The winding, 3,168-foot pathway from Naples Grande Beach Resort to the Gulf of Mexico is an excursion unto itself. One of the top meeting resorts in Florida’s Paradise Coast, Naples Grande sits back a tad from the beachfront, but makes sure its guests have access to the Gulf by offering a shuttle that weaves through a mangrove forest. It’s just one of the amenities attendees will enjoy if you meet here.
At the end of the path, the mangroves give way to a white-sand beach that stretches endlessly in both directions. With the calm, warm water of the gulf gently kissing the shoreline, it’s a very safe option for swimming—and all water sports—especially compared to Florida’s meeting giants across the state on the Atlantic Ocean.
But for those who prefer pools, Naples Grande has three of them. There’s a large family pool with a slide, an adjacent adult-only pool and a lap pool just off the tennis complex, which sports 15 clay courts. Just want to relax? Enjoy a treatment at The Spa at Naples Grande, which was recently renovated. Naples Grande even has its own private golf course, located about 15 minutes from the resort. It’s only open to hotel guests and local members. The new clubhouse makes a great one-two punch for a golf outing followed by a reception, creating an offsite that is very easy to coordinate.
What is Paradise Coast?
There’s so much to do at Naples Grande that a visit to the resort will give any first-time guest to Southwest Florida a vivid experience emblematic of the Paradise Coast. Naples is the key meeting city in Collier County, which has been dubbed Florida’s Paradise Coast by the local convention and visitors bureau. The county also includes Marco Island and Everglades City, and the CVB promotes all three cities.
Most visitors to Naples will be flying through Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in Fort Myers, about a 30-minute drive to Naples Grande. (Fort Myers is the meetings hub for neighboring Lee County.) RSW currently offers direct international flights to and from Dusseldorf, Germany; Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa, Canada; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Nassau, Bahamas; and Cancun, Mexico. The airport provides nonstop service to 45 destinations on 14 air carriers.
Kayaking in Paradise
Back to the beach, which is one of the things Naples Grande and Paradise Coast is known for. During a recent visit, I took the shuttle down to the beach, where I went kayaking. The resort rents single and double kayaks, with the ability to accommodate around 15 people at a time. It’s not uncommon for groups to rent out the entire supply and take turns kayaking, once again taking full advantage of the calm waters and incredible scenic waterways that separate the resort from the Gulf.
During my paddle, I saw herons, egrets, ibis and pelicans. Two anglers getting around on pedal-powered kayaks cast out nets to haul in bait. As one man removed the bait fish from his net, an elegant, bold heron walked right up to him and took a small fish from his hand. It was an amazing sight and reminded me of the paradise that surrounded me.
After I kayaked, I relaxed beachside at the Naples Grande cafe called Rhode’s End. Sipping on a pina colada, a tradition I usually reserve for vacation, I chatted with a Naples local and asked where he takes his out-of-town guests. He smiled and said “right here.” Not only is the beach virtually private due to its isolation, but it offers a magnificent setting to experience the colorful sunset and have a cocktail; food is also served.
Meeting & Event Details
Besides its recreation opportunities, Naples Grande offers 474 guest rooms in its main, 18-floor tower and 50 villas, which feature a bedroom area and living room.
Most indoor meeting space is conveniently positioned on the resort’s second floor, creating a contained area for groups to easily move from general sessions to breakouts. In total, there is 83,000 sq. ft. of indoor and outdoor meeting and event space, including a 14,442-square-foot ballroom, one of the largest in Collier County. The 5,802-square-foot ground-level ballroom opens up to the terrace, creating great flow for receptions.
The ground level is open and inviting, with a lobby bar and restaurant that are conducive for networking. It’s totally easy to meet on the second floor and continue the conversations with a cocktail at the oblong bar or on the terrace or at the pool just beyond the terrace.
Florida’s Paradise Coast is just that—a slice of paradise. And Naples Grande Beach Resort is doing its part to help build and uphold that reputation.