Come to Marco Island in Florida for its beaches and world-class golf courses, while staying in a want-for-nothing resort, private villa or, perhaps, a chic waterfront retreat with a private dock.
On the Gulf of Mexico, Marco Island is served by the types of resorts you never need to leave – enormous pools, gourmet restaurants, spas and activities galore. But if you can pull yourself away, there are delights to be found including the giant mangrove swamps of Collier-Seminole State Park. Of course, you’ll be perfectly happy just lying on those sugar-white sands.
Luxury abounds at this large spa resort which sits on a 3mi (5km) stretch of sand on the Gulf of Mexico. Guests can play two private championship golf courses, eat at 12 restaurants and swim in two palm-flanked outdoor pools. And although this is a family-friendly retreat, there’s an adults-only enclave with 94 guest rooms and suites, a private slice of beach and a rooftop pool.
Found right beside the glistening Gulf of Mexico, this ocean-view boutique has a rooftop garden with a pool. It also has the only AAA Four-Diamond restaurant on the island, Sale e Pepe, an Italian eatery with an enormous wine list. It’s a popular wedding venue that provides beach ceremonies and bridal pamper packages in the spa. There are also plenty of resort traditions, including the daily ringing of the Captain’s Bell at sunset.
This 11-story building is dotted with nods to the maritime heritage of Marco Island. With tennis courts, a kids’ club and a spa with a hammam, the resort has a leisurely ambience, making it best suited to vacationers, as opposed to business travelers. Some interconnecting family rooms come with gardens and all have sleeping sofas plus Hilton’s trademark Serenity Beds. Healthy and hearty local cuisine is served at the restaurant, The Deck at 560.
Those preferring two- and three-bedded villa living – but with all the amenities of a hotel complex – can book a stay at Crystal Shores. Stilts Beachside Bar & Grill facilitates open-air beachside dining, plus there’s a pizzeria, a barbecue area and a shop selling snacks and Starbucks coffee. The outdoor pools are heated and feature a children’s slide. If you really fall in love with the place, ownership options are available.
One- and two-bedroom condos have kitchenettes, living rooms and pool- or sea-view balconies. The complex is a couple of minutes’ walk from the nearest beach, right in the heart of Marco Island’s entertainment center. Accommodation is a little more basic than that at the nearby upmarket resorts, but it’s an affordable choice for those wishing to spend more time out exploring.
Great for families and groups seeking a quieter spot, this apartment resort is situated in the northernmost part of the island, away from the hub. The original Floridian Inn dates back to 1883, but it has since received a contemporary facelift with a pool, hot tub, award-winning gardens and a bistro added. The location provides ample access for boat and bike trips and there’s some of the best shopping on the island nearby.
This retreat sits right on the waters, surrounded by marinas and bobbing yachts. It has just 20 guest rooms (some of which are pet-friendly) and several condos. Fridges and rooms are found in all, and there’s a range of local restaurants to be explored nearby. The bankside position gives direct access to the docks for guests arriving by private boat.
A home theater system with a Wii console, table games, wrap-around lazy river pool and fitness center provide on-site activities for young and old at this resort. Go further afield on a free hire bike, or jump on the complimentary beach shuttle. At the signature three-bedroom villas you’ll be taking care of your own catering – or eat out in one of the restaurants within walking distance. Naples is also close by for those willing to wander across the bridge.