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The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel

Ratings:

Baby/Child Friendliness:

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Romance:

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Contact Information

One Ritz-Carlton Drive
Dana Point CA 92629
Phone: (800) 241-3333 or (949) 240-2000
www.ritzcarlton.com/resorts/laguna_niguel/

Enjoy the resort's 18 acres of outdoor garden courtyards, pool terraces, oceanfront lawns and two miles of sandy beach.

The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel upholds the exclusive and extravagant ambiance known to its kind. Bellboys and staff maintain deadpan aloofness as Jaguars and Rolls Royces arrive at the front entrance. But while service attendants here retained their unimpressed demeanor, my family, on the other hand, was captured by this amazing retreat.

Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel

Our room was on the top floor behind the trees, but our view was unobstructed.

The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel is a four-story Mediterranean-style building located on a 150-foot bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The highly refined formality of the Ritz style seemed at first, to me, incongruous with such a casual California setting as Laguna. However, efforts clearly have been made to blend the two concepts. For instance, in the lobby and hallways, arched windows frame beautiful ocean views; tiled courtyards are accented with fountains; and sycamore trees and a variety of palms line the landscaped gardens and courtyards. Yet the Ritz's signature sophisticated style remains pronounced. The hotel is decorated with 18th and 19th century art, both American and European, including oil paintings, watercolors, sculptures, antique furnishings and Persian carpets. Crystal chandeliers, Italian marble and fresh flowers surround their art collection--displayed throughout the lobby, hallways, reception areas, and restaurants.

The property includes several restaurants of varying formalities. For formal dining:

  • The Dining Room--serving contemporary French cuisine.
  • The Club Grill and Bar--providing a romantic, supper-club atmosphere with a live jazz and blues quartet; traditional American cuisine.

For informal dining:

  • The Terrace Room--offering California cuisine; informal setting overlooking the Dana pool; indoor and patio seating.
  • The Lobby Lounge--overlooking the Pacific Ocean; light breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, and cocktails.

Other food and beverage opportunities are offered at the Library, the Ocean Terrace, and the Dana Pool, the Wine Room at the Dining Room, and through in-room service.

You will find a wide variety of recreational activities available at this resort. Facilities include four tennis courts, two whirlpools, lawn croquet, a fitness center (full service and spacious with modern equipment), and table tennis. Two outdoor heated swimming pools, two saunas, a coed steam room, a massage center with a variety of treatments and personalized fitness training are also available.

The magnificent view from our balcony. Adjacent to the resort is this grassy park where youngsters can romp. The artsy community of Laguna Beach is visible, extending seaward.

Shopping within the resort consists simply of a traditional jeweler and the Ritz Gift and Logo Shop--selling a variety of shirts, sweatshirts, bags and other gift and necessity items with the Ritz-Carlton logo, all quite pricey. For a wider shopping opportunity, you will need to head into Laguna Beach or Dana Point.

The room was lavish with its Italian marble bathroom with vanity area, an armoire, desk, Internet access, and a very comfortable chair with an ottoman. The room was decorated in an early 20th Century American style in understated tones of peach and lime. Although the balcony was neither private nor stroller-friendly, it did allow for a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean. Inside the room, the crashing waves created a lovely sound for Mandalin, my husband, and I, as we enjoyed an unobstructed, coveted ocean view through the French doors, which opened onto the balcony. The property consists of 393 guest rooms, including thirty-one suites and twenty-seven private clubrooms.

A very festive lobby added to the accommodating treatment by the staff. These special touches create a memorable vacation for children and for those seeking romantic adventure.

When booking a room at this resort or any of the Ritz-Carltons listed on this site, bear in mind that the best rooms have Club Access, an exclusive wing with restricted key access to the Ritz-Carlton Club. The Club features a private lounge, concierge staff for more personalized service, and five complimentary food/beverage displays (buffet style) throughout the day: continental breakfast, light afternoon meal, tea service, cocktails and hors-d'oeuvres and evening cordials with after-dinner sweets. For more information on Ritz-Carlton Club Access, see my review of Ritz-Carlton Huntington Hotel.

While this hotel has accrued a wide set of awards, some of the most notable are the receipt of Mobil's 5-Star Award, AAA's 5-Diamond Award, and inclusion on Conde Nast's Gold List 2000 and 2001.

Baby/Child Friendliness:

  • Many Ritz-Carltons, including this one, have a program in place designed to cater to the safety needs of children, called "Protect Our Little Ones" (P.O.L.O.). As such, this resort provides a small safety kit, which includes a nightlight, a bathtub spout cover, outlet covers, an emergency safety card, and a first aid kit.
  • The Ritz Kids program is available on a complimentary basis to children of hotel guests. The program offers recreational activities for children ages five through twelve, such as beach explorations, nature walks, sports, arts and crafts, feeding the koi fish, building sandcastles, tide pool walks, swimming and making friends. Full days are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and half days are from 9 a.m. to noon or 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The hotel also facilitates a Kids' Night Out for children between the ages of five and twelve. The fun includes games, dinner, and a movie on Friday and Saturday nights, with reservations required. This program as well as the Ritz Kids offer mom and dad a much-needed break from entertaining their little ones, allowing them the opportunity to care for themselves through the resort's amenities (a massage, a swim, a facial, a romantic dinner, etc.).
  • The hotel offers kids complimentary use of beach equipment--boogie boards, beach chairs, umbrellas, fins and snorkel masks.
  • Nanny services are available through the Concierge.
  • The resort provides many additional services and amenities that are very important when traveling with babies or children: 24-hour in-room food service, same-day laundry service, movies on demand, cable TV with Disney channels, HBO, Nintendo, heating and air-conditioning with in-room controls, in-room refrigerator, smoke detectors and sprinklers in rooms.
  • During the holidays, Teddy Bear Teas are offered for youngsters ages three to ten. Children bring an unwrapped teddy bear for donation to the Marine Corp Toys for Tots program and they are served hot chocolate "tea," peanut butter and jelly finger sandwiches, and cookies, while they enjoy a marionette show. The cost is $40.00 per person.
  • Outside attractions within an hour of the resort include Disneyland, the Discovery Science Center, the Bowers Kidseum, the Irvine Spectrum, South Coast Plaza, Knott's Berry Farm, and the artist village of Laguna Beach.

Romance:

The resort's two miles of beach are especially designated for guest use. The steep pathway leading to the beach includes alcoves with benches and telescopes with tips for spotting whales. You will see artists painting among strolling couples and playing children. This beach is a prominent part of the resort's setting and I am hard-pressed to imagine a more romantic environment to saunter along with someone special in Southern California. Laguna Beach's warm climate coupled with its cool breezes inevitably inspire the most fantastic romantic occasions. Stay within the resort for meals or drive into the charming (albeit crowded) beach town of Laguna for a diversity of restaurants. If a romantic getaway is what you are seeking, this resort will create exactly that for you.

Youngsters are happy here amidst the nicely detailed Christmas tree and the Pacific Ocean views.

There is also a true air of romance in the festive holiday season at the Ritz. Beginning with Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve, the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel offers a series of holiday teas, special meals (some up to five-courses), and overflowing buffets of seasonal fare. Their annual celebration, known as "Once Upon a Wonderland" begins on November 19. On this day, carolers in Olde English attire, a band of bagpipers, the Dana Hills Marching Band, and Santa Claus himself participate in the festivities leading up to the lighting of the fifty-foot evergreen tree at dusk. The tree is decorated with basketball-sized ornaments and 35,000 lights. Inside the hotel, several Christmas trees with colorful faux presents underneath, miles of ribbon and garlands, and a life-size gingerbread house highlight the wonder of the season. Children are fascinated by this display, which also certainly sets a magical tone for a time away with your partner.













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