5 Star Service
Reviewed 24 July, 2021
My husband and I were married at the Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel 20 years ago. We decided there was no better place for us to spend our Anniversary than the magical place that we had exchanged our vows. I was able to get in touch with Leslie Harper who was part of the amazing Ritz Event Team and she contacted Management for us to make them aware of our arrival and the special celebration we would be staying for. Upon arrival, Kyle upgraded us to a beautiful ocean front suite much like the one we stayed in on our wedding night. He had the room ready for us with an early check in and we decided to begin our celebratory weekend with lunch at Raya. When we finished our lunch they brought us a delicious complimentary chocolate souffle with a chocolate Happy Anniversary sign on top. We headed back to our room and were pleasantly surprised with a bottle of champagne and a box of delicious truffles that Manager, Blake had sent up to our room. The Management Team was so kind and really went out of their way to create very special surprises to top off our wonderful celebratory Anniversary Weekend. We would like to especially thank, Leslie Harper for her thoughtfulness and attentiveness to assure that we have a wonderful experience again at The Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel. It will always remain a magical place for us to visit.
Go for the view and proximity to the beach but don’t expect true five star accommodations or amenities
Reviewed 13 July, 2021
My wife and I stayed to celebrate our tenth year anniversary, and we went for an executive suite ocean view room. The view is truly spectacular, right above a wonderful surf spot. The location is amazing - a quick 7 minute walk to the beach, with a small electric cart available if you’re not interested in hiking down the hill.
But the hotel itself - the quality of the room, the staff’s attention to detail and creating a sense of hospitality, the quality of the restaurants - were not remotely 5 star. It felt like a slightly above average hotel with some fancy amenities bolted onto the side. We give the hotel a benefit of the doubt - coming out of the pandemic, they’re likely facing staff shortages like everywhere else, and the hotel hosted two weddings in a weekend. But the review remains unchanged, we simply understand why we didn’t have a great experience.
The restaurants: Raya’s food lacked flavor and excitement. We ordered a fruit plate and received rotten berries; we ordered a salad and received bad lettuce -both of which we ended up picking through extensively. The main courses were bland and needed more salt and seasoning. The bar was hohum- if you need a beer, wine, or liquor neat, you’ll be ok since the bartender does minimal, but the bar lacked any sort of interest or creativity in the cocktails (it veered far too close to a tiki beach bar). Finally, and the last eating option, was a coffee spot with quick pick up food. The coffee was on par with Starbucks and our orders were made incorrectly.
The spa: we expected far more. The facilities are limited - sauna and steam room with two showers (same for both men and women sides). My message was cut short, I had booked an hour and fifteen message but I was back to my locker after an hour. Korean spas in LA/NY provide far better experiences, both in facility and message experience.
The room: spectacular views. But you could say that about a tent pitched on the hotel’s fake lawn. The room felt overwhelmingly corporate. The bathrooms are beautifully ordained with granite and classic bar lights. But the bedroom and lounge (again, we stayed in an executive suite) were extremely simply designed, but any sense of comfort came from the view and from the beautiful bathroom.
Leaving and entering the hotel took a very long time - there was always a ten minute queue to enter and drop off your car; leaving took even longer. The valet experience should go unnoticed except for the welcome which should make you feel like you’ve arrived. But, as with everything else, it felt more like a chore or a thing that had to be done to see the view and get to the beach.
Finally, the service was only ok. Whenever we called for maid attention or bellhop, they were very quick. But there was no turn down service, there were no added touches to make you feel like an honored guest (no welcome drinks or anything of the sort upon arrival or departure - our son received a plastic pail and scoop but it was as tacky as getting a kids menu with crayons). Not something you need but something you expect from a five star experience.
Sadly we will not return. While we spent the most we’ve ever spent on a hotel, this sits at the bottom of our luxury stays and it simply made us yearn for those other experiences. For those seeking luxury and comfort, look elsewhere. In fact, look to places outside the West (our gold standard for luxury remains the Taj hotels). This stay simply invigorated this conviction.
Worst Ritz stay ever
Reviewed 12 July, 2021
Disappointing stay overall.
Lifetime titanium member
I was told that a ocean view room is available for additional fee. I passed. I was upgraded to a suite in Cancun and multiple locations in Asia for no additional cost. Was upgraded to much better rooms (not suites) in Santa Barbara and Lake Tahoe all in the past 3 months.
I dined at Raya 3 times ( 2 dinners and 1 breakfast) The maitre d’ were excellent. The waiting staff lousy 2 of the 3 times. Really just not what you’d expect at a place like this. Super slow due to no staff
-Beach / Pool
No staff to be seen. Understaffed. This is particularly apparent at the pool. Shocking to me to see no staff at the pool at all. The beach you don’t expect much given they tell you beforehand that there is no service.
Hard pass at this property. Worst stay at a Ritz Carlton in my 20+ years of traveling and staying with them. Perhaps it is the lack of staff induced by the Covid unemployment benefits. But I did have much better experiences at Lake Tahoe and Santa Barbara properties all in the past 3 months.
One of the best in California
Reviewed 11 July, 2021
My husband and I live in the Southern California and decided on the Ritz because we wanted to stay within a few hour drive and be right on the beach. I'd read some mixed reviews on Tripadvisor but went forward anyway because of the location and I'm very glad we did. We stayed in a club room with a beautiful view of the sunset and it was delightful to be able to hear the waves. The club lounge had a pleasant selection of breakfast, lunch, snacks, and desserts (as well as a wide variety of alcoholic options)-- though it was not quite as extravagant as some of the Ritz spreads you see in Asia or even J.W. Marriott clubs we've seen around North America. The staff there was very friendly and the club room itself was lovely with nice views and a few different cozy seating areas.
We paid about $1200 a night (before valet and resort fees) which is honestly on the very high end of what we've typically paid for a room at a Ritz, but I strongly prefer this property to the Ritz and 4S in Santa Barbara as well as closer Monarch Beach Resort (currently a Waldorf), because you can hear the ocean from the room and it's about 5 minutes to the beach (or a shuttle, if you don't want to walk down hill)-- and all of the luxury properties in California seem to be running at peak pricing these days. While there is no food or drink service on the beach, the club lounge staff was happy to assist me in packing a few sandwiches and sodas and there are beach assistants at the bottom of the hill ready to set you up with chairs and an umbrella.
One minor complaint-- the A/C in our room cycled on and off much of the night-- while it wasn't as loud as some places I've stayed, bring white noise or an ear plugs if you (like me) are a very light sleeper.
Reviewed 9 July, 2021
This is our go to place in Laguna and have been staying here since 2016. Since our last stay in November, they updated the carpets and the entertainment center. Best hotel views in Dana Point by far. Will continue to stay here for many years to come.