Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > Luxury Hotels and Travel
Reload this Page >

Calamigos Guest Ranch & Beach Club, Malibu, California

Calamigos Guest Ranch & Beach Club, Malibu, California

Old Sep 14, 19, 7:36 pm
  #1  
Suspended
Original Poster
Marriott 25+ BadgeAman Contributor Badge
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Southern California, USA
Programs: Marriott Ambassador and LTT, UA Plat/LT Gold, AA Gold
Posts: 8,754
Calamigos Guest Ranch & Beach Club, Malibu, California

So we have an event in Thousand Oaks in late Sept and the Four Seasons Westlake Village nearby is sold out. So we happened on the Calamigos Guest Ranch and Beach Club in Malibu, which is only 23 min from our event.

Anyone have any knowledge or experience with this property? I’d never heard of it before, but a few friends near Malibu tell me it’s quite nice and they know several who’ve stayed and found it to be excellent rustic luxury. It reminds me more of a Calistoga Ranch, which we large very much enjoyed. Unlike the FS, it’s also pet friendly without any weight limit, so we now can bring our boy, Macallan.

They have a 2 night minimum, but their Director of Operations very kindly waived that for us. Their resort manager also offered us the lowest available rate ($729) with a one category upgrade to a Signature Single Suite since we’d only be there one night. They also waived their $75 pet fee for us. The bungalow looks lovely and the property looks beautiful, so we are booked.

Any details will be appreciated. Thanks!
bhrubin is offline  
Old Sep 15, 19, 7:16 pm
  #2  
Moderator: Luxury Hotels and FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Palo Alto, California,USA
Posts: 17,332
Wow, how did you find this place? As the FS Westlake Village is a classic FS lite, it would be easy for it to be better.

But still, their website somehow makes me nervous so if you do go, your view will be valuable. Gotta love the description of their location on their website as "the only luxury destination in Malibu that encompasses both a private 250 acre Ranch in the Malibu Wine Country as well as an exclusive beachfront Beach Club for its guests." Given that it is a long way to the beach from where they are, using their beach club would be a major pain. And what's that about Malibu having "wine country?"
RichardInSF is offline  
Old Sep 15, 19, 7:30 pm
  #3  
Suspended
Original Poster
Aman Contributor BadgeMarriott 25+ Badge
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Southern California, USA
Programs: Marriott Ambassador and LTT, UA Plat/LT Gold, AA Gold
Posts: 8,754
Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
Wow, how did you find this place? As the FS Westlake Village is a classic FS lite, it would be easy for it to be better.

But still, their website somehow makes me nervous so if you do go, your view will be valuable. Gotta love the description of their location on their website as "the only luxury destination in Malibu that encompasses both a private 250 acre Ranch in the Malibu Wine Country as well as an exclusive beachfront Beach Club for its guests." Given that it is a long way to the beach from where they are, using their beach club would be a major pain. And what's that about Malibu having "wine country?"
I honestly first looked at Valley and other rankings to find anything 4-5* that might be in vicinity of the FS, and then realized Malibu was possible. TripAdvisor was my first mention that made me consider it. Then i asked friends living up there, and many of them knew people who had stayed there for weddings or "luxe" weekends and liked it.

We are only interested in the ranch portion, so the beach element isn't a factor for us at all. The Ranch is just 20 min from our event.

In truth, I am not sure I'd have found this had the FS been available...but I know it's FS lite as you say. (I used to live up there so I know it and have stayed there a few times over the years.) So I'm actually pretty happy that the FS was full up and this worked out this way. Otherwise, we were going to stay in LA at the Pen or SLS again--but that 1+ hr commute wasn't so appealing. This is more appealing even if it's not perfect.

The website makes the accommodation look nice--and their service so far has been very responsive and accommodating. They even seemed very interested in trying to assuage my crazy air con desires, and that isn't so common in my experience. There was no pushback when I asked about it, and I got a follow up email letting me know they're on it. So I'm optimistic.

Regardless, our dog is gonna love it for sure. Easy hiking and trails all around that area. We may even head to the Beach Club so he can run on the beach and we might get to check it out--if time allows. It's been eons since we've been to Malibu.

One friend on my Facebook Luxury Hotels group has stayed here for a wedding, too, as it were. His comment: "Attended a wedding here a few years back and stayed on property. We had one of the suites. The wedding was stunning, the drinks were strong, the memories of our suite fuzzy. But nothing jumps out as “we hated that”."

It's just a night, so a good test case.

(Believe it or not, there are 3-4 wineries in the Malibu Canyon. We wouldn't be interested in any of those, but I can see some casual tourists who decide to do some wine tasting. One of those is supposed to be quite pretty, and the others are still pretty wineries with vineyard settings.)
bhrubin is offline  
Old Sep 15, 19, 7:46 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 140
I attended a memorial service there last year; it is primarily an event venue. The food and service were nice, but it was awkward to avoid a $9 valet parking fee, which was ridiculous given the isolated location. We ended up parking on Mulholland Highway. I can't comment on the accommodations since we didn't spend the night, but if you are comfortable with the accommodation pricing, I suppose $10 for parking is not a big deal, and this is high-prices California. This area was also in the path of the Woolsey Fire a year ago, so I don't know what it looks like now around there, and they are quite lucky the whole place wasn't burned down. It is just 15 minutes from there to the beach, although Zuma Beach is closer than the Beach Club, which is just a restaurant; Corral Beach is across the Pacific Coast Highway and is also, like Zuma, a public beach. The Malibu hills do have a lot of wine grapes planted now, although perhaps a few less acres after fire damage.
bhrubin likes this.
drseagrass is offline  
Old Sep 17, 19, 2:35 pm
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: SEA
Programs: Skymiles Plat/1MM, United Prem, Marriott Silver, HH Gold
Posts: 324
Be sure to include many happy puppy photos in your review
KatW likes this.
lb8001 is offline  
Old Sep 17, 19, 2:38 pm
  #6  
Suspended
Original Poster
Aman Contributor BadgeMarriott 25+ Badge
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Southern California, USA
Programs: Marriott Ambassador and LTT, UA Plat/LT Gold, AA Gold
Posts: 8,754
Originally Posted by lb8001 View Post
Be sure to include many happy puppy photos in your review


Since that is half the reason we are bothering to stay there rather then the more distantly located Pen or SLS in Beverly Hills, I intend to!
lb8001 and offerendum like this.
bhrubin is offline  
Old Sep 23, 19, 9:50 pm
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Lake Oswego, Oregon
Programs: AS MVPG, BA silver, Crystal Society Double Diamond
Posts: 931
I remember Camp Calamigos

When I was a kid in the 60s Calamigos was a Malibu hills summer camp for kids in LA. Funny to see the name here.
obscure2k likes this.
ijkh is offline  
Old Sep 30, 19, 12:23 pm
  #8  
Suspended
Original Poster
Aman Contributor BadgeMarriott 25+ Badge
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Southern California, USA
Programs: Marriott Ambassador and LTT, UA Plat/LT Gold, AA Gold
Posts: 8,754
A Tale of Two Cities: amazing service and public spaces with some disappointments

Calamigos Guest Ranch & Beach Club

Map| 1 Review | 100% Recommended

Calamigos Guest Ranch & Beach Club

327 Latigo Canyon Rd Malibu, California US 90265

A Tale of Two Cities: amazing service & hotel spaces with some major disappointments (73 Photos)

Calamigos Guest Ranch & Beach Club

My husband and I, along with our dog, Macallan, had a single night stay at the Calamigos Guest Ranch this past weekend. We chose it because of its proximity to a surprise party we were attending in Thousand Oaks, about a 20 min drive away. The fact that it also is dog-friendly and has no weight restriction for dogs was also a factor, as Macallan weighs 115 lbs! (The also nearby Four Seasons Westlake Village has only a 30 lb pet limit and also was sold out.)

The property is an interesting mix of numerous event spaces, a concomitant restaurant, and a new hotel with accommodations that only was added about 3 years ago. It was a bit schizophrenic to us, therefore, as the ambience really changed depending on where you were on the property.

20190928_161949.jpg

The hotel lobby and public spaces are quite impressive and absolutely appropriate for the Luxury Hotels Forum.

20190929_112519.jpg

20190929_112411.jpg

20190929_112415.jpg

20190929_112316.jpg

20190928_160416.jpg

20190928_160500.jpg

20190928_170842.jpg

20190928_221609.jpg

The pool area behind the main lobby/reception area was just as impressive:

20190928_170704.jpg

20190928_170647.jpg

20190928_170657.jpg

20190928_170642.jpg

The wooden elevated pathway back to the cottages and bungalows was quite lovely:

20190928_170744.jpg

20190928_170737.jpg

The wall separating the pool area was eclectically mirrored to give the illusion of more forest:

20190928_170812.jpg

We won't talk about these even more eclectic furnishings.

20190928_170558.jpg

Very odd. But memorable!

Behind the main hotel elements were the actual cottages and bungalows. They all looked to be retrofitted pre-fabricated traliers.

20190928_163403.jpg

20190928_170442.jpg

20190928_163413.jpg

The rear view of our Sunset Meadows cottages:

20190928_163524.jpg

Then the ambience changed. There was an activities/reception hall, obviously for major indoor events...but it struck a very different pose than the rest of the buildings and didn't quite seem to fit.

20190928_163519.jpg

Walking farther into the property, the feeling of a tranquil oasis disappeared quite quickly as the event venues clearly came into view.

20190928_170748.jpg

20190928_163532.jpg

20190928_163733.jpg

20190928_163825.jpg

Then it got positively strange, indeed.

20190928_164143.jpg

20190928_164137.jpg

The Malibu Cafe restaurant for the whole resort was back in the midst of this chaos. As a result, we weren't so inclined to eat there. 

20190928_164219.jpg

The Love Lake was a bit...unusual.

20190928_164645.jpg

1_20190928_164748.jpg

20190928_164748.jpg

Continuing to walk, there was a large building which held the Estate Suites, supposedly the nicest accomodations on property. But as they were located right adjacent to the chaos and crowds, I can't say their location appealed too much to us.

20190928_164810.jpg

Just past the Estate Suites building were even more event spaces:

20190928_164854.jpg

20190928_165056.jpg

20190928_165101.jpg

The property was quite well maintained and landscaped, even if the whole enterprise was very eclectic:

20190928_165449.jpg

20190928_165501.jpg

20190928_165510.jpg

20190928_165534.jpg

The spa area had its own separate pool...but wasn't as impressive to us as the main reception/hotel's pool. There also was a strong smell of sulfur nearby which was quite off putting. Once, we even smelled that sulfur smell wafting up towards the lobby patio. 

20190928_170009.jpg

There was a weights room/work out facility:

20190928_170352.jpg

20190928_170401.jpg

We thought the hotel's lobby/reception and pool area were wonderfully tranquil and luxurious. The rest of the property struck a very different chord for us, however. It was a very strange Tale of Two Cities for us. 

Check In

Check in was friendly and pleasant.

The hotel had graciously waived its 2 night minimum stay requirement for us before we booked, and they had given us the entry level room rate ($729 rate, $871.11 total) while upgrading us in advance to the Signaure Single Suite Cottage. 

The walk down to the Cottage was a little confusing despite detailed directions, but a very nice staff member was more than happy to show us the way. 

Room

The Signaure Single Suite Cottage was...fine. Certainly, it was not remotely to the standard that was set by the hotel's lobby/reception/bar and pool deck area.

The room key was unlike any we'd ever seen. 

20190928_163249.jpg

The entrance door led to a small front porch from which there really wasn't any view (other than the modern activities hall blocked mostly by foligage and some interestingly placed large mirrored panels to again give the illusion of more forest coverage).

20190928_162500.jpg

20190928_162520.jpg

Can you see the mirrored panels?

20190928_162552.jpg

20190928_161146.jpg

20190928_161626.jpg

20190928_161558.jpg

20190928_161125.jpg

20190928_161640.jpg

The lack of a full length wardrobe for hanging garments seemed a real fail, especially the available space and considering the events and formal dress this property obviously can attract. 

20190928_161815.jpg

In room amentiies were entirely complimentary:

20190928_161831.jpg

20190928_161852.jpg

20190928_161738.jpg

20190928_161328.jpg

Macallan immediately approved, at least.

20190928_161658.jpg

While the main living and bed areas didn't really impress us as particularly luxurious, the bathroom was to a higher standard.

20190928_161428.jpg

20190928_161441.jpg

20190928_161455.jpg

20190928_162404.jpg

20190928_161507.jpg

The rainfall shower was fine, but it could have stood for more water pressure. Considering the location, however, we thought it was nice. 

20190928_161525.jpg

20190928_162424.jpg

The air con unit worked very well. I had requested in advance that the room be set to 67 F, and we arrived to find it between 65-67 F. I was very pleased.

20190928_162800.jpg

My husband and Macallan were less thrilled to wake up to 62 F, however--but I was in bliss.

20190929_100059.jpg

20190929_100202.jpg

Overally, we were pretty disappointed with the level of accomodation. The interior appointments were nowhere near as good as they should be for the rates charged--and they paled compared to the wonderfully luxurious standard of the hotel entry/lobby/recception. The walls also were paper thin, and we easily could hear people walking by and housekeeping/maintenace at nearby units. There was no disturbance after midnight, fortunately, but that was quite disappointing to us. The units also were so closely located that it really afforded no sense of real privacy. For these rates, we absolutely expected more. 

Service

Service, on the other hand, was stellar. We were mightily surprised and very impressed.

From the moment we arrived until the moment we departed, everyone was enthusiastic, friendly, and always aiming to please and help. It felt like we were returning rather than visiting for the first time. As much as the accommodations disappointed us for this price point, the service easily matched it with room to spare. 

We must have been offered free bottles of water (still or sparkling) a dozen times in our 1 night stay--but always at an appropriate moment. The valets always put water in our car whenever we were departing and always remebered our preferences for sparkling. 

We were delivered a welcome gift of wine soon after getting to our room.

20190928_180950.jpg

20190929_111926.jpg

We had great service for drinks/refreshments out on the lobby patio after our arrival and again inside at the lobby bar at the end of our night after we had returned from our party. There always was someone looking out to make sure we were taken care of. 

We had occasion to meet and chat up the lovely assistant resort manager while having our after party evening drinks in the lobby bar, and she graciously even bought us our second round. She was quite impressive--a great asset to the property to be sure. 

Valets brough out luggage and picked it up quickly as requested. They even were smart enough to realize they shouldn't pack it until we had loaded our dog!

Room service breakfast was as quick as any resort at just under 30 minutes with hot and delicious food. 

Even in the odd event spaces that we weren't as fond of, the staff was always friendly and helpful and eager to please. Everyone is young, but everyone clearly enjoys working there and helping guests. It was very impressive. The thoughtfulness and care shown was almost akin to an Aman!

The room rates are too high, but the service easily is impeccable. That was a real stunner for us. Kudos!

Dining

We only had occasion to have room service breakfast, and it was quite good. We ordered 3 entrees and the total bill came to $60 or so with tax and tip. Not bad. 

20190929_104608.jpg

While the restaurant looked to be a bit too chaotic for all the events going on around it, the food was very tasty and delivered just as we'd have hoped. No complaints there!

20190929_104617.jpg

20190929_104625.jpg

Location

The location was surprisingly convenient for our event in Thousand Oaks. There also is a shuttle to take you to the Beach Club somewhere along the beach proper in Malibu--supposedly just a 10-15 min drive. 

Overall

The resort is a tale of two cities, as I've said: a luxurious hotel lobby/bar/pool mixed with disappointing lower standard accommodations and chaotic and eclectic event spaces and crowds. But the service was impeccable throughout.

At this price point, I think the property needs a serious update and improvement to the accommodations. Better interior appointments, a proper closet/wardrobe, Nespresso coffee makers, better noise proofed walls, etc. They need to be brought to the same standard demonstrated by the hotel lobby/reception.

But the luxury service and the hotel lobby/public spaces are truly wonderful. 

For the price, we wouldn't return to stay until they made the improvements. But I have faith that their team will strive to make improvements. 

A Tale of Two Cities: amazing service & hotel spaces with some major disappointments

Would you like to write a review on the Calamigos Guest Ranch & Beach Club?

No, thank you.
Yes
bhrubin is offline  
Old Sep 30, 19, 12:59 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: NY
Posts: 196
This place gives me a migraine just looking at it. At least they got the a/c correct for you.
bhrubin likes this.
LinLant is offline  
Old Sep 30, 19, 2:05 pm
  #10  
Community Director
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Anywhere warm
Posts: 30,543
That was an entertaining read - and look.
bhrubin and KatW like this.
SanDiego1K is offline  
Old Oct 4, 19, 1:34 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: SEA
Programs: Skymiles Plat/1MM, United Prem, Marriott Silver, HH Gold
Posts: 324
And Macallan is sooo adorable��
KatW and Cardboard55 like this.
lb8001 is offline  
Old Oct 4, 19, 3:56 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: SNA
Posts: 401
Did the rooms feel like trailers from the inside? That seems like such a strange choice, and it seems like it would be hard to remedy with just an update.
Cardboard55 is offline  
Old Oct 5, 19, 3:17 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Here, there you know how it goes.
Posts: 1,516
What an utterly bizarre place.
aa213bb is offline  
Old Oct 5, 19, 5:38 pm
  #14  
Original Member
 
Join Date: May 1998
Location: Northern California USA
Posts: 2,310
Originally Posted by Cardboard55 View Post
Did the rooms feel like trailers from the inside? That seems like such a strange choice, and it seems like it would be hard to remedy with just an update.
One of the more highly regarded luxe venues in Napa is comprised foundationally largely of trailers but that sense is not apparent inside or outside although living rooms are cramped (could be alleviated by less bulky furniture). Calistoga Ranch by Auberge
KatW is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: