A trip to Florida is not complete without a visit to the Everglades. I’m not going to lie…it’s hot in summer but very interesting. Try to go first thing in the morning to avoid afternoon thunderstorm disruptions. My children loved the Everglades Holiday Park, home of the Gator Boys.
Naples is like Palm Beach’s poorer cousin - a quiet, casual town with wealthy enclaves and a large population of retirees. Restaurant reservations are not necessary after 7:30 PM. The Waldorf Astoria Naples is really a Hilton when compared with its sleek, modern sister property in Orlando. Rooms are spacious with comfortable beds (new pillows and mattresses throughout the property in 2012) but décor is dated. My bath towels were also worn thin and I was very surprised these passed a housekeeping inspection. Each room had a coffee maker and tea service. I am a stickler about security and my room door needed to be physically pulled to close or it remained ajar. The children enjoyed the pool area with the slide but there are no lifeguards present so you need to keep a vigilant eye on little ones in the water. You can walk to the beachfront or take a 5-minute tram ride. The Gulf’s water is brown but clear, warm and calm. The Waldorf Astoria assesses a $30 per night resort fee that includes Wi-Fi but there is a charge if you want to use one of the white beach umbrellas all set out on the sand near to the loungers. I thought this was a bit stingy. I thoroughly enjoyed my organic facial at the Spa, the most modern space on property. Included in our room rate were complimentary Virtuoso amenities – buffet breakfast for two and a $100 Spa Credit.
Marco Beach Ocean Resort, Marco Island is a great option if you’re looking for a beachfront, all-suite property with a full kitchen. The Resort is filled with families and this makes perfect sense. Sometimes, after a day of surf and sun with little ones, the last thing you want to undertake is a restaurant outing with the cranky! Bring your groceries (and PUBLIX) is just a couple of blocks away, and dine in your pajamas, when convenient. There is even an oven in the suite and pots, pans and dishes are provided as well. The Resort classifies itself as “boutique” property with 98 one-bedroom and two-bedroom suites. The pool is small but the beach area reserved for guests and lined with loungers and umbrellas is relatively expansive. Service is casual and friendly. There is no self-parking on property. Valet is $18.00 per night.
My nephew was celebrating his fourth Birthday and the Hotel very kindly acknowledged this auspicious event with balloons, chocolate and stuffed toys all of which made him very happy.
Clients ask this question quite a bit. Let me start by recognizing that everyone’s perception of “value” and what’s “worth it” varies depending on individual tastes and requirements. For me, and my family, I would have to say a resounding “yes”, especially for a first visit. It’s exciting, fun and completely enhances the Disney experience.