The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
One Ritz Carlton Dr, Dana Point, CA 92629, USA
Photo by Amanda Friedman, AFAR Media
The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna NiguelTotal immersion is the draw of the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, which sits on a bluff 150 feet above the Pacific’s craggy coastline. The hotel delivers Ritz-Carlton’s trademark luxury—two pools with bucolic garden views, beach butlers on the sand—but also an authentic sense of place. Naturalists lead whale-watching and snorkeling excursions, as well as an ocean-inspired art program that was developed by marine-life artist Wyland. Spa treatments include seaweed wraps, marine collagen facials, and a foot massage inspired by the rhythm of the ocean. Even the resort’s marble-bedecked interiors integrate the environment, including a sculpture in the lobby by artist James Aarons made of 225 ceramic and gold pieces inspired by American cliff swallows, which migrate through the area. Shuttles take guests to and from the swimmable, surfable Salt Creek public beach below. Meals at the six restaurants are indulgent but never fussy, whether it’s pasture-raised beef and artisanal cheese at enoSTEAK, or pan-seared scallops with morita-glazed pork belly at the pan-Latin restaurant Raya. Pro tip: Before the sun dips below the horizon, grab a spot by a fire pit at the lounge 180blu, order a tamarind-togarashi margarita, and enjoy the views of the Pacific.