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Making the Rounds With Helen Benefield Billings

ritz carlton naples florida


December 19th, 2018   |   By Helen Benefield Billings

alley kitchen

Don and Helen Billings celebrating at The Grill.

Some resort properties simply never go out of style. They are perfectly timeless classics and remain beacons of luxury. Others may constantly attempt to emulate that Old World glamour and seamless service, but that is a seemingly tough bill to fill.

Such is the case at The Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort in sunny Naples, Florida. She is all shiny and fresh after an intense renovation over the summer months. The warm welcome that starts with the valets still remains, as does that Old World glamour I refer to, often along with many added modern touches throughout the hotel, making for an amazing balance of old and new. It is a combination necessary in our fast-moving world and Ritz-Carlton has captured that formula brilliantly.

November is a perfect time to head down to Naples, especially if you’re hoping to hang on to the last bit of summer weather and your base tan. We have done this the last several years, spending Halloween in Naples with good friends and then hopping over to the Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort.

Following a quick stroll through the gorgeously expansive and sparkling lobby area and an efficient check-in, I immediately pivoted to start the familiar walk to the elevators. I was all at once star-struck with excitement from what I saw in front of me. It was a beautiful sight – a Moet and Chandon vending machine. I’m thinking yes, let the celebration begin! This is so smart. I love the concept and love the placement of these machines at both The Ritz-Carlton, Naples Beach Resort and the Golf Resort.

Moet & Chandon vending machine

Moet & Chandon vending machine

Each machine is filled with 320 mini bottles of either the Imperial Brut or the Imperial Rose’ Champagne. The machines only accept specially programmed and branded Moet coins available for purchase at the coffee shops or front desk. The machine handles each bottle gently, depositing the Champagne chilled and ready to be popped. With the purchase of each coin, guests receive a gold Moet sipper (straw) to be placed right in the mini bottle, for consuming the Champagne.

Embracing laid-back luxury, Alley Kitchen is the newest culinary concept at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. The chef built his dream outdoor kitchen tucked behind the poolside café and utilizes an Old World cooking method that features a wood-burning oven, open fire grill and underground cooking pit. Hosting intimate and exclusive events, Alley Kitchen welcomes artisan chef partnerships and incorporates varied menus of locally sourced, fresh ingredients with an Old World flair. “We’re cooking for the moment. It’s artistic and the menus reflect our creativity and each chef’s individuality,” says Chef Fistrovich, who was inspired by his early travels to Singapore and its hawker stands.

ritz Portable beer cart

A truly unique portable beer cart.

The Grill steakhouse was the obvious choice for my birthday dinner on a Friday evening. It was raining outside but no one noticed while busy enjoying the cozy environment at this classic dining establishment, also recently refurbished. The contemporary yet comfortable furnishings and décor along with the mahogany accents convey warmth and elegance. Moet and Chandon Rose’ Champagne was still on my mind and it paired beautifully with absolutely everything from a pretzel roll to the Dover sole and a delicious chocolate mousse cake.

#RCMemories #MOETMOMENT

Portions of this article were provided by Ritz-Carlton Resorts of Naples Marketing & Communications.

The Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort

The Ritz-Carlton Beach Resort

About the author

Mike Raven

Mike Raven is the Managing Editor of in the Mix magazine. He has over 20 years of experience in distributor management in Florida with Southern Wine and Spirits, Premier Beverage Company and was the CEO of Lion Wines and Spirits.