I recently returned from leading an eight man golf trip to Half Moon Bay and The Lodge at Pebble Beach. In thinking back over the trip, it is hard to find fault with any aspect of the experience.
The Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay is a stunningly beautiful property, sitting atop a cliff and looming over the two adjacent golf courses. We were housed in the Ocean House, a slightly remote annex to the main hotel. For our purposes, this was ideal, in that we were somewhat isolated from the hustle and bustle of the hotel and they were protected against exposure to our sometimes loud and rowdy group. The hotel was an easy 200 yard walk along the 18th fairway of the Old Course. The view was magnificent: The Pacific Ocean, the 18th hole of the Old Course and the Ritz Carlton itself made an amazing visual trifecta.
The hotel sports an outdoor gathering area, featuring a hot tub, firepit, bar area and large seating area which overlooks both the 18th hole of the Old Course and the Pacific Ocean. Quite a gathering spot in the evenings for sunsets and a built in gallery for those finishing up their rounds.
Unlike many who have posted, we found the service to be everything you'd expect from a Ritz. No complaints. The golf courses were very well maintained. The Old Course was more of a parkland style course with only the final two holes playing in sight of the Ocean. The Ocean Course, on the other hand, is a links style course with very little protection from the elements and near constant views of both the Ocean and the spectacular hotel in the back ground.
It should be noted that Half Moon Bay Golf Club is not affiliated with the Ritz Carlton, despite being virtually on top of each other. As a result, there is not perfect coordination between the two. We booked a "stay and play" package, only to have a problem getting a tee time due to a scheduled tournament that the Ritz apparently didn't even know about. The golf course grill, Mullins, is perfectly suitable for a quick lunch or a casual dinner, but doesn't accept room charges to the Ritz.
The primary restaurant at the Ritz, Navio, was above average but not spectacular. The wine bar is a very nice touch.
One complaint. For some reason, many upper scale hotels have made the decision to do away with in-room coffee makers. It's a real pain to have to go to the lobby to get coffee, but even more so when located in a remote annex such as the Ocean House.
In any event, if you're planning a golf trip to Carmel, give a thought to motoring up the coast, schedule a round at Pasatiempo in Santa Cruz and continue for another hour north to Half Moon Bay. Bring money.