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The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel 5.0

Dana Point, Orange County, California

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Overlooking the beach, with great views of the Pacific Ocean, and two minutes down to the sand
  • 10-minute drive to Laguna Beach and 40 minutes to Disneyland 
  • Two gorgeous outdoor swimming pools -- one with a seasonal cafe
  • Multiple dining experiences range from casual marketplace to fine-dining; 24-hour room service
  • Elegant and luxe rooms and suites; all with private balconies and most ocean views
  • Club Level Rooms get free daily food presentations, alcohol, and lounge access 
  • First floor rooms have outdoor fire pits (s'more kits available)
  • Incredible spa with beach-inspired treatments
  • Two tennis courts and 24-hour fitness center with stunning views; plus free yoga and Pilates classes
  • Eco Adventure Center offers fun naturalist activities for kids and families (costs extra)
  • Expansive lawns and indoor/outdoor spaces for events and weddings
  • Gorgeous lobby renovated in 2018, filled with expensive floral arrangements and ocean views
  • Preferred golf tee-times at Monarch Beach Golf Link
  • Pets allowed (with a deposit)

Cons

  • Nightly resort fee 
  • On a bluff, two-minute walk or golf cart ride down to the beach

Bottom Line

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Nigel 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. The 396 rooms and suites are elegantly decorated in a soothing color palette and all feature private balconies. Upgrading to a Club Level Room comes with excellent food and drink presentations in a private lounge. With two large pools, six dining outlets, free yoga, a relaxing spa, and access to eco adventures, the hotel has all the amenities of a massive resort -- but with a relaxed and quiet setting that feels intimate and local. Note that there's a nightly resort fee and about a two-minute walk down to the beach. For something just as luxe, but slightly cheaper and further from the beach, check rates at Monarch Beach Resort

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Scene

Luxury beach hotel with refined coastal finishes 

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Nigel is a subtle showstopper. The lobby underwent a renovation in 2018 and the stunning space features expansive ocean views, expensive floral arrangements, and 250 American cliff swallows fashioned from porcelain and 18-carat gold hanging in "flight" in the lobby. Indoors is all coastal color palettes and luxe furnishings and art, while outdoors is equally impeccable. The artwork changes four times a year, so there's something fresh every season. Massive lawns lead to the edge of a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and  Salt Creek Beach. A row of Adirondack chairs provides a place to stop and enjoy the view. Fruit trees, succulents, native plants, and palms adorn the grounds, which are wildly popular with weddings and events. Guests range from families on a beach vacation to locals with their dogs on a staycation to business types in the ballrooms. 

Location

On picturesque Salt Creek Beach in beautiful Dana Point 

The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel has a prime location halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego, 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. 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. 

  • Five-minute drive to the Ocean Institute in Dana Point
  • Five-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
  • A little over an hour drive from both San Diego and Los Angeles

Rooms

Elegant rooms with soothing coastal color palettes and private outdoor spaces

Rooms start at around 400-square-feet and are decorated in a soothing coastal color palette. Expect: plush blue-coral or floral patterned carpet, white crown molding with gold trim, and blue marble glass lining cupboards that hold minibars and closet space. All rooms feature a private balcony or terrace, and rooms on the first floor come with fire pits and S'mores kits. Standard features include a 42-inch flat-screen TV, DVD player, Wi-Fi, iPod docking alarm, large safe, coffeemaker, and refrigerated minibar. Marble bathrooms feature soaking tubs and large showers, plus hairdryers, Asprey toiletries, robes, and slippers. The Ritz-Calrton Suites add a separate dining room with seating for six and a private bedroom, plus a telescope. Most rooms have some sort of view. 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. Evening turndown service is a luxe touch.

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.

Features

Eco Adventure program, beach access, two pools, six dining outlets, and a full spa 

The Ritz-Carlton has a luxury hotel vibe to be sure, but it also has all of the features you'd expect at a resort. Beach access is one of the main draws, and its accessible down a short trail. Staff can also bring guests there and back on a golf cart. The hotel offers free beach butlers who will set up beach chairs, umbrellas, and towels -- and even help kids build sandcastles.Another favorite is the Eco Adventure program. Two of the 15 programs are free, and the rest range from $80 to $120 per person. The excursions include activities like hiking, snorkeling, paddleboarding whale-watching, star gazing, and Native American arts and crafts. There are two swimming pools at opposite ends of the resort. One pool has a seasonal cafe, and both offer waiter service and comfy sun loungers and towels. 

Dining is equally extensive and well thought out. The hotel’s signature restaurant, Raya, serves dishes that use sustainable seafood, local produce, and grass-fed meats -- plus it has stunning ocean views from huge windows, and a full bar. Enosteak specialies in organic and local steakhouse favorites, plus artisinal cheeses and fine wines in a dining room dominated by bold art. Overlooking the Pacific Ocean from 150 feet above, 180BLU is a popular outdoor lounge that offers small plates, cocktails, and live music with breathtaking ocean views. It's popular with the after-work crowd and there are heaters for cooler days. The Market Place is fast-casual dining with grab-and-go items or a full menu that includes Californian favorites. The Dana Pool Cafe offers seasonal casual bites and drinks by the pool. Room service is available 24 hours. 

There's also a full spa with multiple treatment rooms and hydrotherapy. Treatments focus on the beach, like the Ashiatsu barefoot massage and ingredients like sea salt and algae. The 24--hour fitness center is stocked with modern equipment and features ocean views. Two outdoor tennis courts are available. For events, there's more than 80,000 square feet of event space both indoors and outdoors -- especially popular for weddings. Pets are allowed with a deposit. 

Note that the daily resort 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.

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Things You Should Know About The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

Address

1 Ritz Carlton Dr, Dana Point, California 92629-4205, United States

Phone

(949) 240-2000

Also Known As

  • The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel

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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