Hotel Reviews Marriott Rewards (replaced by Marriott Bonvoy)

Surfers Healing at Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel

Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kelly Slater 11-time world champ surfer and Mark Harmon with the actor crew cast of NCIS were unexpected encounters at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, Orange County, southern California.

I didn’t see these celebrities in person. Their signatures and artistic inspiration on surfboards are displayed this month in the lobby hallways of the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel as part of the surfboards in the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel Fourth Annual Holiday Surfboard Auction through December 31, 2011.  Surfboard auction proceeds benefit Surfers Healing, a charity to  support children with autism through surfing.

NCIS cast signed surfboard for Surfers Healing auction.


In the case of Kelly Slater, who gained his 11th and latest world title last month in San Francisco and is the oldest person at 39 years of age to win the surfing world title, a piece of his broken surfboard recovered from this year’s September 2011 Quiksilver Pro New York competition.

Kelly Slater surfboard tail from Quiksilver Pro New York Sep 2011.

The views are good from this top of the bluffs location of the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel sitting about 150 feet above the Pacific Ocean beach in the oceanside community of Dana Point, Orange County, California.

Raya Restaurant window view at Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.

There are luxurious aspects of this hotel including the beachfront setting, fitness room and lobby. There are also some over-the-top features like gold painted fire hydrants in the entry drive.

Perhaps enriched water flows from gold fire hydrants.

The beauty of hotels for me is their design in places where you might not otherwise be able to locate yourself in a comfortable style. I have hiked to Monarch Beach with a six-pack of beer and sat in the sand drinking beer and watching the sunset. That is a great way to spend an evening. I even saw dolphins from my vantage point a few feet away from the Pacific Ocean surf.

I don’t have friends in California with beachfront mansions. So some hotels in coastal California are like my own public space beach mansions.  I can come as an individual, or with my wife or family and hang out for much of the day in a nice hotel without staying overnight. Some drinks and a meal in a lovely setting beats heading to Chili’s or a crowded brewery for socializing.

180 Blu Lounge on patio of Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.
Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel 180 Blu patio

The fitness room sits below the 180 Blu Lounge patio with large picture windows for workout dreamy views.

Workout with an ocean view.

Ritz-Carlton spa has lovely sights and sounds.

Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel spa.

The pool area was not being used most of the day even though the temperature was in the low 60s and the water was warm.

Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel main pool.
Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel main pool and tennis courts in background.

The main pool area is located by the south wing of the hotel. The north wing of the hotel has its own smaller pool.

Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel smaller pool by north wing of hotel.

The north side of the hotel looks out over Monarch Beach and the golf course. Through the golf course is the public beach access path from St. Regis Monarch Beach to the beach. The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel has a beach access path along the south side of the hotel. Public access to California beaches through private lands since the 1970s requires beachfront hotels to maintain a public access walkway to the beach under the Coastal Access Program.

Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel north wing view.
Clifftop gazebo seating at Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.

The views are good from the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel sitting above Monarch Beach and gazing out over the Pacific Ocean beach with views of the islands off the coastline of California.


Edible Paradise

Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel has a beach community take on the edible holiday art in the lobby.

Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel "The Pilgrim Tall Ship in Dana Point"

This is one of three edible art pieces at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel. The ship’s sails are made of 100 pounds of white chocolate. The sea is 625 pounds of candy.

The Pilgrim tall ship edible art structure.
35 boxes of cereal, 254 pounds of gingerbread, 350 pounds of icing

This landscape required 1,600 hours of construction led by Executive Pastry Chef Brian Sundeen and Assistant Pastry Chef Daniel Dominguez. Jonathan Limebrook handcrafted the ship structure.

LOVE is one of two Anthony Kiedis surfboards in Surfers Healing auction.

There are beautiful spaces and objects all around to see.

Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel lobby surfboard display.
Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel private dining room.
Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel lobby glass art.
Surfers Healing auction items in Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel hallway.

Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel standard guest rooms are 400 square feet in size which is smaller than the average size room for a luxury hotel. Typical winter rates for standard rooms are in the $375 to $425 range for the lowest priced rooms with a $25 per day resort fee additional. Ocean view standard rooms run $100 to $150 per night more. $545 to $675 for Club level standard room depending on view type. Executive Suites are 784 square feet which is a good size room and come with views of the gardens or ocean and run from about $675 to $1,000 for a one bedroom coastline view.

Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel, Dana Point, California
Monarch Beach view from Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.

Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel is a Marriott Rewards Tier 3 hotel at 50,000 points per night.



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