Half Moon Bay Old Course Hole 18

Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay Review: Is the Hotel as Good as the Views?

When it comes to luxury golf resorts, there aren’t many as well regarded as the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay.

You’ve got incredible views, two fantastic golf courses, and relatively easy access to the Bay Area airports.

But what’s the experience actually like when you arrive at the Half Moon Bay Resort? 

Is it a proper five-star, Ritz Carlton experience? Or does it get watered down to cater to a broader golf or convention market, rather than the luxury traveler? I’ve got good news: it’s phenomenal.

Why?

Read on to find out.

First Impressions of Half Moon Bay Golf Links

When you arrive from SFO and you’re making the drive down the coast, you’re in awe of just how beautiful it is.

And from the moment you pull in, the experience just keeps getting better.

Every time I entered or exited over the course of the next three days the bellhop remembered my full name, and called me as such.

Nice to see you, Mr. Ogle.

Hitting the course today, Mr. Ogle? By the way, Tiger is one up through six on Rory.

When we checked in we were treated to a complimentary glass of Napa Cabernet, and the hotel, while not the most over the top or extravagant Ritz-Carlton I’ve ever stayed in – was everything you would expect a 5-star hotel to be.

Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay Accommodations

Whether you’re golfing, there for a conference, or just on a romantic getaway – staying at the Ritz-Carlton makes the experience.

The rooms are very nice, and appointed in way commensurate with what you’d expect from a Ritz-Carlton.

There are large soaking bathtubs, a Nespresso machine (one of my favorite features when staying in this caliber of hotel), a white noise machine, and all of the other amenities you’d expect.

Standard room at the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay.

Standard room at the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay.

Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay Desk

Desk.

Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay Bathroom

Bathroom

On my most recent trip we probably had the worst room on the property simply because of the view that was half roof/half driveway. But I use the term “worst” very loosely – the room itself was fantastic.

However if you do go, if it’s in your budget it’s worth trying to get an ocean view room, or my personal favorite, a firepit room. Which yes, includes it’s own gas fireplace on your personal patio off the 18th green of the Ocean Course.

A fire, a glass of wine, and a sunset? Doesn’t get much better than that.

Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay Ocean View Room

Oceanview room from my first stay at the hotel.

Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay Dining

There are a number of dining options at the Half Moon Bay Resort.

The Conservatory is the primary option for all-day dining, and is good, but as to be expected at a Ritz, expensive.

For breakfast, I actually preferred the short stroll down to the pro shop where Mullins is located. There’s a sit-down breakfast, or you can grab a breakfast burrito or sandwich from window.

The $8.95 Spanish Breakfast Burrito may have been the best deal on the entire property.

Certainly a better value than the $11 shots of Fireball at the turn 🙂

Navio is the fine dining restaurant at the Ritz, and I’d have to check my notes from my previous trip to do a proper review. But from my recollection, it was very good, and a step up from what you’ll get at the Conservatory.

The Ocean Terrace at the Ritz Half Moon Bay

This is why everyone comes here, and is truly the centerpiece of the resort, if not the whole community.

The Ocean Terrace at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay is quite simply one of the greatest places to enjoy a drink and watch a sunset in the world.

The views overlooking the world-class 18th hole on the Old Course, and the waves crashing against the beach, are stunning. I’m not sure it qualifies as a proper “bar,” so that’s the only reason it’s not on my world’s best hotel bars list.

The Ocean Terrace at the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay.

The Ocean Terrace at the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay.

The food and drinks there are good. My $28 burger was….good. Not world-class, but very tasty.

But that’s all to be expected. The setting is what makes this. I’d suggest an Aperol Spritz or glass of prosecco and some oysters to truly get the coastal, insanely bougie full experience.

Just make sure to watch your head, as it’s not uncommon to see mishit shots come flying into the throng of spectators 🙂

Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay Hole 18

The 18th hole of the Old Course at Half Moon Bay Golf Links.

Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay Spa

Against my better judgment, I’m going to admit this about myself: I love spas.

These days whenever I book a hotel I do my best to find one that has a solid day spa. The St. Regis Singapore a couple months back, was excellent.

And the spa at Half Moon Bay, as expected lived up to expectations and is the perfect way to unwind after a day on the course or out sightseeing.

The spa features a dry sauna, steam room, hot tub, and my personal favorite, a cold plunge. Any time you find a hotel spa that includes this, you know they’re the real deal.

What was also nice was they had a separate co-ed room with a larger, and slightly less hot, hot tub, surrounded by showers. So if you’re there with your significant other, you can enjoy at least some of the spa together.

I also loved that they made the spa open to hotel guests. For instance, at both the St. Regis Atlanta or Park Hyatt Tokyo, you could only use these facilities when you book a treatment. 

Overall Experience at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay

Without saying anything about the golf, the experience at the Ritz Half Moon Bay is excellent.

The property clearly is a target for events and conferences, so you can expect to probably see one or two while you’re there.

But the service is excellent, the accommodations are beautiful, the food is very good, and the views are world-class.

Just be aware, this all comes at a price.

This is not a budget destination, so if you book a trip here, even if you get a good deal on the room, you can still expect to spend more than you might on your average golf weekend.

I’ve stayed on property almost the entire time during both of my trips here. That said, our last night this past go around we did head out for dinner at a restaurant called La Costanera which was about 15 minutes away.

Next to Andina in Portland, it was some of the best Peruvian food I’ve ever had – and it may very well have been the best Pisco Sour of my life. 

Want more about the golf experience? Check out our Half Moon Bay golf review.




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  1. Robert Hall

    My experience with the Ritz Carlton at Half Moon Bay has been extraordinary. One other resort provides an equal experience, The Grand Wailea on Maui. But the Half Moon Bay property is a little more relaxed. The food is very good. I could very easily find myself at home, permanently.


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