Fun in the Sun: Top Resorts on the West Coast of Florida

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Florida’s Gulf Coast has 600 miles of stunning beachfront. Each of its major cities – St. Pete, Sarasota, Naples – has tons of fun things to do and amazing resorts. How do you begin to choose where to stay?

Fear not, beach lover! The SheBuysTravel team of experts visits the sugar-soft sand beaches of Florida’s West Coast often. Our “best of the best” resort list includes:

  • The Vinoy Renaissance in St. Pete
  • The Ritz Carlton in Naples
  • The JW Marriott Marco Island
  • The Lido Beach Resort in Sarasota
  • The Hyatt Regency in Clearwater Beach

These hotels are some of the finest luxury resorts in Florida. We’ve included others, catering to every kind of traveler. From romantic escapes to family fun, keep reading to discover your perfect slice of paradise.

Exterior of The Vinoy one of the top resorts on the West Coast of Florida.
Entryway to the Vinoy.  Photo credit: R.C. Staab

1. The Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club – St. Petersburg

SheBuysTravel contributor R.C. Staab visited the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort & Golf Club, and declares it to be “the finest hotel in St. Petersburg and one of the best seaside resorts in America.” Kudos to Marriott for seizing the opportunity to turn The Vinoy Renaissance into one of its signature Autograph Collection properties with 353 newly refurbished guest rooms.

At The Vinoy, new restaurants with outdoor seats and a well-staffed pool area give the resort a hip, upscale vibe. A lively recreational and restaurant scene right outside the front door. There’s plenty to see right along the Gulf.  Within a few blocks, hotel guests can visit the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center, Museum of Fine Arts and the two most requested popular attractions per the concierge: the new St. Pete Pier and The Dali (Salvador Dali Museum).

All rooms feature a flat-screen TV, refrigerator, ironing board and iron, hair dryers, Nespresso coffee maker and shampoo, body wash and conditioner from Ortigia Sicilia. Pets are welcome. There is a $150 pet fee per stay. The whole downtown area is very pet-friendly. If you’d like more info, check out the complete SheBuysTravel Vinoy Renaissance review.

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Pink exterior of the Don Cesar a luxury resort on the West Coast of Florida.
Photo credit: The Don CeSar

2. Loews Don CeSar Hotel – St. Pete Beach

Located in St. Pete Beach, the Loews Don CeSar Hotel is impossible to miss. This majestic pink palace sits on the beach, where it has been attracting the country’s rich and famous for almost a century. Founded in 1928, the resort has a fascinating history.

In its early days, the resort was frequently visited by author F. Scott Fitzgerald, attorney Clarence Darrow and famous Hollywood stars. During WWII, the hotel was used as a hospital and convalescent center, and later, as a recreation center. The building was restored and reopened as a hotel in 1973.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the beach hotel offers luxury accommodations and world-class amenities. The 277 guest rooms evoke an Art Deco era and are equipped with high-end furnishings and amenities, including flat-screen TVs and premium free wifi.

Other hotel amenities include a full-service spa, two heated pools, a fitness center, kid and teen activities, water sports rentals, a private beach and retail shops. Dining options range from upscale restaurants to casual beachfront eateries.

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3. Sandpearl Resort – Clearwater Beach

The Sandpearl Resort in Clearwater Beach is an ideal destination for travelers flying into Tampa International Airport. This luxurious beachfront resort is close to lots of popular activities and attractions, including the Clearwater Beach Marina and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium.

The resort has its own private beach, an outdoor pool, lounge chairs and cabanas. Guests can enjoy a poolside cocktail from Tate Island Grill. Or enjoy family programming events, like s’mores nights at the fire pits, sand sculpture lessons or movie nights. The resort’s 12,000-square-foot spa has been named one of top spas in North America by Condé Nast Traveler readers.

The resort’s 253 guest rooms have private balconies that boast beautiful views of Mandalay Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. The decor is light and coastal.

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Exterior of the Ritz Carlton Naples at dusk one of the top resorts on the West Coast of Florida
Photo credit: Ritz Carlton

4. The Ritz-Carlton, Naples – Naples

Located on the beach, the Ritz-Carlton in Naples offers travelers an unparalleled experience of luxury and relaxation. This five-star hotel is home to a private beach, an interactive environmental children’s program and a high-tech entertainment lounge. You’ll also find a spa and access to a sprawling golf course, located in the nearby Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, also in Naples.

The resort’s 447 luxury guest rooms are spacious, chic and sunny. The full marble bathrooms are complete with Luxury Asprey bath products and plush terry robes. Guests can choose from six different dining experiences, including a casual outdoor restaurant, a coffee shop and an elegant steakhouse.

The hotel is also conveniently close to downtown shopping and dining, for those who wish to explore more of Naples. Guests can easily check out the nearby Clam Pass Beach Park, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, the Naples Botanical Garden and the Naples Pier.

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5. Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa – Bonita Springs

The Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort and Spa in Bonita Springs is a tropical paradise. Characterized by lush landscaping and a tranquil atmosphere, this Southwest Florida resort is located just outside Naples, where guests can easily shop, dine and explore the nearby urban attractions. More outdoorsy guests can take a dolphin cruise, or ride a ferry to Big Hickory Island.

Within the resort, guests will be wowed by the giant poolscape, which includes a lazy river, several heated swimming pools, waterslides, a rock climbing wall, a waterfall pool, a lap pool and hot tubs. If the poolscape isn’t enough to keep kids busy, the resort offers a variety of lawn games.

Florida sunlight pours into the resort’s luxurious guest rooms. Suites feature private balconies and beautiful coastal views. The resort’s rooms can also accommodate dogs weighing up to 50 pounds.

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6. The Gasparilla Inn and Club – Boca Grande

If you’re looking for a cozy coastal getaway, book your stay at The Gasparilla Inn and Club in beautiful Boca Grande, a small fishing village on an island in Southwest Florida. Guests will feel right at home in the resort’s comfortable cottage-style accommodations. Rooms feature pastel coastal decor and luxury amenities, including Tempur-Pedic beds, comfortable workspaces and a Keurig coffee maker.

The Gasparilla Inn and Club is the perfect resort for those which wish to explore historic downtown Boca Grande. Guests can rent bikes and check out the island’s cute boutiques, art galleries and lighthouses. On-site resort amenities include a golf course, a spa, a salon, a beachfront pool, fitness classes and seasonal kids’ programming.

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With beaches like this, no surprise that Sarasota County, Florida, makes the list of best places to visit in 2017.
Photo credit VisitSarasota.com

7. Lido Beach Resort – Sarasota

Sit back and enjoy the sparkling white sands of the Lido Beach Resort’s 300-foot private beach. Guests will find an adults-only pool for those on a romantic getaway, while kids can splash around in the family pool. There are also hot tubs and lots of lawn games.

Accommodations are condo-style, with full kitchens, spacious rooms and coastal decor. Dining options include a newly opened restaurant on the eight floor, in-room dining and a lively tiki bar.

The Lido Beach Resort is a short drive from Sarasota’s most popular attractions, including the Ringling Museum of Art, the Mote Marine Aquarium and the shops and galleries at St. Armands Circle.

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8. JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort – Marco Island

Marco Island in Southwest Florida is home to some of the state’s most stunning beaches and most exclusive resorts, including the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort. This luxury hotel takes up three miles of private coastline and is a popular golf vacation destination. The resort is home to two championship golf courses, a 15-minute drive away with the hotel’s shuttle service.

Accommodation options are endless, and include beachside guest rooms, oceanfront condos and exclusive suites with a wrap-around private balcony. The rooms are spacious and quiet, allowing for ultimate relaxation.

Foodies will absolutely love this resort, which features many different on-site restaurants, including an award-winning tiki bar, a sushi and cocktail bar, a charming beachside restaurant and an Italian pizza restaurant. For the ultimate entertainment, check out 10k Alley, which is packed with arcade games, a bowling alley and mini golf, all in a brewery and gastro-pub.

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9. Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa – Clearwater Beach

The Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach Resort and Spa offers a unique blend of modern amenities and classic elegance. This 286-room resort is steps from the Gulf and Pier 60, where guests can shop, dine and explore when they’re not sunbathing on the eighth-floor pool deck or relaxing at the on-site spa.

All rooms have either full kitchens or kitchenettes as well as laundry access on each floor and private balconies. Rooms have classic decor with plenty of natural light.

The resort offers yoga classes and complimentary bike rentals. Nearby attractions include the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, the Florida Aquarium, the Busch Gardens theme park and ZooTampa at Lowry Park.

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10. LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort – Naples

Our list concludes with the LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort in Naples, Florida. This oceanfront paradise sits between the Gulf of Mexico and Vanderbilt Bay, where it offers incredible views and unparalleled comfort.

Guests can taste award-winning cuisine at the signature restaurant, BALEEN, or have a cocktail at Elements Bar or the poolside tiki bar. The luxury accommodations are complete with stylish furniture and luxurious fabrics.

From the award-winning 18-hole golf course to water sport rentals, including kayaks, to fitness classes, the resort’s amenities will keep guests busy. Those who would rather sit back and relax can get a massage at the on-site spa.

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Want to Know More?

 

Adina Keeling is a freelance travel writer from San Diego, CA. She worked in local news for a year until her wanderlust drew her to Costa Rica, where she is now based while freelancing and traveling the world. She has lived in three different countries and traveled to 27. An avid solo traveler, Adina wants to empower other women to safely travel alone.
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