My standard hotel reviews include a breakdown by the following topics. Feel free to skip to whichever section you find most interesting.
- Lobby & Check-in
- Hotel Space / Ambiance
- Food & Drink
Premise & Highlights: The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay
This was truly an epic experience. I check Starwood Moments every so often, and thought about Marriott and explored their Marriott Moments program, where I found an auction for a stay at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, including a Global Cuisine Series cooking class and luncheon, $100 resort credit, and complimentary resort fee & valet parking. At a final bid price of 90,000 Marriott points, it was a steal.
Highlights of this stay include the breathtaking views of the water, with its peace and tranquility. Additionally, I was able to have the valet fee for my lady’s parents waived – saving me another $15-$30 (Thank you Brandon!) The next post will go into more detail of the Global Cusine Series package, while this one will focus primarily on the hotel and stay.
Lobby & Check-in
Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay is located far away from “downtown” Half Moon Bay, and I was able to surprise my lady as we pulled up to the guard gate. It was a smooth process – although the quantity of cars makes for slow parking/retrieving sometimes. Check in is down the hall on the left, with rooms being the opposite direction. We were greeted with a smile and complimentary glass of wine provided by the hotel partners.
I previously tried to call and inquire about hotel upgrades, as a SPG/Marriott Platinum, but Ritz Carlton properties make it quite difficult. Fortunately, I was able to be upgraded – but only to a “fire pit” room, rather than a suite.
This room was nothing special, although they did have a nice larger bathroom with tub and bath salts. The view was amazing of the rolling hills next to the hotel, where the Terrace Café, fire pits, and bagpiper were. You could literally step out of the room and walk out onto the grass – although the outside door was not lockable.
Internet was a plus – there did not seem to be any limit on number of devices allowed. However, there were some small technical issues with broken/faulty outlets, and a deficient lamp refusing to turn on, necessitating an engineer to come up and fiddle with it. Were I to stay longer for work or pleasure purposes, they could have been larger issues.
Hotel Space / Ambiance
This screams wealth – no surprise, at a base cost of high $600s to $800-$900s. Note that this does not include valet parking ($49 for overnight guests) or resort fee ($35/night) which covers the below:
The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay implements a $35 USD per room, per night resort fee. Services and amenities included in the resort fee are:
- Glass of wine during check-in (daily at the front desk from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.)
- Wireless, high-speed Internet access in guest rooms and common areas
- Business center access
- Unlimited local telephone calls (within a 12-mile radius only)
- Access to the spa’s co-ed Roman mineral bath, locker rooms, relaxation lounges, whirlpool, sauna and steam room
- Daily group exercise classes
- Fitness center access
- Bottled water and towels
- Water aerobics equipment
- Family board games and videos
- Putter and wedge for use on practice green from Half Moon Bay Golf Links Pro Shop
- Access to tennis courts, racquets and ball machine
- Access to swimming pool and whirlpool
- PressReader, a Digital Newsstand
- Complimentary portrait session with Photography Concierge
Of this we only used the check-in wine, internet, and fitness center. Of course, for the caliber of people who stay here, these miscellaneous fees are of no concern. We definitely felt out of place among the sea of rich (white) people, and wealthy looking Asians. We saw a variety of people, from businesspeople to families, people here on corporate events, or romantic getaways for couples.
One note – while the portrait session is complimentary, you would have to purchase the photos should you want to keep them. I did not care to find out more, after that
Food & Drink
Breakfast was not included in my stay even though we have Starwood/Marriott platinum, but no matter: we had a luncheon planned as part of our stay package. We did explore some other areas of Half Moon Bay for some delicious seafood. Although, we were able to use the $100 credit on my lady’s parents, who unfortunately did not take photos of food.
For a hotel of this size, I felt the fitness room was quite small, however adequately furnished. Next time I will be sure to check out the pool.
Overall, this was a decent stay – nowhere worth the cash value of the night, but for 20,000 SPG it doesn’t seem too bad (even though you’d have to shell out another ~$100 for parking and resort fee). It was an experience to try, but the stay is not worth a repeat. Service was great and it had amazing views, but you could just as easily come visit for a (small) meal and be able to enjoy the views and fire pits just as well as any guest.
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