Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Naples, FL: The Spa at the Ritz-Carlton Naples

I would have a massage every day if I could. For one, it has all kinds of health benefits, and for two, it just makes you feel great. I drive about 2 hours a day, plus work on the computer, so my shoulders and neck are always tight. My feet also hurt all the time, and usually my back too, so I have a line in my budget for massages. 

The first morning my dad and I were in Florida for his conference, it was grey and chilly outside. Not very good for wandering a beach or sitting by a pool, so I decided to start the new year off right and go to the spa at the Ritz. (Psst - normally, if I want to go to a spa, instead of a massage therapist, I will try to go somewhere having a deal - but this was my only option, and it was supposed to be a really good spa. The prices were in line with what any other spa would offer.)

The spa area is very pretty and calming. I booked my treatment the morning of, which was just really lucky, and I recommend you plan ahead and book in advance. Booking a treatment gets you access to the whirlpools, mineral pool, and spa lounge area for free all day. If you want to use those things without buying a treatment, you can do that for a fee (about $30). That area was really nice, and it might be worth it, especially on a colder day. I spent several hours there while my dad was at his conference, since the weather wasn't great for being outside.

I took a few snaps inside the bath/lounge area, when no one else was around of course. It felt very luxurious. I love big fluffy towels. The bathroom had almost everything you might need to clean up afterward, even toothbrushes. The shower was awesome, as well, and I enjoyed using the fancy-hotel bath products provided :) We had lockers provided to us with slippers and robes. You can hang out in this area until you are taken for a treatment, and then come back here after your treatment to continue relaxing.

The lounge area had a whirlpool tub with a waterfall (behind that plant), hot and cold pools for getting in and out of quickly, lots of lounge chairs with magazines, and a balcony area you could lay out on if it was nice outside. There was also a sauna and a steam room, which is my new favorite thing - literally a room full of steam. They had added eucalyptus and it made my sinuses feel wonderful. There's also a waiting room with water, sparkling water, tea, coffee, and small snacks like nuts to keep you going. The spa has its own healthy restaurant if you are really spending the whole day.

There is also a rooftop mineral pool. It did feel different than the other pools, and it was also nicely heated. The spa area overlooks the relaxation pool. No one else was outside while I was out here (it was about 10am and still cold) so I don't know if you get a lot of noise from the pools or not.

My treatment was some kind of dry brushing/essential oils massage and it was really great. It was a very good idea to start the vacation off with a massage, and it was totally worth it. (I think all massages are worth it, and at a spa you get extra-pampered, which I love.)

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Naples, FL: Visiting the Ritz-Carlton Naples Resort

The conference my dad and the others we were with was located at the other Ritz-Carlton in Naples, the one that's actually on the beach. We took a shuttle to it each morning, ate some breakfast, and I left them to their conference and I went to the beach and pool (tough life I know). Part of the benefit of having two Ritzes in town is that guests get to enjoy the amenities of both hotels. (The shuttle that took us between hotels was a Ritz shuttle designed for the sole purpose of taking people back and forth.) The Ritz Naples, the one on the beach, has quite a bit more than the Naples Golf (besides, you know, a beach) -- a full-service spa (separate post coming about that soon), two pools instead of one (one family, one relaxation), several more restaurants including one on the beach, and several boutique shops. It felt a little more glamorous (well, ritzy) than the other Ritz and was fun to hang out at during our time in Florida.

A mongrove-lined boardwalk led us out to a restaurant (Gumbo Limbo), which is located right on the beach and has a great view of the ocean. I had a lobster quesadilla (usually I eat as much seafood as I can when by the water) and it was really good! We considered going back here for other meals as well.

This is a foot shower. Step on the platform, get your feet and legs (and skirt/shorts, if you're not careful) washed off.

This is a view of the family pool. We spent a morning out here on our last day; it was finally warm and sunny and we swam. I brought my GoPro and took some photos from the pool.

It was nice, although still a little too cold (the air was about 70, and cooler in the shade) to stay in for very long. I also spent some time at the relaxation pool, named such because (theoretically) no kids are allowed in this pool. It was nice too, but mostly in the shade and it was a little too chilly to stay there for too long (hence my towel-blanket). We did each lunch here by the pool one day when it was sunny and warm. This Ritz has a pool-side restaurant that delivers to your chair.

Dad and I found the courtyard with a pretty fountain and took some photos of it as the sun set one night.

The Naples Ritz was nice to play at! Usually the conference attendees stay here, too (instead of the Golf), but there were so many conferences in town at the same time that there was no room. Since we didn't stay here I can't speak to the rooms, but the pools, access to the beach, and the food were all good.