The former Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort transformed to the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort last January after a $320 million renovation that will continue through late 2018. The resort now features 716 newly renovated and enhanced guestrooms, new dining options, a reimagined lobby and all of the amenities and service standards befitting a JW Marriott. Work is continuing on the new adults-only Lanai Tower featuring 94 new and luxurious guest rooms (bringing the resort room total to 810), a chef-driven restaurant, rooftop lounge, new meeting space featuring stunning beach and Gulf views, a luxurious new pool deck, and a virtual entertainment center. The tower is slated for completion in 2018.
Dining is available at The Deck at 560 Restaurant & Bar and newly enhanced event space is open at Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa while renovation and enhancements continue on the resort's 310 guestrooms and suites. The AAA 4-Diamond boutique style resort is located on 10.5 acres directly on Marco Island’s white sand crescent-shaped beach. Upgrades take full advantage of the location. A new floor-to-ceiling window overlooking the beach and Gulf of Mexico dominate the new entryway, lobby and reception area.
Marco Beach Ocean Resort has completed a comprehensive renovation of its one- and two-bedroom suites and has updated the resort’s Gulf Ballroom and pool furniture. The updated luxury interiors capture the essence of the boutique resort’s beachfront location in a palette of soft blues and mint greens against white and sandy-hued backdrops, with warm and washed wood tones, linen-inspired upholstery, and elegant mirror and satin nickel surfaces.
Each of the resorts 77 one-bedroom and 16 two-bedroom suites offers a kitchenette, spacious living room and private balcony overlooking the Gulf of Mexico or lush garden terraces. The Gulf Ballroom redesign replaced heavy Tuscan colors and treatments with soft grasscloth walls, a carpet with deep turquoise undertones, and sandy wool draperies that frame accentuate the ballroom’s location facing the Gulf of Mexico through its large picture windows. Meanwhile, signature restaurant Sale e Pepe has once again been awarded AAA Four Diamond status.
The Hyatt House Naples/Fifth Avenue on the picturesque Gordon River section of Naples Bay opened in March 2016. Naples architect Matt Kragh designed the 183-room property with an Old Florida feel with modern touches, featuring an off-white exterior plus parapets and cornices. The hotel has 3,160 sq. ft. of meeting space and a large waterfront restaurant/bar, Latitude 26.
The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club has completed a total redesign of the AAA Four-Diamond beachfront resort’s historic golf course. The redesign was done with input from golf icon and acclaimed course designer Jack Nicklaus in collaboration with noted course architect John Sanford. The course is open for public play as well as for resort guests. This major $9 million project follows $50 million in impressive renovations and enhancements at the resort over the last few years. Set on 125 lush acres, complemented by seven miles of pristine white sandy beach, The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club is located directly on the beach with an on-site championship golf course, a world-class spa, and an award-winning tennis center.
The Inn on Fifth and Club Level Suites has renovated their executive boardroom meeting space and has redesigned the hotel’s pool deck with new landscaping and accents. Also completed is an extensive remodeling of the award-winning Spa on Fifth. The full-service spa has all-new interiors and contemporary design elements. The spa’s treatment menu also received an upgrade with several new luxurious options, including the Good As Gold Facial, a 60-minute anti-aging treatment that includes a deep pore cleaning, exfoliation and a collagen mask infused with pure 24-karat gold. The hotel’s new signature restaurant Ocean Prime opened in December 2016.
The Seminole Tribe of Florida added a new 99-room hotel in 2015 at its casino and entertainment complex in Immokalee just northeast of Naples featuring modern décor with a fresh Florida feel. The entire Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee complex is now 175,600 square feet, up from its previous total of 75,600 square feet. The casino floor expansion now totals more than 51,000 square feet, with more than 1,300 slot machines and 38 live table games. The Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee is the only gaming destination in Southwest Florida with slot machines or table games such as blackjack and baccarat. The 99-room hotel features 19 suites and 80 deluxe guestrooms on four stories, plus a swimming pool with adjacent private Seminole Chickee cabana huts. This new hotel offers and interesting and convenient lodging location for those seeking to fish for bass, crappie and bluegill at Lake Trafford or explore the natural beauty at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.
The Edgewater Beach Hotel recently completed a full property renovation and has also introduced a new custom-designed Serenity Suite. The Serenity Suite is a supremely comfortable luxury accommodation with custom amenities intended to create a tranquil, soothing and transformative experience. The suite offers a view of the Gulf of Mexico, is equipped with serene lighting on dimmer switches and includes exclusive features such as a PranaSleep® mattress, a NutriBullet Pro® juicer; an in-suite massage table and yoga mat; a selection of meditation, yoga and wellness CDs, DVDs and books; and complimentary set of aromatherapy lotions and oils. For many years, the Edgewater Beach Hotel with its all-suite format right on the beach has been the regular summer vacation destination for countless families.
Guests dining at the restaurants at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples enjoy greens so fresh they appear on plates within just hours of being harvested from the resort’s new onsite Grow House. The first of its kind in a resort setting, The Grow House is a re-purposed shipping container with the capacity to grow one acre of produce. The Grow House provides an extension to the work space for the culinary team at the resort and provides greens to compliment the produce brought in fresh from regional farms. Crops currently growing in The Grow House include Bibb and romaine lettuce, cilantro, arugula, spinach, cabbage and assorted micro-greens. The highly flavorful greens are served throughout the resort’s restaurants including the Italian-inspired Terrazza and =H2O , a healthy dining café located on The Spa Deck.
The Hilton Naples has earned the Three Palm designation in the Florida Green Lodging program administered by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Hilton Naples joins the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton, Naples as the second Three Palm designated hotel in the greater Naples area. Hilton Naples achieved the honor by showing quantifiable improvements in the hotel’s “green” efforts, including environmentally friendly practices, increasing recycling, reducing water consumption, dramatically lowering waste, and reducing natural gas and electrical usage.
Naples Restaurant Week is a semiannual promotion that celebrates fine dining for an affordable price in the greater Naples area. The Spring Edition takes place each year in early June with participating restaurants offering three-course prix-fixe dinner menus with special upgrades and deals starting at $25 and $35. The goal is to encourage increased traffic to the best local restaurants and to celebrate the wide array of cuisine available in the Naples area. A percentage of Naples Restaurant Week will directly benefit the Humane Society Naples. The winter Edition takes place late November through mid-December 2018.
The restaurant scene in Florida’s Paradise Coast continues to heat up with some exciting new restaurants that have either recently opened, or that are scheduled to open soon in 2018.
The newest restaurant from Vincenzo Betulia, an award-winning and locally popular chef who is a leader in the Southwest Florida culinary evolution, pays homage to turn of the century Parisian brasseries with his third Fifth Avenue restaurant, The French. Diners enjoy classic country and coastal French dishes in a bustling, vibrant atmosphere with a romantic, street-side setting.
OCEAN PRIME is the new signature restaurant at Inn on Fifth, a luxury boutique hotel in downtown Naples. Open since December 2016, OCEAN PRIME brings the finest and freshest seafood and steaks along with a focus on exceptional customer service. OCEAN PRIME is the award-winning modern American restaurant and lounge from renowned restaurateur Cameron Mitchell. Naples is the 12th location in the U.S.
Chef Asif Syed, former executive chef at Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa, opened his restaurant 21 Spices by Chef Asif in 2016 to much local acclaim. The menu explores diverse flavors of classical Indian cuisine, featuring the freshest seasonal ingredients with a modern presentation and innovative culinary techniques. 21 Spices by Chef Asif has been warmly welcomed by locals and visitors hungry for quality Indian cuisine in the greater Naples area.
The family-owned Pinchers, which serves only the freshest fish, shellfish and crab from Southwest Florida waters, just opened its second restaurant in Florida’s Paradise Coast. The new location is at the Marco Walk Plaza on Marco Island. The other is at Tin City on the Old Naples Waterfront. Kids 12 and under eat free at Pinchers (with a paying adult) and the restaurant offers a popular all-day-every-day Happy Hour special of two-for-one house wine, beer and well-brand cocktails, including their popular margaritas.
True Food Kitchen, a partnership between Fox Restaurant Concepts founder Sam Fox and integrative medicine expert Dr. Andrew Weil, is set to open one of its health-oriented restaurants in early March in Naples at Waterside Shops. Inspired by the principles of Dr. Andrew Weil’s anti-inflammatory diet, True Food Kitchen merges nutrient-rich ingredients with a flavor-forward menu that rotates regularly to let guests experience great-tasting ingredients at the peak of their freshness and flavor. Signature dishes include the Spaghetti Squash Casserole, Inside Out Quinoa Burger and Scottish Steelhead, in addition to flavorful and healthful bowls, pizzas and antioxidant-packed desserts. Behind the scratch bar are fresh-pressed fruit and vegetable juices, seasonal cocktails, wine and a selection of local beers.
Other restaurants coming in 2018 to Naples includes Sails, featuring a menu with a northern Mediterranean flair including a raw bar and a full brunch on Sundays, that will be located at the west end of Fifth Avenue South, and Dorona, a modern Italian steakhouse that is the third Naples restaurant for the owners of the popular downtown restaurants Sea Salt and Barbatella.
Local and Visitor Favorite Dining Spots
While The French Brasserie Rustique on Fifth Avenue South is brand new, there are several French restaurants that are perennial favorites. Bleu Provence, perhaps best known for its Wine Spectator Grand Award-winning wine list of over 3,000 different wines, and is a favorite with many residents and visitors as a romantic and special occasion dining experience. Other French dining favorites include Chez Boet, Café Normandie, Cote D’Azur, L’Auberge and Tartine & Tartlette. You can find authentic French macarons at Le Macaron bakery at The Mercato.
D’Amico and Partners continues to elevate the cuisine scene in Naples. The Continental American Provisions and Craft Bar is a popular addition to Third Street South in the Old Naples section of downtown. Hand cut steaks use only the finest prime, Wagyu and Piedmontese beef and a variety of fresh seafood rounds out the menu. A 30-seat craft cocktail bar and live entertainment seven days a week has made it popular with both locals and visitors. Watch their website and social media for announcements about Craft Cocktail Dinners and other events.
The Lurcat Catering division of D’Amico recently opened the Fogg Café at Naples Botanical Garden, as well as taking charge of the garden’s group catering needs. Fogg Café features a creative menu using local, sustainable and seasonal products, some of which are grown and harvested right on site at the botanical garden.
Osteria Tulia, featuring innovative peasant-style Italian dishes is one of the most popular downtown Naples restaurants. Chef Vincenzo Betulia, who also just opened The French Brasserie Rustique, also stays busy with Bar Tulia, an Italian gastropub serving chef-driven food and craft beers and cocktails nightly until midnight, a welcome addition to the late night dining scene in Naples.
Another buzz-worthy dining hot spot in downtown Naples is 7th Avenue Social, providing delicious dining and live entertainment into the early morning hours.
Dining on the beach can be found at local favorite Turtle Club on Vanderbilt Beach. Be sure to reserve one of the outside tables located directly on the beach for a sunset-view dinner. Also in Naples you’ll find beach views at H.B.’s on the Gulf and Gumbo Limbo. On Marco Island, Quinn’s on the Beach and Kane Tiki Bar & Grill offer casual, tropical settings on the beach.
Latin American cuisine is represented in fine fashion in the region.
The popular Martin Fiero Steakhouse has opened in a new location just east of downtown Naples, serving steaks and Argentinean and Uruguayan favorites.
There is a rather remarkable Peruvian culinary boom in Naples. Inca’s Kitchen, El Gaucho Inca Bistro, La Cuisine, and Gustitos Bakery all offer tempting Peruvian cuisine. Komoon Thai, Sushi & Ceviche has two Naples locations offering its own unique blend of international cuisines including Peruvian favorites such as pollo saltado and several ceviches along with sushi, pad Thai and more.
The Local serves only the freshest farm and sea-to-table cuisine that is delicious, fresh, local and healthy. Chef-owner Jeff Mitchell has direct relationships with area farms to supply the freshest beef, pork, seafood and regional produce.
Chef Fabrizio Aielli of the popular local favorite restaurants Sea Salt and Barbatella on Third Street South in downtown Naples has a cookbook with a collection of 75-plus recipes. Included are such notable dishes as Pan-Seared Black Grouper with Black Truffle Butter, Best Chicken Ever and many more as well as a number of Sea Salt signature cocktails. Barbatella is now offering a rustic Italian brunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Sundays and unique cultural dinner experiences that include opera and painting.
Yabba Island Grill on Naples’ Fifth Avenue South has a new menu with lots of flavorful and fresh dinner options highlighting healthy cuisine that’s fit for the active Florida lifestyle. Diners can order from the “Today’s Small Catch” section on the menu highlighting unique and local fresh fish, or more than 40 steak and seafood combinations, plus an array of inspired healthy and low-calorie entrees.
In honor of its 21st anniversary, Pazzo! Cucina Italiana on Fifth Avenue South is offering an Anniversary Throwback Menu with 21 of its most beloved original dishes over the years as well as new, exciting Italian dishes. The throwback menu is a reflection of what people have loved about Pazzo! since it first opened and why it’s still a Naples landmark today for its innovative twists on classic Italian cuisine.
The ever-popular Chops City Grill on Fifth Avenue South is known for its on-premise dry aged steaks. This year, Chops is also bringing diners new menu items including a fresh raw bar appetizer featuring fresh Hawaiian tuna. Dinners are complemented with creative sides and sauces
Naples Botanical Garden recently added the new Eleanor and Nicholas Chabraja Visitor Center and three new gardens: the LaGrippe Orchid Garden, Irma’s Garden and Kathryn’s Garden, all designed by famed landscape architect Raymond Jungles. A new onsite food and beverage option, Fogg Café, is led by the culinary team at Lurcat Catering and uses a variety of fruit, vegetables and herbs grown right at the garden.
Naples Zoo has announced plans to begin work on a new “Finding Florida” visitor entry experience. The new entryway will include an education center and gift shop. While fundraising and planning is underway to transform the visitor entry experience, the zoo continues to add exhibits and activities. Two extremely rare young clouded leopards are the latest animals to join the zoo as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums endangered species program as a mated pair.
A clay shooting aficionado from the U.K., Colin Burrows, is operating Gulf Coast Clays after purchasing the former Port of the Islands Gun Club, located halfway between Naples and Everglades City. The club features trap, skeet, sporting and five-stand clay shooting. The multi-station sporting clay course is located in a beautiful, natural Everglades wilderness setting. Guns and equipment are available for rent and experienced instructors are on staff and available for lessons.
Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a 13,000-acre preserve that is home to the largest stand of old-growth bald cypress in North America. A 2.25-mile boardwalk weaves through this ancient bald cypress forest and other habitats including pond cypress, wet prairie, and marsh. Visitors during the summer months may be rewarded with a glimpse of a rare, endangered ghost orchid in full bloom. There is a large ghost orchid that is visible through a viewing scope from the public boardwalk when it is in bloom, which typically occurs in mid to late summer.
Kayaking in the Gulf Coast Everglades is popular year round and Everglades Area Tours offer a motorboat-assisted kayak tour of the Ten Thousand Islands portion of the park. In summer, morning half-day tours are recommended to avoid the typical summer afternoon thunderstorms. The tour company also now offers boating and paddling tours of the Ten Thousand Islands departing from Marco Island. The Marco Island boating tour includes the option of visiting a deserted island filled with keepsake shells, perfect for shelling enthusiasts.
Everglades Adventure Tours, in partnership with Trail Lakes Campground in Big Cypress National Preserve, offers rustic accommodations in Native Chickee Cabins featuring expansive views of the wilderness grassland prairies in huts built by local Miccosukee native Americans, constructed to allow air to pass underneath and through, offering comfortable conditions during the hot Florida summer months. Adventures include guided trips in native pole boats as well as kayaks and canoes, hiking excursions, and more.
Thirty-six artificial reef modules located from 10 to 28 miles offshore from Naples and Marco Island on Southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast make up what is now the largest artificial reef complex in the Western Hemisphere. The 18,000 tons of materials used in the project included clean, surplus construction concrete and utility poles donated by area utility companies. The pre-planned configuration of each of the reefs was designed to attract a variety of sea life to sustain healthy populations of reef fish, creating opportunities for offshore fishing, spearfishing and diving enthusiasts.
About Florida’s Paradise Coast
Whether travelers are looking for a romantic escape or family getaway, Florida’s Paradise Coast — Naples, Marco Island and the western portion of the Everglades — has an array of vacation options year-round. With more than 30 miles of soft, white sand beaches, a thriving arts and culture scene, distinctive dining, family attractions and the best of outdoor adventure, the Paradise Coast is truly a destination with it all. Located just two hours from Miami, four hours from Orlando and three hours from Tampa, the Paradise Coast is easily accessible from some of Florida’s largest cities. Travelers outside of the Sunshine State can fly into Southwest Florida International Airport, which provides nonstop service to 43 destinations on 14 different air carriers. For more information about the Paradise Coast, call 800-688-3600 or visit www.ParadiseCoast.com. Follow the destination on Twitter and Instagram @ParadiseCoast and #ParadiseCoast, and on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/TheParadiseCoast.