9891 Gulf Shore Dr, Naples, FL 34108
Overall Score: A
Overall Impression: An upscale beach resort that’s best suited to couples or families with teenage children.
Located on Gulf Shore Drive, along the beautiful beaches of northern Naples, is La Playa Beach and Golf Resort, an upscale hotel with deluxe accommodations in Florida.
In 2015, La Playa Resort was ranked #9 for best family beach hotel by Travel + Leisure magazine. I’m not sure I would rank this hotel as a great family resort, but a great couples resort. La Playa Beach and Golf Resort does provide summer activities for families, but as I was here in February, there were none. Food options here are slim, as there is only pool-side dining, BALEEN restaurant, and in-room dining (with mostly the same menu as pool-side dining). No nearby restaurants are within walking distance. More on hotel dining later.
Upon arriving at the resort, courteous valets greeted us, attended to our car and helped us into the lobby. (Valet parking is mandatory and costs $29 per day.) The staff was very friendly and accommodating upon arrival. Check in was quick and easy on a Tuesday afternoon.
There are three buildings to this hotel. The main building, which contains the lobby, concierge, and gift shop, is the Gulf Tower high-rise; this building also features BALEEN restaurant and the private beach club for members of the resort. Next to the tower is the Beach House, a smaller four story building with guest rooms, the spa, and workout facility. The last building is the Bay Tower, which is across Gulf Shore Drive, next to the parking garage. This is where the hotel’s convention center is, along with rooms featuring a bay view.
As my husband and I were staying here for a work conference, our room was located not in the main tower, but across the street in the Bay Tower. There was a pedestrian cross walk right outside the lobby, and it took just a few extra minutes to walk to our room across the street. Inside this additional building with guest rooms is La Playa Resort’s conference center. Two elevators service this building; I never had to wait long for a ride up or down.
Our “bay view” room faced the Vanderbilt Channel, which links local residents’ docks to the Gulf of Mexico. The homes around the channel are spectacular and there is a decent amount of boat/kayak travel to keep one entertained. There was no issue with noise from the boats during our stay. Two doors lead onto the patio outside the room. (See below)
Our guest room at La Playa Resort was decorated in light and neutral tones with a sophisticated yet relaxed atmosphere. I found the room to be quite spacious for a non-suite. The bedding and linens were both very soft and comfortable, and the room was very clean. All rooms here are non-smoking and be aware that there is a $30 resort fee.
Guest rooms feature an elegantly simple bathroom with a double pedestal sink. Classic black and white marble tiles cover the bath and shower walls, as well as the floor. A plantation style shutter offers a glimpse from the shower into the main area of the guest room. Because there is no counter area around the sink, there is a shelving unit. A makeup mirror is also included. The toilet sits behind the door, to the right of the tub/shower.
I was very pleased with the refillable containers the hotel provided in the bathroom. In the bath and shower area, shampoo, conditioner, and body wash were provided in refillable containers. There was also a lotion bottle in the bathroom as well. I don’t understand why more hotels don’t adopt this method of providing toiletries. All of those small plastic bottles of hair and body cleansers are incredibly wasteful and are hardly ever recycled. Kudos to La Playa Beach and Golf Resort for being environmentally friendly.
On my first morning there, I had an issue getting hot water. I waited and waited, thinking the water just needed time to heat up. No improvement. Twenty minutes later I tried the hot water again and it was still cold. I called down to the front desk and reported the issue. It was then that I was told that the building with the bay rooms had damage to the water pipes and they were being repaired. They expected the repairs to be done by the afternoon. I left my room for the day and when I returned, the hot water was back on. I was a little disappointed that hotel management didn’t let us know what was going on; I had to find out for myself that there was no hot water. The staff member on the phone said to me,”Oh, we thought no one would notice,” in reference to the lack of hot water. A little disappointing, but I was glad it was fixed promptly.
That same night, I found a note in our room along with four water bottles. More repairs were going to be done on our building’s water line during the night. Bottled water was provided since the water would be completely turned off. Water service was back on in the morning with no further disruptions.
The in-room amenities in a standard room at La Playa Beach and Golf Resort include a desk, dresser, refrigerator stocked with various priced refreshments, coffee machine, in-room snacks (also for purchase), an HDTV, wifi, and a small bottle of wine available for purchase. The only refreshment provided in the room that was free was the coffee. I did notice that the television had mostly standard definition channels instead of the usual high-definition channels. Other than that, everything else in the room seemed to be satisfactory and working properly. There are bathrobes provided, an iron and ironing board, as well as a safe. Housekeeping comes by every night to offer turn down service as well.
I was a little disappointed when I first learned that we weren’t going to have a room in the main building, as I was hoping for a view of the Gulf of Mexico. However, our view of the channel was fabulous. Two glass patio doors lead to your patio which includes a chaise lounge, chair, sofa and table.
However, your patio isn’t completely private if you are on the third floor; walls separating the patios only come out so far before stopping and opening to one large balcony. See photos of the Vanderbilt Channel and the third floor balcony below. (Rooms on higher floors appear to have their own private balcony.)
There are three inviting pools at La Playa Beach and Golf Resort. You can rent cabanas around the larger two pools, and pool attendants provide you with pool towels and lounge chair covers at all three pools. The pools are all sparkling clean, warm, and refreshing. Whether you are looking for full sun or all shade, you’re sure to find a spot around the pool that suits you. The pools definitely seem to be suited to adults, as there are no kid-friendly additions to it, like a beach entry, slides, or an extremely shallow area.
The beach here in northern Naples is exquisite. Being that I was here in February, it wasn’t busy and there was plenty of solitude to find here. The sand is almost white and is incredibly soft under your feet. If you like walking the beach, walk 3/4 of a mile north to reach Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park. Bring a bag if you enjoy collecting sea shells! There are tons to choose from here.
If you’d like to spend a day on the resort’s beach, the beach attendants are happy to provide towels and set up lounge chairs and an umbrella for you at no cost (although tips are appreciated). In addition, La Playa Beach and Golf Resort provides Beach Butlers (basically beach waiters) that bring food and drink out to you while you sit by the Gulf.
If you’re looking for adventure, the resort rents wave runners, kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and also offers parasailing and other boating excursions. Click here for more information on water activities.
Dining options around the pool are the same at the beach. Healthier meals are available, as well as a few vegetarian options as well. There are plenty of mixed drinks to choose from, as well as other alcoholic drinks. If you prefer, you can also stop by the pool bar and grab a drink. There are also plenty of outdoor tables for dining and conversation. Poolside and beach food/drink service usually closes by late afternoon. The fire pits outside the hotel are popular at night so be sure to grab one early!
La Playa Beach and Golf Resort has an extensive workout facility, complete with free weights, weight machines, and cardio machines. I was pleasantly surprised to see how big it was and how much equipment they provided.
In addition to the workout facility, La Playa Resort has a day spa on property – SpaTerre. It is located next to the gym in the four-story Beach House building. As I did not use any of their services, I’m unable to review the day spa.
My husband and I decided to try BALEEN, the on-site upscale restaurant at La Playa Beach and Golf Resort. As it is the only restaurant here, you may have to wait for a table during prime dining hours. I was not impressed with the service here, as our waiter had a contemptuous tone about him. I found that the menu here is very limited and very pricey. (I’m not sure BALEEN has a kids menu.) As a vegetarian, I had minimal options here; the tofu plate I ordered must have been for discerning palates as I just couldn’t stomach the taste. If you’re a connoisseur of fine foods, then you may love this place. However, for me, with the expensive cost, poor service, and the lack of vegetarian options and poor taste of the ones they had, I really disliked it.
I didn’t visit the resort’s golf course, but know that it is not located on the property. You will need a car to get you there. The 18-hole golf course designed by Robert Cupp is located at 333 Palm River Blvd in Naples. Depending on what time of year and what time of day you visit the course, you will pay $85-$220 (per person) for the 18 holes (their website only posts 2016 rates. Rates may have changed.). This price includes a golf cart and practice balls. Click here to get more information about La Playa Beach and Golf Resort’s golf course.
Overall, I found La Playa Beach and Golf Resort to be a great place to stay, despite my poor experience at BALEEN restaurant. Being that it’s not a huge resort, there are limited dining options. However, in town, there are plenty of places to eat; just be sure to plan ahead since you will need the valet service to retrieve your car.
I found the staff to be mostly helpful and friendly, and our room and surroundings to be clean and inviting. With the resort’s excellent location north of the city and close to a state park, La Playa Beach and Golf Resort has an amazing beach with spectacular scenery.
I recommend this resort for couples or families with teens, while vacationing in Naples. Expect upscale accommodations, high prices, good service, and a romantic atmosphere while staying at La Playa Beach and Golf Resort.