Rethinking a Classic: The Ritz-Carlton, Naples

For devotees of The Ritz-Carlton, Naples (239-598-3300), news that the property was going to shut down for two months to undergo a “remastering” elicited a few gasps. It was the first time in the resort’s 27-year history that had happened. How extensive were these renovations going to be, exactly? And why mess with, well, perfection?

The Ritz-Carlton, Naples - guest room at a Naples resort original

   When the veil was lifted on the completely revamped spaces, it was obvious it was time well spent. Now the guest rooms feel far more contemporary and streamlined—definitely in step with the new luxury aesthetic. A warm palette of sun-gold and gray with blue and citron accents comes across as modern and sophisticated. Residential-style appointments and luxe fabrics make the rooms feel like they belong to a private beach house rather than a hotel. Cue the collective exhale.
   The biggest change is in the dining venues. That altar to haute beef, The Grill, has been updated with a tone-on-tone color scheme of gray and silver, which looks absolutely radiant at night beneath the glow of the crystal chandeliers. The menu remains the same, lest there be a revolt by the regulars.

Dusk bar and lounge - Ritz-Carlton, Naples - weekend trip to Naples

   New to the dining portfolio is Dusk (formerly the Sushi Bar, pictured above), which features handcrafted cocktails and sushi in a sexy room with oversized glass lanterns and semiprivate seating areas. Terrazza, a coastal Italian restaurant, is also new—and the most family-friendly of all the dining options, serving sublime antipasti, fresh pastas and the best octopus this side of the Med. (As a purist, I have to add I’m quite happy the dune-top grill and bar, Gumbo Limbo, remains its former, glorious self.)

Anabella's Octopus - Terrazza Italian restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples
 Terrazza serves Italian delights like Anabella’s Octopus.

   Though it wasn’t part of the facelift, the spa continues to be a prime draw. Long considered one of the best and most comprehensive spas in the state, The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Naples (below) is sprawled over three levels and 51,000 square feet. Very much a destination spa, it includes a lovely conservatory for indoor repose, a healthful dining venue, an outdoor mineral pool and deck facing the Gulf of Mexico, aqua lounges and 35 treatment rooms. Spending a full day here is a necessary luxury.

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Naples - relax on a weekend getaway in Southwest Florida

   The upshot of all this change? Bringing a contemporary vibe to this historically traditional property shatters stereotypes and adds a welcome freshness to the mix. A soupçon of the unexpected is never a bad thing.

Terrazza dining room - The Ritz-Carlton, Naples

The dining room at Terrazza.

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