LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort is Naples’ sleepy secret (PHOTOS)

One of the benefits of living in Florida is that you can leave your “home” paradise for a new, different, paradise when the mood strikes you, easily.

And you only need a few hours to do so.

With that in mind, Naples presents a wonderful option. Only 2½ hours south of Tampa Bay, you’ll find a beautiful escape. While we do have some lovely, award-winning, beaches right here, who doesn’t want to see something new every now and then? If you do, Naples’ LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort is a fantastic option.

There are more than enough resorts to choose from throughout Florida’s West Coast, but if you’re in the mood for accommodations that provide a smaller, boutique feel, fantastic cuisine and plenty of relaxation, then LaPlaya is not one to miss.

When you drive down St. Pete Beach, Treasure Island and similar communities, you’ll notice there’s a sleepy, old-school Florida feel to those resorts. That is what you get at LaPlaya. It’s a bit more intimate, less flashy but serene nonetheless. It is a notably smaller resort with less rooms than your flagged hotel types, which for those who prefer fewer people around while relaxing, this could very well be the resort you’re looking for.

And, if you’re looking for romance, the staff and accommodations have you covered. From proposals to anniversary celebrations, LaPlaya prides itself as a destination for those looking to make a memorable experience. It has been named one of the most romantic resorts in Florida, so there’s that. No pressure, fellas.

ROOMS

There are several rooms and suites to choose from, but you will not want to pass on an ocean view. If the idea of walking out of your room and onto the sand is appealing to you, reserve one of the Beach House Lanai rooms.

If breathtaking water views (with possible dolphin sightings) is your preference, the best rooms are in the Gulf Tower on the top floors. The one-bedroom beachfront suite is approximately 950 square feet and provides a separate living room, a dining area and an espresso machine.

DINING

The resort’s signature restaurant, Baleen, offers indoor and outdoor dining. With limited capacity, it is highly recommended to make a reservation, especially during peak travel times.

The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.

It’s breakfast menu is described as “a classy coastal twist on traditional favorites, including crab Benedict and braised short rib Benedict.

The lunch menu features gourmet sandwiches, a lobster Cobb salad and Gulf grouper tacos. The dinner menu includes fresh seafood and locally inspired, globally sourced, entrees such as the signature blackened Gulf grouper.

My favorites include the lobster bisque, the red snapper and the risotto it came with. Please, don’t skip the risotto.

The accompanying bar, Elements, also makes a very impressive old fashioned and espresso martini.

BEACH ACCESS AND POOL

It’s the west coast of Florida, so all of the beaches are beautiful, but the beach along the LaPlaya resort is breathtaking.

There are plenty of beachside lounger sets available for resort guests. There are also three pools, with cabanas available to rent for the day.

No need to travel to the poolside bar to order your beverages or food, poolside service awaits you.

Splurge on the cabana. As the sun moves throughout the day, you will be glad to have a private reprieve to take a break and cool down.

SPECIAL OCCASIONS AND EVENTS

As noted above, LaPlaya takes its duty to provide special experiences very seriously. Private dining on the beach is one of its most popular offerings. Typically it has more than one scheduled most evenings.

It offers two menus to choose from, one at $700 a couple and one at $900 a couple. The menus offer a selection of Champagne, wine and cocktails as well as a multicourse dinner menu which includes entrees such as salmon, blackened Gulf grouper and filet mignon. The main difference in the two options is an elevated wine selection.

LaPlaya is one of those resorts that you could fall in love with and return to repeatedly. Make a memory there and, sure enough, it will become a mainstay in your life.

Flashy it is not, but at the end of the day, when the sun is going down and things are quiet and beautiful, flashy seems quite overrated. Pour a glass of wine and enjoy that quiet atmosphere. We could all use a bit more of it these days.

For information about the resort or to book a room, visit laplayaresort.com.

Courtesy photos from LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort

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