After upgrading our AMEX card to Platinum, we decided on a spur-of-the-moment trip to see if the benefits were worth the cost. Wow! Were they ever! One call to American Express travel took care of the details and we were on our way.
From the moment we arrived to when we departed the atmosphere, service and substance of the property never failed to impress. Our American Express benefits were the icing on the cake.
We booked the most inexpensive room available for one night. When we arrived, the hotel upgraded our room to a 600 sq ft ocean view room, provided a $70 gift certificate to the hotel gift shop and promised a free continental breakfast the next morning. While we did not use it on this trip, we also could have had a Noon check-in and 4 PM check-out.
The room was on the small side, but magnificent none-the-less. I laughed when I saw the minibar cabinet labeled "Private Wine Cellar" until I opened it and found it was double the normal size with 6 full bottles of various wines in addition to the usual snacks, etc. The bathroom was a dream with the best personal care products we have ever seen. We even purchased some to take home with us! The continental breakfast the next morning was excellent with bowls of fresh raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and strawberries and enough pastry to feed a large family.
While the accommodations are great, it is the service that makes the Ritz stand out. Every single level of service far exceeded my expectations. Nobody ever failed to greet us, many times by name. It is an interesting experience to walk down a hall and have the staff (who is discretely connected by radio) say "Hello, Mr. X" and "Good Morning, Mr. X" when you haven't met them yet. When we asked for extra bath products, we neglected to remove the "Do Not Disturb" sign from our door. After calling housekeeping, I was surprised about 2 minutes later to have the phone ring and be told that the staff was outside my door and did not knock because my sign was there. When we wanted to go to downtown Half Moon Bay (the shopping and food are outstanding!) we were told that the valet would take care of our request. After speaking with the valet, he immediately arranged for a private chauffer to take us to our destination. For the return trip we were provided with a cell phone number. After dining, I asked the hostess to place the call for us and the car (a black Cadillac Escalade) was waiting for us when we exited the restaurant.
The lounge, fire pit, spa, golf course and wine cellar all match the service and substance of the room - it's a full package of excellence.
If you ever need to feel like royalty when you get away, this hotel is the place to go!
Negatives: Emergency flashlight needed to be replaced, some paperwork did not match our American Express benefits (but we got all of the benefits without asking). $35 parking fee is excessive.
Positives: Service! Service! Oh yah - Service! Beautiful coastline, exquisite surroundings inside and out.