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Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay

Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay Review

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Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay is perched on a rocky bluff forty-five minutes from San Francisco.

Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay is perched on a rocky bluff forty-five minutes from San Francisco.

Image courtesy Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay
I arrived at this oceanfront luxury hotel after a winding drive up the coastline from Carmel. Outside, a wet chill banished any thoughts of venturing outside, even for a long-anticipated walk along the rocky bluffs that serve as the dramatic setting for the Ritz-Carlton. As it turned out, the weather was perfect for enjoying what the hotel does best: making you cozy and comfortable indoors.

Corner Room With a View
Indeed, my corner room was tailor-made for curling up with a good book and a bottle of wine. A window seat padded with finely upholstered cushions afforded a view of the Pacific Ocean and one hole of the golf course, where -- inexplicably -- a steady stream of drenched and slightly miserable-looking sportsmen were determined to get eighteen holes in, even on such a wet day.

I opted instead to take advantage of the deep-soaking bathtub with a complimentary loofah and bubbling bath gel. Thus fortified, I ventured out to explore the rest of this plush retreat.

Pumpkin Pampering

Guests have access to the fitness center and spa facilities as part of the room rate, and the Roman Mineral Bath should be on your schedule. I scheduled a Pumpkin Body Scrub, a signature treatment that takes full advantage of the aromatic local crop. The Ritz-Carlton spa, uniquely, has a system of shower heads installed on an extendable bar suspended above the treatment bed. If you've ever had a "wet" treatment such as a body scrub at a spa, you'll appreciate the difference this makes. Instead of having to rouse yourself mid-treatment and stand up to shower off, you simply lie there and relax while about nine showerheads are passed overhead.

Dining by the Sea

Dinner that evening at Navio was another highlight. The lights in this nautical-themed restaurant are dimmed purposefully to take full advantage of views of the rhythmically crashing waves just outside. The cuisine, inspired by the sea and relying heavily on local flavors, was artistically presented, often in a monochromatic palette.

Venturing Outdoors

Guests who arrive in more favorable weather might opt for a number of outdoor activities. The Ritz-Carlton offers a shuttle to downtown Half Moon Bay. Guided sunset hikes along the coast are offered each evening. The swimming pool and whirlpool, just steps away from the bluffs, looked inviting even in the grey weather.

Also complimentary to hotel guests are activities like cycling along the coast (all equipment, maps and bottled water is provided), exploring the tide pool at the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, and yoga classes. For an additional fee, the hotel can also arrange excursions such as wine and cheese tastings, sea kayaking, fly and deep sea fishing, and horseback riding.

But between the cozy window seat, the spa, the lobby lounge with a roaring fireplace, and the memorable cuisine of Navio, I was content, on this visit to the Ritz-Carlton, just to stay indoors. (Reviewed May 2005)

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Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay is located: on the Pacific Coast in Half Moon Bay
One Miramontes Pointe Rd., Half Moon Bay, California 94019
Phone: (650) 712-7000; Reservations: (800) 542-8680
Web site: Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay

As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary accommodations for the purpose of reviewing those services. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest. For more information, see our ethics policy.

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