Old Sep 11, 17, 4:32 pm
  #4  
benjahman
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: New York, NY
Posts: 289
Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel

Arrived at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel at around 130pm, along with everyone else checking in that weekend. I was using the free night certificates acquired from the credit card bonus and had been checking availability of rooms up until our arrival, hoping for some sort of upgraded room (e.g. ocean view) Champagne was offered while waiting in line and after a few minutes it was my turn. The front desk agents were friendly and noted my upgrade request but politely informed me the hotel was fully sold out with no rooms available. OK, that's fine I thought. I get it, stays are "free" and I really hold no status other than the granted Gold Elite via the credit card. They were happy to tell me that the room was available early and we could check in now. Bellman helped us to room 3049.

I had looked at many pictures online and the rooms do present similarly, however, this was the lowliest of rooms available. The view (or lack thereof) of the friendly valet/gate area was slightly amusing, as I said to my wife when we arrived: "I bet that will be our room".
Upon entering, the air conditioning was cool, around 70, which was great as California was having a heat wave and outside temps were in the 90s. After looking around a bit more, the room is a bit dated, the outlets in the bathroom did not work, the phone in the lav fell off 4 different times and low and behold, the air conditioning had a mind of its own and would turn off or crap out midway through the night, leaving us to wake up soaked in sweat.

Check in


Arrival champagne


Front desk flower display


Lobby


Bar/Marketplace area


enoSteak, which was empty every time I passed by it, day and night


Slightly dated hallways


Room 3049


"The View"


Closet


Bathroom


Minifridge, ice bucket, safe, etc.


The views throughout the rest of the hotel are gorgeous. The beach was busy as it was a holiday weekend and the weather was warm.









After our first whirl around the hotel property, we came back to some local bubbly and chocolate cake for my wife's birthday


Breakfast next morning at Raya was lovely, with amazing views to be had.




A friend from NYC happened to be staying nearby, so she came and met us for breakfast.


The McLarens, Bentleys, etc, seemed to be the norm at the porte cochere.


We had breakfast in Dana Point at "What A Dish", which was excellent. Great eggs bene and tasty cold brew.


Fitness Center with amazing views. Well equipped with cold towels and waters.


The hotel provides a beach shuttle down the public, Salt Creek Beach. The hotel has chairs and umbrellas and also provides towels and cold water. It's a bit of a hike back up so the shuttle is ideal.


Overall, it was a pleasant stay but I had some gripes, which sound a bit more like first world problems. The hotel was packed with guests and visitors. No less than two weddings a night were being held at the property. Everywhere we went, the pace was frenetic and almost frantic, so it was not very relaxing. The A/C didn't really work well anywhere in the hotel. The food at Raya was great but room service was a bit boring and sad. The pool area was so crowded and poorly maintained. Towels everywhere, empty bottles and cups all over the place. I think if I had paid to stay over this weekend, I'd be even more disenchanted with the place. I also wonder if having stayed on on the Club Level would have made a difference, as you'll see from our stay at Half Moon Bay, where Club Level felt like a world away from the norm. Service was friendly and responsive, but I must be jaded from our last real vacation to Chedi and Amankila, as it all sort of seemed a bit forced and by the book.
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