The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Dana Point, Orange County, California

This hotel has undergone significant renovations since our visit.
We will update our photos and review as soon as we can.

Oyster Review Summary

Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators

Pros

  • On the beach, with great views of the Pacific Ocean
  • Lots of activities for kids and families
  • Close to Mission San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Beach
  • 40-minute drive to Disneyland
  • 24-hour fitness center with stunning views
  • Beautiful lobby and entry-way

Cons

  • $25 nightly resort fee (per room)
  • Spa treatments, excursions, and the like are very expensive
  • Pool is in a courtyard, with no ocean view
  • Spa is small

Bottom Line

This 396-room luxury hotel sits atop a 150-foot bluff that’s up against a beach, which means breathtaking views from the hotel and grounds, plus a place to surf and boogie board below. With two large pools, a wine bar, and the elegant Raya restaurant, this Ritz has all of the amenities of a big, upscale resort, but with a quiet, relaxing setting.

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Oyster Hotel Review

 Scene

A family-friendly resort, The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel combines a relaxing beach atmosphere with culture and history

The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel
The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel

The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel is in a prime location, halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, and is a hotel living up to Orange County’s luxury reputation. The hotel is located in Dana Point, a town known for its surfer history and as the whale capital of the west. Also nearby is the town of Laguna Beach, a former artist colony and perfect stop for art lovers with its art museum, galleries, and shopping.

With a tan facade and red-clay tile roof, the Ritz-Carlton is more unassuming than its neighbor, the St. Regis. The marble lobby is open and inviting, with touches of silver and purple throughout the hotel. Koi ponds on the grounds of the hotel are a favorite of kids, as are the two large pools. The hotel’s color-palate is mainly monotone, but it serves its purpose of providing a relaxing environment that accents the beauty of the scenery.

 Location

Located in Dana Point, halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego

The Ritz-Carlton is located on a 150-foot bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Salt Creek Beach, an 18-acre stretch of public beaches. For those looking for things to do in the area, the Monarch Beach Golf Links is a 5-minute drive, and the Mission San Juan Capistrano, a 230-year-old church and museum compound provides a historic look at the beginnings of the area. Laguna Beach, where artists have been coming since the 1900s to paint the beautiful landscapes of the area, is a 13-minute drive to see their art museum and numerous galleries.

  • A little over an hour drive from both San Diego and Los Angeles
  • 5-minute drive to the Ocean Institute in Dana Point
  • 5-minute drive to the Monarch Beach Golf Links
  • 13-minute drive to the Laguna Art Museum in Laguna Beach
  • 15-minute drive to Mission San Juan Capistrano
  • 30-minute drive to the Huntington Beach International Surfing Museum
  • 40-minute drive to Disneyland, California Adventure, the San Diego Zoo, and Legoland
  • 60-minute drive to The Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda

 Rooms

Rooms are small but luxurious, though not all views are the same

Garden-Pool View Guestroom
Garden-Pool View Guestroom

While the bathrooms are small, as a whole the rooms are modern, with large, 42-inch flat-screens, DVD players, and iPod-docking alarm clocks. However, the beach view is the star at this hotel, so the ocean view rooms are by far a better choice than the garden view rooms, which overlook the courtyard pool.

Guests who book any type of suite get some extra perks: free pressing (two items daily) and a personal assistant for shopping and errands. The Ritz-Carlton Club rooms, located on the fourth floor, include a separate concierge and lounge area, complimentary breakfast, light snacks, hors d’oeuvres, beverages, and sweets served in the lounge, and access to a computer station.

All rooms include:

  • 42-inch flat-screen TVs
  • DVD players
  • Free wireless Internet access
  • Beds with down comforters and pillows
  • iPod-docking alarm clocks
  • Safe big enough for a laptop, with outlet for recharging

Room Types: The following rooms come with a king or two double beds

  • Ocean View Guestroom: 400-square-foot room, private balcony or patio
  • Garden/Pool View Guestroom: 400-square-foot room, garden or pool view of the court-yard area
  • Limited View Guestroom: 400-square-foot room, view of surrounding area (no ocean views here)

Suites: All suites come with a king bed.

  • Garden View Executive Suite: 784-square-foot suite with one bedroom, separate living room with sleeper sofa, garden view, and balcony
  • Ocean View Executive Suite: 784-square-foot suite with one bedroom, separate living room with sleeper sofa, ocean view, and balcony
  • Coastal View Executive Suite: 784-square foot suite with one bedroom, separate living room with sleeper sofa, view of the surrounding area, and balcony
  • Garden View Executive Suite: 784-square foot suite with one bedroom, separate living room with sleeper sofa, garden view, and balcony.
  • Ocean View Suite: 1,005-square-foot suite with one bedroom, separate dining room for 6 guests, ocean view, and balcony or patio
  • The Ritz-Carlton Suite: 1,550-square-foot-suite with one bedroom and master bath, separate living room with guest bathroom, wood burning fireplace, separate dining area for 6 guests, and separate pantry for private service entrance.

 Features

Environmental and cultural activities abound

The pool
The pool

The Ritz provides 15 eco-excursions -- for both kids and adults -- through its Ambassadors of the Environment program. Two of the programs are free, and the rest range from $80 to $120 per person. The excursions include activities like hiking, snorkeling, whale-watching, star gazing, and Native American arts and crafts.

The hotel’s oceanfront lounge, 180blũ, offers an unobstructed view of the ocean and really makes the most of the Ritz-Carlton’s location on a bluff, 162-feet above Salt Creek Beach. The hotel’s signature restaurant, Raya, serves dishes that use sustainable seafood, local produce, and grass-fed meats. The beach is a short walk from the hotel (by walking path or shuttle service), and the hotel offers free beach butlers who will set up beach chairs, umbrellas, and towels—and even help kids build sandcastles.

  • Spa with 12 treatment rooms, a fitness center, two tennis courts, two swimming pools, and a gift and sundry shop.
  • Although there’s a $25 daily resort fee, that fee gets you: free daily yoga and Pilates classes in the gazebo; free access to the fitness center; preferred golf tee-times at Monarch Beach Golf Links (including free shuttle service and golf bag storage); and free beach shuttle service and the use of beach chairs, beach umbrellas, and body boards.
  • A wine tasting room, Eno, serving wine, cheese, and chocolate, with wine-tasting events ($40-$45)
  • Raya, a restaurant with local and sustainable food items
  • 180blũ, an oceanfront dining lounge, the Dana Pool Cafe for poolside eating, and The Market Place with coffee, breakfast items, and sweets
  • Surfing lessons for $145 per person
  • 24-hour computer access in the Business center

 Bottom Line

This 396-room luxury hotel sits atop a 150-foot bluff that’s up against a beach, which means breathtaking views from the hotel and grounds, plus a place to surf and boogie board below. With two large pools, a wine bar, and the elegant Raya restaurant, this Ritz has all of the amenities of a big, upscale resort, but with a quiet, relaxing setting.

Things You Should Know About The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel

Address

  • One Ritz-Carlton Drive, Dana Point, CA, 92629, US

Room Types

  • Club Garden/Pool View Executive Suite
  • Club Garden/Pool View Guestroom
  • Club Ocean View Guestroom
  • Club Ritz-Carlton Suite
  • Coastal View Executive Suite
  • Garden/Pool View Guestroom
  • Garden View Executive Suite
  • Limited View Guestroom
  • Ocean View Executive Suite
  • Ocean View Guestroom
  • Ocean View Suite
  • Ritz-Carlton Suite

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Hotel Features

Number of Rooms: 396
Pool: Yes
Fitness Center: Yes
Spa: Yes
Internet: Yes
Pets Allowed: Yes
Cribs: Yes
Jacuzzi: Yes
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Hotel Information

Location: Dana Point, Orange County
Address: One Ritz-Carlton Drive, Dana Point, CA, 92629, US
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