Hotel Review: The Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay

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The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay is set on the edge of a picturesque cliff, overlooking the endless Pacific Ocean and surrounding beaches. With nothing to either side, the Ritz looks like a fairy-tale come to life: the sound of the waves crashing against the cliffs, the sun setting directly in front of the resort and the delicious warmth of the fire as you recap the day of rest and relaxation. I had no idea what to expect from our stay-cation weekend, but I was overwhelmed at how much we fell in love with the property. Read on to find out what we loved.

Location: 5/5

With nothing but the beautiful ocean and California coastline as its view, the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay has an unbeatable location.

The property is located just 45 minutes from San Francisco and it’s a spectacular, coastal drive to get to Half Moon Bay. Half Moon Bay, itself, is an adorable, sleepy coastal town with a number of shops and restaurants. Half Moon Bay is not far from us, so we were excited to experience this resort for my birthday weekend.

Lobby & Check in experience: 4.5/5

The lobby looks out over the coast and ocean, and the view is breathtaking. The lobby is expansive and home to a bar, restaurant and numerous cozy seating areas. We were shocked at how many people were in the lobby when we arrived, but few of them were actually staying at the resort. Due to it’s spectacular location, many tourists stop by and visit the Ritz on their road-trip up or down the coast.

We arrived just before check-in time, so we did have to wait for a bit, but we didn’t mind. With a glass of Skyline red wine in hand (the welcome drink), we did some work by the fireplace in the lobby and watched as people came and went.

Rooms: 4.5/5

We arrived to our Coastal View Room and the view took our breaths away instantly. The 4th floor view was spectacular, looking out over the ocean and cliffs.

The first thing we noticed was that the room was so quiet. With the windows shut, you can’t hear anything. There is a nice foyer upon entering with a side table, mirror and marble floors. To the left was our bathroom with a soaking tub, separate shower and vanity. They provided some bath salts to enjoy in the spacious tub, as well as their delicious Purple Rain products.

The bedroom was beautiful and peaceful with it’s light, beachy tones. The large king bed stood in the middle and the TV, minibar and closet were across from the bed. There was a small chaise lounge in the corner, desk and a fireplace. The fireplace was a nice touch and we enjoyed watching the waves crash onshore with a warm fire next to us.

The room felt very personalized and custom-made, despite the fact that I’m pretty sure every room is the exact same. It was so true to the coastal vibe of the hotel and the small details really made it feel so luxurious. They even had a white-noise machine, which we loved to use at night to provide a little bit of sound, since the room was so quiet.

The TV had Netflix, Hulu and YouTube built in so all you had to do as a guest was sign into your accounts to access your favorite shows. Of course, they offered endless cable channels and we love binging on HGTV when we stay in hotels, so we stuck with that.

When we returned to our room from a walk, we had a bottle of Moet Chandon waiting for us with a birthday cake! It was such a wonderful gesture and made us feel so special. In case the staff were wondering, we ate all of it…in bed…while drinking the champagne and watching Joanna and Chip Gaines on HGTV. I can’t think of a better birthday :).

Facilities: 5/5

The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay has just about everything you need for a restful trip to the Coast. There are two restaurants, plus the outdoor bar that serves oysters and other delicacies. There is a stunning spa with whirlpools, relaxation rooms, steam and saunas. Guests can also borrow bicycles to explore the path along the coast or explore Half Moon Bay. There are two golf courses, walking paths and whale-watching. The opportunities are truly endless.

Whether you’re looking for a fun, active weekend or a relaxing, slow one, you can’t go wrong at the Ritz. During the day, we went to the spa and went for a walk along the coast (even jumped in the ocean!). By dusk, we sat with a glass of wine by the fire pits, roasting marshmallows and listening to the bagpiper play music as the sun was sinking over the horizon. It was just the most perfect day.

The property also has an indoor pool and hot tub, but we didn’t explore that too much this time…we prefer the ice bath of an ocean (haha).

Dining: 5/5

The Ritz-Carlton hosted a birthday dinner for Max and I and it was truly spectacular. We dined in Navio, which is Portuguese for ‘Ship’. The restaurant has a towering ceiling, shaped like a ship’s hull and has a picture-perfect oceanfront view.

Due to the restaurant’s close proximity to San Francisco, they often bring in guest chefs to prepare their favorite dishes. George Dingle, of Monsieur Benjamin in San Francisco, was the guest chef that weekend. Max and I had the tasting menu with wine pairing and it was amazing! All 5 courses were beautifully prepared and had excellent local wines paired with them. The dishes were all prepared creatively, some even using fun equipment like this glass smoker:

The service was amazing as well and we got to know several of the wait staff, the restaurant manager and the chef!

The conservatory is available as well and serves a more casual, California style cuisine in a relaxed setting. The view is spectacular and we hear the food is just as good, so that is a wonderful option if you’re looking for something lighter.

We had breakfast in Navio on Saturday morning and the buffet was excellent. We did not take part in the full Sunday Brunch they offer, but their standard buffet was delicious and also completely reasonably priced at around $30!

Service: 4.5/5

Overall, the service was truly luxurious. Even after just two days, it felt as though the staff knew us by name and cared about us genuinely. There was always someone opening a door, saying hello or asking about our day. When we got our car to leave on Sunday afternoon, 6 bellman were there opening our doors, putting our luggage in the car and handing us cold water.

The most incredible experience was actually on Saturday morning. Max had left his boots out overnight to be shined and when they returned on Saturday, there was a hand-written note from the bellman:

We were blown away by the thoughtfulness. It was so personal and sweet and seemed like such a genuine action. Kyle’s doing that made us smile and that’s what true service is all about.

While I’m sure the property gets overwhelmed by day-tourists at times, they did a great job overall making for private spaces on the patio for hotel guests only. The server on the patio in the “hotel guest only” section delicately asked for room numbers when guests were sitting down to order. If they responded that they were not guests, he, very kindly and professional, offered them another place to sit in the main patio. This was a nice touch because the patio does get quite crowded around sunset.

Style: 5/5

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but the style blew us away at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay. It was luxurious, but beachy. Elegant with true Ritz-Carlton class, it had a personal and relaxed touch. The whole hotel felt so new and shiny and well kept.

A true sign of the thoughtfulness that went into the style around the hotel was the fact that a few elements kept making an appearance throughout. For instance, in the room, the lampshade had a crystal as a base, and that same lamp base existed in the hallways. Crystal chandeliers hung in the lobby and conference area. There were crystals in the lobby seating area as well – it all fit so well together. Often, hotels focus on public spaces over room design or vice versa, but the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay was consistent on every detail throughout.

Overall: 4.7

We had such a great time, that we truly did not want to leave. Lounging around and exploring all the beautiful nooks and crannies of the hotel were relaxing and revitalizing at the same time. We felt like we’d been gone for weeks to a faraway land, when we were only 30 minutes from home. If you’re looking for a wonderful, 5-star retreat, the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay is 100% where you should book next.

Disclaimer: We were hosted by The Ritz-Carlton on a media stay. Please know the opinions expressed are all our own and may not reflect the hotel’s own views.

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