I recently had the pleasure of visiting The Ritz Carlton, Half Moon Bay on the way out of town for our anniversary trip. Ok, it wasn't exactly on the way, but it was totally worth the detour. I went with intentions on visiting and checking out all of the wedding goodness they had to share here on AFF, and while I did, I felt there were so many other reasons to visit.
From the moment you step foot out of your car onto their property, you are treated like royalty. I have only experienced this at a handful of places, but I can never understand why all resorts don't make this their priority. It sets the tone for your stay and honestly can make or break my opinion of a place. Yep, within the first 10 seconds. And from there, it only gets better at this oceanside resort. So I'll take your through our 48 hour visit giving you all the reasons you need to book your next trip to the Half Moon Bay area!
Confession, I've never been to San Francisco or any of the surrounding areas. This trip was the closest and has me buying my plane ticket back already. I'm outdoorsy.. but I mean like, I want to be outside, with my wine, and a stunning view. The Ritz took full advantage of their insane views with tons of fire pits to warm yourself by (because it's freaking cold there compared to Southern California!), outdoor furniture to lounge on and tables to enjoy a snack at. My ideal setting for some time off.
If you are looking for a venue to host a special event or your wedding at, they've got you covered. Between ballrooms and outdoor spaces carved out for parties of every size, they can hold more weddings in one weekend than I can count on both hands. It sounds like you might run into your fellow bride, but they assured us that they take pride in perfectly timing the flow of traffic for your event so it seems that you have the entire place to yourself. My favorite was this raised fire pit area (where we had happy hour below). They even gave us s'mores kits to enjoy by the fire that evening. How fun would this be for your wedding guests or as a welcome gift?
Reason #1: Your Anniversary Celebration
So we actually came here two days before our wedding anniversary like I mentioned. The hotel brought in so many special touches from rose petals to a cute little snack box with, literally, all of our favorite things. It's things like this that can make an already special weekend even better.
Whether you want to golf and spend time outdoors, or you will be spending your time relaxing and recharging in the spa, there's plenty to do with your partner. Even exploring the town would be a perfect way to spend the day together and bond!
I've been to two hotels in my life that had a lounge. And it is WORTH. EVERY. PENNY. Basically, these dedicated spaces are like a cozy living room with all the snacks, sweets and drinks you would ever need. If you need to pop in and grab a muffin or water before an outing, they're ready for ya... and if you just want a glass of wine by the fire, they have that too. The Club Lounge was accessible via a private key for guests in the 46 Club rooms. In addition to amazing ocean views, you can also enjoy a personal concierge staff.
Complimentary beverages, breakfast, light lunch, evening hors d'oeuvres and desserts were available daily. Cocktails were also served throughout the evening. It's amazing how much care they put into a place that doesn't know when your next guest will arrive. It was such a luxury to have all of this available to us throughout the day! Plus they had cookie jars stocked at all times, so I'd say if that doesn't make you want to upgrade, I don't know what would.
Our second day was full of outings in and around Half Moon Bay. I loved being able to experience some of the local treasures. If you are traveling outside of your home base for your wedding, I think it's a great idea to include points of interest like this for your guests. We do a lot of maps here at AFF that couples include in their invites to show people where to go, it's cool to see peoples favorite spots in different cities!
We visited Repetto's Flower Farm. This giant nursery started as a flower stand back in the 70's. They now have countless greenhouses growing their own fresh blooms as well as an 800 square foot room packed tightly with flowers that you can browse and pick out yourself! While we were there, we were able to experience their DIY service. Repetto's lets you purchase from their cooler (or fields when available), arrange in their space either bringing in your own supplies or choosing from their selection, and then store your creations in their cooler until your big day! We were told that there a lots of bridal parties that come in the week before their wedding and have a blast doing this... while saving quite a bit of money. I would be on top of this for every party, event and photoshoot forever! But really, such a great idea if you are on a budget.
We made a pit stop at Thomas Fogarty Winery to view the property (amazing) and do a little wine tasting. The views were beautiful, the chardonnay was tasty, and I could only imagine being able to host something here. They had this gorgeous grassy area that I fully envisioned a dinner party being held on... could be a nice little rehearsal dinner space if you ask me.
Yes, these are baby goats! We visited Harley Farms Goat Dairy where we toured the property, saw a real live secret garden and then played with goats. I could've just stayed here all day... well ok, I did love the flowers and wine... but BABY GOATS! Anyways, not the point of the story. The hold some events here so we were able to see they rustic barn space and hike back into another gorgeous ceremony area they called their secret garden. There wasn't really access for cars, you had to walk through (very cool) overgrown flowers and trees, it was just perfect for that nature loving bohemian bride. Not to mention, they could probably serve your guests some of the best goat cheese they've ever had.
Reason #2 Your Wedding!
I say this all the time, but can I have a wedding do-over? (same guy, different setting)
The Ritz is just so completely accommodating in making your day the best ever. One of my favorite parts of the day was getting to experience their mock-up space and tasting. While they have preferred vendors, to do allow outside vendors. But, check out this beautiful space they set up and you might not want to venture outside of their recommendations. They shared a standard table (not shown) and then a fully styled option (shown). If I had this when I was planning our wedding I would have added 5 years back onto my life from not stressing over all of the tiny details. Looking at this would have put me at ease immediately.
We also tasted cake that their in house chef baked for us. He also shared options for a faux cake (with just an area for the cake cutting! genius) and a real one. Both beautiful, but great to see these options. Especially if you plan on having other desserts but want to cut a cake, I loved the faux option.
While I'm breaking all of the points from our trip down into smaller bits, you could really incorporate any of these things into planning your wedding! Spa days for the girls the day before, rehearsal dinner in one of their amazing restaurants, or even the morning after brunch with mimosas and bloody marys.
With over 10 rooms ranging from just over 500 square feet to 7,100, there wasn't a shortage of space in the resort.
Reason #3: A Relaxing Spa Retreat
Sometimes you just need a little time to yourself or with the girls. Hopping on a short flight to this location would fulfill that need perfectly. With a 16,000 square foot spa that includes 15 private treatment rooms, lounge areas with fireplaces, whirlpools, sauna and steam rooms... you could easily spend a day or two exploring it all. There isn't a set list of services at the spa here as they try to create experiences based on the seasons and natural surroundings.
If you aren't in the spa, you can keep your weekend of relaxation going by enjoying the path along the coast that stretches for miles, or dining on local cuisine at one of the restaurants on property.
Foodies: this is the place for you. Everything is prepared so carefully, ingredients are sourced locally when available and their staff members go further than just handing you a menu and taking your order. I felt like they had so much knowledge behind each dish and were proud to bring every course out. Our last night visiting, the resort sommelier (who first led us through a tasting in their wine bar, Cork, which houses over 5,000 bottles of wine!) paired a 5 course dinner with 5 glasses that complemented each dish perfectly. One of my favorite parts about dining while traveling is learning the hows, whys and wheres behind a meal, so five dishes with 5 glasses of wine was overwhelming in a very good way. I'd highly recommend both of the restaurants, Navio (image below) and The Conservatory.
BUT, you CANNOT beat the view. So, my absolute favorite part of the weekend was a small reception the hotel planned for our group at sunset (above). The space and set up they had for us was the perfect example of a small cocktail hour you could (and should) have after your wedding ceremony in the summer. With overflowing seafood towers, stunning florals, blankets to keep us warm and staff keeping your glass full, every detail was perfect and so well thought out.
Situated on a scenic bluff overlooking the rugged Pacific coastline with two championship golf courses, the resort is just 30 minutes from the San Francisco International Airport and 45 minutes from downtown San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Easy for those of us on the West Coast! So for any special occasion you have coming up, and especially with the weather warming up, take a look!
Thank you to The Ritz Carlton, Half moon bay for partnering on this post. For more info, visit their site here.
Fo more area info, click here.