Alright guys, if you’ve been following me on instastories, snapchat or twitter, you know that I was recently vacationing in Naples. I go to the south every winter to escape the cold for a few days. I usually go to Orlando, but I decided to go somewhere different this time around. I went a few years back, but I didn’t really get to explore much so I thought I’d give it another go. It’s not the most exciting place per se, but it’s perfect for those of you looking to get some serious R&R, which I personally am all about. I took a TON of pictures while I was there, and I’m really excited to share them all with you so let’s get to it! Here’s part 1 of my Naples, Florida vacation recap:
I got in at around 10:30AM – I flew in early because I wanted to take full advantage of the entire day! My family and I started by grabbing brunch at Goldies Restaurant. I, of course, used yelp to find them. They had REALLY good reviews so I was excited, but unfortunately, meal no. 1 was kind of a let down. It took them forever to take our order, and when food came, it was just ok.
I got The Club House, a triple-decker sandwich with turkey, bacon, lettuce, and tomato, with house-made coleslaw and sweet potato fries. My mom ordered their Cobb Salad, garden-fresh greens served with chopped turkey, bacon, eggs, tomato, onions and crumbled bleu cheese, so I got to try a bit of that, too. The highlight of the meal was definitely the coleslaw though. I probably wouldn’t go back, but I’m glad I got to try their food anyway. I mean, that’s how you discover local gems after all!
Our check-in time wasn’t until 3 so we decided to explore the Naples Botanical Garden. Tickets were $14.95 each, and they had a really cool origami exhibit going on in addition to their normal garden so it was well worth the money. The weather was absolutely beautiful, too, so we went at the perfect time. For those of you interested, the exhibit will be up until April 23rd so go if you have the chance!
I took pictures of my favorite pieces! These fabulous works were created by artist Kevin Box, and the exhibition included large-scale installations, gallery works, his own compositions as well as collaborative pieces with his wife Jennifer and world-renowned origami artists Robert J. Lang, Te Jui Gu, and Michael G. LaFosse.
The garden itself had several different themes: the Orchid Garden, Lea Asian Garden, Kapnick Brazilian Garden, Kapnick Caribbean Garden, Scott Florida Garden, and The Preserve. In addition to the aforementioned ones, there was also a really cute children’s garden with a beautiful butterfly house and water fountains.
Afterwards, we drove to LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort and checked in. I was super tired so I quickly changed into my bikini and headed to the beach to get my nap on in style. I literally felt like I was on my own private island, which was a nice change from Orlando. It wasn’t crowded at all so it was super relaxing! I spent the next few hours drifting off to the sounds of the ocean.
I woke up kind of late, and we had a dinner reservation at USS Nemo at 7 so I was rushing to get ready. I threw on an LBD and sprinted down to the valet. There was a HUGE wait at the restaurant so I was glad we made it on time. Now, onto the unbelievably amazing food. We started our meal with their sauteed calamari, and it was straight up ridiculous. It was served grilled in a tomato sauce with parmesan cheese, and it was quite possibly the BEST calamari I’ve ever had…in my entire life. It took a while for them to cook it because it was obviously made to order, but it was SO worth the wait. Plus, we munched on complimentary bread + a trio of yum apps (marinated cabbage, hummus, and seaweed salad) so it was fine.
For my entree, I ordered the Seared Fresh U-8 Jumbo Scallops. It came with oyster mushrooms, roasted beets, grilled nasu eggplant, and crispy cheese polenta in a savory tomato lacquer. The presentation was impeccable, and the flavor was absolutely amazing. Like the app, everything was cooked to perfection, and the price was pretty reasonable, too. $28.95? Not bad at all!
My dad ordered their number 1 bestseller, the miso broiled sea bass, as his entree. The fish was marinated in a citrus-ginger butter sauce, and it came with steamed rice, asparagus, and carrot tempura. He had the option of upgrading to a risotto, but he decided to stick with good ol’-fashioned rice. I didn’t get to try this because I haven’t been eating fish lately, but apparently, it was the best fish dish he’d ever tasted. Coming from my dad, that means A LOT because he can be pretty picky about eating out.
My mom ended up ordering a vegetarian entree. She got the Miso Glazed Tofu. It came with asian veggie stir-fry (bok choy, edamame, mushrooms, green beans, and cashews) and apple steamed rice in a spicy but fruity ginger-soy sauce. I tried a bit and wasn’t really a fan – we both thought it was way too sweet. It would’ve been fine if the rice came on the side, but it was drenched in sauce so this was a no-go.
We were pretty stuffed but ordered dessert anyways because it was made in-house, and how could I possibly resist that? Ha. We got the “73% cocoa” Chocolate Decadence, a flourless cake with white chocolate ganache and pistachio brittle, and split it between the three of us! Each and every bite was heavenly. If you like rich, chocolatey desserts, this is an absolute must-try. I’m seriously drooling just thinking about it!
I started my day bright and early at the gym with my parents! LaPlaya’s resort is super nice overall, but their fitness facility definitely needs work. There were only two elliptical machines available, and they were both in use, so I decided to run a few miles on the treadmill instead. I ended up tackling 5, which is the most distance I’ve ever covered (!!!!)
Afterwards, we grabbed breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant, Baleen. I wanted something healthy since I splurged the night before so I ordered a fruit cup and a spinach egg white omelet (made with turkey sausage, green onions, and avocado) with dry whole wheat toast. The dish also came with potatoes, but I didn’t eat ’em because they looked fried.
We decided to lounge by the pool for a few hours before checking out the Miromar outlet mall. We ordered lunch poolside and enjoyed the breeze while eating our healthy turkey wraps before taking off. If you’re looking to score bargain buys in FL, you need to head on over to this mall. It has over 140 stores and was voted the best factory outlet mall in southwest Florida. I didn’t actually end up buying anything here, but it was fun window shopping.
When we got back to the hotel, it was time for dinner so we got ready quickly and drove to Campiello. It was awarded “Best Restaurant” in Naples so I was really excited – I had been craving good Italian food so I was beyond pumped. You know me! Pasta, especially homemade pasta, is always a do in my book. Everything about the restaurant was so beautiful. The atmosphere was amazing, and the interior was classy and elegant. They did a great job with the decor! Unfortunately, the food didn’t live up to the ambiance.
Our meal was off to a great start! We were seated promptly and greeted soon after by our wonderful waitress. She served us fresh italian bread with high-quality olive oil (which we loved), but things started going south with apps. We ordered Spicy Fried Calamari ($16) and Bruschetta ($10) to start. The former came with a lemon parsley aioli, and its flavor was really good, but the batter was too thick. The bruschetta was kind of a mess. The marinade was tasty, but the bread underneath was burnt and super soggy.
We had high hopes for our entrees though. We ordered three different pasta dishes, and I, being the foodie that I am, sampled all of them. I ordered the tagliatelle with spicy lamb sausage ($24), my mom got the pappardelle with braised veal, tomato and oregano ($26), and my dad went with their spaghetti alla chitarra with marinara and campiello meatballs ($24).
The pasta itself was REALLY something. I loved the texture of the noodles; they were cooked to perfection – al dente, just the way it should be – but the sauces were bland. All in all, it was an ok meal! I’d go back to try their entrees (maybe those taste better), but I wouldn’t get pasta again. We ended dinner with dessert, which was a good call because it was probably the highlight of the meal. Their dark chocolate tiramisu tart was unique and delicious!
Alright guys, that’s it for today! I hope you enjoyed today’s Naples, Florida vacation recap. Have any of you vacationed there before? Comment below with a city you’d absolutely love to visit! Until next time friends. To browse more travel related content, click here.