by Caroline Costello
Located about 28 miles south of San Francisco, Half Moon Bay is an idyllic California coastal retreat. The beach is the main attraction in Half Moon Bay, where boating, fishing, surfing and sunbathing top the list of kid-friendly activities. The Ritz, with over 250 rooms, is the only luxury resort in town. Families seeking an upscale beach vacation will find spacious accommodations and peaceful ocean. Little luxurious touches, like a wine-tasting room, private dining options, stone fireplaces and floor-to-ceiling windows, add to the hotel’s elegant ambiance. This resort also serves busy parents seeking solace with plenty of daytime and evening kids’ programs throughout the week, and a teen center.
To learn more about Ritz-Carlton, please visit our Ritz-Carlton chain page.
Our Editor Loves
- Location: Perched atop the bluffs
- Ritz service and attention to detail
- Separate Teen Lounge for ages 13 to 18
Rooms & Rates
Choose from rooms or suites with ocean, coastal, golf course or courtyard views. All rooms have beds with duvets and non-allergenic foam pillows, high-speed Internet access, pay-per-view movies, in-room safes, phones and refrigerators, among other amenities.
Cottage rooms and suites are set in guesthouses apart from the main building. Cottage accommodations offer residential-style lodging with separate entrances for privacy, free self-parking adjacent to the room and added touches like binoculars, telescopes and rain coats.
Roomy one- and two-bedroom suites accommodate large families with plenty of space. A one-bedroom suite comes with one king or two double beds, a parlor, a fireplace, a bedroom separated by double doors and one and a half bathrooms. The two-bedroom Ritz-Carlton Suite has a master bedroom with panoramic ocean views, a second room with two double beds, two and a half bathrooms with ocean views, a dining area, a butler pantry, a fireplace and a balcony. Cribs are available on request.
A short trip from Marin County, CA, but feels far away. Golfers love this place, beautiful courses. It kind of reminds me of Scotland with palm trees. The hotel is lovely, very big, spacious and clean. At night, the back is lit up by the big fire pits and torches where people gather around them. Some nights with blankets, depending on the time of year. Walking along the beach is great fresh air, builds an appetite to enjoy the restaurant's menu inside or out, or to stop for a snack. If you liked the movie Mavericks, or interested in surfing, then down the ways a bit you can find the surfers hanging big 10's. They are hard to spot from the coast, so bring binoculars.
This resort is placed in a perfect location for Nothern California. It's right on the cliffs and the views you get are breathtaking. What should I say about the sunsets? Incredible! The property itself is not five star. Its public spaces are ordinary, rooms are small and dated, food is average and the service is far from what one will expect from the Ritz. The spa is one of the best spaces on this property. Strange thing, they do not have a real resort pool or jacuzzis. There is no real beach connected to this property. If you go down to the public beach, you might experience vagrants engaged in different acts. But you could rent a bike for free and bike around while you enjoy the views.
The service is not there for a luxury property which is very expensive. Hard to get through, no follow-up, no personal service, no attention to detail.
The recongnition for elite Bonvoy members is minimal.
If you get a room on the first floor with a fireplace on the deck, you will be set.
The Ritz Kids Day Program is for children ages 5 to 12 and is offered in half- or full-day sessions throughout the week. On Mondays through Thursdays, 24-hour advance reservations are required. Program activities include beach excursions, games, arts and crafts, swimming in the pool, and more. A full day, which lasts from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and includes lunch and snacks, costs $80 per child; and a half day, which lasts from 9 a.m. until noon or 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. and includes snacks, costs $50 per child. Program hours can be extended for $15 per hour, per child. A Teen Lounge at the resort for young people ages 13 to 18 years old includes a poker table, Ping Pong table and movies.
The Kids Night Out package is available on weekend nights from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for kids ages 5 to 12. The program costs $65 per child and may be extended until 11 p.m. for $15 per child, per hour. Dinner is included, and the kids will be entertained with movies, and arts and crafts.
Children under 5 are not eligible for the resort's supervised kids' clubs. But the resort will refer parents of toddlers and infants to local babysitting services on request.
The resort offers special children's events throughout the year. For example, the resort hosted two 2009 New Year's Eve parties -- one for kids and one for teens -- which included dinner, activities, sparkling cider and, of course, a New Year's Eve countdown. Check their Web site for an up-to-date calendar of events.
Other activities for both adults and children include six lighted tennis courts, an outdoor whirlpool, a fire pit by the ocean, hiking and biking paths, and half-court basketball. While the kids are entertained in the children's programs, parents can enjoy a massage resort's extensive spa, take yoga classes at the fitness center or play golf at either of two Half Moon Bay Golf Links championship golf courses.
Navio and the Conservatory Lounge are the two on-site restaurants. The Navajo offers Northern California coastal fare for breakfast, lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch with sweeping ocean views. The Conservatory Lounge serves breakfast, cocktails and light meals throughout the day in a more casual setting than Navio, with plenty of ocean views.
Both restaurants have a children's menu. Items include pizza, chicken fingers, hamburgers, soups and dessert. The kid's menu is also available for room service.
For a more luxurious dining experience, dinner with the Navio menu is offered in the resort's private dining room or in the fireplace room. Guests may also book a private dinner at the Chef's Table, which provides guests with views of the kitchen and the ocean, and a prix fixe menu for up to eight guests (a $1,000 minimum is required). Families with children are welcome to book private dining.
For an adults-only culinary experience, head to the ENO wine room. Choose from an impressive selection of wine, munch on gourmet cheese and chocolate, and learn about wine from experienced resort sommeliers in this wine-tasting room that overlooks the ocean.