U.S. – CALIFORNIA – LAGUNA BEACH
My first visit was amazing. My second visit was more amazing. The third visit – exceptional! I am talking about my August 2019 stay at the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, California. The truth is, that on each visit to the hotel, a new element of specialness is unveiled, and I seem to discover more and more about the hotel, and its wonderful surrounding town.
The property sits high up on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and, aside from the unique characteristics of this location, it is consistent with delivering the service and amenities that one can expect at all Ritz-Carlton resorts: perfection.
My girlfriends and I arrived around lunchtime and debated whether to spend the rest of the day poolside or on the beach, having a quick walk, or golf cart riding down the hill. The “what to do next” decision was made for us as we entered our room. As we opened the sliding doors that led to our private patio (cozy fire pit included), the most delicious breeze flowed through. We knew right then that we had found our afternoon spot. Just past our patio was a beautifully manicured lawn with unobstructed ocean views. Within minutes of calling Guest Services, we had chairs, umbrellas, and wine and cheese set up for us on that very spot.
In the late afternoon, we took a walk around the property and stopped at 180blũ (referring to the 180 degree view of the ocean). This was the place to be pre-sunset. We continued to enjoy some appetizers from the kitchen, along with a sampling of the handcrafted cocktails offered.
Moving along to Raya, our dining choice at the resort, we had a window table to make sure we experienced the sunset which is a must when staying at the property. In Ritz-Carlton fashion, Raya offers secluded luxury in a private dining room. With decor such as Swarovski chandeliers and mother-of-pearl Italian glass tile work, every detail of this unique elliptical gem-box-shaped room has been carefully considered. Naturally, the Latin-themed food is as luxurious and well thought out as the surroundings.
Not that anyone needs a reason to visit or return to this hotel (a destination in and of itself) but this time the main reason for the stay was to attend the 80 year old Pageant of the Masters, produced by The Festival of the Arts of Laguna Beach, and sponsored by the Ritz-Carlton through its fabulous event/hotel packages.
Pageant of The Masters is one of those productions that is truly hard to describe. It is a production that combines incredible artistry with mind-blowing theatrical illusion. Each year, this sold out two month long event recreates live, on-stage masterpieces from the art world. The Pageant presents spectacular stage illusions with original music performed by an on-site, professional orchestra and includes informative live narration under the stars at The Irvine Bowl. Surrounding the amphitheater, over the two months, is an art festival featuring the unique work of very talented artists. Come early and browse; you may even be tempted to make a purchase!
After an incredible evening out on the town in the artsy, yet elegant, town of Laguna, it was back to the luxury of the Ritz where, on our private patio, we relaxed around the fire pit and indulged in making smores. Ingredients come as a fabulous amenity at this location! As an added scrumptious amenity, and as part of the Pageant of The Masters package, there was an art palette with colorful paints and paintbrush…ALL made of chocolate…delivered to our room! It was quite an impressive work of edible art.
The Ritz-Carlton in Laguna is the type of hotel that can feel like home or can feel as if you are a million miles away. The views may transport you to feeling like you are in a European coastal town reminiscent of the Amalfi Coast or Cannes. At the same time, it can also feel like you are visiting family at their summer beach home. That is the beauty of this location: it is truly one in a million.
I can’t wait for a fourth visit!
Hospitality by The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel