California is the land of gold; a place where the sunshine doesn’t rain but pours down on the rolling hills. Nowhere captures the playful laid-back spirit of the Orange Coast quite like Laguna Beach. The OC is a vision of windswept whitecaps adorned with bronzed surfers, pretty cottages caught in-between the blazing wildflowers that decorate the hills, and a social calendar that calls on barefoot luxury as opposed to pearls and silverware. The seven-mile stretch of Laguna Beach is there to be devoured, and nowhere sets the table quite like the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel.
Sitting on a bright green bluff overlooking the rollers of Dana Point, the Ritz is all casual cool and sunset drinks. The building itself feels like a grand estate, especially when you find out there are close to 400 rooms and a plethora of fine dining establishments, beautiful bars and laid-back lounges. Even though the swish streets of LA are only a two-hour drive, you feel a world away waking up to the salty ocean tang and clear horizon.
The lobby sets the scene with its live beach camera, against a backdrop of chunky white pillars, cupola roof, and fresh palate of fuchsia and cream. While there are hints that you are beside the ocean –the line of surfboards and balcony carvings designed to look like swaying grass, the rest of the décor doesn’t scream coastal chic, but lends itself to a demurer design.
The suites and rooms are more committed to coastal suave in their design, all white to match the caps of the waves with airy layouts for the breeze to move through and French doors leading to private balcony’s for gazing out at the horizon. The bed delivers an ocean of goose down duvet, perfect for cozying up on nights when the wind turns chill.
The Ritz Carlton Suite is excellent with over 1500 sqm of space to spread out in style. Direct views of the Pacific change the way you drink your morning coffee. The tasteful lounge in neutral tones is all chunky sink down sofas, soft lighting, and an open marble fireplace for sipping Californian wine beside flickering flame. Bathrooms are marble cool with double sinks and tubs with more than enough room. Lighted mirrors are lined with Asprey Bath Essentials.
Being perched above the Pacific means that seafood is plentiful in this nook of California, and the resort restaurants take full pleasure in whipping up creative dishes that call on the bounty of the bright sea. Raya with its floor to ceiling glass windows delivers Pan Latin flavors best enjoyed with sunset views and cool jeweled cocktails.
Enosteak delivers melt in the mouth charcuterie, robust wines, and local cheeses alongside the highest quality tender steaks for a truly extravagant supper. For superior romance you cannot beat 180Blu, sitting high above Salt Creek Beach you can soak up the panoramic views as you uncork champagne and split small plates.
Spa services also take their inspiration from the changing tides outside your window. The Pacific Wave experience calls on the natural rhythms of sea to gift you with an Ashiatsu massage of gliding pressure to leave you feeling born again. There are also seaweed wraps, precious marine mineral facials, and hot stone massages using smooth round pebbles collected from the sea.
In between spa treatments, reading books beside the open fireplace, and dining you can make the most of the ocean playground. Surf lessons, an eco-adventure center for learning all about marine treasures, whale watching, and creative kitchen workshops are just a few of the activities on offer. The hotel also offers a complimentary lifestyle photoshoot service so you can capture all the precious memories of life on Dana Point.
Rooms at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel start at $499 for a king or double with garden view.