When you book a room at the Ritz Carlton, you pretty much know that you’ll be pampered in the lap of luxury and that the service will be flawless. So on the drive down south to Orange County with my fiancé, we were counting down the minutes until we would no longer have to lift a finger. When we arrived after dark at the massive Mediterranean-style resort, the bellmen practically ran towards us to offer water and to carry our bags. They showed us to our elegant room that featured an ocean-facing balcony, marble bathroom, soft king-sized bed, flowers, and a welcome gift. Everything matched our expectations thus far.
It wasn’t until we woke up to see the view that we realized exactly what made this particular Ritz Carlton so extraordinary—a private location atop a small beach cove along the Pacific Ocean. We inquired about wedding ceremonies in the garden lawn area, but lost all hope when we were told that on average the resort holds seven weddings per day during summer months.
Later we discovered that one of the best views could be seen from the fitness room’s bay windows. I counted about fifty surfboarders in the water, most of which looked like professionals, and we were mesmerized by the several yachts cruising along without a destination or deadline.
In my opinion, the most glamorous part of the hotel is Restaurant 162 (named for being 162 feet above sea level) because you can savor fresh Californian cuisine while watching birds, kids, and dogs dip their toes in the ocean’s edge. What’s more, you can people watch as stylish hotel guests walk through the open-air restaurant towards their rooms.
The next day we lounged by the smaller-than average pool, ate a great lunch while we read books and napped, and then headed inside for our massage treatments. Inside the spa, I was mesmerized by the clear, lucite chandeliers and silver wall décor that added a sophisticated, but not overly pretentious touch. My deep tissue massage on a heated bed was heavenly. The only downside was that the locker room was too small to fit the twelve or so women who had treatments at the same time as I did. When I noticed that one of the women was wearing only a bathrobe and five inch black stilettos, I was quickly reminded that we were vacationing only an hour south of Los Angeles.