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Hotel Review: The Ritz Carlton – Coastland Luxury over Salt Creek Beach

Ever free from the typical city bustle, Laguna Nigel just proved to be the quintessential location for a serene staycation. From unassuming bungalows on disrupted vegetation to ample park areas, tranquility in the predominantly residential city always seemed at its best. But behind the facade of underdevelopment & vintage-living lies a five-star resort on a picturesque cliff – The Ritz Carlton, where we took a much-needed respite for a few nights.

The luxury hotel leverages Laguna Nigel’s hilly terrain by settling on the elevated Dana point, 150ft above sea level. Mother Nature complements its futuristic glamour with panoramic Pacific views and the resulting Salt Creek beach, much to my Californian girl-heart’s delight. We always longed to accommodate a beachside, so the idyllic setting of The Ritz Carlton euphorically made us check the box.

Being a consecutive AAA Five Diamond winner speaks a lot about its ceaseless elegance. Its conspicuous architecture began the fancy intricacy hidden behind the cream-colored walls. Aesthetic lobbies overlooking the beach were always a delightful retreat spot at night, in which studded ornaments brilliantly announced their presence at day. The ocean-inspired Club Level Lounge was notably embellished with silver and gold accents, grey tile floors, cozy nook to banquet seats, all encapsulated by subtly tinted walls and high ceilings. Fitness enthusiasts enjoyed high-spirited workout sessions in the ultra-modern fitness center with wall-to-floor windows revealing the ocean.

Oceanfront lawns, garden courtyards, ingenious rooms, and a cliff-top gazebo were favorite business meeting spots every other day. Two quirky-shaped swimming pools and two whirlpools were also available for visitors who preferred not to relish the ocean’s waves, like us. Despite the evident extravagance, we still had an offbeat feeling of casualty. Among my many manifestations during the day was my comfortable walk around the hotel on beach sandals.

Our room was stunning outright! I would highly recommend getting a fireside room over others where you can also enjoy twilight ocean sights! The patio with a fire pit was remarkably solacing; it made the soothing sense of staycation repose so intense that we forwent our reservations at some restaurant for a fireside meal. Also, the hotel will always serve as many s’more kits as you desire – a routine I repeatedly savored and don’t see ending anytime soon. Inside was a romantic, cozy bedroom roomy for us both. And with sophisticated yet functional facilities, the gorgeous bathroom met all expectations.

Five unmistakable restaurants at The Ritz Carlton offered sumptuous American and Latin American delicacies ranging from most anticipated seafood to local produce. Casual meals at Dana Pool cafe are rarely taken seriously, unlike a complete dinner at enoSTEAK serving prime pasture-raised beef, local organic produce, artisanal cheeses, charcuterie with exceptional alluring wines enclosed in a glass cellar.

Through the flavors & aromas of Latin America, Raya restaurant embodied her cultural heritage in every culinary dish. We had eaten at Raya restaurant four years prior to our staycation, yet the meals were still as delicious as ever! The breathtaking Pacific view added more surrealism to lunches and romantic impressions at sunsets. You would love savoring the Piloncillo Shrimp with chayote slaw, candied pepita, Morita chile, and the Wagyu Filet Mignon here. Mouthwatering cuisines, including Saffron aioli, lime, black garlic, and chorizo, are also at their best. Also, try the asparagus, Tinkerbell pepper, marble potato, verdolagas, and ancho demi-glaze.

When we ate at 180blũ, we couldn’t miss how animated locals were enjoying their meals and the live music under the invigorating sunset as we did. Its saturation with people was unconventionally welcoming. Like Raya, 180blũ unobstructed view overlooks the Pacific. They served similar dishes, equally as tantalizing and tasty. We ultimately had dinner brought to our room some other time after enjoying the views of the dipping sun and live music. We ate beside our fireplace and lounged in bathrobes! It was perfect!

Market Place offered the ideal grab-to-go breakfasts that started most of our days at Ritz Carlton. Every dawn & dusk, we always opted for burritos with a yogurt parfait to balance things.

Be it single spa sessions or an array of packages, Ritz Carlton’s luxury spa tailors your very own wellness experience. The combination of natural elements with therapeutic healing expertise bolsters the efficacy of personalized massages.

And credit to our therapists’ prowess & lent ears at the spa, we would never have thought that some treatments were unavailable due to COVID-19 restrictions. Our fastidious massages really relieved our aching bodies while feeling relaxed all through the hour-long process.

Resisting the allures of the beach is a daily struggle as visitors take golf carts down the steep hill to a course. Not a fan of golf? There are numerous activities rambunctious visitors indulge themselves in. If nothing interests you, unwind on the beach chairs under the serene umbrella shades. That was all we really needed.

On coming here, we genuinely never desired to leave. We always relished the beaming sunshine at the hotel, abandoning the countless explorable activities Laguna Niguel offered.

Ritz Carlton is a spectacular hotel at your disposal. If you are ever in California, it is definitely a must-visit! It always feels like a getaway vacation, even for natives of the area.


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