Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A family-friendly resort, The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel combines a relaxing beach atmosphere with culture and history
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.
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.
Rooms are small but luxurious, though not all views are the same
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:
Room Types: The following rooms come with a king or two double beds
Suites: All suites come with a king bed.
Environmental and cultural activities abound
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.
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.