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“We Left a Big Tip” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay

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The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
5.0 of 5 Resort   |   1 Miramontes Point Road, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019   |  
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Special Offer
$100 Resort Credit
Ranked #2 of 8 Hotels in Half Moon Bay
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Huntington Beach, California
Top Contributor
300 reviews 300 reviews
93 hotel reviews
Reviews in 118 cities Reviews in 118 cities
241 helpful votes 241 helpful votes
“We Left a Big Tip”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 8, 2011

Many months ago my wife and I took advantage of a discounted offer (like Groupon) that provided a below market rate for a Ritz Carlton room plus $150.00 in value from Restaurant.com. While we had not stayed at the Ritz Carlton during my daughter's wedding the previous year, we did stay in Half Moon Bay and were very familiar with the Ritz Carlton rates. This was a great rate even without the Restaurant.com component.

Because of the low rate I was concerned if we would be able to stay during the Thanksgiving holiday. I was assured by the provider that we could so we booked three nights beginning on Wednesday. We arrived early, about 2:00 pm, hopeful we could get into a room. The "lobby hostess" escorted us from our car to the reception desk where we were greeted by name and offered a glass of complimentary wine. During the course of registration my wife asks if they were going to be full during the holiday. We were told that they were only about 40% booked for this day but will be nearly full both Thursday night and Friday as people stay following their well known Thanksgiving buffet.

Although difficult to tell from a distance, the hotel is built somewhat on a hillside facing the ocean (it reportedly took 20 yeas to go through the approval process before this building was completed in 2000). So when you enter the elevator you become aware that the lobby is floor 3, the exercise room and spa is floor 2 and some lower ocean view rooms are actually floor 1. We were assigned to floor 4 which initially I thought sounded pretty good. But it turns out the room is essentially the second floor with our view being the roof underneath which people pull up in their cars and are greeted by the valets.

My immediate dilemma was to decide if this less than ideal room was a consequence of intent (you get what you pay for, Mr. Coupon man!) or purely luck of the draw on the Ritz Carlton least-expensive room roulette. As I stewed about what to do, my wife blithely unpacked her clothes. Then I decided it was worth the effort to go back downstairs and ask, "If you are only 40% occupied, is there not a better room somewhere in that price range? And if there is not, can I pay a little more and see some of that ocean that I came here for?"

The gal who checked us in was busy with another guest but the young man she had been training quickly asked if he could help. Once I explained my concern about the room he excused himself to go into the office to find someone, apparently, of greater authority than a trainee. A young lady appeared, listened to our story, then offered another room in the same category or, she said, for $100.00 more a night she could offer us a much better view.

I am not made of money but we already had the benefit of our bargain so we agreed to the $100.00 and a sixth floor (the top floor) room. They offered to move our things. I demurred saying we had inconvenienced them and we proceeded to the new room. It was wonderful. It was an end room meaning windows on two sides. It was a south facing view including the coastline running up to the 18th green of the Ocean Course. We could hear the crashing of the waves if we opened the window just a bit.

But this is not the happy ending you expect. After our trials and tribulations to get this room, of which we were satisfied with both the Ritz Carlton's response and their efforts to please us, we decided to go to the wine bar, Eno, to watch the sun set (it was about 4:30 pm). It was with every intention that we going to have a glass of wine and then go to The Conservatory Lounge for dinner but the young sommelier at the wine bar, Peter Estrada, was so delightful that we ordered dinner there.

During the course of our evening with Peter we mentioned the experience we had with checking in and upgrading to a better room. He was more than acutely interested even saying that "That's not right, they shouldn't have charged you for the upgrade" but we shrugged, said we loved the room, and thought no more about it.

A few moments later Peter's boss, Ian Cauble, appeared and after they both went into the glass enclosed wine cellar, Ian came out, introduced himself and said he was going to "take care of us." He then went on to say that Peter is right. The front desk should not have charged us for the upgrade given that we weren't happy with our first room and there was availability in the hotel. Furthermore, he said, he was the Manager On Duty that night and he would see what he could do to accommodate us.

What we didn't know is that Ian Cauble is pretty famous. Just two months earlier he had returned from Athens, Greece where he won the Best Young Sommelier in the World title. But we didn't hear anything about that. What Ian did was remove the $100.00 up-charge and apologize profusely for the "problems."

I thought we were done with the "problems" but it turns out we weren't. A short time later I see Ian in front of Eno (Ian is the head sommelier at the Ritz Carlton's famous Navio restaurant) pointing us out to a young lady. They proceed to walk toward us at which point Ian introduces us to Kerry, the front desk manager. She apparently had seen Ian's change on our reservation and had asked him what happened. This set off yet another round of "that's not the way it should have happened" and an apology.

This post is long enough. Suffice to say we were overwhelmed with the multiple members of the Ritz Carlton family of employees who not only took care of us, but continued to be concerned about our well being and our experience at the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay. Kudos to all of them. (Of course we left a big tip for Peter and Ian)

Room Tip: It was explained there are 16 types of rooms in this hotel based on size, amenities but also view. I...
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,013 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (299)
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English first
Renton, Washington
Top Contributor
392 reviews 392 reviews
113 hotel reviews
Reviews in 127 cities Reviews in 127 cities
231 helpful votes 231 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 7, 2011

I attended a conference here for work and the ballrooms and catering was quite lovely. The hotel rooms have beautiful marble bathrooms and gas fireplaces and this whole hotel is located on the ocean (breathtaking views) and has a wonderful golf course. Great walking path along the cliffs (though not lit at night except by the moon. It is a wonderful place to hold a conference or for a romantic get away.

  • Stayed December 2011, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Orinda, California
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed December 6, 2011

This was only because the food was so surprisingly bad in a place where the view was shockingly good. We started with a $16 bloody mary that was the most unnoteworthy bloody ever sold. I've seen more flourish in a $5 bloody mary sold at a horse race track. The $16 cheeseburger had to be sent back on account of being burned and neither boy could/would eat it. The caesar salad was a disappointment. The potato chips were good and we thank the fine people at the factory where they came from. ALL of this was made up for with the unbelievable view of the Pacific Ocean and the fine terrace of the Ritz.

  • Stayed May 2011, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BC Canada
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
30 helpful votes 30 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2011

Met up with friends from UK and CA - stayed on the club floor which was an excellent place . It enaled us to m eet up for cocktails and small talk before enjoying wonderful at the Nuevo restuarant.
Great food, great ambiance...a perfect place for lovers of all ages.

Room Tip: Club floor has great ocean view rooms with window seats, and great bathrooms.
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  • Stayed October 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Santa Barbara, California
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 29, 2011

We have stayed at numerous Ritz locations and it's time I write a review so guests know what to expect. The location of this hotel is quite beautiful and would be a perfect retreat for a golf trip. The weather while visiting was serene and definitely made the experience more enjoyable. Overall, the hotel is very clean so if that's important then you won't be dissapointed, but the room we had was small. You are paying for that view of the golf course with a peak of the ocean.

We stayed in the terrace fire pit room and had fun making S'mores with our daughter. One negative point for the terrace room is that you are so close to the other guest rooms with fire pits and can hear everything they are saying.

Honestly, the Ritz service isn't the same at this hotel. The reception check-in was ok, but barely gave any information for our first visit to this location. We had amenities for the Amex fine hotels and resorts, but didn't receive anything here. It is the first time we weren't upgraded at a hotel under the program and we weren't allowed to pay the difference for the club level....even though this hotel still showed availability on-line that morning. It seemed as though reception didn't check status and was nervous about guests waiting in line behind us. This wasn't the usual Ritz service we receive and something was missing from employees. Also, we should have received a spa credit and that wasn't even mentioned. Completely dissapointed with our expected amenities and that ruined the start of our trip at this hotel.

We did enjoy the view from the terrace restaurant plus the food was delicious. Please keep in mind that part of the people on the terrace appeared as if they weren't hotel guests at all......just enjoying the setting. This spot is very overrun with tourists.

Our stay at the Ritz San Francisco a few night before was such a different experience! Check-in service was amazing, housekeeping was sweet, all staff said hello and the bellman went above the job description. The Ritz Half Moon Bay is not the same Ritz experience you might expect if you have spent time with this hotel group. Comparison of price plus service makes us appreciate the other Ritz locations.

Room Tip: terrace fire pit rooms are small
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  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
58 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
68 helpful votes 68 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2011

Located on a picturesque cliff overlooking the ocean, our coastline view actually looking mostly at the golf course with partial ocean view. The view might be better on a higher floor but we are on the terrace room with fire pit. The furnishing is just what one would expect from the Ritz. It is an easy walk to the beach with good tidal pools. We saw starfish, sea anemones and small fish. It was Friday night and there was a bagpiper playing. The $8 hot chocolate is just delicious. Dinner at Navio was superb with reasonable prize ( better value than the $38 breakfast buffet). It was an easy drive from San Francisco. We also went to Natural Bridge Park about an hour away for the monarch butterfly that migrated there during the winter time. Tennis court, racquets, and wi-fi were included with resort fees. It is certainly ranked among one of the best hotel that we have stayed in.

  • Stayed November 2011, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
20 reviews 20 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 16, 2011

Even if you don't stay overnight here, come her for the day for the views, they are amazing.
We visited for our anniversary and stayed in one of the small cottages off to the side as we bought our two dogs with us.
Check in was a bit of a nightmare, we were told that our room wasnt ready and would be about 30 mins, so they would call us, so we went and sat outside (as we had the dogs) and waited, after an hour no call, so we went back in and were told it was ready and they were waiting for us.
The staff throughout the hotel were really friendly.
The cottage room we had was OK, the bathroom was really nice with a huge tub, and we had our own fire pit. We ordered the smores kit - if you get this buy it from the guy selling the hot chocolate by the main fire pit, otherwise it costs a small fortune with the extra room charges! - even better stop at the grocery store on the way and buy your own supplies!
The hot chocolate at the main fire pit was really nice, and we enjoyed listening to the bagpipe piper, made the sunset extra special. We spent an hour or so by the outdoor main fire pit which was nice as we were able to have our dogs with us there, was nice to snuggle up with a blanket and chat to other guests.
We used the room service to order breakfast the next morning which was really nice.
For those of you who havent checked out the prices, it isn't cheap, I think you could have just as much fun going there for the day and parking up and enjoying the views then driving home, and saving your self a good few $100 dollars!

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay

Address: 1 Miramontes Point Road, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Half Moon Bay
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Half Moon Bay
#2 Romantic Hotel in Half Moon Bay
#3 Family Hotel in Half Moon Bay
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay 5*
Number of rooms: 261
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, an elite golf and spa resort hotel. With two distinct guest room experiences from the guest houses to our main building, the hotel combines the beauty of the Northern California coast with the history of old Scotland. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay Hotel Half Moon Bay
Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay
Ritz Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay Ritz Carlton

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