Naples Beach Club Hotel

Our lanai (screened in porch, for you northerners) was boring, so I built us a bar. Everything is more exciting when there is a bar nearby. The same principle applies to the Naples Beach Club section of beach. Sun and sand not cutting it? Add a bar. 

The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, as it is formally known, is a rather nice hotel located a few miles north of Downtown Naples on Gulfshore Blvd. As one might suspect, it is a beachfront hotel with a premier golf course mere feet away. I have never played the golf course, and while I've been in the hotel for a few different reasons, I've never stayed there. However, I have subscribed to the above philosophy: sun + sand + bar = more fun. This highly scientific equation holds true especially in situations when you are with a larger group of people. 

Parking at the hotel can be somewhat difficult. There is a small metered lot directly next to the hotel to the south, but the real money lies in the fact that you can valet your '88 Oldsmobile for free as long as you spend $15 at the hotel bar, a task that is exceedingly easy considering the resort prices. There aren't too fond of specials there, so don;t ask (my bartender had a pre-prepared witty quip about sunsets being free and whatnot). A 20oz beer will set you back around $8, and I was shocked to learn that my $17 burger didn't actually have meat in it, but it was pretty darn tasty regardless. Fruity umbrella drinks are around $12. There is ample seating including a a large tiki hut, lounge chairs, Adirondacks under swaying coconut palms, and of course beachfront seating in the bar area. 

All things being equal, most people don't visit the Naples Beach Club for the prices or the food. Most are after something less tangible--a feeling, an atmosphere, a certain milieu that very few places can deliver.  When you're sitting with someone you love underneath swaying palms and sipping a mojito, hoping for a fleeting glimpse of the fabled "green flash" as the sun finally dips below the horizon, the cost of your drink is the furthest thing from your mind.

A tip from the Ryans: For a different experience, spend a Sunday at this destination. There is an interesting mix of Miami Beach and Margaritaville with just enough local Naples flare to make for a memorable experience. Bring your party hat!

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