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“Losing Patience With the Ritz”

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The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Ranked #1 of 8 Hotels in Half Moon Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Palo Alto, California
Level 3 Contributor
8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“Losing Patience With the Ritz”
Reviewed June 29, 2007

I don't know why I continue to patronize this chain. In this case, I was intrigued by the Afternoon Tea service - their website advertises that it is served daily in the Library. However, we arrived to find that our service had been set up in the Conservatory. Fine, I suppose, but no white table cloths, just a glass table among other guests not having tea. Apparently, we were the only ones. Which I only find annoying because when I called to make a reservation a week ago, I was told that I would have to be wait-listed. I then sent an email to the hotel, no response. At this point, I really wanted tea (as we haven't had proper tea servcie since our return from London). Had to call the restaurant manager, who "secured" a reservation for us, but failed to mention why we were really wait listed. Turns out, the tea server was not working that day because no one had made a tea reservation (except us). So no, demand on a Monday afternoon is not high. And we happened to be lucky that the stand-in server knew how to serve the tea we were told, which was nothing special. Food does not come out in a tiered tray, you get one scone each, and a bunch of frivolous desserts. If you've done tea in London, the tea here is just sad. Perhaps they provide a more elaborate service on the weekends. One can only guess since the restaurant manager doesn't like to give away any additional information via email or phone call.

Other disappointments:
Turndown requested at 6 pm. They arrived at 6:40, exactly the same time we returned to the room.
Lunch in the Conservatory: My husband's burger arrived 20 minutes after my entree. Had I not flagged the server down (who was busy doing who knows what) - we probably would have waited longer. How does a Ritz hotel restaurant not understand that people like to eat their entrees at the same time? We heard the table nearby complain about how long they had been waiting (40 minutes) and at one point, they considered just getting up and leaving. They were not happy.
Left our room to find someone had placed an empty wine glass in front of our door. Asked the front desk to have it removed. 2 hours later, it was still there.
Shower is not abnormally small. However, it is too small for a rainforest showerhead, which meant I had no where to stand to shampoo and soap up without being directly under water.

I did appreciate very much the room upgrade we were given at check in. We had booked a Courtyard View Room, which the desk requoted at $399/night at check in. Of course they failed to mention the $25 "resort fee" that will appear on your bill at check out. They did readjust this for me, as I was never informed of the additional fee. Let me guess, no one really is. Why not just be upfront about the actual rate before taxes? Soapbox: I don't understand why some hotels in this price bracket need to nickel and dime you. This just shows that they do not understand their clientele. Set your price and include whatever you need to include. If I didn't want to pay up, I would stay elsewhere (of course had I known about the sorry tea service...)

Room was nice, though bordering on bland for a Ritz. Decor is more seaside upscale, less luxurious than, say, the Ritz in San Francisco (another subpar service experience). The porter who was very thorough in explaining the room features was appreciated as well. At least one person on staff was able to rise to the occasion and do their job as it should be done.

I actually was glad to leave this place. We had planned on having breakfast here for the convenience factor. However, I wasn't looking forward to any more service issues in the restaurant. We had a plane to catch. We found several cute coffee shops downtown, only 5 minutes away by car.
Would love to return to Half Moon Bay for a day trip. If longer, we would not consider staying here again. If I am going to pay Ritz prices, I expect Ritz service and nothing less.

  • Liked — view of the ocean
  • Disliked — hidden "resort fee" charge, restaurant, front desk, and housekeeping service
  • Stayed June 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
8 Thank 24palo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level 2 Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed June 4, 2007

Our trip to half moon bay was on accident. We arrived in Napa Valley looking forward to our stay, unfortunately when we arrived the rain was horrible (which later become one of Napa's worst floods). After New Years Eve, with a night being stuck in our hotel due to floods, our wine excursion was going to be extremely limited so we attempted to escape and head back to LA. After the drive and entering the Bay Bride thoughts passed our mind of catching a good sleep in San Fran. however I suggest to my bf that we might get stuck here if the rain continues. So we headed over to Half Moon Bay, and I had no problem with the Ritz, the room was nice, and the valet, and staff were very friendly. We thought about staying a couple more days, but to be honest we just wanted to get back home. I have some short videos of the room, however my video skills are horrible, and you might get motion sickness.

  • Stayed January 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
3 Thank adogartnoe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brooklyn, New York
Level 4 Contributor
28 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
Reviewed June 2, 2007

We stayed at HMB for 2 days, over Memorial Day weekend. We had reserved a "coastal view" room for over $500/night. We arrived around 10pm and were shown to a room that a) stank of mildew and b) opened onto the terrace at the back of the hotel right by the main entrance to the terrace. People were coming and going constantly immediately outside our room's so-called "private" patio. When we complained about both the smell and the lack of privacy, we were told that the hotel was completely full but that they could move us at 10am then next day. We suffered through the night in the smelly room. 10am came and went the next day; they kept us waiting around until 1pm before they finally moved us to a new room. The new room was what they call an "ocean view" - it was considerably smaller, and looked out onto the last green of the ocean golf course! Again, people were coming and going directly outside our so-called private patio all day. We decided not to be moved again as it would be more upheaval for debatable improvement, but these rooms are quite clearly not up to the standard expected when one is paying these prices.
The service was also annoying and not at all up to Ritz-Carlton standards. No one was outright rude, but the 3-hour wait past the time were were told we would be moved was not accompanied by a single apology. We felt like the entire hotel was staffed by former telemarketers. They acted like they've been to some kind of "how to talk to customers" brainwashing camp. No fewer than 10 different people asked us in exactly the same way, with exactly the same inflection, "And where are you joining us from?" Everyone on the staff came across as very preprogrammed and insincere, and every conversation felt like an attempt to sell us something (like the bellman who interrogated us about where we would be eating over the next two days, then extolled the virtues of the hotel's restaurant despite the fact that we told him we'd already made plans).

  • Liked — The golf courses
  • Disliked — The staff and the rooms
  • Stayed May 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
10 Thank geekspice
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Jose, California
Level 4 Contributor
23 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed May 12, 2007

We did not spend the night, so this review is based only on an evening visit. We stopped at the Ritz Carlton to walk the grounds, check out the hotel, and enjoy coffee after dinner in town.
Arriving just as it became dark, we missed the turnoff to the "coastal access" parking and pulled into valet parking. We were not interested in valet parking and simply asked for directions to the self-park lot. The valet told us that parking was all valet parking, which we knew was not true. When we repeated our request for directions to other parking, he became snotty--told us again he would park our car "unless we had a problem with valet parking." By then, we did.
We explained that we wanted to walk the grounds (and why should we have to explain anything to a 20-year-old?) and he told us he would drive us down away from the building (in our car!) and drop us off so we could walk back. When we laughed at that, he told us we could take a chance of finding one of the few possible empty spots at the golf center. Again, his attitude was quite rude.
We drove, gosh, maybe 200 feet and found the other free parking area. There were easily 50 empty spots there, where we parked before wandering up the beautiful oceanfront path to the hotel for our coffee.
We've stayed at many top-notch hotels, and we've never encountered this type of attitude from valets before. Sometimes we want valet parking; sometimes we don't. Either way, it is our choice, and we don't appreciate being bullied by an adolescent.
On the plus side, the coffee was great, and the view from the bar was outstanding.
Strangely, this hotel has no grand lobby. Its entrance lobby is miniscule. Maybe it's because they want to guide you to the back of the hotel where the view is, but it's unfortunate the entrance is so small and bland.

Stayed May 2007
4 Thank Shersim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level 6 Contributor
168 reviews
95 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 163 helpful votes
Reviewed May 7, 2007

My husband recently surprised me with an amazing birthday weekend in Half Moon Bay. We went hiking in a redwood forest and then ended the day at the Ritz (with dinner at Pasta Moon in town). The Ritz really blew me away. I've stayed at other Ritz Carltons before and not had a good experience, mostly because the staff had been snooty and condescending. However, I was very surprised to find that the Half Moon Bay staff were the opposite - extremely friendly and accommodating. When we drove in, the person at the check point wished me a happy birthday . . as did the woman who checked us in at the front desk . . . and the woman who checked me in at the spa and even my masseuse. We also had complimentary chocolate covered strawberries and a birthday card signed by the front desk staff delivered to our room about 2 minutes after we arrived there. I think that the management may have taken seriously the comments on this forum about staff being pushy and expecting tips because we didn't feel that way at all (and I'm usually pretty sensitive to that) - even the person who delivered our room service breakfast the next morning left almost immediately (we weren't about to tip b/c they had included an 18.5% gratuity and a ~$5 delivery fee already). The only things that we didn't love about our experience there were that the walls ARE very thin (we were in the Ocean House and could hear the couple next door and also some heating or other maintenance item on the outside of our room humming away all night long); also I do agree that the wine bar is waaaay overpriced ; finally, we wish they had a longer running trail on or near the property . But we had a wonderful dinner in town (chauffered by Tony in a beautiful Mercedes SUV - no charge but we did tip him on the way back - but didn't feel pressure to do so) and would highly recommend Pasta Moon as a place to have dinner and drinks if you don't want to pay the Ritz prices. Overall, I loved the experience - we're talking about going back again for our anniversary later this year and I'm considering hosting a girls' spa weekend there sometime soon.

  • Liked — The service, beautiful grounds, stunning ocean views
  • Disliked — Thin walls, expensive wine bar
  • Stayed April 2007, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3 Thank aml888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
46 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 142 helpful votes
Reviewed April 25, 2007

An incredibly beautiful, top notch place, with impeccable service in all regards. Some of the reviews here are so bizarrely off the mark to suggest to me some ulterior motives at work. For example, some reviews make the claim that the pool is so so far away, on some other complex that you need to drive to. This really concerned us, as we were bringing two kids and a pool is key. Nothing could be more exaggerated. The pool is part of the golf facility and, with two children in tow, in the rain, it took us about 8 minutes to walk there. (They were happy driving us once in a brand new SUV. It was so close I was actually embarrassed to take them up on it more than once.) My kids had this fantastic pool basically to themselves. And we could enjoy the hot tub as well. The service is exactly what you would expect from a Ritz. One night they sent up a plate of chocolate chip cookies for the kids. The restaurant and wine bar were lovely. The property and views are extraordinarily. Everyone we met couldn't be more helpful. Somethings like an exhorbitant daily parking charge and resort fees are a bit much, but this isn't a Red Roof Inn. If you want to pay a few bucks for a truly memorable locale, with service as good as it gets, this is it. The drives to SF, while they can see some traffic, are fabulous too.

  • Stayed April 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
6 Thank stevenap2000
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed April 22, 2007

Stunning views with a clear day. Girl Friend and I got away from SF and took the short drive down the coast. Be careful of traffic on the weekends. Plan accordingly, we should of left a little earlier. ;-) Greeted by name upon arrival at car drive then again at front desk with out informing the check in person. Made us feel like royalty. Hang out at the wine bar / room. Gordon at the wine bar will have you rolling with laughter. (ask for the Craggy Range Pinot Nior). Couldn’t get into the Spa because it was booked full. :-(
Was advised to make reservations ahead of time.
Next Time it is!

Stayed April 2007
5 Thank Rascal0902
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

Property: The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
Address: 1 Miramontes Point Road, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019-2376
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:
#1 Family Hotel in Half Moon Bay
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Half Moon Bay
#1 Romantic 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 highlights the beauty of the Northern California coast with a modern and elegant decor. ... 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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