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.
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.
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 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:
42-inch flat-screen TVs
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
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.
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.
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
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