A solo trip to The Ritz-Carlton, Naples soothes the soul

The hotel’s poolside cabanas beckon you to stay all day.

I’d almost forgotten what it was like to just be responsible for me. No dog to feed. No family dinner to make. No baby bedtime routine to go through. So I packed my bags and headed south to revel in a little “me time.” The destination: Naples, a southwest Florida town that successfully combines a sophisticated cultural scene with watercentric natural attractions. Along with its upscale shopping, top-notch dining and quaint walkable downtown, Naples’ crowning glory is The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, a historic 450-room resort on 20 beachfront acres. Opened in 1985, The Ritz is often credited with helping put this elegant town on the tourism map, and I was lucky enough to make it my sumptuous sanctuary for the weekend. During my visit, I took time to linger over dinner, watch the sunset and simply lounge by the water and get lost in my thoughts. And since this is a Ritz, my getaway was punctuated with over-the-top perks that I consider musts when visiting a luxury property such as this. Here is my envy-inducing list.

The views from the club level rooms are the best.

Go clubbing.

Book a room on the club level, home to 70 rooms and 35 suites, each with a view of the Gulf of Mexico. Not only are the views stellar, but access to the Club Lounge means complimentary continental breakfast and gourmet bites throughout the day. It’s the perfect place to enjoy midday snacks, happy hour with a glass of Champagne or late-night chocolates and cordials, including decadent cookies that are the perfect cure for the pre-bedtime sweet tooth. The club level also offers complimentary Internet, as well as concierge and business center services.

Visit the spa. Twice.

At 51,000 square feet, The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Naples must be given its due time, so arrive early and stay late, or drop in more than once. From the outdoor mineral pool to the cleansing steam rooms, saunas and aqua lounges, take your time to sample a little bit of everything. Then retreat to one of the 30 treatment rooms to let the healing properties of local botanicals, muds and sea plants rejuvenate your mind and body. I blissed out on the Naturally Nurtured Massage and Custom Facial, emerging completely invigorated.

The sprawling spa offers numerous body-soothing treatments and amenities.

Savasana by the sea.

Hit the beach before the crowds and give the sun its proper salutations with a yoga session on the sand. As I moved through mountain pose, warrior one and triangle pose, I inhaled the salt air and happily followed the instructor’s restorative practice. There is something so energizing about yoga with the sea as your soundtrack. Not to mention, balancing on the sand makes for a great workout.

Kick back in a cabana.

When it’s time to lounge poolside, there is no better option than reserving a private cabana at the hotel’s adults only pool. The accommodations come equipped with drinks and snacks (including a spread of fresh fruit), as well as sunscreen, bug repellant and a very attentive server at your beck and call. Watch your favorite talk show on the flat-screen TV, take a nap or get lost in a book for the ultimate afternoon of relaxation.

CRUISIN’ THE COCOHATCHEE

If you need a little off property adventure, an eco-cruise with All Water Excursions (AWE), just a short ride from the hotel, fits the bill. Hop on a pontoon boat and travel along the Cocohatchee River, home to varied marine life and a plethora of birds, from eagles to egrets. Learn the Native American history of the area and keep your eyes peeled for playful dolphins frolicking in the calm waters. allwaterexcursions.com

THE RITZ-CARLTON, NAPLES

Naples, Fla.
239.598.3300
ritzcarlton.com/naples
September starting rates: $460 for standard guestrooms, $699 for club level

STORY: Giannina Smith Bedford