by Lissa Poirot
Southern California’s Pacific Coast stretch of beaches between Los Angeles and San Diego has long been a quiet retreat for families looking to enjoy a day of R&R. Dana Point, a coastal town incorporated in 1989, is just one such town tucked away from the hustle and bustle of big cities or theme parks. Its harbor hosts 2,500 boats, as well as 50 boutique shops and restaurants, while its coast provides multiple bike paths and recreational activities. The Ritz stands as a beacon in Dana Point, located on a 150-foot cliff that towers over Salt Creek Beach and the Pacific. It becomes a fortress for its guests, providing privacy and intimacy with activities for all ages, dining and beautiful accommodations that make the resort a destination in and of itself.
To learn more about Ritz-Carlton, please visit Ritz-Carlton.
Our Editor Loves
- Gorgeous setting overlooking the Pacific Ocean
- Kids programs that connect them to ocean life
- Southern California surfing
- Theme Park
- Water Sports
- Children Programs
- Connecting Rooms
- Kids' Theme Meals
- Onsite Dining
Find the Best Price for Your Stay
Rooms and suites are plentiful at the resort, ranging in size from 400 to 1,550 square feet. Select from Ocean View, Coastline View, Garden/Pool View or Fireside Rooms. Limited-view guestrooms are available as well. Guestrooms are equipped with Wi-Fi access.
Suite stays include full use of the spa facilities, personal shopping and errand service, and preferred seating in Raya, the hotel's onsite restaurant. The Ritz-Carlton Club rooms provide a lounge with breakfast, snacks, hors d'oeuvres, and beverages throughout the day.
I was amazed how the paradise looks like but I could experienced it at RC Laguna Nigel. Amazing customer service, attentive to details on its best, room, pool, spa and gym. I enjoyed the gym with the view, and the restaurant was just perfect. The room spacious and WOW. It was the best hotel experience i ever had so far in this small entire world.I would recommend it for honeymoons as well...but if you are around, you have to go, it is a MUST and please don´t miss it, the perfect combination of both comfort and luxury, just AMAZING.
Phenomenal hotel. From the moment of my arrival, until my departure 5 days later, I was made to feel as if I was the only guest. My room overlooked the ocean, and I enjoyed sleeping with my door open. I tried each restaurant and was impressed by all. The spicy margarita was the best Ive ever had! I will definitely be back!
As luxurious as can be, the Ritz is also very family friendly, with activities and programs geared for children of all ages. Children 5 and up can participate in the resort's Eco-Adventures, a series of programs led by naturalists to provide children learning experiences with the Southern California environment. Programs include Creative Kitchen cooking programs, Explore the Shore environmental programs and Night Krawlers nighttime programs.
Special programs are designed to entertain kids during seasonal vacation periods, such as treasure hunts for toddlers, poolside movies at night, a teddy bear tea and holiday storytelling. Beach butlers will provide sand toys, fins, body boards and noodles at the beach and pool, and kids may use Frisbees, footballs and soccer balls for free. There are also tennis courts with free equipment rentals, basketball courts and a Ping Pong table.
For teens, the resort's spa provides manicures and pedicures, as well as special up-do's.
It's nearly impossible to visit Southern California and not surf! The resort can provide wetsuits, surfboards and other equipment for families to enjoy, as well as surf experiences and lessons. Stand Up Paddle Board lessons and equipment are also available.
Salt Creek Beach
Located adjacent to the cliff side resort is Salt Lake Beach, a public beach with the Ritz' beach butler service providing all items needed to enjoy the sand and sun. The resort's shuttle provides easier access to the beach.
Raya, with its awe-inspiring sea views, is the resort's casual restaurant offering Pan-Latin dining. Sunday brunch is offered 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., breakfast 7 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., lunch 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and dinner 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and until 9:30 p.m. on weekends.
Popular for sunset revelers is 180Blu, an oceanfront-dining lounge with panoramic views. Live music entertains while small plates from Raya are served in the lounge that sits just atop the cliff. Open Tuesday through Saturday night, weather permitting, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Mom and dad can enjoy a quiet dinner alone at enoSteak, an adults-only steakhouse serving locally grown and harvested produce and grass-fed beef. The restaurant is open Tuesday through Saturday, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
The Marketplace is the resort's grab-and-go cafÃ©, serving up pastries, breakfast items, coffees and desserts daily. Open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Dana Pool CafÃ©
The Dana Pool CafÃ© is a casual, poolside dining option serving salads, pizza, sandwiches, and finger foods.
Kids' menus are available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In-room dining packages for families include "Night at the Movies" and "Totally for Kids," with snacks, popcorn and drinks, as well as DVD rentals for a night in together.
Planning & Tips
All About the Extras
Babies are welcome at the Ritz, which will order and have strollers, car seats, high chairs and other necessities available upon your arrival. Local childcare providers recommended by the resort can provide babysitting onsite. Cribs are also available at no charge.
The resort's fitness center overlooks the ocean, with state-of-the-art equipment for strength training, cardio, weight training, yoga and Pilates.
Pets are welcome at the Ritz, which offers a Posh Pooch package. Pets receive a hand-painted water dish, doggie bed, chew toy, dog waste bags and a doggie menu for in-room dining, including tenderloin, fried rice and grilled salmon. All meals are served with Fiji water! Spoiling doesn't come cheap, however. Pets are welcome at a $150 non-refundable pet cleaning fee, and a $50 boarding fee per night. No more than two pets are allowed per room, and pets are only welcomed in common areas on leashes.
The resort charges a nightly resort fee per person to cover the cost of Internet, fitness classes, the Beach Butler, unlimited use of tennis courts, preferred tee times, shuttles to the beach, and use of the spa's sauna and steam rooms. Whether you use any of these services or not, the fee is automatically added to your bill.
The Art of Smart Timing
Southern California is known for its year-round, sunny weather, with moderate temperatures, making the Ritz a destination for any time of year. More children's programs are provided during holidays and summer months, and the resort never feels too crowded, even at peak times.
Dana Point is accessible via John Wayne/Orange County Airport, which is 25 minutes away. Long Beach Airport (45 minutes), Los Angeles International (60 minutes) and San Diego (75 minutes) are also options.
The hotel will help arrange car rentals for pickup at the airport, or will provide limo service. Only valet parking is available at the hotel for a daily fee. The resort's shuttle provides easy access to the beach.
For Mom and Dad
The Monarch Beach Golf Links, designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr., neighbors the Ritz with sweeping views of the ocean. The Par-70 course is a must for golf enthusiasts.
The resort's spa is also a must with 12 treatment rooms available for massages, body treatments, manicures, pedicures, hair styling and more. Treatments can also be arranged on the beach.