If you’re pet lovers like us, you’ll understand why my wife and I cringe at the thought of going away, especially on an extended-stay vacation. We have a dog, bunny, chicken, and, as of this week, two-month-old kitten. Not to mention the goldfish in our outdoor pond and the birds that rely on us for seed daily. When it comes travel, there is more that goes into our planning than booking a hotel room and packing a suitcase.
First, we search for hotels that allow pets. This task always seems daunting. While many hotels allow pets, they often charge exorbitant fees ($150+) just in case Fido makes a chew toy out of the sofa or Whiskers climbs the drapes. When we do find appropriate and affordable accommodations for our fur balls, we often trade quality standards for creature comfort.
If we choose not to take our pets with us, we call every friend we know to see who will be around to watch over our zoo. When that fails, we contact the local animal hotels to find out the cost of boarding our animals – our least favorite option.
Finally, we write a list of to-dos for each pet, leave emergency contact info, and pray that nobody runs away or kills each other while we’re gone. Truth be told, sometimes staying home is an easier and more relaxing option.
When we were invited to visit Naples, Florida for a business trip and family visit, I hesitated before saying yes. But I couldn’t refuse a getaway in one of the prettiest places along the Gulf Coast filled with food, shopping, beaches, and botanical gardens.
So, we did what we always do. We researched, planned, and packed. And this time, we opted to take the dog.
Fortunately for us, our search was easy, thanks to the Staybridge Suites, Naples-Gulf Coast on Tamiami Trail. While they wouldn’t allow us to bring the chicken (morning eggs were already on the menu), we were delighted to find out that the dog (and cat, if we had one at the time) was welcome to stay on property at a nominal deposit fee of $75 per pet per week, $75 cheaper than our last hotel stay.
We were also impressed at check-in, when our dog was greeted with a treat and we were given a flyer filled with pet-friendly restaurants, parks, pet hospitals, and even a pet bakery.
Our room was both people and creature comfortable in space and amenities. The all-suite hotel has large suites, all with full kitchens, ideal for families (pet families, too), spacious desks, roomy bathrooms, flat screen TVs, and plenty of closet space. Our suite was a studio style with a queen bed and pull out sofa and storage ottoman. We even found the perfect spot on the floor for the dog’s bed. She seemed right at home.
Seven days of the week, the hotel provides a complimentary hot breakfast which includes waffles, oatmeal, cereal, eggs, a protein, cheeses, pastries, fruit, bagels, and much more. And mid-week, guests are offered complimentary dinner and drinks. Pepper’s favorite item on the breakfast buffet was the bacon!
The only place off limits to pets is the pool area. So, tuck Fido in for an afternoon nap and head down to the tiki bar for a drink and dip in the water, or grab a magazine and lounge poolside. The patio area is surrounded by stunning tropical plants, transplanting guests to a private island away from the stresses of work and responsibilities.
Bicycles are also available and perfect for a leisurely ride to 5thAvenue shops or Naples Beach & Pier.
Over the course of our long weekend, we explored the area. On this trip, we decided to skip the popular downtown tourist spots and focus on relaxation and nature.
Our favorite place was Clam Pass Park, a serene park featuring a variety of plants and wildlife plus a beach, a boardwalk, and a delicious Greek Restaurant. The boardwalk and restaurant are part of the Naples Grande Beach Resort, but open to those not staying on property.
We also ventured over to Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, a snorkeling and swimming beach island with a relaxed vibe and the ideal location for small beach weddings and photo opps.
While we ate breakfast at the hotel most mornings, we also visited a couple of local diners, including Skillets and Blueberry Café. And our favorite spot for dinner was Komoon Thai Sushi & Ceviche on Pine Ridge Rd. I had two of their special sushi rolls and my wife enjoyed the green curry. Although our view was of the strip shopping center’s parking lot, the food more than made up for the location.
We capped our evening off with drinks at the Bambusa Bar & Grille, a popular LGBTQ spot for drag, dinner, and dancing.
We couldn’t bring our “kid” with us everywhere, but she joined us for several adventures: the Naples Dog Park, dinner at the M Waterfront Grille where they have a few outdoor tables on the bay perfect for pets, and the Smiling Dog Bakery.
While we don’t get to Naples often, we now know that future family vacations are best spent at the Staybridge Suites properties.
For more information on booking your next Naples getaway at the Staybridge Suites, Naples-Gulf Coast, click here.
Check out other great locations in Southwest Florida.
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Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.