Restore : The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Naples

The tri-level world class Ritz-Carlton Spa, Naples is an elegant oasis, designed to relax your mind, revitalize your spirit, and restore your soul in a welcoming environs surrounded with (and pampered by) nature. The Spa facilities include locker rooms (stocked with fluffy robes, towels, sandals, and every grooming item imaginable, just in case), aqua lounges, an outdoor mineral pool, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and relaxation areas (stocked with water – sparkling or flavored still, coffee, teas – both hot & iced, and small snacks including nuts). Offering treatments including massage, facials, micro-dermabrasion, eyebrow shaping, reflexology, yoga, reiki, body wraps, personal training, and more.

Mineral Pool at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples

We checked into the Spa early to change into our robes and enjoy a soak in the warm whirlpool within the aqua lounge before heading to the salon for our scheduled services. The aqua lounge also houses hot and cold plunge pools, a steam room and sauna in addition to the whirlpool, which offers an inviting bowl of iced cucumbers to soothe your eyelids, if you so desire. Just prior to your appointment, a host will find and escort you to the proper treatment area, so you won’t have to worry about a thing, including time.

Our time arrived and we were escorted to the salon for our services: one Ritz-Carlton Signature Manicure and one seasonal Citrus Summer Manicure and Pedicure Combo

The salon personnel were very welcoming (and accommodating) as we mulled over which polishes to choose, desired nail length and shape. After choosing our lacquers, we were seated in plush manicure stations beside one another.

Completed manicures, modeling Danialli Rings, available in The Gallery

One FOTF opted for the Ritz-Carlton Signature Manicure which includes exfoliation, a deep therapy mask applied then hands encased in warm mitts, completed with a nourishing moisturizer. After perusing the polish options she chose the vibrant Big Apple Red from OPI.

I chose the Citrus Summer Manicure and Pedicure Combo, a softening treatment for the hands and feet using citrus scrubs, available as a seasonal special. Starting with the manicure, my nails were expertly unpolished, shaped, filed, and buffed to a glossy sheen. Then my cuticles were fixed, the scrub applied, and my skin softened and repaired from oils of the Kukui coconut. I chose a traditional french manicure with polish in a soft pink hue by essie. Once my nails were completed, picture perfect and sealed with a quick dry shellac, I was whisked off to the pedicure area. Their pedicure stations are complete with state-of-the-art massage chairs by True Touch with a multitude of options, ranging from zones, pressure, style, and speed. My feet experienced the same expert treatment as my hands, while I played with the options on my chair, and were topped off with a coat of Midnight in Moscow, a deep purple hue by OPI.

While waiting for the polishes to fully set we headed upstairs to the mineral pool to soak up some Vitamin D before lunch. Unfortunately, the weather was uncooperative and we had just settled in when the sky opened up to a torrential downpour. Heading inside for cover, we decided it was time to taste test the Spa restaurant =H20+.

=H20+ offers an array of healthy, creative all natural items for a light lunch, including: made -to-order salads, sandwiches, wraps, and smoothies. We chose to modify the House Smokey Turkey  Salad and Spinach Salad.

Upon being seated you are served a crispy crackle bread and assorted sauces including hummus, and a roasted red pepper in addition to a diced vegetable. Until we sat down to eat, I didn’t realize what a hunger I had amassed. I noshed on the cracker-like bread until our fresh heaping salads arrived.

Turkey Salad at =h20+

The House Smokey Turkey  Salad we modified contained a mix of candied squash, dried cranberries, walnuts, large pieces of smoked turkey and broccoli, atop arugula and paired with a maple vinaigrette. This robust salad balanced the smoky flavor of the turkey against the sweetness of the candied squash and vinaigrette. The walnuts imparted a distinct crunch, while the cranberries were slightly chewy resulting in an array of different textures to delight the mouth.

Spinach Salad at =h20+

The Spinach Salad we modified to include diced tomatoes, roasted pears, and marcona almonds atop fresh spinach leaves, paired with a honey mustard vinaigrette. This salad satisfied our sweet tooth while also introducing a copious amount of nutrients. The roasted pears were yielding and decadent, a nice accompaniment to the crisp marcona almonds. The dressing on this, house-made honey mustard was the perfect consistency and just sweet enough, but not too much so. After we headed home, I ended up wishing I had asked if it was available for purchase.

This small restaurant fills up quickly, especially in the rain, but their service is quick and efficient. On better (non-monsoon) days outdoor dining is also an option.

Finishing up our meal we headed downstairs to spend time in the relaxation area before heading back to the aqua lounge where we blissfully reclined until closing time. The Spa was tranquil with a handful of other patrons cycling through throughout the day, as it is only available to guests and members of the Ritz-Carlton. If you are in search of a elegant private oasis, look no further.
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The Ritz-Carlton is now offering a summer Spa-Cation package until September 30,2011. You are invited to relax and restore your senses with their unparalleled service coupled with rejuvenating treatments at the Spa.

The package includes: Overnight accommodations in a coastal view room, a $200 Spa Credit per night, and Lunch for Two in the Spa’s new =H20+ wellness eatery (per night).

Click here for information on the Ritz-Carlton, Naples Spa-Cation deal.

Click here for the previous post about Resort Activities at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

The Ritz-Carlton Naples
280 Vanderbilt Beach Rd.,
Naples, FL 34108 USA
Phone:  (239) 598-3300
www.ritzcarlton.com

We’ve arrived: Ritz-Carlton, Naples FL

Welcome to the Ritz-Carlton

We’ve arrived at the iconic Ritz-Carlton, Naples beach resort. First opening their doors 25 years ago and accumulating awards ever since, including; AAA Five Diamond, Forbes Five-Star, (both for 22 consecutive years), named #9 among the top 50 Resorts in US and Canada on Travel + Leisure‘s 2011 “World’s Best List” and #70 in the World, Gold List of the World’s Best Hotels, Resorts, and Cruise Lines, 2011 in Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, amongst others. We excitedly stepped out of the valet circle and into one of the consistently highest ranked resorts in the world.

Warmly greeted by Jorian Weiner, Public Relations Manager, we checked into the resort, offloaded our bags and began a guided tour of the expansive property. The Ritz-Carlton experience offers many options, we wanted to be sure we didn’t miss a thing! In addition to enjoying the beautiful southwest Florida coastline, 2 heated outdoor pool areas (one family friendly, one with VIP section), and magnificent Spa, what else does the Ritz-Carlton, Naples have to offer?

Options at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples

FOR THE GOLFER: The Ritz-Carlton, Naples offers free shuttle service to its sister resort, the Ritz-Carlton, Naples Golf Resort. This award winning Greg Norman-designed Tiburón Golf Course offers complimentary TaylorMade golf club rentals and sleeves of golf balls. Golfers under the age of 18 can tee off for free, one with each paying adult.

FOR THE GOURMET: There are seven dining options available ranging from the health-concious =H20+ located in the Spa, Caribbean-inspired cuisine at Gumbo Limbo on the Boardwalk, tapas at Bites in the Lobby lounge, casual dining at the Poolside Cafè, Italian cuisine at The Terrace, traditional Japanese at The Sushi Bar, and fine dining steakhouse at The Grill. There is also the Gourmet Shop, stocked with fine chocolates, coffees, and gelato for those times when you need just a little sugar or caffeine jolt. If you wish to explore contemporary Mediterranean or global bar foods, hop on the shuttle to the Golf Resort and explore their five dining options as well.

Nature's Wonders Laboratory

FOR CHILDREN (OF ALL AGES): The resort offers Nature’s Wonders, an eco-friendly environmentally focused program that connects guest with nature. The program, led by Master Naturalists at the resort,  includes: nature walks, dolphin, sea-turtle and manatee watches, aquarium feedings, a mini laboratory where small guests can use child-sized microscopes, slides & Petri dishes, a hands-on workshop and Nature Vision Theater that streams National Geographic specials. During our tour we learned that an adult female sea turtle will migrate back to her beach of birth to lay her eggs. The Naples beach currently is home to a handful of sea turtle nests which should hatch in upcoming weeks.

vue lounge

vue, the ultimate entertainment lounge, with a chic interior is a mecca for children, teens, and adults. Equipped with Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii systems hooked up to 40″ LCD TVs, 2 private lounge areas with 19′ flat screen TVs, DVD players and iPod docking station, and a massive 63″ LCT TV with Blu-ray play connected to a Bang and Olufsen surround system. There is also a Mac station with iMacs for use. We are told that although originally created to cater to the teen crowd, when major sporting events are televised the demographic skews older. Looking for an unconventional space for your next meeting or event? You may have found it.

FOR THE SHOPPER: There are eight on property shops including everything from Zegna suits for the gentleman at John Craig, swimsuits and sunscreen at The Pool Shoppe, beautiful fine jewelry and artwork at The Gallery, Prada sunglasses at The Signature Shop, face creams, masks, and other products used in the Spa at The Spa Boutique, tennis apparel, footwear, and racquets at The Tennis Shop, Ritz-Carlton signature apparel at The Boutique, and anything small you may have forgotten to pack at The Sundry Gift Shop.

After touring the resort, and spying a sliver of sunshine remaining, we hurried upstairs to our guest room to change into swimwear for a quick visit to the pool area before dinner at Bites. We opened the door and entered our luxurious room, greeted with an amazing coastline view and this incredible, completely edible chocolate sculpture. OMGoodness we have arrived.

Incredible Chocolate Sculpture from The Ritz-Carlton, Naples

Check back here tomorrow for the continuation of our Spa-Cation weekend and our review of Bites in the Lobby Lounge (now live).

Click here for information on the Ritz-Carlton, Naples Spa-Cation deal.

Click here for our day at the Ritz-Carlton Spa, Naples. 

Click here for our 5th Avenue, Naples Distractions along the way. 

Distractions on the Road

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” – Greg Anderson

Foodies on the Fly headed across the alley last weekend (Alligator Alley for non-locals, aka 175 – the 2 lane stretch of road connecting the east coast to west coast of Florida) in eager anticipation of our weekend of relaxation: A Spa-Cation at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

Brambles English Tea Room - Naples, FL

We arrived in Naples early to stock up on essentials on 5th Ave prior to check-in. First, we brunched at the quaint Brambles English Tea Room, a hidden gem just off of 5th Ave., run by British couple, Chris & Heather. The decor is shabby chic: floral wallpaper, pink tablecloths, and beautifully eclectic china.

We ordered two pots of tea to share: The Royal Wedding (We had to, it was created just for Kate & Wills!), a blend of China black tea flavored with raspberry, strawberry, kiwi, and a hint of mango and the Caribbean Voodoo, China black tea flavored with cornflowers, mango, coconut, passion fruit, and more (Mysterious and apparently addicting, I order this one every time I visit!).

Brambles Brunch Spread

We started our meal, as any proper tea should with freshly baked scones, strawberries and clotted cream. If you visit Brambles, these crumbly semisweet breads are a must. Then our entrees arrived, Roger’s Salad Nicoise (which wasn’t because we modified and subbed shrimp) and a freshly baked Quiche Lorraine, a signature item adorned with homemade Mango Chutney. The salad nicoise was light, crisp, and perfect for the foodie on a diet (not this one). My quiche was fluffy with a thin crust and full of large pieces of ham and cheddar. The quiche is paired with a side salad and honey mustard vinaigrette, so I received a serving of veggies as well.

The food is wonderful here, but what will lure you back is the ambiance. The owners are exceedingly polite, and the room warm and welcoming. Not surprisingly, it is best to make your reservations in advance as this tea room tends to fill up quickly. (Note: Plan to arrive at 11:00AM, as we did, and enjoy their scones fresh from the oven!) After brunching we perused their gift shop and purchased loose tea (Voodoo, told you I was addicted!) to accompany us home. They also carry a variety of fine English china, Royal Wedding souvenirs, handmade chocolates, and tea accessories.

Brambles English Tea Room on Urbanspoon

Florida Olive Oil Company

Next we visited Florida Olive Oil Company, a local shop that sells their own line of infused balsamic vinegars, and you guessed it, olive oils. Throughout the store are tasting stations where you can try each of over 50 varieties, including some with a dash of sea salts or spices. Alongside each bottle is a short description of the flavor and pairing ideas to spark your inner culinary god or goddess. Examples include: savory – Cilantro Garlic balsamic vinegar, or Porcini Mushroom olive oil, sweet – Chocolate balsamic vinegar, French Vanilla olive oil, fruity – Wild Blueberry balsamic vinegar, Persian Lime olive oil, or spicy – Habanero Lime balsamic vinegar, and Roasted Chili olive oil. We took full advantage of their in-store offer, purchase 6 bottles and receive one free and ended up with… 3 olive oils (Rosemary, White Lemon, and Chipolte), 6 balsamic vinegars (2 Black Walnut, 2 Fig, 2 Espresso), one Chipolte barbecue glaze, and 4 spice packets.

The manager was very welcoming and we ended up staying much later than we thought tasting, tweeting, and talking, so our 5th Ave. trip ended with just two visits, but we weren’t dismayed as we packed up our loot and  headed to the Ritz-Carlton for the start of our Spa-Cation.

Ritz-Carlton Naples, FL

To be continued…

South Florida Weekend Guide: July 15 – July 17

Strike A Pose: The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swimwear shows start Friday, July 15 in Miami Beach. Watch the models strike a pose on the runway, see the latest trends in swimwear fashion and attend a few swanky parties around town. Some events are “invite only” but you don’t need to be VIP to attend the events below.

Glam It Up: MAKE UP FOR EVER is hosting a “Lash Lounge” Party at Sephora in South Beach on  Saturday July 17th from 4:00-7:00 PM. Sephora South Beach, (721 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139) Stop by the store to customize your own pair of faux lashes and even have the pros help you apply them.  Call (305) 532-0904 for more details.

Drink More Wine: Enjoy 9 World-Class wines with dinner (or lunch) for an $25 at The Capital Grille. The Generous Pair Event is going on now until September 4th.  For more information click here.

Socialize: New Times Broward-Palm Beach will host a Tweet-Up at Rare Las Olas (401 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) on Friday, July 15th. In order to enter you must say the magic words New Times at the door. No magic words, no entry. You will also get free cocktails and appetizers for two hours — from 7 to 9 p.m For more info on Rare Las Olas, call 954-527-3365 or visit rarelasolas.com.

Get Real“Art of the People: 20th Century Social Realism” at the Boca Raton Museum of Art (501 Plaza Real; Boca Raton FL) every week Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday from now until September 11. For more details Call 561-392-2500, email info@bocamuseum.org, or visit bocamuseum.org.

The Verdict Is In :: What To Do In SoFL 7/8 – 7/11

Friday, July 8thSushi & Stroll at the Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens (4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach) Stroll the beautiful gardens at your leisure while indulging in the delicious fare from the Cornell Café. Friday from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.; $7 adults, $5 children; 561-495-0233 or http://www.morikami.org
Restaurant SuggestionBlueFin Sushi and Thai Grill, 6694 Parkside Drive, Parkland or 861 Yamato Road, Boca Raton

Saturday, July 9th“Out of This World: Extraordinary Costumes from Film and Television” at the Norton Museum (1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach) every week Tuesday through Sunday. Get up close and personal with costumes from popular movies like Star Wars and Battlestar Galactica. There will be special presentations every Thursday and film viewings on Saturday. Admission is free for museum members and children 12 and under, $5 for visitors age 13 to 21, and $12 for adults. Call 561-832-5196, or visit norton.org.
Restaurant SuggestionBuccan, 350 S. Country Road, Palm Beach

Saturday, July 9th – Sunday, July 10th -Celebrate Mangos of Hawaii at Fairchild’s 19th Annual International Mango Festival (10901 Old Cutler Road, Coral Gables) from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Enjoy lectures, indulge in tropical smoothies and take part in the world’s only mango auction. Admission is free for Fairchild Members and children 5 and under. Non-member tickets are $25 for adults, $18 for seniors 65 and up and $12 for children ages 6-17. For more information call 305-667-1651.
Restaurant Suggestion: On Saturday only, Miami’s top restaurants, caterers and businesses alike will be sampling their best mango dishes and products. Arrive early for this free sampling as this is the festival’s most anticipated event.

Sunday, July 10thRiverhouse Ghost Tour at the Stranahan House (335 SE 6th Ave. in Fort Lauderdale) at 7:30 p.m. Tour the historic Stranahan House and hear tales of the life during the great depression. The tour starts in Frank Stranahan’s home and includes a river boat ride where you’ll hear even more unforgettable stories of Fort Lauderdale’s greatest ghosts, including one who haunts the Downtowner Saloon to this very day. You must reserve your spot in advance by calling 954-524-4736.
Restaurant SuggestionRocco’s Tacos, 1313 East Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale

Monday, July 11thFlying Yoga at the South Florida Circus School (15161 NE 21st Avenue; North Miami Beach) Fly through the air with the greatest of ease with the help of master-level circus performers. The aerial fitness classes cost $25 and are held daily at 9 a.m.
Restaurant SuggestionLime Fresh Mexican Grill, 14831 Biscayne Blvd, North Miami