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Friday, November 21, 2014

Naples, Florida / Naples Grande, formerly Waldorf Astoria

November 2014, Weekend, 2-nights, King Signature Gulf View (I think)


Our initial contact when we arrived was great. We were immediately greeted and welcomed at our car. The young bellman smiled, retrieved our bags, used my name, and escorted us to the front desk. I do not recall his name for sure--it was Tyrone, or something similar.

The front desk agent provided an excellent greeting. He completed the check-in validation with our credit card and ID even though our room was not ready yet, so that all we would need to do is pick up our keys when it was ready. We inquired about a room with a city view on a high floor. He said he would put in a request for the city side, and that the room category we had reserved was for floors 14 - 18, so we would be on a high floor. He referenced floor 16, as though there was a guestroom on this floor that he would assign us as soon as it was ready. We checked our luggage and went to sit by the pool until our room was ready.

Just over an hour later, we received a call from guest services saying that our room was ready. We returned to the font desk, and were assigned guestroom 1210. I asked why we were on a lower floor, and the agent assured us that this guestroom is a fabulous room, and that we would be very happy with it. We also received beverage coupons for each night of our stay, which were good at the beach or pool bar for house wine or domestic beer. We took the elevator to the 12th floor, and a bellman met us there with our luggage.

view from guestroom

Guestroom 1210

I assume that this guestroom is a "signature gulf view" room, since that is the room type we were guaranteed; however, the view from our guestroom looked like the view on the hotel website for a "gulf view" room. Even though we were guaranteed a signature gulf view room with our stay certificate, we would have preferred a city or coastal view, which is why we had requested this. We stayed in a gulf view guestroom on the 15th floor when this hotel was formerly the Waldorf Astoria. The gulf view is not very good unless you can get a room at the northwest or west end of the building (low number rooms). This guestroom location is the blue dot on the room diagram. It is closer to the gulf than the last room we stayed in; however, it was a couple of floors lower than the floor we had last time.

We requested a coastal/city view guestroom so we could enjoy the sunrise and sunset. When we had returned to the front desk to get our keys, we did not ask about the view from our room again--we assumed our request for a city view had been met, since we were assisted by the same employee, and he told us we would be very happy with the guestroom.

When we arrived at our guestroom, and saw that it has a north/partial gulf view, we expressed our disappointment. The bellman immediately contacted the front desk agent to ask about our request for a city view room. The bellman then asked us if we wanted to set up in the guestroom until a city view room was ready. Initially, we thought this was a generous offer. Later, we realized what a mistake we had made by agreeing to this "generous" offer. We did not unpack or settle in for a couple of hours because we were led to believe that a different room would be available for us soon. After a couple of visits to the front desk, we realized that this is the room we were going to have, and they told us they would see if we could be moved later. That did not happen either, and I have provided more detail about that at the end of this review.

This is a very nice guestroom, and we would have loved it if we had not been expecting something different. It had been remodeled, and it was very clean. The bed comfort and sheet quality was superb.

The beverage center at the entrance of the guestroom was similar to when this hotel had been the Waldorf Astoria. It contained a Kuerig coffee maker with Donut House coffee, small fridge, steel ice bucket, coffee cups and glasses. Wine glasses were not provided, and bottled water and wine were not available on the counter for purchase. The ice bucket handle needed to be repaired. The screw attaching the handle to the bucket fell off twice. My husband fixed it both times; however, it did not stay.

The closet contained similar items as it had during our previous stay--a hairdryer, hangers, extra bedding, a folding luggage rack, a safe, and an iron and ironing board. Bathrobes were not provided; however, I received one after I called to request it. The bathrobe I received was a somewhat worn Waldorf Astoria bathrobe, and both loops to hold the waist tie were missing. I should have requested two bathrobes when I was asked how many I wanted, and maybe one of them would have been in better condition.

The spacious bathroom across from the beverage center was exactly the same as it had been in guestroom 1526, although the provided toiletries were a different brand. The towels were good quality plush towels.

The bathroom contained a large soaking tub, and a walk-in glass shower. I always clean the guestroom tub if I want to use it, and sometimes I do not use it depending on the cleanliness. I did not have any concerns about using the tub in this guestroom because it was very clean.

This guestroom has a connecting door to room 1212. The noise through the door was minimal even though the guests in that room had a young baby, which we could hear crying at times. A large full length mirror was against the wall next to the connecting door.

The guestroom area contained a chaise lounge, king size bed, large flatscreen TV on an armoire, desk with two chairs, and nightstands/tables next to the bed. As I already stated, the bed comfort was superb! The desk chair and chaise lounge were comfortable, although the second chair at the desk was hard and uncomfortable. My husband and I both said this after sitting in the chair.

The desk, chairs, chaise lounge, full length mirror, and lamps, mirrors, and tables by the bed were different than the furnishings in our guestroom during our previous stay. The wall covering and carpet was also new. The bed headboard was the same. The style/decor of the guestroom was fresh and soothing.

We did not have any furniture on our balcony. During check-in, the front desk agent had told us that some of the balconies did not have furniture yet.

We did not need a code to access the Internet service, which was complimentary (or, included in the resort fee). The connection speed was good when we arrived; however, pages did not load at all Saturday night. We heard that the hotel was full for a wedding that evening, although we did not observe many guests on our floor.

We did not receive turndown service. I did not request this, so I am not sure if it is available upon request.

Food & Beverage

I ordered a mimosa from the pool bar when we were waiting for our guestroom. The cost was almost $14, and the quality was not very good. The house red wine that I received with my free coupon was just okay, and I would not have been able to drink more than one because of the quality. I was surprised that the complimentary red wine served at Staybridge Suites the day before had been better.

We had beverages and small plates in the lobby bar during Happy Hour on Friday. This is an excellent value compared to the usual cost. Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label champagne, which is usually $22 a glass, is $5 during Happy Hour. The rose champagne, which costs $27 a glass, is $7 during Happy Hour. I tried them both. I was surprised by the usual cost because I did not think either one tasted as good as Moet & Chandon. A guest came to the bar next to me and ordered a glass of rose champagne before I had tried it, so I asked her how she liked it. She said that it tasted "okay."

We ordered two $5 small plates--the blackened fish tacos and mini tuna tacos. We both thought the food was merely "okay." The second evening, we ordered the margherita flatbread from the restaurant, which was excellent! It was a good portion size, the ingredients were fresh, and the flavor was perfect. The service in the restaurant was excellent, and the service in the bar was mediocre.

Pool area

The adult pool and whirlpool tub were closed during our stay. The main pool was not busy any time that we wanted to visit. It looked mildly busy for a couple of short periods of time when we walked through the area--Saturday afternoon, and Sunday morning. The pool bar was set up in the towel hut because the pool bar and restaurant are located near the adult pool, and it was not open. We did not observe anyone working in the closed/construction area during our stay. The pool closed at 4:00 p.m. on Friday for a private function, so the only pool available on Friday after this was the olympic style pool at the villas.


It is a pleasant one-mile walk to the beach from the resort, and there is golf cart transportation service available as well. We walked to the beach a couple of times, and we rode the cart when we carried our beach supplies out for the day on Saturday. Both staff members we interacted with in the beach area were fabulous -- Dylan Wiebyne and Luke. Dylan helped us get set up with chairs and an umbrella on Saturday. He checked on us frequently, and offered to move our chairs, if we wanted.

Chairs and towels are complimentary for hotel guests. We rented an umbrella on Saturday, and the cost was $25.02 with tax and gratuity. If the weather had been nicer on Saturday, we would have rented the luxury bed package for the day. The cost for this is usually $95 + tax and gratuity, and they were running a special of $64.-- total. I do not recall the exact amount of the special, although we thought it was a fabulous deal. It included the bed, two beach chairs, umbrellas, and a water activity rental, such as a kayak or paddle board. It was quite breezy and kind of cool the day we spent at the beach, so we opted for just the umbrella.

The beach bar was open, and beverages and food were available. We redeemed our beverage coupons here. The view from the food area was great. Public restrooms are available by the restaurant/bar.

This is a public beach, and the ride to the beach is complimentary for visitors from Clam Pass Park parking lot, too. This is the beach I mentioned in my Staybridge Suites Naples review.

Misc. and overall

Our stay was complimentary, as we had a two-night certificate we redeemed. When we received our bill, it included a resort charge of $33 per night. I inquired about this at the front desk, and it was removed. I did not think any guest should have had to pay that high of a resort fee since many resort amenities were not available (adult pool, main pool after 4:00 p.m. Friday, whirlpool, pool bar and restaurant, etc.) during our stay.

We had planned to stay at this resort for three nights. It was a Waldorf Astoria when we made our reservation, and I had redeemed 50,000 Hilton Honors points for the last night. Naples Grande had said they would honor my points reservation; however, after we arrived, we did not think this hotel was worth 50,000 points a night. It took me over an hour on the telephone with two different employees at Hilton and at the front desk at the hotel to get our last night cancelled. Initially, hotel staff told me they could not refund my points. Hilton said that they could, and once I got the appropriate person at Hilton, she contacted the hotel and this was immediately taken care of.

We would have happily stayed in this hotel the third night, if two things had happened: If the front desk agent had been honest about our room assignment, and if they had changed our last night's stay to a promotional rate I inquired about at check-in. We did not like the way we were led to believe that the "rooms coordinator" was trying to get us into the room type we requested. No one ever contacted us about this after we were assigned guestroom 1210, and the manager would not come out to the front desk when my husband asked to speak with him. If our request could not be accommodated, why didn't they just politely tell us that the hotel was full, and that they would not be able to do this. The hotel had posted a promotional rate of $179 with a $50 resort credit on Facebook prior to our stay. When we arrived, I asked the front desk agent if we could change our last night (it was under a different confirmation number) to this rate and have my points refunded. He said that he would check into this; however, I do not believe he ever did. He never contacted me about this, and I asked about this again when he gave us our key packets. He had told me that he would call me and let me know. When we learned Friday evening that no one was looking into our requests, we decided to cancel our last night and move to a different hotel.  

If we had been able to change the date of our stay, we would have. Since we are from out of state, and already had flights booked, this was not an option for us. I also do not know how willing the hotel would have been to accommodate our certificate, if I had wanted to change it.

I knew that the hotel was being renovated; however, the information I saw online before our stay only talked abut the restaurant and room renovations. We were not aware that the adult pool and hot tub were closed until we arrived at the pool area while waiting for our guestroom. Even with the renovations going on, I thought the Facebook promotion was a great rate.