Our Stay at The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel and Dinner at Raya

03.16.2013

Above five images courtesy of the Ritz Carlton

Where do you stay on vacation when you want to be treated like royalty? The Ritz Carlton. We just left from our stay at the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, California and I fell completely in love with the resort. If I could sum up the resort in one word I would it would be, breathtaking. Its gorgeous design, the stunning decor, the lavish rooms, the impeccable ocean views, all of it is simply breathtaking.
You know you have entered the Ritz Carlton from the moment you step through the resorts entryway. From the instant I stepped foot into the resort, there was an incomparable, delicate and somewhat floral scent that I will never be able to replicate in my own home which I simply could not get enough of. I kept saying to my husband, I need to know what that smell is. I must have it in my house, now that I know it exists how do I live without it =)? The delightful smell of the resort is only the beginning. The smiling and friendly faces of the staff welcome and greet you around every corner. Quite often they will ask you if you are enjoying your stay, from what I gathered it seems to be their job to make sure your stay becomes a wonderful and memorable experience. Only top of the line service is given at this resort.

One of my favorite things about the Ritz Carlton is their attention to detail. Everywhere. Right down to the french milled soap stamped with the Ritz Carlton logo and the relaxing music that floats through the hallways and surrounds the pool area. And to count the number of all the fresh, vibrantly colored roses and orchids which lined the vases along the walls and tables throughout the resort seems impossible. Most fire hydrants are painted what color? Yes, red. At the Ritz, gold. I believe their unbelievably comfortable beds are one of the most important parts of their attention to detail. Probably the most relaxing bed I’ve ever slept in (and I thought mine at home was). I had the hardest time waking and bringing myself to get out of that bed, I’m so glad I am on vacation and sleeping in is basically a must.

Everyone will feel welcome at the Ritz Carlton, both young and old alike. After we had arrived the staff wheeled out a large treasure chest full of toys for our children to choose from, which of course put instant smiles on their faces. Our spotlessly clean rooms awaited us with chocolate chunk chocolate cookies sprinkled with flakes of real gold along with ice cold bottles of milk, a bowl of fresh fruit and a warm welcoming note. I mean really, what is more welcoming than milk and cookies and a friendly card? If you want to make friends, you make people cookies, and the Ritz must know that. I really like cookies and now I really like the Ritz Carlton.

I love the inviting, warm and ambient atmosphere I experienced at this resort, from the fireplaces adorning the walls, the sunset floating over the ocean and gently glowing through the resorts cliffside windows, to the beautiful chandeliers hanging from the ceilings. The spa and the gym are astonishingly impressive. One of the worlds best places to work out has got to be in there. All of the gym equipment faces massive windows which overlook the ocean and the beach below. Then the natural light shining through the large windows in the spa along with the artistic water fountains are the perfect way to set such a tranquil mood.

To learn more about The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, to view the resorts photo gallery or for rooms and rates please follow their website. You can also follow them on facebook. I would highly recommend the Ritz Carlton to anyone looking to have a fabulous getaway!

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While we were out one day, the staff left this for our girls. So fun!

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During our stay we dined at Raya, which is located inside of the Ritz Carlton. It was unbelievably delicious, and again the service was incredible. The views from our table over the ocean out to the sunset were breathtaking. The head chef of this restaurant is truly an artist in the kitchen. The flavors of each dish and the way they so perfectly melded together was unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before. Here is what my husband and I ordered:

Berry Mocktails

~Refreshing, gorgeous and tasted just as delicious as it looked.

Butternut Squash Soup – crispy Iberico Ham / chipotle crème / apple chips / shizo

~Mouthwatering. I couldn’t believe how well these flavors came together. LOVED this!

Lobster Tacos – flour tortilla / black bean purée / chile de arbol salsa / avocado / cilantro

~I’d heard so much about these, everyone had said you have to get the Lobster Tacos. Yes, try these tacos!

Pan Seared Sea Scallops – roast corn / sushi rice / nopalito / char siu pork belly / snap peas / white soy mojo

~This was beautifully pan seared and tender, an exciting and delicious fusion of flavors.

Dry-Aged Natural NY – dungeness crab potato purée / grilled pickled onions / chipotle hollandaise / truffle chimichurri

~I was told this steak is choice local beef and it had been aged 28 days. Best steak I’ve ever tasted. Seared to complete perfection and flawlessly garnished.

Dessert Sampler
cinnamon spice churro / kahlua pudding/toffee pudding cake / oatmeal cookie ice cream/chocolate peanut caramel tart

~My second favorite part next to the steak because of my love of sweets. I could eat about 100 more of the chocolate peanut caramel tart at the same sitting =). All of these desserts were amazing so it was nice to get the sampler to try each.

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They even had a menu for the kids. We kept it simple for them with Quesadillas and french fries. These are some of the cute fruit bites they brought out for them.

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We ordered dessert to be brought to our room. Dreamy. (Please ignore the fact I used a flash to take these pics, terrible I know =)).

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During our stay at the Ritz Carlton I had to stop at the market to gawk at these desserts that caught my eye. They were all so gorgeous it was so hard to choose. I went with the cheesecake. It was melt in my mouth perfect.

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Disclaimer: The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel and the Raya hosted my family. All opinions in this post are my own.

23 comments

  • Averie @ Averie Cooks: STUNNING!!!!!

    I can only imagine how long this took you to compile with ALL these photos. Thank you!

    I live not even an hour from this Ritz and I need to go there, just to dine on the beach. Or get a massage or go there to relax with my hubs! Lobster tacos and PB and those drinks!! What more could anyone want.

    Your girls look like two little princesses….sooooo cute! March 16, 2013 at 4:00am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Averie – you should totally have a weekend getaway there. It’s just fabulous, everything about it! Thanks for your sweet comment about my girls =). March 16, 2013 at 8:37am Reply

  • alana: Wow looks stunning glad u had fun! Thanks for all ur recipes! Made zuppa taste fabulous & breadsticks & pasta! I also made fagoli soup and cinnomon rolls & your salsa will def make so much more. my next goal is pretzels:)))) March 16, 2013 at 12:21pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks alana! I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed the recipes =)! March 16, 2013 at 3:17pm Reply

  • Sara: You guys are so lucky! That looks like a very wonderful stay! I wish I could afford a trip like that! As a teacher it’s very hard! But I’m glad y’all got to go! March 16, 2013 at 1:55pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks I’m glad we got to go too =)! I hope you can sometime too! March 16, 2013 at 3:16pm Reply

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious: Oh my goodness – how fun! Looks like you guys had quite a trip! Maybe the boyfriend and I could make a trip out there for our 4 year anniversary! March 16, 2013 at 10:52pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: You totally should, it was so much fun there and so relaxing! March 17, 2013 at 10:50am Reply

  • Curry and Comfort: What a beautiful hotel, vacation, family and memories. Lovely post. Your kids are adorable. :) March 17, 2013 at 4:57am Reply

  • Kristy @ Sweet Treats & More: Your girls are adorable! What a stunning hotel! March 17, 2013 at 7:11am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Kristy =)! March 17, 2013 at 10:49am Reply

  • Sarah: This hotel looks absolutely stunning! The photos are awesome and I can imagine just how delicious the food must have been :) When I’ve finished school, I’ll fly over to the US and spend some time there, just to relax for a while. Would be also a good chance to gain more English-speaking experience ;) I hope I can afford the costs ;)
    By the way, if I have children in future, I hope they’re as adorable as yours ^^ March 17, 2013 at 11:38am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks Sarah – and I hope you do have a chance to make it over there too! It’s such a beautiful resort in the perfect location. March 18, 2013 at 10:22am Reply

  • Shari Kelley: I really enjoyed looking at your pictures. You have a beautiful family! The food looks and sounds amazing. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of this hotel and your trip. March 17, 2013 at 2:25pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Shari =)! March 18, 2013 at 10:21am Reply

  • Yammie @ Yammie’s Noshery: Your girls are adorable!! My heart is melting. March 18, 2013 at 8:25pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thanks so much Yammie =)! March 18, 2013 at 11:16pm Reply

  • Melissa @ Bless this Mess: FUN!!!! And it’s really fun to see that family :) Sign me up for the next vacay… I could use one! March 20, 2013 at 8:53pm Reply

  • Christie: I have not stayed there yet, but we visit Salt Creek beach right below it each year. We have family in Dana Point. It is a charming place, we love it. When we are there next month I will make it a point to go inside and look, and smell! March 21, 2013 at 2:15pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Yes be sure you do Christie =)! March 21, 2013 at 8:25pm Reply

  • SP: Each Ritz has a signature sent, they sell the candles at their gift shop. I just came home for Ritz, Laguna Niguel and brought it home with me.
    S September 17, 2013 at 11:53am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Seriously?? If only I would have known while I was there! I’m going to have to contact them and see if they do mail orders. Thanks! September 17, 2013 at 3:47pm Reply

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