NAPLES, Fla. -- This area of southwest Florida is enjoying a hotel
"There has been an explosion of hotel rooms in the Greater
Naples area. It's going bananas," said Mike Watkins, president of
the family-owned Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club.
316-room resort, which is more than 50 years old, is undergoing its
own rebuilding program, adding about 13,000 square feet (for a
total of 25,000 square feet) of meeting space.
"I guess there's one feasibility study that says we need more
rooms, and everyone is reading it," Watkins said.
About 75% of the Naples Beach Hotel's winter business is
"There's a lot of affluence here, and I think that tends to
attract people who have the bucks," Watkins said, citing it as one
reason behind the area's popularity.
A spokeswoman for Visit Naples Inc., the public-private group
promoting tourism in the area, said no statistics are available but
noted visitor numbers are definitely growing.
A spokesman at the Naples Area Chamber of Commerce observed that
about 140,000 visitors stopped at the facility last year, about
3,000 more than the previous year.
"We attribute the good business in part to our group's
brainstorming and doing various promotions," said a spokeswoman for
In fact, business has been so good this winter that promotions
have been postponed until later in the year.
Naples is portrayed in advertising and promotions as being a
safe place to visit with a "small-town atmosphere and beautiful
beaches," the spokeswoman said.
"People are coming here for the beaches, the nice weather, the
[nearby] Everglades and [the area's access to] the Keys," said a
spokesman for the chamber of commerce.
Key West is more than five hours away by car, but there is
regularly scheduled boat service from Factory Bay Marina on Marco
In November, a 110-foot whale-watching boat began offering
four-hour trips to Key West; on Feb. 7, the service was scheduled
to become daily.
The roundtrip fare ($89) is commissionable at 10%.
The seasonal service ends May 9. The vessel carries 130
passengers on the route.
The Key West Shuttle. Phone: (888) 259-3800
"We've always been popular for our winters, but we've picked up
during what we call the fringe and summer season," the Naples
chamber spokesman said.
The growing popularity of golf has added to the area's appeal.
Naples has 53 courses and claims to have more golf holes per capita
than any other Florida destination.
New hotels and expansions include the following:Marriott's 120-room Residence Inn Naples opened on Jan. 27 and
is offering extended-stay room rates starting at $149 per night for
stays of 30 days or more.
The hotel has 800 square feet of meeting space.
Residence Inn Naples by Marriott. Phone: (800) 331-3131The 105-room Grand Inn recently opened and has winter room
rates of $150 to $235 per night.
Amenities include a full service restaurant and lounge, room
service, candy in every room, in-room modem hook-ups and laundry
Grand Inn. Phone: (877) 430-3500The Best Western Naples Plaza Hotel is open, but its addition
is only about two-thirds complete; owners intend to have 250 rooms
finished by summer.
Winter room nightly rates range from $76 to $138 and include a
The hotel is located five minutes from the beach and offers a
heated pool and a spa.
Best Western Naples Plaza. Phone: (888) 679-6655
The Park Shore All-Suite Resort, with 156 units, completed a $1
million renovation, including the addition of new furniture in
guest units and the addition of a conference room seating 25.
Rates start at $215 per
night for one-bedroom units through April 10.
Park Shore Resort. Phone: (800) 548-2077