A favorite destination for families, couples, and groups for generations, the special and legendary The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club in Southwest Florida is entering its final season. Owned and operated by three generations of the Watkins family since 1946, the impeccably maintained 125-acre beachfront golf, spa and tennis resort will close its doors this May 23, 2021, having sold the property to a new ownership group. Featuring an unparalleled setting overlooking the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico, and a wealth of exceptional on-site amenities, and it is easy to see why this AAA Four-Diamond resort has so many loyal guests who return year after year – including those who bring their children and grandchildren to the resort that provided so many cherished memories from their youth.
So whether you’ve enjoyed visiting this iconic and picturesque resort in the past, or have not yet had the opportunity to do so, now is the time to make your plans to experience this unique Gulf-front resort, and its friendly and relaxing atmosphere, before it closes.
That way you can enjoy a Southwest Florida resort directly on the beach with an on-site championship golf course, world-class spa, and award-winning tennis center.
In addition to the outstanding par-71 golf course that was redesigned by the renowned Jack Nicklaus in 2016, the European-style spa, and the 6 Har-Tru courts at the Mary C. Watkins Tennis Center, the 319-room resort features a beachside swimming complex with two pools, whirlpools and locker facilities; beach rentals; retail shops; 34,000 square feet of function space; and many scenic outdoor and beachfront venues.
Plus, guests enjoy multiple on-site restaurants and bars, including the fine-dining beachfront restaurant HB’s on the Gulf offering indoor and outdoor dining, and the popular Sunset Beach Bar & Grill, one of the best places to view a stunning Southwest Florida sunset. Guests also benefit from no resort fees, complimentary self-parking and valet parking, and complimentary Wi-Fi.
Add in guests’ access to seven miles of pristine white-sand beach, and the resort’s ideal location just blocks from Naples’ renowned shopping districts of fashionable 5th Avenue South and historic 3rd Street South, and you get the picture of why this resort is so popular and will be missed.
Guests can also experience the area by taking tours of the Everglades, Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, Corkscrew Swamp, The Botanical Gardens, or the Conservancy Nature Center. Boat and fishing trips also can be arranged at the hotel. Other leisure time activities can include Naples’ exceptional museums, theatres, and art galleries.
Beautifully maintained, updated, and enhanced with multi-million-dollar renovations and expansions over the years, the resort also boasts an impressive history. The original hotel, first constructed in the 1880’s and aptly named The Naples Hotel, was built 1.5 miles south of what would eventually become the site of The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club. In 1929, Allen Joslin (married to the heir of the Jergens hand lotion fortune) built the first 18-hole golf course in the area, and The Beach Club on its adjacent beachfront property. In 1946, Henry B. Watkins, Sr., a retired toy manufacturer from Ohio, bought the original hotel along with The Beach Club and its golf course. He proceeded to create a new beach resort between the golf course and the Gulf of Mexico – the site of the current resort. Watkins operated and continued to develop the hotel for many years, and then placed the company in the able hands of his son Henry B. Watkins, Jr. Continuing the family tradition, the latter taught his sons Michael, who became (and still is) president of the resort, and his brother Henry Watkins III, who is executive vice president.
Over the years, widely recognized celebrities and dignitaries from many different mediums have experienced the charm of the hotel. Inventor Thomas Edison enjoyed Sunday dinners at the original hotel during his stays at his nearby winter home in Fort Myers. Actor Gary Cooper settled in at the resort while filming his 1951 movie Distant Drums, and Austrian actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr often took lessons from the resort’s golf professional. Other guests have included former President George H.W. Bush and General Norman Schwartzkopf.
The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club has also welcomed notable golf athletes to the resort. In 1951, on a family vacation to Naples, 11-year-old Jack Nicklaus accomplished the very impressive feat of first breaking 40 over nine holes on the resort’s course, shooting 37. At just 11 years old, he came within a shot of shooting par, and just one year after he picked up golf clubs for the first time. The scorecard is even archived in the Jack Nicklaus Museum on the campus of The Ohio State University. It was this unique historical tie, in particular, which drew Jack Nicklaus to collaborate with noted golf course architect John Sanford on a dramatic renovation — almost reinvention — of the resort’s 18-hole championship golf course in 2016. Redesigned to challenge the best players but also be enjoyable for all golfers, the beautiful par-71 course features five tees, ranging from 4,800 yards to over 6,900 yards.
“Our family has had the privilege and honor of welcoming guests and groups to The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club for more than 74 years,” said Michael Watkins. “We are so very appreciative of our valued and cherished patrons who have stayed with us, dined at our restaurants, played golf on our championship course, experienced our spa or tennis center, attended a wedding or event, enjoyed our fun annual SummerJazz on the Gulf free concert series, or appreciated a spectacular sunset at The Sunset Beach Bar & Grill. We’ve taken great pride in our family tradition of providing outstanding hospitality for more than 70 years, and we look forward to celebrating our final season with our guests and patrons this winter and spring.”
Added the resort’s General Manager Jason Parsons, “Our beautiful resort is where so many guests have such fond memories from their visits over the years. It is certainly understandable, as the resort is perfect for a relaxing getaway with its incredible setting, and array of on-site recreational options, which provides something to please almost anyone. We look forward to providing more treasured memories for our guests and patrons who visit before we close in May.”
The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club: boasting a rich history, and still picture perfect after all these years. You do not want to miss this special resort’s season finale. For reservations, call (800) 237-7600 or (239) 261-2222, or visit NaplesBeachHotel.com .
And until you can visit, be sure to check out The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club’s webcam, where you can enjoy in real time beautiful views of the resort’s beach and the glistening waters of the Gulf of Mexico during the day, and absolutely glorious sunsets each night. To access the resort’s live web cam, click “Webcam” in the middle of the Home Page at NaplesBeachHotel.com or go to youtube.com/user/NaplesBeachHotel/live . For the time of today’s sunset in Naples, visit https://www.timeanddate.com/astronomy/usa/naples .
“We know how much our guests love the stunning skyscape and spectacular sunsets on our beach, so we want to share the news that everyone can view the sunsets from home, until they are able to visit in person,” said Parsons.
The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club is located at 851 Gulf Shore Blvd. North in Naples. For more information, visit NaplesBeachHotel.com .