The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
What We Love
- A bagpiper plays in the courtyard to usher in the sunset each evening
- There’s a heated pool inside and two fire pits outside
- Free fitness classes in the gym and a co-ed Roman mineral bath in the 16,000-square foot spa
- Miles of clifftop walking trails overlooking the Pacific
What To Know
- You can stay in the six-story main building, close to the pool and restaurants, or in guest houses farther afield
- Rooms near the restaurant and courtyard do get a bit of noise, especially if you’re out on your patio
- There’s a daily resort fee for access to the tennis and basketball courts, gym, and WiFi
- Free WiFi
- Golf Course
- Kids Club
- Parking On Site
- Room Service
While many Northern California resorts strive to channel Tuscany, this 261-room property takes its inspiration from Scotland, paying homage with it’s castle-like main building, two championship golf courses, and live bagpipe music every evening. The starkly gorgeous clifftop setting over the Pacific ocean adds to the Braveheart-y romance of it all; guests take in the scenery from the coastal bike and hiking paths, or cozy up in front of the fire pits overlooking the Pacific (or, if they’re staying in a Terrace Fire Pit room, by the private hearth on their very own patio.) In between, they graze at any of the three ocean-view restaurants, or indulge their sweet tooth at Cork Wine Bar, a wine bar that specializes in flights of wine and chocolate.
In the Area
There’s hiking, biking, tennis, basketball, golf, and the beach—and that’s just on the property. When guests venture off-campus, it’s to horseback ride through seafront meadows with Blue Sky Ranch, surf the beaches made famous by the Mavericks Invitational Surf Contest, visit some of the 70 wineries in the Santa Cruz mountains or stroll historic Half Moon Bay, the oldest settlement in San Mateo Country. Unless of course it’s fall. Then sightseeing here is all about the Pumpkin Festival.
How to Get There
We were two couples on a golf package and whilst the hotel sits on a beautiful spot our stay was tainted by too many imperfections for a hotel of this level. It started with the golf tee time booking process which took me four efforts to get a response. Took a shocking turn when our friends walked into their room to fine another guest in that room. Also a highly unprofessional twist when we were served two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc at the outside bar instead of the pricey Far Niente Chardonnay. We discovered with the first sniff but many other guests may not. My list is even longer, clearly by far the low point during this US holiday - perhaps the place is in need of a management change.
Returned for a second visit in June to escape the heat after visiting previously at the beginning of the year. The location and physical beauty of the ocean and coastline is what carries this hotel. On this recent visit was pleased to see that some effort had been made to designate a section of chairs overlooking the ocean just for hotel guests. It is very frustrating when you pay so much money for a special experience while the hotel allows many day visitors to come for drinks and occupy oceanfront chairs on the property. I really wish the hotel would disallow cigar smoking in the outdoor seating area because I found it detracted from my ability to fully enjoy the amazing ocean air when that was happening for a bit. Also it would be nice to see more flexibility on shutting down last call outside around sunset when the weather is exceptional. I actually saw people turned down for drinks being told the bar was now closed. As for food, had a $28 burger which I expected to be fantastic, but it was mediocre. The salads though are a great item to order because the lettuces are delicious and sourced by local producers. Rooms are nice and comfortable. Stayed in the guesthouse for the first time and really liked it, you can self park for no fee and it makes leaving the property for a jaunt to a nearby beach really easy since you can just come and go and don't have to wait for valet. The beauty of this property is breathtaking, yet there is a bit of room for improvement to the guest experience.
This Ritz property is in a beautiful location with amazing views of the Pacific Ocean. They have great bikes for use included with the resort fee. Service is good but not at the level as some other Ritz properties. Drinks are overpriced.
If you are lucky, you will forget about everything here at this magical resort. Situated on a cliff overlooking the ocean, the Ritz Carleton Half Moon Bay is a favorite of locals and travelers alike.
With free bike rentals, a walking path that goes for miles, three dining options including the Raw Bar outdoor on the lawn, this is truly one of those 'magical California experiences' you won't quickly forget.
Room are spacious. Bathrooms are large, spectacular affairs with fluffy towels, marble floors, bathtubs you can actually take a bath in, separate showers and separate toilet.
The main wedding was in the open area but the food was served inside. It was a bloody pain to go around the building to get to the lunch and dinner area. There was only one elevator and that was broken too. Not a great place to have weddings. Hope people who read this realize this is not the best hotel for weddings.