Rooms & Suites: 450
Featuring dazzling views of the Gulf of Mexico, three miles of pristine beaches, world-class restaurants and impeccable service, The Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida, offers an unforgettable retreat in one of the world's most beautiful locations.
The Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort, Naples, offers a remarkable experience. Eye-rolling. That describes our decadent experience at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples Beach Resort in Florida. Yes, it was eye-rolling. But not the frustrated kind – ours was the type of experience you have when, for example, you indulge in an exquisite warm chocolate-cake dessert (as we did in The Grill, the resort's amazing restaurant). It's so divine that your eyes roll back into their sockets. That's pretty much how our entire experience went. Everything was exquisite and wonderful. One case in point – Debbi desired a Diet Lemonade at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, just a few minutes away, which for some reason was unable to be accommodated. Yet, just an hour later, when we sat down at The Grill at the Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort for dinner, our charming waiter, Aldemar, pro-actively asked, “Would you like a diet lemonade, Mrs. Kickham?” Now that's service – and the kind of remarkable service that the Ritz-Carlton is famous for. Here's why. "Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen" is the Ritz-Carlton credo. We were regaled with amazing tales of outstanding service such as we experienced, which reflects this credo. We came to learn that every employee "owns" any problem that comes his way, and he or she is given carte blanche of up to $2,000, if necessary to "make it right." Like the time when one couple forgot their baby's stuffed animal. The staffer tending to them one night overheard the parents discussing what they had forgotten, so he took a quick trip to the hotel gift shop, made a purchase, and presented the amazed parents with a tiny teddy bear. It's that kind of individual empowerment that takes a hotel experience from reliable to remarkable. The Ritz-Carlton also has its own CIA-like computer program, where it reports on and inputs information on every customer need and requirement – so that visitors can expect over-the-top personalized service. It's such attention to detail that sets this hotel business apart from its competition. When you book your reservation, you'll also receive a pre-visit courtesy call, so that anything you need for your trip will be available when you arrive (for example, special foods, if you have food allergies). It's no surprise, then, that the Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort, Naples, was recently honored with the Mobil Five-Star Award – one of only 41 hotels in the States and Canada to achieve Mobil's highest rating. And of all the Ritz-Carlton's around the world, the Naples property is considered the flagship of the company – a welcoming choice for all of the Fortune 500 and 100 CEOs who visit the site for business – and who happily return with their families, many of them on their own private jets. (The Ritz-Carlton offers in-flight jet catering too.) 450 guest rooms include 70 exclusive Club level rooms and 35 suites, all with a view of the beach and the Gulf of Mexico We were happily installed in a beautiful Club Level room. Its terrific advantage is that the Club Level offers access to the private lounge with a dedicated concierge and four daily food presentations. We have experienced all kinds of club floors – but this one beats them all. Breakfasts offers a wealth of hot and cold food items; lunches offer pre-made sandwiches and all varieties of cheeses and meats (the competition usually doesn't serve lunch); and delicious hors d'oeuvres and cordials later in the day. We especially savored the "cookie humidor" – a self-contained glass-enclosed case featuring several varieties of thick gourmet cookies that are the size of mini pizzas. They are ginormous – and the talk of the town! There's also all kinds of liqueurs and wines, plus trays of chocolate-covered almonds and other candies. Our room was a masterpiece featuring an all-marble bathroom, double sinks, robes, Bulgari amenities and of course, a view of the ocean. Management sent us an adorable seashell creation made of spun sugar, filled with turtle-shaped caramels and chocolate seashells, all created by Norman Love Confections (Love used to be the Ritz's corporate pastry chef until he went out on his own). Crave more? Love's creations are available downstairs in the Gourmet Shop, where you can also get a delicious gelato. Hotel Review written by Debbi K. and William D. Kickham, Esq., October 2008
Read article: Ritz-Carlton 25th birthday: Resorts credited for Naples growth
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November through April