The coastline of Marco Island — with its wide, 3.5-mile swath of white-sand beach — features full-service resorts that offer abundant amenities, dining and recreation. One such property is the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, which rebranded to JW in early January, 2017 amid a $320 million renovation. The sparkling property features the Spa by JW (one of two in the U.S.) and upon final completion will offer an adult exclusive collection of suites with a rooftop pool and bar and a private section of beach.
Even with the massive upgrade, the JW staff is determined to keep its property family-friendly and accessible. “Some guests at top resorts might feel intimidated to walk with their family through the lobby of the hotel in flip-flops,” says Amanda Cox, director of sales and marketing. “That’s completely fine here. Our service is luxury, but it’s warm and welcoming, so that guests can really feel at home.”
A few miles north, the Gulf coastline of Naples features several top resorts. The Ritz-Carlton is situated on the beach in North Naples. The hotel, which opened in the mid-‘80s, is credited with sparking the luxury lodging movement on Florida’s Paradise Coast.
Just south of the Ritz is the splendid Naples Grande Beach Resort. Perhaps its most unique feature is a boardwalk that runs through a mangrove sanctuary and opens to the beach. Sales/Marketing Director Frank Cavella hails from Florida’s east coast, but has become a convert. “Naples has a little slower pace,” he says. “We’re seeing guests come from the other side of the state who want to escape the madness over there. The Paradise Coast is easy, comfortable and safe.”
Frank is also partial to Naples’ geographical relationship to the sun. “You can go to the east coast and get the sunrise, but, me, I’d rather luxuriate on my balcony with a glass of wine as the sun sets,” he says with a grin.
Along with its ongoing growth of luxury accommodations, Florida’s Paradise Coast has benefited from another trend. What was once a destination with a “high season” concentrated in late Winter and early Spring, has in recent years become a year-round destination. Summers are far busier than even five years ago. It’s a time when value-conscious consumers can enjoy the same luxury treatment at more affordable prices.
Also: “It’s sort of a best-kept secret, but I think the most beautiful time here is fall going into winter — September, October, November, going into December,” Cavella, of Naples Grande, says. “It’s mild, the humidity is lower, and you can treat yourself at a value price.”