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Boca Grande or Naples for Fabulous 50th?

Old Dec 28th, 2011, 02:54 PM
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Boca Grande or Naples for Fabulous 50th?

Okay, so I'm looking to take my boyfriend of 12 years (we're like a married couple) away for his 50th birthday. I've booked a flight into Ft. Myers and we'll have 3 nights. Need thoughts on whether Boca Grande, Naples or some other area is best for us. The particulars would like a "splurge" hotel, with nice pool, on or near water, great beach/water (although we're big swimmers and beach walkers we won't spend the day on the beach), a fantastic restaurant for actual birthday night. (but otherwise some casual good food places on/near water), a great neighborhood pub for cocktails . What we are not looking for is noise, nightlife, and/or tons of shopping. Our time is limited but a viist to anything nature related, walks on water/piers, art/culture would be wonderful. By the way, I booked 3 nights at Gasparilla Inn on Boca Grande as a "hold", and think boyfiriend will love the idea of tooling around on a golf cart for the long weekend, but am hesitating reading some of the reviews that make me think we might think its stuffy....although we do love old world elegance so if I'm overthinking it just tell me so!

More Info: Late March, coming from CT so would like a vacation feel....we're active/adventurous -

Thanks!
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Old Dec 28th, 2011, 05:05 PM
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I was thinking Boca Grande even before coming to that part of your post you described not looking for shopping and nightlife. I love Naples for the plethora of fun dining and fantactic upscale shopping, but you aren't interested in that!

We have not stayed in Boca Grande, but have been twice, once a day trip to explore, and loved what we found in that brief visit, then DH was invited on a tarpon fishing excursion, also a day trip for him. It is small and very laid back with the possible exception of the historic Gasparilla Inn...can't comment on that atmosphere, but I loved the exterior. You can afford to stay there--don't let anyone's attitude put you off!

Still it's a toss up--Boca Grande SO small and people probably go for the quiet, or Naples having more to do, more arts and culture, even if you don't do any shopping. You can do upscale hotels in Naples with the Ritz Carlton or Registry. Have stayed at the Registry. Lovely, but a little stuffy perhaps. I would not let that stop me!

Hard to say which is best for you. You have to understand how small Boca Grande is, and if that's OK with you, you could have a great time cuddling with your boyfriend!
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Old Dec 28th, 2011, 06:50 PM
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I love Boca Grande but its definitely very quiet. There isnt really a neighborhood pub but there are a few good restaurants (South Beach, Loose Caboose, and a few others downtown). You can buy food and cook it on the beach (what we did for X-Mas morning). There is a state park just outside the toll plaza onto Boca in Placida but I cant remember the name of it.
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Old Dec 28th, 2011, 08:00 PM
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You might consider the Sanibel Harbor Resort (Marriott) and the nearby Lighthouse Restaurant. Also Casa Ybel on Sanibel Island.
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Old Dec 29th, 2011, 01:40 AM
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The Ritz Carlton at Vanderbilt Beach in North Naples has absolutely everything you are looking for, though at a price. It is also easier to get to than Boca Grande, though choosing between the two is like choosing between two kinds of champagne.
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Old Dec 29th, 2011, 06:18 AM
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Thanks for these replies. So thinking this through a little further we have very limited time. I'm recognizing it would be an additional 90 minutes to Boca Grande, when wouldn't it be really nice to be only 30 minutes away from final destination (Naples?). Also saw there is an arts festival in Naples that weekend (might be fun for us on Sunday) and that we are 75 minute drive from Sanibel/Captiva (day trip?).

If I go this route, what would you recommend for hotels with nice pool(s), ambiance, not gigantic, walk to the beach....price IS a consideration (for instance Gasparilla was $400/night vs. $899/night for these dates at the Ritz. Any thoughts on Inn on 5th? Or Bellasera?

Also, is a day trip to Captiva/Sanibel doable? Could we ditch the car and rent a golf cart to see the island? Which one would you do?

Thanks again!!!
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Old Dec 29th, 2011, 10:09 AM
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The Inn on Fifth is quite nice and in the middle of the "action" including the arts festival. Trulucks in the same building is one of the nicest restaurants in downtown Naples. Bellesera is just three blocks away from there, further from the beach. Bellesera is larger rooms, mostly more like apartments.
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Old Dec 29th, 2011, 03:34 PM
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Hi Neo and thank you. I've read many of your posts. Appreciate your advice. By end of day tomorrow I should be able to firm up a hotel and go from there. Happy New Year!
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Old Jan 4th, 2012, 12:42 PM
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Hello again and Happy New Year!

A couple of other questions if there is anyone reading that can answer them....

Options for quick breakfast w/in walking distance of Inn on Fifth?
Can we walk to beach from Inn?
Any recommendations for places to eat/drink apps/martini type of spot overlooking water? (kind of lunch or late afternoon let's grab a drink/snack)
Should we rent a car for stay or take car service to/from airport and rent car for possible day trip only?
Lastly, from anyone in the know....my pet peeve in traveling is having construction next door to hotel. Can anyone let me know if that is a concern for Inn on Fifth locale?

Thanks again!
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Old Jan 7th, 2012, 02:17 PM
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There is nice breakfast right at The Inn on Fifth at McCabe's, even with outside dining. I thought it is included for most hotel guests, but even some of us locals go there for breakfast.
There's a Starbucks across the street and about half a block to the East. And there's the Naples Coffee Company on Fifth about two blocks towards the beach. The latter has a little more offerings for breakfast as well. There's also a nice little breakfast spot at the corner of Fifth Ave.S. and Eigth Street South catty-cornered from Bank of America. The Jolly Cricket almost just across the street has brunch on weekends, but I'm not sure -- they may do breakfast as well during the week.

Construction? Well, it's never ending on Fifth and there is some across the street, but I really don't think it's anything that will bother you.

I'm a firm believer in renting a car in Florida. Parking is free in downtown Naples including the Inn. And the last price I got for a taxi or car service two ways from RSW equals about four days of car rental!

Overlooking water? At Tin City is Riverwalk, very casual drinking and eating place open air. I can't think of much else within walking distance, and the only thing on the beach is at the Naples Hotel and Golf Club -- a fun bar by the pool, open to the public. That's a pretty good walk, though -- 18 to 20 blocks.
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Old Jan 7th, 2012, 02:18 PM
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Ooops. I forgot -- yes, you can walk to the beach from The Inn. Right up Fifth Avenue, about 5 blocks with direct access at the end of the street.
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Old Jan 11th, 2012, 05:04 PM
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I think Naples Florida would be an excellent choice!
There are plenty of hotels in all price ranges to choose from. If you're looking for luxury resorts, you'll find some top-notch, world-class resorts on the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, with all the amenities you could imagine!
Wonderful upscale restaurants can be found in the Fifth Avenue and Third Street area, with early dining and awesome Happy Hours Specials, daily. All cuisine types can be found in Naples, with fresh seafood being the local favorite.
Things to do? Naples has the most parks and nature preserves per square mile, in all of the U.S. There are a plethora of natural attractions and eco-destinations in Naples or nearby, which would certainly delight any nature lover.
Although you have indicated you wouldn't be interested in shopping, browsing the gorgeous, tropically landscaped streets of Downtown Naples, is absolutely delightful. You can stroll through the area, and enjoy the weather, and stop for a tropical drink at one of the cafes or restaurants along the way.
There's oodles of things to do and many attractions too.... beaches, the Naples Zoo, Naples Botanical Garden, Corkscrew Swamp, The Conservancy of SW Florida, Palm Cottage, Naples Trolley, the Naples Princess, Ding Darling, Big Cypress, the Everglades, Marco Island, Goodland, Florida Panther Reserve and so much more.
I don't think you'll be disappointed in a Naples Florida vacation!
For more information, and detail for things to do in Naples, see http://www.naples-florida-sun.com/th...in-naples.html
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Old Jan 12th, 2012, 06:14 AM
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"Naples has the most parks and nature preserves per square mile, in all of the U.S."

Wow. I've been a full time resident of Naples since 1976 and this is the first I've ever heard that claim. Since the "city" of Naples has very limited borders, I'm curious if that statement actually applies to the city or does it apply to the county which includes thousands of acres of swamps? Any source for this claim?

I'm not trying to denounce Naples -- I love it -- just curious about that actual statement.
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Old Jan 12th, 2012, 07:16 AM
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I was thinking the same thing, Neo. Pretty ambitious statement!
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Old Jan 12th, 2012, 11:55 AM
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Well, we're "sold" on celebrating in Naples. Already know we won't be there long enough to see and do everything - pampered, fairly young dog at home currently limiting extensive travel ... lol - but I've firmed up the Inn at 5th and thanks so much for the breakfast and sightseeing suggestions. I'm sure I will have to do the "pop in" to some of the shops, as much as I say I won't. And yes, I'll get a car rental lined up so we can zip over to different areas when so motivated. aaahhh, southwest florida in march. Can't wait.... !!!

re: the parks I might have guessed someplace like Colorado or Utah!
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Old Jan 12th, 2012, 12:09 PM
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I had in mind that the same claim was made by Portland (Oregon), but here are some interesting lists:

http://www.city-data.com/forum/city-...t-parkland.htm
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Old Apr 3rd, 2012, 12:47 PM
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Well, the 50th was fabulous and I wanted to say thank you to the posters here! Loved Naples and where we stayed (Inn at Fifth). Had a pool deck room and we used the pool alot - hotel and pool lovely. Have to laugh about my shopping comment as I certainly made it in to a variety of stores including Tommy Bahamas and Pucci & Cattana (actually want to open one of those in CT) and spent some $$$ maybe add two more of those $$!! Walked to beach every day and swam - warm water was nice. Hit the Pier at day and sunset - took lots of pictures even did little video interviews with significant other on what its like to turn 50 as a man in America (may post on You Tube - lots of "turn that off please" and some acohol induced reflections - LOL). Excellent birthday dinner at Trulucks - he had the all you can eat fresh crab and I had the sea bass, fun and great food and drinks at The Dock at Crayton Cove, nice ambiance but just so so food at Bayside. LOVED Naples Botanical Garden! Highly recommend that - there was an interesting exhibit of sculpture that was placed throughout the gardens. If a hot day consider going in the am or late afternoon although they do serve a great chicken salad sandwich and cold beer too that you can eat at a table on the lawn of the gardens! Finally I think we really maximized the benefit of staying at the Inn on Fifth which was walking all over from beach to shops, popping in on the streetside cafe's for an afternoon margarita, being able to head up to the room when needed and back down to Fifth for a nightcap at the Irish pub or across the walkway. Took a few drives to marvel at the homes on the water - so okay this is the 1 percent, yes? We really enjoyed ourselves and Fodorites never disapoint with their knowledgable and savvy input. Thanks all!
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Old Apr 4th, 2012, 06:46 AM
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Zoom, thanks for reporting back.
Yes, some of the 1 percent live in Naples. A realtor friend of mine just sold a $40 million plus house on the Gulf -- after having it listed for only 10 days. It was a "cash sale". Ah, Naples!
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