Over the last year, I have focused on sharing travel experiences from awesome locations here in our very own United States! For some people, enduring a long flight and making all the necessary arrangements involved with international travel can be too much. Thankfully, the diversity of the States offers ample options in domestic luxury travel. California alone has many diverse regions to explore and please different travel interests (wine tasting, surfing, shopping, golf, scenic driving).
When I saw a photograph of Half Moon Bay, California, I knew immediately that I wanted to visit this destination and see the beautiful coastal landscape for myself. But when I realized Half Moon Bay was an easy 45 minute drive from San Francisco, my excitement only grew with the convenience factor. Because of the close proximity to San Francisco, visiting Half Moon Bay can be a great addition to your California itinerary. Additionally, I often suggest to friends traveling to San Francisco for business to consider extending their stay to visit a nearby region. One of my favorite weekend getaway destinations from the San Francisco Bay Area is The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay.
Catching Sunset over Half Moon Bay
After an easy 45 minute drive out from the San Francisco International Airport, we arrived to the one and only luxury ocean front resort in the entire Bay Area – The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay. The hotel is perched atop a rugged bluff overlooking 50+ miles of pristine California coastline. Featuring oceanfront guest rooms, a sensational spa, 36-holes of championship golf, and daily romantic sunsets, The Ritz-Carlton facilitates the ultimate environment for fun and relaxation.
Arriving in the late afternoon, I immediately took to the lawn for a glass of cold Chardonnay where I snapped some of the best photographs of my travel adventures to date. Due to all the rain California has had this year, the green grass was sparkling bright and looks almost fake in the unedited shots I captured below. I sat on the lawn taking in the beautiful sounds of the bagpiper who played his pipes until the sun finally set over the ocean. It was glorious.
We stayed in an oceanfront suite which has a standard bedroom and master bathroom fully equipped with all the 5-star amenities you would expect from a Ritz property (plush bedding, entertainment, toiletries). The highlight of these rooms are the large windows overlooking the Pacific coast. This room is ideal for couples who want a bright view and who do not require extra space. Inside the room I enjoyed the sweet treat from the Ritz which included an assortment of vegetable spreads and fresh bread. At nighttime the temperature drops and the air can be quite chilly. Preparing a hot bubble bath with complimentary salts and soaps is an ideal wind-down activity during your stay, trust me.
For those seeking more time outdoors or perhaps more space, 62 of the suites offer a private outdoor patio with a gas fire pit. These rooms are located on the first floor of the property and can offer guests the opportunity to relax fireside to the sound of ocean waves before climbing a mere five steps to bed.
The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay property boasts a 16,000-square foot spa featuring separate men and women’s changing rooms/lounge areas for privacy. While there are segregated lounge areas, the space also features a co-ed Roman mineral bath with a lounge and fireplace which is nice if you would like to spend some relaxation time with a partner of the opposite sex. The spa has 15 private treatment rooms and offers a variety of different packages to choose from. I was excited to learn that the Ritz team invited me to test-out one of the most luxurious spa offerings that has not yet been formally added to the menu — the Diamond Facial. After soaking up the sauna, steam and whirlpool amenities, I happily subjected myself for facial testing involving my favorite gems – yes, diamonds.
The ultimate Diamond Facial is a 120-minute beauty service of pure decadence. During this specialty facial, the skin is infused with the purity of diamond powder and tourmaline which revitalize the skin to a youthful glow. One of the highlights of this facial was the stellar product line used on the skin. While the products provide dramatic aesthetic benefit for the skin, I enjoyed the texture and smell of the diamond infused creams and cleansers which were massaged carefully onto the face. If you request this specialty off-menu facial soon enough, you will likely receive the Diamond Collection Giftset package as a freebie with your service (while supplies last). A week after my Diamond Facial experience, my skin was glowing bright and I did not need a smidge of foundation because of the conformity in my skin color. My conclusion is that when it comes to both jewelry and facials, diamonds really are a girl’s best friend. Try it for yourself and ask for this specialty off-menu experience, you will not be disappointed.
Eat, Drink and Repeat
There are several delicious dining options at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay. For casual outdoor dining, you can order from the grill menu during weekend service. The grill menu offers casual bites such as the lobster roll, burger and plates that are best for sharing, including fine cheese plates. One of the highlights of the outdoor dining experience is the Ritz S’mores Kit which can be shared by the fireside with four people.
Breakfast and dinner is served at Navio which is a nautical designed space featuring a display kitchen, private dining room and chef’s table. The chef makes an asparagus cheddar omelet which is not surprisingly a favorite of many guests. For a less formal dining experience, the Conservatory offers lunch and dinner in an impressive dining room overlooking the ocean. Here you can enjoy a local farms-inspired menu. I tried the clam chowder for lunch and the pork chop for dinner – both were excellent, especially to the backdrop of the breathtaking view.
One of the food and beverage highlights of this particular oasis is the Cork Wine Bar, which offers guests a selection over 5,000 bottles of international wines. You can opt for wine by the glass or taste several sips by ordering customized flights.
What an incredible stay at The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay – stunning views, relaxing ambiance, delicious food and wine, all provided with superior service. Thanks to my friends at Ritz-Carlton for making this stay extra special.