters for $18 to $20 per child, per hour. Make a dinner reservation at the resort's finest property, Mereday's, a stylish, white-linen affair with excellent Florida seafood and two-, three- and four-course prix-fix meals, offered with expertly selected wine pairings. You might also like to dine on nearby Fifth Avenue, a short walk away.
If you have an entire day (or even a half-day) to spare, rent a private boat from the marina and head to the secluded beach at Keewaydin Island.