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As soon as my husband and I got vaccinated earlier in the year, I started to plan a fall getaway to Chicago using our expiring Hyatt certificates. However, since he is immunocompromised, I’ve recently changed my mind and decided to book an Andaz stay in Savannah instead. It’s close to six hours from our house, and reachable by car.
Well, two days before the trip, my husband told me that his super critical IT project was taking longer than expected. So, there was a good chance he would have to work all day Friday when we were due to leave for Savannah. As a result, he requested that I book something in Florida if at all possible, preferably no further than two hours away from the house. I could tell he hated doing this, but felt he had no choice.
I quickly agreed and said it would be no problem. At that point we were still within free cancellation period, and if I pitched a fit, it could potentially ruin our time together. If he did have to work late on Friday, we would need to drive to Savannah in the middle of the night. And that would be no fun. I had no choice but to roll with the punches, so I made up my mind to just. be. happy. My husband was quite relieved and jokingly said: “I hate everyone, but I hate you least of all.” That’s so sweet!
As a result, I had to quickly choose a category 1-4 Hyatt hotel nearby that had award availability, and that also looked like a good fit for a romantic getaway. Fortunately, we live in Florida, so there are some decent options within short driving distance. Unfortunately, several beaches in Sarasota and Tampa had a serious red tide problem at the time. And I love to spend time at the beach during our getaways. So, that eliminated Hyatt Regency Sarasota and Grand Hyatt Tampa.
I thought about booking a stay at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress since it looks like a neat resort. However, my husband doesn’t like multi-story hotels, so I decided to forego it. We do have plans to take the kids there next summer, though.
In the end I reluctantly chose Hyatt House Naples/5th Avenue, located two hours from our home. I say reluctantly because the name Hyatt House doesn’t exactly align with a term “romantic getaway”, does it? However, I’m happy to say that it was an excellent choice and I have no regrets. It didn’t hurt that I called the day of check-in and asked about an upgrade due to my husband’s Hyatt Explorist status. That’s how we ended up with a one-bedroom suite facing a waterway.
Not your typical Hyatt House
My only experience with a Hyatt House brand was a hotel near FLL airport, and I wasn’t impressed. Though breakfast was quite good. This place is something altogether different. It’s located on the river, and many rooms (including ours) have balconies with beautiful water views.
We ended up having several meals on our patio, delivered via UberEats (my referral link that will give you $20 off) and Doordash. I love food delivery apps, you just can’t beat the convenience factor. Plus, I got a chance to use some discount codes to reduce the overall cost.
Having this amazing little balcony truly enhanced the experience. So, if you choose to stay here, I recommend you try to get it if at all possible. I was actually prepared to pay extra for the upgrade, but the manager gave it to us at no cost.
All in all, the suite certainly wasn’t luxurious, but it was very functional, modern and comfortable. I liked the color palette as well. One thing my husband really enjoyed was watching airplanes from the balcony.
They fly from 7 AM to 10 PM, and you can definitely hear the engines even with the balcony door closed. I bring a noise machine with me, and it helped when my husband took his customary naps during the day.
The hotel has a very nice pool with a hot tub, in a resort-like setting. This is, no doubt, the highlight of the property and its biggest selling point. The pool area is rather crowded during the day, but mostly empty in the evening. It’s open until 10 pm. You can reserve a cabana for $125 per day, but that seems rather steep.
There are docks around the hotel where you can view the mangrove preserve.
You may be able to spot manatees between November and April.
Overall, I’m not sure I would call it a resort, but it’s pretty darn close. We could have easily spent a few relaxing days and not ever leave the property. It’s nice that the hotel has a restaurant open for lunch and dinner, in case you don’t like to mess with food delivery apps. There are tables outside, a big plus during the pandemic.
But to reiterate, the type of room you get here matters, so adjust your expectations accordingly. I definitely wouldn’t be as thrilled with our stay if we got a basic room (no balcony) that faces the road.
I try to point out the good, the bad and the ugly, so here are a few things I didn’t like about this Hyatt House:
1) Room insulation is relatively poor. We could hear our above neighbors talking, moving furniture etc. They did quiet down at night, but it’s something you should be aware of. And of course, for some, the plane noise could be an issue during the day.
2) Breakfast was nothing to write home about. They didn’t offer an omelet bar (a signature of Hyatt House brand) due to Covid, so overall selection reminded me of Holiday Inn Express. They do have scrambled eggs, sausage, cereal and some fruit. But it’s all very basic. I’m not complaining because breakfast was included at no extra charge. But to treat ourselves, we ordered IHOP delivery via Uber Eats one morning.
3) The mattress was a bit worn out. I’ve slept on worse, but it’s still worth mentioning. One night my husband ended up on the couch, since he was getting serious backache. But he is more sensitive to this stuff than most people. The suite itself was in very good shape, though.
4) A very small negative, but hotel parking in the adjacent garage costs $12 per night.
All in all, I do think this hotel is a worthy candidate for your Hyatt certificates, as long as you don’t mind not staying right on the beach. Speaking of, it only takes about seven minutes to get to the Gulf of Mexico.
If you are heading down to Florida Keys via car, and are looking to break up your drive, this Hyatt in Naples is a great choice. In fact, the city of Naples surprised me in a good way.
Some activities we did in the area
An absolutely lovely place to visit if you are into gardens. It’s full of exquisite flowers, multiple walking trails by the lake and much more. We spent several hours there and could have stayed all day. But it was pretty hot, that’s why I recommend going when it first opens at 9 AM. Jason Sudeikis has hilariously referred to Florida as “pre-hell” on his last SNL appearance. I concur.But seriously, this is a gorgeous place and I can’t recommend it enough. My photos certainly don’t do it justice. I liked the fact that there was plenty of shade.
The cost is $25 per person, and worth every penny. My husband said that he would love to visit the gardens again someday.
2) Spending a few hours at nearby Loudermilk beach.
If you want an easy beach experience in Naples, this is it. There is plenty of parking ($3 per hour), bathroom facilities, and a cafe where you can also rent an umbrella+chairs for $30 per day.
A million dollar view, but food prices are fairly reasonable (they do sell alcohol)
The beach itself is pretty popular, but we lucked out by snagging a thatched roof hut away from crowds. It’s offered at no cost on “first come” basis, and I couldn’t believe we found an empty one on a Saturday evening.
A pretty nice spot to watch a sunset
3) Dining in a restaurant located on the famous 5th avenue.
Aside from eating at the pool area in our Hyatt, this was the first time my husband and I had dinner in a restaurant since the start of the pandemic. Even then, we opted for an outdoor area at Osteria Tulia, in order to reduce potential Covid exposure. Thumbs up for the restaurant itself, especially their Tiramisu dessert. It’s a bit on the expensive side, but that’s true for most restaurants in the area.
Naples’ 5th avenue is a very pretty street with fancy shops and restaurants, and I recommend checking it out in the evening. Our old Toyota Sienna van certainly looked out of place.
We actually ended up here by accident. Originally we drove to Naples Pier, but there was zero parking in the area, so we gave up and came to 5th avenue to find a restaurant to have dinner.
This isn’t the getaway I planned or dreamed of, but I have no complaints. My husband worked nonstop for the last few months and was beyond exhausted before the trip. So, driving two hours instead of six was a welcome change of plans.
We both got a chance to relax and enjoy each other’s company. Ironically, he got the project completed by the end of Thursday, so we could have gone to Savannah after all. But this last-minute switch truly worked out for the best.
For $75 per night (the cost of one Hyatt renewal certificate) I feel like I got a bargain. The only thing that would have made the trip better was if the new “Dune” movie (worth the wait!) came out a week earlier, so we could watch it in the hotel on HBO Max. But you can’t have everything, right?
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.