Presiding over a 3.5-mile stretch of sandy beach, this sprawling yet stylish resort is packed with amenities suitable for both families and couples. A recent $320 million renovation added a luxe tower featuring new restaurants, a state-of-the-art gaming facility, 20 extra-large suites, and five adults-only floors. Even with these posh additions, the resort still feels warm and welcoming.
Budget Level: Upscale/Luxe ($150-$300+/night)
Lodging Type: Large Resort
The aesthetic of the resort is airy and bright, complete with beautifully manicured gardens. A soaring vaulted ceiling, carved wood accents, hanging lanterns, and other Balinese details give the lobby a tropical vibe that’s carried over into the rooms in the Palms and Islands Towers. Contemporary Lanai Suites have eccentric hanging egg-shaped chairs, perfectly situated for sunset-viewing. In addition, oversized balconies with uninterrupted views of the Gulf accent the rooms on the adults-only Paradise by Sirene floors. Throughout the resort, expect a mix of guests: families on vacation, couples taking a weekend escape, and lanyard-wearing convention-goers.
Maybe it’s the massive grounds, but even at 95 percent capacity, the resort feels lively, but not crammed or crowded. Here, there’s no maneuvering through a line at the breakfast buffet, no log-jam of cars at the valet desk, and service is quick and courteous at the restaurants — most of which offer outdoor seating with views of the Gulf. Best of all, the beach is so large that it’s easy to stake out your own piece of real estate for the day, so you can relax in utter peace.
Who Will Love It
Anyone who loves all the amenities that come with a big, full-service resort. Activities range from nature tours, art classes, and experiences like rum tastings, cycling tours, and four different yoga classes each day. There's a newly expanded spa and 10 restaurants. If you’re in need of some extra relaxation, you can even rent beachside tiki huts for the day.
Who Might Not
If you’re drawn to quiet beach resorts where the sound of the ocean lulls you to sleep, this might not be your first pick. However, the resort does offer options that will appeal to boutique-resort lovers, including six Lanai Suites with direct beach access, as well as the adults-only Paradise by Sirene area, which has its own rooftop pool, a private beach, a separate breakfast restaurant, and in-room check in.
Tucked into a quiet corner of the resort, the spa is a true oasis. Book a treatment (or pay a $50 guest fee) and spend the day lounging by the spa pools, soaking in a whirlpool, and taking steam, sauna and — if you dare — a cold plunge. Treatments range from massages and facials, to creative therapies like the Five Senses massage, a full-on sensory experience that was created specifically for this resort.
Your room rate covers your room (Paradise by Sirene rates include breakfast), and the $30 resort fee includes wifi, two fitness classes, beach loungers, and an umbrella. If you arrive with a car, self-parking is $15, while valet service is $25.
How to Get a Deal
Rates drop to just over $300 during summer, but the true sweet spot for bargain hunters is late August, when rates plunge to about $225.
In The Neighborhood
Collect sand dollars and shells at Tigertail Beach Park, a narrow peninsula that fronts both the Gulf and the marsh, and is just a short stroll up the beach. The coastline surrounding Marco Island is a series of tiny islands connected by spooky mangrove tunnels; explore them (and maybe spot a dolphin or two) on a kayak expedition with Paddle Marco. For casual seafood, walk across the street to Pinchers, where fresh Gulf grouper, fried shrimp, and conch fritters come with two-for-one drinks all day long.
Marco Island lies about 20 miles from Naples Municipal Airport, and the taxi fare to the resort is about $55. Southwest Florida Airport is 50 miles from the resort, so expect to pay about $80 for a taxi.
The Bottom Line
Sun-seekers who want easy access to both a pristine beach and all the benefits that come with a large luxury resort will find everything they could wish for at JW Marriott Marco Island.