It only requires one night at The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay to find yourself enchanted by everything from the friendly staff to the exquisite cuisine to the incredible location. Situated on a craggy bluff that overlooks the glistening ocean, the resort looks like it belongs in Scotland, but it’s a short half-hour drive south of San Francisco.
Upon arrival, you will unwind instantaneously with a glass of locally made wine, and the hotel’s signature scent, a blend of ylang-ylang, cedar and sea kale, creates a soothing, spa-like space. Although The Ritz-Carlton has 261 rooms and often hosts large conferences, it doesn’t feel overly crowded, but rather like a happening hot spot where everyone receives VIP treatment.
Below, we elaborate on everything we love about The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay and why you should make a reservation at this Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star property.
Almost every window in the luxury hotel overlooks the mesmerizing sea, providing an excellent coastal view, even when shrouded with heavy fog. The Ritz’s proximity to the Pacific makes it a great place to participate in seaside activities.
Begin the morning with a guided coastal walk or explore the area’s secluded beaches by kayak or horseback. Another option: reserve a complimentary bike to tour the grounds and look for wildlife.
Enjoy two dining experiences at the resort. At The Conservatory, tuck into all-day coastal California fare, like crab cake Benedicts for breakfast and oysters on the half shell at happy hour — a great conclusion to a long day. For an epic culinary journey, book dinner at Navio. Chef Francisco Simón serves a sensational seafood tasting menu with delicious and refined presentations of ahi tuna loin, petrale sole and Angus beef tenderloin.
Navio recently announced the return of its renowned Global Cuisine Series, a special weekend event where decorated chefs join Simón in the kitchen to add their signature dishes to the tasting menu and the brunch offerings. In September, New York’s Matthew Neele of Wallsé will inject Austrian flair into the Four-Star restaurant, and in November, Chicago’s Noah Sandoval of Oriole will marry his New American fare with Navio’s coastal cuisine. For those seeking a memorable culinary experience, this is it.
The Golf Courses
If you love golf, pack the clubs. The Ritz-Carlton sits between two gorgeous Scottish-inspired courses. The Old Course was initially created by Arnold Palmer and Francis Duane in 1973 and redesigned by Arthur Hills in 1999, when he opened the second links, The Ocean Course. Book a tee time or a lesson with pro Darren Wall well in advance. Reservations typically get snapped up 90 days out.
Speaking of reservations, you’ll want to make one at the spa as well. Although there are 15 treatment rooms, the spa schedule fills up about 30 days in advance. Indulge in a stress-relieving massage, a body exfoliation polish or an age-defying facial. Opt for some locally inspired healing with the Redwood Forest Ritual, a hot poultice massage and scalp rub that employs herbs and wood blends.
The spa menu also includes services tailored for gentlemen, such as a Power Hour salt scrub and back massage and a hydrating, profoundly cleansing facial.
One thing that makes The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay unique is the nightly bagpiper. As the sun sets over the ocean every evening, a kilt-clad musician serenades the crowd outside. Watching the sea and listening to Scottish music makes for a breathtaking experience.
Inquire about the exact time, bring a martini from the bar to the Adirondack chairs and fire pits and enjoy the magic of this enchanting resort.