Thursday, April 14th, 2011
So last week, before my mind was consumed with the right glasses for toddlers, I headed to La Playa Beach & Golf Resort in Naples, Florida, for a long weekend. I wasn’t able to get away with my husband, as our executive editor Chandra did last weekend, but I did bring my best friend Alexis, who celebrated an unnamed milestone birthday while we were there. Alexis hadn’t gone away for this long without her children since 2005, and we’ve both been going at breakneck speed for ages (just like all of you), so this trip was Kind Of A Big Deal for us.
La Playa is located right on the water; our gorgeous suite, 14 stories up, overlooked the Gulf of Mexico. Just looking at our view—that’s it in the photo—made me feel like I was hit with a tranquilizer dart (in a good way). The weather was unseasonably warm even for Florida, so it required no guts whatsoever to wade into the water. When we wanted a change of pace from the beach, we headed over to one of the resort’s four pools. (By the way, “four pools” might conjure up images of a giant, sprawling resort, but that’s not La Playa’s vibe at all. It’s spacious, but also small and intimate.)
I was struck by how many families with young children were there. That first afternoon, as I lay in the sun with a magazine, I overheard one little girl, right around 5, talking to her parents: “Okay, Mommy, I’m Ariel. And you’ll be a different mermaid—no, you’ll still be Mommy, but Daddy, you’re King Triton…” I had to laugh, knowing that’s exactly how it would’ve gone had I been there with my husband and two young daughters. One morning, I saw what had to have been a newborn snoozing away in a crib set up in the family’s poolside cabana. Another night, during an incredible meal at the resort’s oceanfront restaurant, Baleen (I had sauteed scallops with a lemongrass lobster sauce; Alexis had a roquefort-crusted filet), we watched a group of adorable little boys and girls playing tag on the grass as their families dined nearby. Afterward, we went up to our suite’s balcony to take in that tranquil view, and we could see the kids still running around, having a ball.
One of the highlights of our stay was our time at the spa. We each had a few treatments: Alexis enjoyed a massage and a Japanese soaking ritual, and I had a massage medley (I’d give you details but I was too relaxed to note anything) and an incredible pedicure. I even got to keep the bottle of polish for touchups, which is a perk I’ve never encountered anywhere else.
If our husbands hadn’t been home with the kids, they might have hit the golf course. La Playa has been consistently recognized as one of the top golf resorts in the country. Since it’s on the water, though, golfers need to head three miles inland to play, and staffers make this easy.
Actually, staffers make everything easy at La Playa. Everyone we encountered was incredibly friendly and accommodating (and if you’re wondering, almost none of them knew I was a reporter!). I’m already trying to figure out when I’ll be back.
La Playa Beach & Golf Resort. Rates in season start at $329; off-season start at $139.