. Naples | Northstar Meetings Group

Guide to Meeting & Event Planning in

Naples

Learn why you should host your next meeting, event or conference in Naples, Florida.

PARTNER CONTENT

Why Naples for Your Next Meeting or Event?

While the untamed wilderness of the Everglades and stunning Gulf beaches would be enough to recommend this slice of subtropical paradise, Naples and Marco Island also have a sophisticated side: High-end boutiques, luxurious spas, renowned golf courses and an eclectic arts scene ensure that there's something for everyone to enjoy.

Only in Naples

Attendees can relax on a two-hour waterborne tour of the natural beauty and grand homes of the Naples coastline aboard the Miss Naples, a brand-new catamaran that accommodates 48 passengers. The 48-foot vessel can be booked for sunset cruises, sightseeing tours and beach-shelling excursions, complete with narration courtesy of the crew. All applicable CDC guidelines for sanitation, mask-wearing and social distancing are followed for both crew and guests to create a safe and fun experience.

Transportation in & Around the Area

Naples Airport, three miles from downtown Naples; transfer cost by taxi to downtown, $20.

2018 Stella Award Winners

Meeting & Event Venues

Looking to Plan a Naples Meeting?
Learn everything you need to know about this coastal locale at Destination Southeast, Northstar's premier event for meetings and incentive pros looking to book biz in the area.

New & Coming Soon to Naples

• Newly open to the wider public is a place car enthusiasts have known about for years: The Revs Institute is the home of what has been called the finest sports-car collection in America by The New York Times. Home of the Miles Collier Collections, the institute lets visitors get up close and personal with gems like a 1934 Chrysler Airflow CV-8, the still-futuristic 1962 Lotus 23 race car, an 1896 Panhard & Levassor from the very dawn of the automotive age, and many others. 

• The JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort has added an adults-only tower with 94 new rooms, bringing the resort’s total room count to 810. Also new: an exclusive adult dining experience with Mediterranean cuisine at the on-site Tesaro; a rooftop lounge; an additional pool deck; the 10-K Alley entertainment center featuring a combination of real (bowling, mini-golf, more) and virtual games. The resort has a total of 79,859 square feet of event space spread among 25 meeting rooms, plus 14,740 square feet of exhibit space.

• The storied Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club has been sold to the Phoenix-based Athens Group, which is planning a major redevelopment following the 2020-21 season that will transform nearly every aspect of the 319-room resort (with the exception of its Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course). Developers will scale down the property to 220 rooms, while adding residential towers, maintaining green space, renovating the Sunset Beach Bar & Grill, and cutting the existing 34,000 square feet of meeting space in half. The remaining 17,000 square feet of space will be renovated.
 
• Construction of a new property on the site of the Old Naples Hotel will begin in 2020. The new 109-room boutique hotel will have a rooftop pool, a spa and outdoor dining when it opens at the end of 2021. 

• The 119-room Inn on Fifth & Club Level Suites on Naples' iconic Fifth Ave. debuted a $5 million renovation in October 2019. Upgrades included a reimagining of all guest rooms, with the addition of porcelain-tile floor-ing, custom quartzite bathroom vanities and contemporary lighting. Improvements also were made to the hotel’s rooftop pool and courtyard. The property features nearly 2,000 square feet of meeting space.

More Event Venues

• Membership is not required to host a swanky private event at the Vineyards Country Club. Up to 300 attendees can bask in a sumptuous 70,000-square-foot clubhouse with its two classically designed ballrooms, while more intimate meetings can take place in any of three smaller meeting rooms. An open-air veranda allows guests to take in the rolling greens of the property’s two 18-hole championship golf courses.   

• The 295-room Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples offers 16,500 square feet of meeting space spread among 14 conference rooms and 11 breakout rooms, with the largest ballroom able to host up to 600 people. Golf is a major draw here: The on-site links host two PGA and two LPGA tournaments annually. Among dining options are Mezzo, featuring handmade pasta, signature sangria and a lengthy regional wine list, and the all-day Bella Vista Lounge overlooking the golf course’s 18th hole. 

• An experimental attraction in the Bayshore Arts District has proven to be a resounding hit with both locals and visitors. Celebration Park, a dining area that opened in mid-2018, is a sunny, open-air version of a food court. Diners pick and choose from the offerings, ranging from Greek gyros to Southern barbecue, cooked up by eight different trucks. In addition to delicious eats, the park has a regular schedule of events like beer pairings and live music, and an open-air, waterfront tiki bar along Halderman Creek. 

• The Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort & Spa reopened its 310 fully renovated guest rooms last year. The $60 million revamp included a redesigned lobby, expanded pool deck space, an upgrade to all 12,000 square feet of  meeting space and more. Along with a 10,000-square-foot full-service spa, the resort features dining at its signature Deck at 560 restaurant, serving local and sustainable seafood; the 560 MKT, a coffee bar with gourmet sandwiches and pizza to go; and the Golf Cart, a mobile snack and beverage cart plying the beach area.

• The Baker Museum at Artis–Naples, closed since sustaining damage from Hurricane Irma in 2017, will present a whole new look upon reopening. Its exhibitions are being hosted in the Artis—Naples’ Hayes Hall Galleries. Other exhibitions will open when the overhauled and expanded museum space makes its debut. The Baker Museum’s big reveal is the first stage of the sweeping Artis—Naples Master Plan, a $75 million undertaking that envisions the development of a new 8.5-acre arts and cultural campus.

Bone Hook Brewing Company is one of many craft breweries in the Naples area, and its expansion from a 3,200-square-foot brewing facility to a 10,000-square-foot brewpub makes it a great destination for groups. The semi-private “Brewer’s Lounge” accommodates up to 50 attendees, while up to 100 guests can take over the venue’s outdoor patio. 

LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort has marked its 50th birthday with a refresh. The resort recently completed a $30 million renovation that saw improvements across the property, from custom artwork in the lobby to new guest rooms in the Gulf Tower. LaPlaya has 189 guest rooms, 8,000 square feet of indoor meeting space plus another 4,000 square feet of outdoor space, much of which overlooks the Gulf of Mexico. 

• At the Marco Island Center for the Arts, a busy calendar of classes, exhibitions and musical performances creates a platform for all kinds of artistic expression. Two connected gallery spaces can accommodate receptions of up to 230, and a trio of studio spaces can hold small meetings.
 
• Some 20 miles north of Naples, the Southwest Florida Event Center in Bonita Springs has 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor function space, a private room that can host groups of up to 200 and seating capacity for 850.

Naples Meeting Hotels

Things to Do in Naples

Area Excursions

• Those who like to immerse themselves in the local history will enjoy their time at the Collier Museum at Government Center. This repository of paintings, posters, artifacts and more depicts the evolution of the Gulf Coast from the time of prehistoric mastodons to the golden age of the Seminole and Calusa tribes of Native Americans and up through the era of the railroad barons and pioneering hoteliers. The venue also offers five surrounding acres of gardens.

• The colorful Third Street South shopping district is springing back to life after experiencing a number of Covid-related closings. Open again are favorite stores such as A Mano, with beautiful glassware from carafes to vases; Charlotte Kellogg for chic women’s resort wear; Gattle’s for fine linens and tableware; and Marissa Collections, featuring top fashion, jewelry, beauty products and more.

• Charter boat operator Pure Florida has added a new vessel, the Sea Flight, to its fleet. This 45-foot, high-speed catamaran can comfortably host groups of up to 20 for half-day fishing excursions. With a boat this zippy, groups can get as far as 25 miles offshore into the Gulf of Mexico, where fish like grouper and snapper are plentiful.

• For the young at heart, especially if they’re attendees looking to spend an enjoyable couple of hours decompressing from the meeting room, the Naples Train Museum in the heart of town offers the perfect getaway. The museum, a converted former train station, features beautifully preserved examples of engines from the Golden Age of Rail. There’s also an elaborate indoor track where no less than 10 trains operate at a time among a gallery-size miniature landscape that includes a drive-in movie, a colorful circus and a verdant park, all with interactive features to make the trackside attractions seem alive with motion. The venue also sponsors an outdoor railway running parallel to Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street South, taking passengers on a delightful excursion through town

• For a rare authentic taste of Old Florida, visit the restored Palm Cottage, a jewel in the Naples Historic District, near Naples Pier. Built in 1895, the house is one of the few remaining to have been built with "tabby mortar," a local handmade mixture consisting of burned sand, shells and water. On the National Register of Historic Places, the cottage is the city's oldest residence and features guided tours of its history and period furnishings. 

• Naples has been reinventing itself as a health-conscious destination for the past few years, and a recent spa overhaul at a major resort will surely raise the area's profile among wellness destinations. The 474-room Naples Grande Beach Resort has rolled out a new spa menu that includes more than a dozen new holistic therapies including cryotherapy, salt flotation therapy in a "weightless" flotation tank, and detoxification in an infrared sauna. Plush pampering sessions also can be had at local day spas, including Healing Multiverse and the Woodhouse Day Spa
 
• The picturesque white-sand beaches of Sanibel Island — some 50 miles north of Naples — are a mecca of sorts for seashell lovers, and even if you don't have time for a beachfront stroll, there's no shortage of gift shops, galleries and boutiques where you can shop for an ocean-inspired bounty of souvenirs, crafts, jewelry and other seashell creations.

Getting Active & Outdoors

• Head for the Gordon River Greenway, Naples’ own scenic nature walk. The 140-acre Greenway is ideal for strollers, joggers, cyclists, birders and other nature lovers. Winding through the heart of town, the Gordon River itself offers fishing, kayaking and other activities. 

• Located at the far end of 12th Avenue South on the Gulf of Mexico, the historic Naples Pier was erected in 1888 and was an important point of entry for the building materials and supplies that help build the city. Today the pier is a favored recreational spot for locals and visitors alike. Fishing from the pier is encouraged, with no special permits required, and you can also enjoy people-, bird- and dolphin-watching. A beckoning white-sand beach stretches out below. 

• Whether in a group or on your own, go just 30 miles east of Naples to Copeland for Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, a sprawling home of plant and animal life unique to the continental United States. A great place to start exploring is at the park’s Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk, which winds through a pristine section of the Fakahatchee Strand swamp and culminates in an alligator pond and observation deck. Canoeing on the East River, fishing on the lakes along the Jones Grade and hiking the 11-mile Janes Memorial Scenic Drive are other great ways to enjoy this soul-replenishing repository of nature.

•  There’s more outdoor fun to be had at the Ngala Wildlife Preserve, which offers 42 acres of lush outdoor space. The grounds include a waterfall and tranquil koi pond, habitats for exotic and protected animals like giraffes and Florida panthers and a tented tropical. Interactive animal encounters, facilitated by professional handlers can create a truly immersive experience

• Naples has been building on its initiative to brand itself as a wellness destination with numerous attractions, tourism-oriented businesses, and even breweries offering yoga and meditation activities for individuals and groups — often in picturesque outdoor and natural settings. Pure Florida, which operates nature and sightseeing cruises in Naples Bay, debuted a Yoga Cruise that includes a beach yoga class;The company also has added a custom 45-foot high-speed catamaran available for offshore fishing outings from the historic Tin City Docks. 

• For high-energy team building, head to Defy Fort Myers, a unique venue about an hour north of Naples.  Among the  “extreme air sports” on offer are nearly three dozen trampolines, including several mounted on walls; a rock wall; an indoor zipline trapeze; foam pits, and a host of other ways to get a group bonding over airborne adventures. For adrenaline junkies, Defy’s Ninja Obstacle Course offers even greater challenges. 

• As the host of the Minto US Open Pickleball Championships, Naples has declared itself the Pickleball Capital of the World. An easy-to-learn hybrid of tennis, badminton and ping-pong, pickleball is a great activity for group bonding. The Pickleball Academy of Southwest Florida in East Naples Community Park — a 54-court pickleball mecca and the site of the annual championships — offers group lessons and team-building options. 

• There are roughly 90 golf courses in Naples, Marco Island and Collier County, and while most are private clubs or affiliated with resorts, there are a number that welcome the public. Reserve tee time at the Valencia Golf & Country Club, which racked up an impressive four stars from Golf Digest magazine and reopened last November after a massive renovation. 

Naples Annual Festivals

Held each January since 2001, the Naples Winter Wine Festival is a three-day bonanza during which hundreds of oenophiles sip, savor and bid on prized vintages during a big-ticket charity auction, which raised nearly $16 million for the Naples Children & Education Foundation this year.   

Hot Cocktail Spots in Naples

• The white sand and tropical ocean breezes might call to mind rum runners or daiquiris, but this area of Southern Florida has a growing number of excellent craft breweries. For example, Riptide Brewing Co. has up to a dozen of its own bee.s on tap on any given day, and also has guest taps to feature the work of other local craft breweries

• For everything you expect from an upscale, stylish gastropub plus a tasty array of Italian-style small plates (thank acclaimed chef Vincenzo Betulia), head for Bar Tulia on Fifth Avenue South. Classic libations include the Basilica (bourbon, Aperol, sweet vermouth and burnt orange) and the Last Dragon (gin, St. George Bruto Americano, passion fruit, lime and sage). The warm brick-and-wood interior invites lingering. 
 
• Marco Island Brewery might only have a few of its own beers, but you can sample a curated lineup of local and national craft beers — from bright and hoppy IPAs to full-bodied stouts. And if you still can't get enough suds, South Street City Oven and Grill in Naples claims to have the largest selection of craft beers on tap in Southwest Florida, and offers up to 40 different draft beers, plus Philadelphia-inspired eats like fried calamari, pizza and (of course) cheesesteaks.

To complement your martini, try out one of these Top 10 eateries.

Naples Top 10 Restaurants

  1. Mediterrano - Seafood, Mediterranean
  2. Lima Restaurant and Pisco Bar - Peruvian 
  3. La Trattoria - Italian, pizzeria
  4. Black Forest Restaurant - German
  5. Maria D'anna Cafe - Polish
  6. Bha! Bha! Persian Bistro - Mediterranean 
  7. Rumba Cuban Cafe - Cuban
  8. The European Cafe - Polish
  9. Brooks Gourmet - American
  10. Fuse Global Cuisine - Gastropub