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“It's the View Baby!”

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The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
Ranked #2 of 12 Hotels in Dana Point
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
Palm Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
112 reviews
71 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
“It's the View Baby!”
Reviewed July 30, 2007

Fabulous property with breathtaking views and superb service. Decor is different than other RC Hotels -- but we liked that. No, it's not Pottery Barn, as some have suggested, but it is more modern and we found that refreshing. The "signature" RC look is a little old ladyish. Beds are to die for. Splurge for Ocean Front. Rooms are on the small side -- but made up for by the expansive views. Fitness Center has the best view on the property -- floor to ceiling windows overlooking the coast. The only negatives are that the bar is small for a property of this size and it can be difficult to find a place to sit at times and there are a lot of weddings going on and you will undoubtedly end up strolling through one in your swimsuit if you are not careful. Breakfast options are limited so walk over to Mezzaluna or Starbucks (a two minute walk ) if you don't want to spend $30 a person on breakfast or just want a latte. Final bonus -- adults only pool.

  • Liked — The spectacular view.
  • Disliked — Small weddings outside our ocean front room limited use of our wonderful lanai -- unless we wanted to be sitting in the middle of someone else's wedding.
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank tabarber99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • Location
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  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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Columbus, Ohio
Level Contributor
129 reviews
57 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 146 helpful votes
Reviewed July 28, 2007

This was our first stay at this property and we were disappointed. The rooms, restaurants, amenities and service were not even five star let alone up to what we expect from a Ritz property. The only thing it has to recommend it are the views which ARE spectacular. It's too bad that the property does not live up to them. Quite frankly, I feel this hotel simply does not deliver as a luxury property and we will not stay there again. It should be a four star.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Service, amenities, overall quality of the property
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled on business
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Tess G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Alberta
Level Contributor
23 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
Reviewed July 25, 2007

After reading the reviews of this property extensively, I decided to book this hotel. My choice was based on the hotel's proximity to the ocean and the expectation of excellent service. We booked a Re-connect Pkg for $725/night.

The pros:

-View and location
-Beds are comfy and done up well (the highlight of the room).
-Some nice touches like personalized check-in directly in your room albeit some confusion with questions asked and luggage tags etc.
-Beautiful views and decor in main areas of hotel.
-Nice internet booths.
-Valet efficient

The cons:

1) Room is tiny and decorated mediocre with some very outdated finishing just covered up with a fresh coat of paint (i.e. trim and walls). Some walls were the lumpy/bumpy popcorn style walls I've usually only seen in older substandard hotels. Lower ceilings, not a great deal of storage space for a beach resort. Showers were tubs and curtains - not up to par in my book. Had a tough time finding a place for our empy luggage so we weren't tripping over them. Housekeeping was okay, some inconsistencies, nothing too earth shattering. Robes but no slippers were provided, finally on day three I asked for slippers and the housekeeping staff said "I think we're still providing them in the room - but I'll have some brought to you". Balconies are cement floors and walls (on third floor anyways) so yes it was nice to have a set of slippers on hand.

2)Noise level from the HALLS as stated in many of the other reviews - absolutely true (there was no apparant noise from beside us, just out in the halls). For example at one point I left the room briefly and could still hear my son's voice when I had walked down the hall a room or so. One evening (or morning) we were awakened abruptly at 2:00 am by someone speaking in the hall- it sounds like they are in your room with you it's so loud. This is just normal conversation, not yelling. At a couple of points I considered stuffing a bath mat around the base of the door in hopes of muffling the sound but it seemed after the first night things improved (i.e. no one was talking in the halls late at night).

3)Dining options, it's pretty much one-stop dining or room service. There was mixed info on when the pool was open for food service. The first day we arrived it was late afternoon and we were hoping to have lunch. The restaurant said they were no longer serving lunch and it was too early to have dinner and they weren't sure if the pool grill kitchen was open so we could have appetizers only or order room service. This was disappointing and substandard to me - which I'm sure they could see by my response. We did end up staying and ordering appetizers and the waiter asked permission to have a pizza made for my son - which the kitchen did agree to (thankfully). Food was fairly good.

4)Another con stated previously is the fact that there are two sides (wings) in the hotel, with the dining room located smack dab in the middle. If your room is located in wing away from the pool and beach cabbanna you must traipse through the restaurant in your pool/beach attire, past the host/hostesses, and all onlooking diners in order to get to the other side. When I was told this by the person who checked me in - I stated my discomfort and she said it was a beach resort and it's perfectly acceptable to go through the dining room. I asked if there was another way and she said we would have to go through the lower level conference area which would be much the same and we should just go through the dining room. Well, after once or twice of running the gauntlet I opted to walk outside or through the conference area which was much better. We would sometimes be coming or going to the beach or pool around dinner time and I am not comfortable parading through the dining room in next to nothing, sun hats and beach bags in tow. It felt like the catwalk in some bizarre fashion show. Come on now people!

5)Concierge was adequate, but very generic I found. The towncar service was handled well by the concierge, but when promised an email confirmation of same - it never came. I had to make another long distance call to confirm. They would provide you with the basics, but no expert and personalized assistance here, just the bear minimum. Lists of recommeded restaurants were handed out instead of a more personalized recommendation. Directions needed to be requested and then weren't always accurate. Some requests were not attempted to be handled at all. I asked if there was a high-end denim store in Laguna they knew of. They didn't know and didn't offer to find out. This was disappointing, but not surprising to me by now.

6)Staff in general - many inconsistencies in the staff and overall knowledge of the property. Some housekeeping staff would not even make eye contact others seemed fine. My son mentioned that it seemed some of the staff were overdoing it a bit - overly nice - I had to laugh and agree (contrived may have been the word he was looking for). Every time I asked a question of the hotel staff, they didn't seem to know the answer and often couldn't find out efficiently and consistently what the answer was. i.e:
-We booked the reconnect pkg - no one told us how to get our "picnic basket" or quite knew how - we think you order from room service they said. We never did receive the childrens gift that comes with this package. The person who checked us in was very kind and tried to give us some info on our credits etc, but really didn't know what they were and had to call down to clarify - I'm still not sure myself, but just couldn't be bothered to hash it out with her after a long and tiring journey.
-Also we were whisked away from our towncar the moment we got out and escorted immediately to our room (which was nice), but once there the check-in person asked for our luggage tags and she would have our luggage sent up. I said they didn't give me any, you literally whisked me away when the bags were still in the trunk. Lovely touch, to do the personalized check-in, but for heaven's sake, get the details right - what's the point if it's a jumbled mess?
-Is there a kids club every day or just weekends? We'll never know...neither will they.
-Could I bring my son to the fitness centre to sit and wait for me? No, he must to go to kids club for an hour or two there's no where for him to wait in the fitness centre. Kids club wasn't on and according to their literature was only available by half days. Furthermore, when I later asked the attendant at the fitness centre she said my son absolutely could wait for me there...
-Is the pool dining area open and when? Not sure...never did find out the mystery here...
-Could we book a tennis court? Hotel staff is not sure whether it's the fitness centre or the SPA who books. SPA ends up booking and saying come on down - but doesn't tell us where to check in - I have to ask. I ask if they have rackets to borrow and where to go. SPA guy's not sure, and says just come down and there will be a pool attendant available to get you everything you need and show you where the courts are (the entrance is somewhat hidden). No pool attendant is there when we go down. We have no idea where the raquets/balls or courts are and wander around searching until we finally stumble upon a chest full of rackets (no balls), then eventually find the entrance to the courts and hope to find a lost ball somewhere...again a bit lacking.

Overall a beautiful view from public areas, not great rooms in my opinion and the staff does try, but doesn't always suceed. Some hits, lots of misses. What makes a great experience for me is when service is handled in a proactive manner. This hotel is often in the reactive mode, unfortunately.

  • Liked — The views from public areas.
  • Disliked — Age of hotel rooms/inconsistent service.
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
6 Thank noname36
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Decatur,GA
Level Contributor
14 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
Reviewed July 22, 2007

I rated the stay overall as Terrible...not what I would expect for an expensive weekend at a Ritz property in Southern CA. Also note that I wrote a letter to the Manager of the hotel, George Munz, and I never received a response.

Check-In: issues when the front desk employee told me that there was a problem with my credit card (Platinum Amex) and I asked was she sure. She appeared to have a negative attitude towards me at that point stating there is a problem and asked for another credit card. When the 2nd card "didn't work" I asked if there was an issue with their system and she said no and didn't not appear very polite. After another 5 minutes of waiting she abruptly said that there must be an issue with the hotel system and "one of your credit cards will get charged". I found this front desk service level to be poor especially after reading a case study in business school about Ritz-Carlton being the gold standard for customer service.

Once we approached the room, housekeeping was still in our room (it was approx 10:45pm). The housekeeper left and approx an hour later, we discovered a pair of women's underwear on the floor behind the bathroom door. Again, not what we would expect for a $350 a night room. When we called the front desk, they simply stated "that's disgusting" and didn't even offer to change our room or at minimum have housekeeping come back to inspect the room and remove the underwear. I found this level of service to be sub-standard.

The physical property location is prime and is situated on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. A nice aspect was the grassy area where they have chairs where you can sit overlooking the water and write in Ritz-Carlton journals.

Housekeeping during our stay was inconsistent. Some days we got a bathmat, some days they didn't leave us one. One day we had morning breakfast order forms, the rest of the weekend we had to call and request them.

I can report that the Concierge service was excellent...they arranged a car service to LAX and charged everything to the room which is convenient.

Overall, I was turned off by the problems we had and had higher hopes for a Ritz experience which seemed to overshadow the good points. We will choose other properties along PCH that we have stayed at before such as the suite rooms at the Holiday Inn next to the Ralph's on PCH in Laguna.

  • Stayed March 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank BDavisDecatur_GA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Texas
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed July 18, 2007

I vacationed here last week and was very, very impressed. The grounds are impeccable and our room (3rd floor ocean view) was perfect. The view was absolutely breathtaking.

Service was superb, as well. They offered a car service to take us to dinner and back (parking was tough to come by in the area of Laguna Beach with the restaurants and shops), that was very nice. The beach service was great. Within 10 minutes of asking, we had 2 chairs and an umbrella set up for us near the water.

We'll be back.

  • Stayed July 2007
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
2 Thank txtraveler000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Level Contributor
1,003 reviews
110 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 577 helpful votes
Reviewed July 17, 2007

From the moment we arrived to the moment we left, every staff member at this hotel makes you feel awesome!!!
My wife and two children stayed 7 consecutive nights at this hotel. Our first choice was to stay at the Four Seasons Aviria however they were booked and their rates were higher than the Ritz Carlton's. In the end we are happy we stayed here.

Pros: exceptional and efficient service by ALL staff members; modern rooms with great plasma TV, excellent pool and beach services, great room service.

Cons: add their daily resort fee and daily valet fee to the already substantial daily room rate and you have a very expensive hotel however I always say you pay for what you get and you get it all here! The room elevators were located in a very awkward place- you had to walk through the dining room as people ate to access the elevators...strange and inappropriate in my point of view. Room walls are very thin and therefore you can hear everything...a bit annoying.

I really cannot say any thing seriously negative about this hotel. We loved our stay.

  • Liked — staff
  • Disliked — room elevators
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank FirstClass001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed July 13, 2007

Our honeymoon at The Ritz Carlton was perfect. We spent 11 nights at the hotel and it was incredible. We had not even stepped through the entrance on the first day when we got greeted by the bell boy taking our luggage and a lady greeting us by name without us introducing ourselves first. We then get to the front desk and are told that we have been upgraded to a better room over looking the ocean- impressive. The room was spotless when we got to it, we were welcomed with chocolates and a hand written card congratulating us on our wedding and the view was second to none. We ate in the hotel most evenings and found the food to be superb, I can especially recommend the sea-food buffet on Friday and Saturday night, the view from the restaraunt is over the ocean, try and sit next to the window if possible! The service in the hotel over-all is top class, the youngsters that work in the hotel are clearly well trained in manners and attentiveness. The weather was wonderful as was the pool. The surrounding restaurants are lovely and the hotel provides a free chauffeur to take you. The concierge was happy to book everything for us and once we got to dinner we were 'vip's' from the Ritz and got perks like better tables and actually once got a free dessert! Go to 'The Chart house' for an amazing evening with a view over the harbour. I would give this 5 out of 5 and even though a little pricey I would say that it was worth every penny. I would go back to The Ritz Carlton and I look forward to my eventual return,Enjoy!

  • Liked — The style and luxury
  • Disliked — N/A
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Rosensoden
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, Laguna Niguel

Property: The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
Address: 1 Ritz Carlton Dr, Dana Point, CA 92629-4205
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Orange County > Dana Point
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Dana Point
#1 Romantic Hotel in Dana Point
#2 Green Hotel in Dana Point
#2 Business Hotel in Dana Point
#3 Family Hotel in Dana Point
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel 5*
Number of rooms: 396
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Also Known As:
The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel Hotel Dana Point
Ritz Dana Point
Ritz-Carlton Dana Point
Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel

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