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Review of the Waldorf Astoria Naples

Waldorf AstoriaIf you've ever stayed at a Waldorf Astoria or if you're familiar with the Waldorf Astoria name, then you have a good idea of what to expect - first class service, upscale but comfortable accommodations, excellent food, and outstanding amenities. And that's exactly what you'll find at the Waldorf Astoria Naples. Here is our review of the Waldorf Astoria in Naples.

The Waldorf Astoria Naples is reminiscent of Old World Florida as it sits in the heart of Entrance to the WaldorfNaples on 23 waterfront acres amidst 200 acres of a nature preserve and mangrove estuary. What a perfect place to stay for a family or golfing or beach vacation - you'll have easy access to several outstanding golf courses including the Waldorf Astoria's award winning Naples Grande Golf Club plus three miles of a sugar white sand beach, upscale shopping and restaurants within walking distance, and lots of other fun things to see and do in and around the Naples area. Or better yet you can stay within the confines of the Waldorf Astoria and enjoy everything that they have to offer ranging from excellent food to a fantastic pool complex to tennis courts or a workout followed by a spa treatment. Formally known as the Naples Grande Beach Resort, when the Waldorf Astoria acquired the property they also invested and completed a multimillion dollar renovation which created a new and impressive lobby, lounge, banquet facility, and upgraded accommodations.

As we drove up the treed and well landscaped drive and spotted the 18 story Tower which looks like a cruise ship waiting for your arrival so it can depart on it's adventure, we got a feeling that we were in for a special treat during our two day stay as part of a golfing vacation to Florida in 2012 - and we weren't disappointed. The service from the minute we pulled up to the lobby to the time we left was top notch, our room was comfortable and had a stunning view, the golf course was excellent, the food was great, and the amenities were outstanding - how can you beat all of that!

Naples Grande Golf Course

Naples Grande Golf Course HoleAfter being politely escorted to our room and checking out the stunning view, we quickly jumped back in the car for a short drive to play golf at the Waldorf Astoria's Naples Grande Golf Club. Wow! Naples Grande is a spectacular golf course and certainly one of the best in southwest Florida. Rees Jones has designed a masterpiece that is demanding but fair, unique and fun, and perfectly maintained and manicured. It's not surprising that the course has won a number of awards and accolades some of which include:

  • 4.5 out of 5-Star rating by Golf Magazine
  • Voted one of the "10 Best New Golf Courses in Florida" by Travel & Leisure Golf
  • One of North America's Top 100 Resort Courses, as rated by Golfweek Magazine
  • "Top 50 Courses in Florida" by Golf Magazine
  • "Top 50 Facilities in Service in USA , Canada, Mexico & the Islands"
  • "Top 100 Courses in Pace of Play" from Golf Digest & Fodor's Places to Play

Golf hole at the Naples Grande Golf CourseThe fairways are lush and plush (I felt guilty taking a divot), the greens are perfect, and the layout is punctuated by scenic and challenging water features, as it plays through wooded terrain with no homes but abundant wildlife. Each of the nines is Naples Grande Golf Course holedifferent and this is a course that will throw a lot at you to test your game. You'll need to manage water hazards, elevated tee boxes, tight fairways, strategically placed white sand bunkers (some of which are huge and the longest and toughest I've tried to get out of), challenging green complexes, and more. An incredible golf experience that you can only play as a Naples Grande Golf Club member or a guest of the Waldorf Astoria Naples or the Edgewater Beach Hotel, a sister property in Naples. Read our review of Naples Grande Golf Club to learn more about why you should go out of your way to play this outstanding course. The Waldorf Astoria has a variety of reasonably priced Stay & Play options.

Waldorf Astoria Naples' Amenities

If you're going to play some golf, then you should make an early tee time so you'll have time to enjoy all of the other great amenities at the Waldorf Astoria. Some of what you can enjoy includes:

  • take a short stroll or tram ride through the mangroves which takes you to three miles of pristine white sand beaches and all the beach toys you'll need for a fun day of sun, sand, and surf - umbrellas, chairs, towels, kayaking, and paddleboarding
  • rent a one or two person kayak or canoe and paddle your way around and through the scenic and unique 200 acre nature preserve and mangrove estuary
  • bring your racquets and take advantage of the 15 Har-Tru tennis courts, five of which are lit, or sign up for one of the daily clinics or professional services like lessons, kids camps, matchmaking, or tournaments -Main pool the Waldorf Astoria was awarded Tennis Magazine's "50 Greatest US Tennis Resorts"
  • put on the swimming suit and head for any of the three swimming pools one of which includes a 100 foot water slide, a poolside bar with delicious Pina Coladas, and private cabanas which come with lemon water, fresh fruit plates, cool facial cloths, two flutes of champagne or two tropical drinks, a specially stocked refrigerator, TV, computer hook-up, and complimentary baby package - all of that is hard to beat
  • if you still have some energy left or need to wear off some calories from all that good Waldorf Astoria food then head over to the fully equipped fitness room and work out for awhile
  • peruse the shops at the Waldorf for souvenirs, stylish outfits, or miscellaneous items

One of the poolstennis courtsBeach at the Waldorf AstoriaShops

Tranquility pool at the spaAfter a week of work stress or all of that exercise or in my case a week of trying to hit that little white golf ball, it was time to hit the Golden Door Spa® at Waldorf Astoria Naples. The Golden Door Spa® is the perfect place to renew your mind, body and spirit in the sanctuary of an indoor-outdoor spa village encompassing four pavilions in the Japanese tradition and set amid exquisite gardens. The architecture, landscaping, and water features (waterfalls and fountains) are interwoven to create an atmosphere of harmony and beauty where you can experience true tranquility. In addition to a wide variety of spa services from massages to pedicures to hairstyling, you can enjoy a soaking tub, whirlpool bath, tranquility pool, sauna and steam room, rain showers, and a meditation labyrinth where I would have meditated about improving my golf game!

Most days at the Waldorf Astoria are loaded with scheduled activities for everyone, some of which include: ice cream socials, advanced tennis workouts, Yoga, flying frisbee fun, s'mores, sand art, watermelon eating contest, mix your own Mojito, "Wine Down Wednesday" where you can enjoy 1/2 priced bottled wine with the purchase of two entrees, and lots more. And there are plenty of kids activities including the Waldorf Astoria Naples Kid's Club which offers year round supervised programs for kids 4 through 12.

Dining at Waldorf Astoria

After an afternoon of playing an outstanding golf course and a couple drinks by the pool, I was ready for a big dinner. We had to make a tough choice between the Strip House which is the signature restaurant or the more casual Aura Restaurant and Bar where you can dine in the restaurant, the chic chill out lounge, or the expansive illuminated bar.

Aura RestaurantWe choose the Aura Restaurant and had a fantastic dinner. The dinner menu has a variety of "starters," salads, sandwiches and burgers, Flatbreads, and entrees. For "starters" we tried the Calamari with a key lime garlic sauce and cherry jalapeno chutney (excellent) and the Butternut Squash Bisque (also excellent). When our waitress found out we were doing a review, she insisted that we also try the Soup of the Day which was a very good Tomato Bisque. Next up with a very unique and outstanding Chopped Salad which included a wide variety of salad stuff (like dried cherries, a couple of interesting cheeses, and more) all hidden under a lettuce leaf with a mustard dressing - a burst of flavors and a unique presentation. By now we are both getting pretty full and should have stopped, but just then we were presented with our New York Strip with garlic asparagus, grit cake, and a blood orange demi sauce - wow, melt in your mouth! - and Sauteed Yellow Tail Snapper with green lentils and an apple cider reduction - an entree to die for which was quickly devoured. The portions were ample, everything was well prepared, prices were reasonable, and the service was excellent.

Calamari was huge and deliciousExcellent saladYellow Tail SnapperNew York Strip

Dessert ShootersAfter all of that we are stuffed to the brim but our waitress said we can't leave until we have the Dessert Shooters and when she described it, we quickly agreed we needed to try it. Another wow - six different desserts (brownie sundae, keylime pie, cherry cheesecake, tapioca wild strawberry, apple streusel, and berry Napoleon!) each of which was in a tall shooter glass (again, excellent presentation) and was superb - and none of it was left over! We finally waddled to the elevators - I wasn't sure we would fit through the door and I was sure we would exceed the weight limitations - and off to our room on the 17th floor where we quickly feel asleep, but not before we promised ourselves we would visit the fitness room early the next morning. Which of course didn't happen because we had to taste the breakfast menu to give us enough energy to bike around Naples!

breakfast buffetFor breakfast, we enjoyed the breakfast buffet which was loaded with lots of good stuff - pastries, cereals, eggs, sausage, bacon, potatoes, lox, fresh fruit, eggs to order (including custom made omelets), and more - what a great way to start the day! If the buffet is more than you can handle your can order off the menu with several choices from cereal to Eggs Benedict, which were awesome! We had the same outstanding waitress that served our dinner and she insisted that we had to try the Pina Colada Belgian Waffles which has caramelized pineapple, toasted coconut, Myers Dark Rum and Tahitian vanilla bean cream - very unique but a little overwhelming after the Eggs Benedict.

Our congratulations go out to executive Chef Herve Cuyeu, restaurant Chef Chris Capron, and Jose Rivera the restaurant sous chef for excellent presentation and some excellent and very well prepared unique creations that use organic, sustainably grown Florida and coastal area ingredients.

Strip HouseWe did stop by and check out the Strip House which like it's name has a luscious, all-red interior which is adorned with rich, luxurious materials. The lighting is seductive and rosy and the walls are decorated with vintage burlesque photographs from the 1930's Studio Manasse Collection. We heard the food is superb and there are several choices for soups and salads, appetizers, seafood, and several steaks. From what we hear you need to save some room for the famous 24 Layer Chocolate Cake.

If you're heading to the beach at Clam Pass, you can get a selection of salads, fresh fish, sandwiches, and drinks at the Beach Bar & Grill. The Pool Bar & Grill at the main pool also has salads, sandwiches, and delicious tropical drinks. If it's coffee you're after, then stop by Spressi which is located in the lobby, and has steaming lattes, teas, light sandwiches, and salads to go.

Waldorf Astoria Accommodations

After a full day of activity and enjoying all the delicious food, I was ready to hit the sack and the Waldorf Astoria beds provided a terrific nights sleep and I woke refreshed are ready to go! Elegantly-appointed with a modern sensibility, the eco-modern Naples lodging options seamlessly blend custom-designed furniture, luxurious fabrics, modern-day conveniences, and generous living space yet still maintain a traditional Florida style and feel. The Waldorf Astoria is home to 474 spacious guest rooms, bungalows, and suites. You can choose from hotel type Our roomrooms and suites with stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico, the mangrove and estuary, or Naples. Or for larger groups or families or extended stays, the Bungalows are perfect.

We enjoyed our stay in one of the Tower's Signature Coastal View Rooms. Not only was the king bed comfy and had to get out of in the morning, the room was spacious with over 460' of living space, and had a large balcony with a stunning view of the Gulf of Mexico, the pool area, mangrove nature preserve, and Naples - and the sunrise (according to my wife, I was still sleeping) and sunset were unequalled. Our room was well done and included:

 

  • View from our balconya large flat screen HD TV
  • private balcony with table and chairs and a free panoramic view
  • a spacious bathroom complete with dual vanities, and an oversized soaking tub
  • work space with desk, phone, and wireless Internet
  • dresser drawers
  • couch and coffee table

BungalowsThe other lodging options at Waldorf Astoria include: one bedroom Bungalows that are separate from the tower and centered around a tranquil zen-style garden oasis and have oversized balconies and stylish living rooms; Coastal View Rooms with views of the beachfront estates, tropical foliage, and a glimpse of the Gulf of Mexico beyond; and Suites (Gulf View, Signature Gulf View, or the 1200 square foot 18th floor Grande Suite) with private balconies, stylish dining and living areas, and comfortably furnished with a full-sized couch and love seat.

Meetings and Special Events

For your corporate or special events, weddings, or socials, the Waldorf Astoria has over 100,000 square feet of event space which includes 26 meeting rooms, 14 executive meeting rooms including seven break out rooms overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, 48,000 square feet of indoor function space suitable for an elegant wedding, pool party, golf tournament, or corporate planning session. They also provide all of the catering, advanced AV technology, and professional services needed to make sure your event is memorable.

Nearby Things To See & Do

Just a short bike ride or stroll away from the Waldorf Astoria are unique and upscale shops in Waterside, galleries, and the celebrated Naples Philharmonic and Art Museum. A quick drive and you can be in historic downtown Naples which has some great restaurants, shops, and fun bars and nightlife. We had a blast ridding bikes through Naple's beautiful huge well landscaped homes, down to the wharf and beach, sampling some food and music on an outdoor patio on Third Street South area, through the chic downtown loaded with upscale shops and restaurants with live music and fun bars where we sampled some drinks at several of them.

Restaurant patio on Third Street South AreaNaples beach areadowntown Naplesbeautiful homes in Naples

Some of the other fun things to do nearby include:

  • play any of several excellent golf courses
  • visit the naples Nature Center or Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
  • tour the town in the Naples Trolley
  • enjoy a dolphin watch or sunset cruise
  • play in the sugar white sand, go fishing, or parasailing
  • take a guided kayak eco-tour or a swamp buggy ride through the Big Cypress National Preserve
  • go for an airboat ride or rent a boat and see Naples from the water

NaplesFlorida.com has some good information on where to dine, shop, and play.

Bottom Line - the Waldorf Astoria Naples delivers on what it's name promises - excellent service, great accommodations, superb food, and outstanding amenities. A perfect place to stay for a family or golf vacation to Naples.