You’ve probably driven by the Naples Bay Resort dozens of times and never known what was on the other side of the façade. Across this bay front expanse of 22 acres are a welcoming Venetian-style hotel lobby, full service marina, expansive guest rooms and cottages, event and meeting space, four pools, and the Naples Bay Club. Built nine years ago, this year the resort added one of Naples’ first celebrity chef restaurants, 1500 SOUTH by Chef Art Smith.
The name is an homage to the resort’s address of 1500 5th Avenue South, and Chef Art Smith’s reputation for Southern foods thus the reason why SOUTH is in capital letters. The new restaurant and bar have one of the best vantage points of the 97-slip marina with views on both sides through expansive glass walls. Chef Art Smith’s touch is not only Southern, but current with flavor innovations not found anywhere else in Naples. Fried chicken is his specialty but fresh seafood, locally sourced fruits and vegetables and his heavenly Hummingbird Cake round out an eclectic and evolving dinner menu. A favorite place for celebrations, including weddings, the resort has recently expanded its meeting and event space to better accommodate local organizations and high-end groups looking for meeting space with windows and luxury amenities. Six Har-Tru tennis courts, a full spa, yoga studio and four pools which include a lazy river and a waterfall are just a portion of what is found at the Naples Bay Club, open to all hotel guests during their stay. A favorite of international visitors and locals looking for a place for visiting family and friends, the resort’s 131 accommodations range from one and two bedroom suites in the hotel to individual cottages with three bedrooms. Many of the hotel suites have full kitchens and all have balconies overlooking the marina. Many local residents find the lushly landscaped grounds with nature walking trails and bayside promenade a perfect place for morning walks or evening strolls.
The recent addition of the Catalina Café with its unique coffees and freshly baked goods and sandwiches is a favorite stop for breakfast or lunch and the bar area at 1500 SOUTH has a beautiful bar and a Happy Hour while the sun sets over the bay. And if you wonder who built this impressive place – it’s a name you may already know, the owner and developer is Fred Pezeshkan. The Pezeshkan family are longtime members of the Naples community and involved in charitable organizations globally and in Southwest Florida. Next time you are driving on 5th Avenue South and see this beautiful Venetian-style resort, consider pulling into the newly designed driveway where you can stroll down to the water and dine outdoors, have a seat on the many chairs along the marina, and just stay awhile. And as you would expect from a four-diamond resort, valet parking is complimentary, always.