I still don’t quite understand how or why California is so beautiful. Moving here was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Slowly but surely, I’m exploring every nook and cranny of this state that I now call home, and I’m in awe at its diversity. You’ve got beaches, mountains, deserts, and even places that look like Scotland. That place, being Half Moon Bay.
The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay has been on my bucket list for a few years now, and I finally got the opportunity to visit a couple of weeks ago for some R&R. You guys know that I’m a big fan of The Ritz-Carlton brand: the properties are timeless with a modern touch, they have some of the best dining options of any hospitality brand, and the service is immaculate.
Why should The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay be on your radar? Here’s my review of the iconic Forbes Five-Star Resort.
The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay: Getting There & Getting Around
The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay is located about 45 minutes outside San Francisco and 50 minutes away from San Jose. If you’re flying into one of the Bay Area’s major airports (SFO, SJC, or OAK), I would recommend renting a car to get around. Half Moon Bay is a small town with a limited number of Uber and Lyft drivers, so to save yourself some stress, it would be best to have your own car.
One thing I loved about Half Moon Bay is that there was always ample parking, and it was a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay: Rooms & Suites
No matter what type of room you get at The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, one thing is for sure: you’re going to get a great view. We stayed in a Coastal View Guest Room with partial coastal views and loved it — you can see the exact view from our room over on TikTok. However, you can opt for the Ocean View Guest Room for direct and dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean.
If you want to go more luxe, rooms with fire pits and suites are available. If you want more privacy, you can also stay at the Guest House, which is a 450-yard walk from the main building. This could be an excellent option for families since these rooms are spacious and a little more secluded.
The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay: Dining
One of the things that I love most about The Ritz-Carlton brand is that they offer some of the most incredible dining experiences. At The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay, we had the wonderful opportunity to the seasonal tasting menu at one of their on-site restaurants, Navio. Navio offers ocean-to-table seafood and coastal cuisine featuring local produce. This was easily one of the most memorable dinners I’ve ever had — everything was cooked to perfection, and it was a delightful mix of classic coastal flavors with a modern flair.
We also opted for the wine pairing with our dining experience, and I was blown away by their wine offerings. While there is no shortage of excellent sommeliers in Northern California, the beverage program at The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay was truly exquisite. We had the opportunity to try some rare wines, including a 1983 Chateau d’Yquem, which was lovely.
Navio also has a bucket-list-worthy weekend brunch, which visitors and locals both enjoy. If you are not a guest at the hotel, a reservation is required to dine at Navio.
The Conservatory & The Ocean Terrace
If you’re looking for more of a laid-back dining experience, you can also enjoy two other restaurants on the property. During our visit, we had a casual breakfast at The Conservatory, which offers classic breakfast and brunch dishes, and Mediterranean-inspired California cuisine. Try to get a window seat at The Conservatory to enjoy dramatic, sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean.
We didn’t get to dine at the Ocean Terrace during our visit due to the weather, but here you can enjoy outdoor dining by a fire pit, local beers, a raw bar, and grilled bites.
The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay: Amenities & Activities
There’s no shortage of things to do at The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay. What I love about this resort is that it is one that you can revisit time and time — I wasn’t able to take advantage of everything the resort had to offer during my two-night stay. Still, I plan on returning in the near future, so I can explore more of what the resort has to offer.
Some of the things you can do at The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay include:
- Golf: Enjoy some of the best golf courses in the Bay Area. This resort has two golf courses: the Ocean Course, which has more of a traditional Scottish design, and the parkland-style Old Course, which features an 18th hole designed by Arnold Palmer.
- Tennis: If you’ve ever wanted to take tennis lessons or practice your game, this is the place to do it. The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay has six lighted tennis courts and premium tennis instruction.
- Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail: The resort offers easy access to the Half Moon Bay Coastal Trail, where you can enjoy some of the best Pacific Ocean views. It was incredible to wake up and walk the trail each morning I was at the resort; a great way to get outdoors and enjoy a bit of exercise.
- The Spa: If you want to indulge in a bit of self-care, you must book a visit to the acclaimed spa on site. Fun fact: Half Moon Bay is widely recognized as the pumpkin capital of the world, and in the fall, The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay offers a pumpkin facial.
- Fire Pits: Hands down, my favorite place to hang out at the resort was the fire pits. In the evenings, you can roast s’mores and cozy up with a hot beverage or cocktail.
- Sunset Bagpiper: Weather permitting, you can enjoy a daily bagpipe performance at sunset near the firepits.
Other Things to Do in Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay is relatively small, so I think 1-2 nights here is perfectly fine. Some things that we enjoyed in town included lunch at Dad’s Luncheonette, beer tasting at Half Moon Bay Brewing Company, and wine tasting at Vinoteca.
Driving into the town, there are also a ton of little markets selling local produce and flowers too — definitely take advantage of this if you can; you can find some of the best produce in the country here!
The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay: Final Thoughts
This was easily one of the most memorable travel experiences I’ve ever had. The service, the food, the views — The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay is an exquisite resort and the epitome of luxury. If you want to treat yourself, or if you’re in desperate need of some R&R, this is a fantastic resort to add to your list.
P.S. — pack sweaters and jackets for your visit. It gets colder in Half Moon Bay than you think it would.
Photos by Tom McGovern
Thank you to The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay for hosting me! All thoughts and opinions are my own.