Saturday, September 17, 2011

Daiquiri on the House in Classic Naples, Florida

When we saw this deal for an $80 hotel room in  Naples, Florida, the bargain caught our eye immediately. Naples, on Florida's calm and lovely Gulf Coast, is an elegant, upscale, super chic winter resort with beautiful beaches and major golf and tennis facilities.  Families love Naples. We never equate Naples with discount hotel rooms.

We were not as familiar with Crayton Cove, however, a historic neighborhood located on the city docks instead of the beach. From pictures and web reviews, we found it to be a very charming, old school Florida merchant village, where wooden buildings and brick warehouses have been converted into art galleries, craft shops and small boutiques.  Founded in the 1880s as the main mooring for supply boats, Crayton Cove now smells much less fishy and is packed with one-of-a-kind businesses, a walkable main street, seafood restaurants, and small inns.  Plus charm and friendly smiles to spare.

Pair that with calm, warm and shallow ocean water, and you have the perfect destination to take preschoolers, infants and grandparents before the Christmas rush.  

In this offer, the "Discover Crayton Cove" package costs $80 per night (two night minimum, double occupancy, space available), and features accommodations with picturesque views of Naples Bay and Naples City Dock. Guests must mention "Discover Crayton Cove" when making reservations and can inquire about rates for larger rooms that accommodate up to two small children. This offer is valid until December 15th.

Once in this quiet corner of Naples, families have a choice of dining at three renowned Crayton Cove restaurants and getting a deal at each one.  We'll start with the daiquiri, of course.  That comes free (or you can select any
Crayton Cove Classic cocktail instead) with purchase of any entrée at The Dock at Crayton Cove. This place gets rave reviews for its food and its romantic ambiance -- must be the views of Naples Bay -- so be sure to order oysters.

 Or, you can buy one entrée and get the second, at equal or lesser price, free at Bamboo Café French Home Cooking, and enjoy the ambience of a chic Parisian bistro. At Bleu Provence, take 50% off a wine purchase of up to $140, serving classic French cuisine with crisp, clean Mediterranean flavors in a romantic low-key atmosphere. Be sure to ask your innkeeper about arranging childcare so you can make the night out of this excursion.

The Galleries of Crayton Cove offer fine art and encounters with the artists. Art Gallery Old Naples2, offers an "Introduction to Pastels" hands-on demonstration with artists Lynne Wilcox or Karen Stone, along with a complimentary glass of wine. Nora Butler Designs offers 15% off a limited edition print signed and numbered by the artist, valued at $25, plus a free artistic memento and a chance to meet and converse with the artist. Guests can visit the Phil Fisher Gallery and Guess-Fisher Gallery and receive a free gift.

Two of Crayton Cove's shops offer discounts as well. Naples Ships Store offers a free nautical chart as well as 50% off a daily bike rental (valued at $20), offering guests a fun way to get around the neighborhood. Earth & Fire, a paint-your-own-pottery studio, offers 20% off entire ticket including pottery, painting, glazing and firing.

The package includes discounted boating experiences that range from joining on a two-hour cruise to chartering your own vessel. Sweet Liberty Catamaran Sailing offers a 10% discount off any of the range of cruises offered. Sailboats Unlimited offers 15% off their two-hour sails, valued at $50 per person. If you're taking the little ones, be sure to inquire in advance so the boats can put small-size PFDs on board.

There's some fine print, but overall it's a great deal for an immersive vacation experience. All specials are subject to availability and may not be combined with other offers. In all cases, sales taxes and gratuities are the guest's responsibility. For more info visit To book the "Discover Crayton Cove," call the Cove Inn at 800-255-4365 and mention "Discover Crayton Cove."

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