My Socially-Isolated Gaycation at LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort

I’ve been to Naples, Florida several times. And I’ve written reviews of the region and stayed in numerous hotels. I’ve highlighted the amazing things the Visitor’s Bureau and Naples Pride are doing to make Naples more welcoming to LGBTQ travelers. But I had yet to stay at the LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort, until COVID wreaked havoc on my travel blogging life and I needed to escape isolation.

I spent the fourth night of my socially-distanced Big Gay Florida Road Trip at the LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort in Naples. It was nothing short of magical. I don’t often travel alone, but this solo travel experience at LaPlaya was exactly what I needed to relax and unwind. I had heard wonderful things about this beachside resort, but nothing painted the picture of what I would experience.

My Arrival

I drove down Gulf Shore Drive in Naples on a Thursday afternoon, eager to get unpacked so I could take a dip in the region’s crystal blue waters. I’ve driven down Gulf Shore several times, but not to this exact location, and loved how tucked away it seemed. As I pulled up to the property, I could already feel my body relaxing. A valet greeted me at my car and ushered me into the lobby. The staff all wore masks and plexiglass lined the registration desk. I felt safe.

Drone view of LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort. Photo courtesy of LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort

A gentleman at the front desk welcomed me, checked me in, and shared with me all of the changes the property had made to accommodate guests during COVID. He then handed me a room key. The marketing team, who had graciously invited me to stay, greeted me by the front desk, and then sent me down the hall and out the rear of the tower building to find my room.

My Room

My room was located in a separate building from the main one and was closest to the beach. I made my way down the hall and stopped at my room. I slowly opened the door and was nothing but amazed.

King Beachside Room. Photo courtesy of LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort

Everything looked was new, fresh, and beautiful. The details, colors and patterns were perfectly selected for a casually sophisticated resort. The wrought-iron furnishings, luxurious fabrics and unique works of art were welcoming, and the breathtaking water views mesmerizing.

Although I had a beachside king room, the LaPlaya Resort offers several accommodations. Options include rooms with resort, bay, or pool views, as well as Junior Suites or Lanai rooms with ground floor beach access.

Room Amenities

All rooms feature Signature LaPlaya beds, flat screen LCD TVs with movies on demand, Keurig coffee makers with coffee and tea, full length and makeup mirrors, and High-speed WiFi. Cribs and rollaway beds are also available.

A welcome gift from LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort. Photo by Rachel Covello

My room included a countertop mini bar with tempting treats and delicious drinks. The staff had also gone out of their way to welcome me with a beach bag, bottle of wine, water tumbler, chocolate and handwritten letter.

Balcony Views

Balcony view from my King Beachside Room. Photo by Rachel Covello

After the bellman arrived with my luggage, I continued to admire the room. The bright blue waters from the Gulf of Mexico beckoned me to the balcony. I stepped outside to take in the warm breeze and salt air. I felt my blood pressure drop as my stress melted away. And I was transported to my own private island.

After I snapped a few photos, I returned to my room, changed into my bathing suit, and headed out the door to further explore.

Must-Shares About the LaPlaya Beach Resort

Before I go into my full experience at The LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort, let’s go over a few must-shares about the resort.

Awards and Accolades

LaPlaya has received several accolades. The property is a AAA 4 Diamond Award recipient, Diner’s Choice Winner, Pinnacle Award recipient and named Best Golf Course by the World Golf Awards. It is also the #1 Most Romantic Hotel in Naples, according to USA Today and Gold Choice )Top 10% of Best Hotels in the Country) by U.S. News Reports. To see the full list of accolades, click here.

Eco-Friendly

This top-ranking hotel prides itself on being eco-friendly. LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort is certified as a Green Business by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and has been recognized with a THREE PALM Designation in the Florida Green Lodging Program. In addition, it has earned the EPA’s ENERGY STAR certification and achieved GreenLeader Bronze Level status with TripAdvisor.

But the property goes above and beyond the basic standard to create an environmentally friendly experience both inside and outside of its property. From LED light bulbs to sensor control panels in guest rooms and public spaces, stem battery power to low-flow water valves, environmentally responsible cleaning solutions to ongoing recycling efforts, LaPlaya not only makes sure their resort is green, but they make sure it’s easy for guests to be green too.

To read more about LaPlaya’s eco-friendly efforts, click here.

Resort Amenities

Ok, back to me! Where was I. Oh yes – I was headed out of my room and to the beach.

Beach

Gulf of Mexico views from LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort

I have lived in Florida for over three years now. I’ve seen stunning beaches and turquoise blue waters. But I have never seen a beach as quietly beautiful as this one. LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort has a private beach only available to guests and members.

During my visit to Naples, beaches were temporarily closed as a COVID precaution. But this beach remained open. Guest beach chairs and umbrellas were spread at least 12 feet apart from one another and beach butler service was available while seated. I snacked on a shrimp cocktail and the fruit salad with a glass of red wine, but made sure to save room for a highly-anticipated dinner at BALEEN later that evening.

Beach Butler Service is served in plastic containers during COVID.

My newly-purchased bathing suit was dying be flaunted, so I sauntered my curvy figure into the water to cool off from the hot sun. Ahhh….. relaxation at its best. I felt amazing…and super sexy in my new, flattering Miracle suit.

Pools

After a couple of hours on the beach, I headed back to my room, but stopped to explore the property’s amenities along the way.

Poolside cabanas are available for rent. Photo courtesy of LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort

LaPlaya has at least two pools on property, although their signature pool was my favorite. The eye-catching centerpiece of the property is a double pool adorned with natural stone and several waterfall features. The cabanas that surround the pool can be rented by the day or the entire pool and cabana area can be rented out for special events. The nearby Tiki Bar provides the perfect place to sip on drinks and nibble on snacks while enjoying an afternoon or evening by the pool.

Nighttime view of LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort from the pool. Photo by Rachel Covello

As I strolled through the pool area, I admired the landscaping and made a note to return for a nighttime swim (pictured above).

Spa Terre Naples

The 4,500 sq ft SpaTerre is in a beachfront, boutique spa resort on the Gulf Coast of Florida. 

SpaTerre. Photo courtesy of LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort

Although I did not experience spa services during my visit, I did explore out the venue and service offerings. SpaTerre aims to create a tranquil and refreshing spa experience through signature services. This Florida spa resort features massage, facials, body treatments, nail services and rituals.

COIVD Update: As of June 22nd, the spa has reopen with limited services and modified hours of operation. Please contact 239.598.5117 for further updates.

Golf and Fitness

Fitness Center. Photo courtesy of LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort

I passed on working out while at the resort. Why spoil the fun and relaxation? Plus, my arms were still recovering from my kayaking adventures in Sarasota. But, I do admire those who stick with their health routines while traveling. So, if that’s your thing, then you’ll love this resort.

From beach cruisers, to an award-winning 18-hole golf course, to fitness classes, you’ll find plenty of ways to keep your heart pumping and body active. My workout of choice while on site – sleep, sunbathing and sipping on wine. But to each his/her own, right?

After walking through the fitness facilities, checking out the bikes and taking a sneak peek at the golf course, I was exhausted. I headed back to my room for an afternoon siesta instead. Workout complete!

Resort Fees

Daily resort amenity fees are $35 and include the following:

  • In-room and public space high speed Wi-Fi (enhanced speed also available for additional fee)
  • Local calls and 800 access calls
  • In-room Keurig coffee maker
  • Beach chairs, beach towels, beach umbrella
  • Access to the fitness center and scheduled fitness classes
  • Daily newspaper

*The Resort does NOT allow visitors to join guest(s) of the resort at any of our outdoor recreational venues – which includes our private beach and pool areas.

Dining

Later that evening, I got all dolled up in my new white dress (I love that I can wear white in Florida all year long) and headed to BALEEN, LaPlaya’s waterfront epicurean enclave. Surrounded by the sound of the surf and featuring several signature dishes, BALEEN is officially my favorite Florida restaurant. On my table I found a single red rose.

My feast began with the octopus appetizer flavored with black garlic custard, white beans, pancetta, saffron vanilla nage, and nduja vinaigrette. I’m an octopus snob and this, by far, was the best I had ever tasted. Perfectly prepared and presented, it was a masterpiece.

Octopus appetizer. Photo by Rachel Covello.

For the main course, I had the Blackened Gulf Grouper. I’ve mentioned this before, but my wife is a Florida Fishmonger and the owner of Fishmonger Approved: Florida Seafood Magazine. Well, I can honestly say that this dish is officially Fishmonger-wife Approved. It was so good that I picked up the phone to tell her about it moments after I finished my last bite. Needless to say, nothing was left on the plate. This signature dish is comprised of black grouper, neonata relish, king crab and a charred corn truffle risotto cake drizzled with a champagne citrus beurre blanc. Again – perfection on a plate and pretty, too!

Blackened Gulf Grouper. Photo by Rachel Covello

The server offered me dessert, but I had left no belly room left for indulgences, so I passed. I sipped on wine instead.

After dinner, I watched guests relax by the beach fire pits while I made my way back to my room to change into a second bathing suit for a nighttime swim.

I slept like a baby that night.

Weddings

Beach side wedding setup. Photo Courtesy of LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort.

Although I’ve been married way too many times at the ripe old age of 40, and have no plans to get married again, I can only imagine how magical a wedding at the LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort would be.

Imagine exchanging vows on a white sand beach as the brilliant Florida sun slowly sets over the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico and then dancing the night away in one of several elegant ballrooms. With over 8,000 square feet of flexible wedding venues to choose from, not including the spectacular outdoor reception sites, this resort goes above and beyond to cater to weddings and events.

For more information on wedding at LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort, click here.

Book Your Stay

If you’re looking for a gays-only resort experience in Naples, Florida, then this isn’t it, as LaPlaya welcomes all couples and not just LGBTQ guests. But if you’re looking for rest and relaxing with amazing food, beautiful views and luxurious rooms; and a resort that also happens to be LGBTQ-welcoming, then book your stay now, because LaPlaya is simply sensational.

More To Read

To learn more about what to do while in Naples, check out our other content on the region:

Exploring Gay Naples: Everything You Need to Know

How to Enjoy a Naples, Florida Vacation with Your Pet

Also visit our Southwest Florida Regional Page for information on where to eat, shop, and visit while in town.


Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate links or sponsored content. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).

Written by Rachel Covello

Rachel Covello is an award-winning speaker, writer, diversity consultant, and LGBT advocate. She is the Founder of LGBT Equality Alliance, a Chester County, PA nonprofit organization, and CEO of OUTCOAST, an online marketing and concierge platform marketing the Gulf Coast as an LGBTQ-inclusive place to VISIT, CELEBRATE, and LIVE.

Rachel is also an avid event photographer and has captured photos for LGBT organizations around the world, including the IGLTA, NGLCC, NLGJA, and Out & Equal.


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