Quintessential Florida Escape
As the only true beachfront, boutique resort on the Gulf Coast, the 189-room LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort in Naples celebrates Old Florida ambience updated for today’s meeting planner. With gorgeous views of sweeping white sand and crisp blue cabanas facing the nightly sunsets, the hotel leaves your group revitalized and energized post meeting. We spoke with Sean Mullen, chief sales/marketing officer of Noble House Hotels & Resorts to learn more.
PREVUE: What is it about LaPlaya that makes it the perfect meetings hotel in Florida?
Sean Mullen: The nice thing about the resort is that has a true beachfront location. Some resorts in Florida are set back off the water and they have different avenues to access the beach, but when you arrive in the lobby at LaPlaya, you are right on the beach. The hotel is the ideal reflection of a typical Florida beach resort. The combination of the beautiful white sand and gentle waves coming in from the Gulf is perfect. As you sit on the sandy beach you’ll see swimmers or occasional sailboats passing through the ocean. You’ve also got the beautiful sunset that drops into the ocean from the west.
Then, you look at the physical building and you see a relaxed, luxury environment. One of the nice things is that it competes in a luxury position, but not stuffy or too formal. There’s nothing wrong with formality in a city hotel, but guests don’t expect that in a beach hotel. Groups love the makeup of the hotel being casually designed, but still having world class service that has been highly recognized.
What’s the hotel vibe like for groups?
Travel used to be glamorous. You used to get dressed up to travel on a plane. Now, business travel is a little more casual – less fun and fancy. LaPlaya enriches the soul and showcases the casual, local environment. The design is a reflection of the Florida landscape as opposed to every other hotel blueprint. You’ll know exactly where you are when you wake up in this comfortable, luxury hotel. We try to anticipate all of the groups needs. We want you to feel relaxed and rejuvenated, just like a group would in their homes.
How do you think that the waterfront meeting space changes the game for meeting groups?
The meeting space overlooks the Intracoastal. Instead of looking out into a hallway from the meeting space, your hallway is beautiful Vanderbilt Bay. You’ll step out of a meeting and see beautiful boats, dolphins or other types of sea life. It’s just magical to be in a meeting environment, but your not surrounded by fake light and walls, it’s relaxing and re-energizing.
With meetings, groups understand the importance of the sessions. The planners know that their meetings need to be maximized in the correct frame of mind. By having a ballroom with todays technological expectations, natural light inside, dining outside in a covered environment, looking out onto the great view—this is what wow’s the group members. The planners justify the value and the return. We feel that we can add to the quality of the meeting through the destination. The water puts the attendees in a good frame of mind. The planners always have positive feedback. By having this outdoor area, we all know that our attendees are going to be blown away, refreshed and energized.
What is some of the feedback from groups and planners?
The feedback that we get is how great the service level is, how friendly everyone is, the quality of the physical aspect and the quality of the F&B. They love the location, the four pools that people can lounge at, the attentive staff and the food. Those are all critical components that are crucial for meetings.
Can you tell us about any recent upgrades to the property?
In 2012 we completed renovated Baleen restaurant. The bar was completely redone. We also added new carpet, booths, tables, etc. We added a wine case on one end of the restaurant with private dining space. The guestrooms also went under a softgood renovation.
What offsite activities are there in the local area?
Naples is one of those cities that everyone is familiar with, but not everone has actually visited. People are excited to come here. It’s the third wealthiest city in America. The amount of wealth compared to the small amount of people that live here is truly magnificient. There’s incredible shopping and dninig within two minutes of the hotel. Touring the Everglades is a very popular local attraction and there’s also world-class golf.