TodayApril 15, 2022

Putting on the Ritz for Thanksgiving. Ritz-Carlton that is

Living it up at the Ritz-Carlton

I could live here! I exclaimed as I threw the windows open and walked out onto the balcony. The negative ions flowed through the room, and our bodies, as we heard the waves hit the rocks. Instantly, we feel the stress leave our bodies.

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Located halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, California was putting the finishing touches on its holiday display, called Star-cation, a Star Wars extravaganza made out of chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate. There were dashes of cereal and crackers thrown in for color, but the kids, and kids at heart, that went by were ogling the chocolate.

The Ritz Carlton Dana Point is the place for a wedding or a decadent day of Thanksgiving. If you can’t make either of those come for a couple of days before the holiday to rest and relax. Start your day with yoga at 9 am and the Pilates at 10 am.

A must-have is the oh so relaxing facial offered by the Ritz.

Sixty minutes really is the minimum you should set aside for a facial. I made the mistake of not getting to the spa early enough to enjoy all the amenities including a sauna. My facialist, Sheri, already had the heat on the ergonomic bed as I slid under the cover. She explained what she was going to do and which products she was going to use, but I was already falling off to sleep. I woke once when she put the heated gloves on my hand. I remember trying to talk to her but mumbled something instead. I could only feel the weight of a deep sleep envelope me.

The view beckons you to walk on the beach. The fitness center contains the best equipment offered, but even a person who doesn’t run will want to be out in the fresh air, walking the beach, watching the birds and the surfers. Jana and I took the path from the hotel, about 150 feet down, to the beach. A quick jaunt back and forth a couple of times and we could feel the difference fast-walking in the sand makes versus walking on a path.

The room itself was just big enough for two people, but more importantly, everything was well placed. There were two sinks in the bathroom, my favorite. A coffee maker and refrigerator were behind a mirrored cabinet, and there were plenty of drawers and hangers for two people. The room seemed larger with the balcony facing the mysterioso Pacific ocean. Wicker balcony seats and a table for perched “nash” munching while watching Father sunset slip over the horizon.

I appreciated that we were on the third floor. This is the type of weather you leave your balcony doors open at night and sleep like a baby, but I won’t sleep with the balcony doors open if I am on the ground level no matter how wonderful the weather is. Both nights I slept like a baby.

The Ritz Carlton Dana Point Hotel is one of those places you remember a lifetime and hopes to visit again. Put it on your list.

Lou Ann Hammond

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a founding member of the Women's World Car of the Year #WWCOTY, and board member of the Women in Automotive.