By Evan Hosie
While we haven’t visited every Ritz Carlton (our ultimate goal), their luxury property in Laguna, Southern California, has to be one of their premiere hotels, just for the location alone. The 27 year-old hotels is perched on a cliff overlooking Salt Creek Beach, giving most of the hotel a panoramic view of sand and surf.
The first night we tried the flagship restaurant, Raya, with floor to ceiling glass windows. It was hard to concentrate of the food at sunset, with the ocean reflecting the sky dramatic colors.
Featuring Pan-Latin Coastal Cuisine, prepared with sustainable seafood, local produce, natural and organic meat and seasoned to the chef’s Latin leanings, there wasn’t a sour note in any dish, but the Sweet Corn Soup (huitlacoche / avocado / mussels / dungeness crab / maine lobster / masa / popcorn shoot) was a stand-out, as were the Lobster Tacos (flour tortilla / black bean purée / chile de arbol salsa / avocado / cilantro.)
For our “Large Plate” we had the Organic King Salmon ( togarashi smoked bacon yu choy / chayote salad / enoki mushroom / chipotle aioli / achiote ponzu sauce) which was elegantly presented but if anything suffered from too many ingredients.
The next morning we ventured down to the beach (there’s an open-air shuttle if you’re feeling lazy) and stopped at the Beach Butler Concierge stand for our chairs, umbrella, towels, and of course, boogie boards. They will set everything up for you but we’re beach folks so we’re used to carrying our own gear.
If there’ s a golfer with you, the Ritz has preferred golf tee-times at Monarch Beach Golf Links, including shuttle service and golf bag storage.
After a salty swim we took a dip in one of the two pools, which serves food and the all-important cocktail. There’s also two outdoor whirlpools in case you overdid it at the beach volleyball game.
On the well-tended lawn area overlooking the Pacific Ocean, we lounged in Adirondack chairs and watched our second spectacular sunset. When we couldn’t find a bottle opener for our sparkly water, one of the staff sprinted to the restaurant to get us one – typical of the world-class service we’ve found in every Ritz Carlton.
When it came time to leave all the staff wished us “come back soon!” and you felt like they meant it. Next up: another mini-vacation at another Ritz.
Main Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Ritz
Other Photo credits: Mackenzie Quinn
When she’s not shopping or testing beauty products, Evan Hosie writes gadget reviews for the site Popgadget.net