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A Coastal Hotel Sanctuary

By Michael Cervin | Photos by The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay

Less than 45 minutes from San Francisco, the intimate coastal city of Half Moon Bay has long been a refuge from the hectic pace of the Bay Area. And the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay provides a unique sanctuary within that haven.

Getting away is not just about getting away from where you are, it’s about healing and nurturing, and finding someplace where people and nature coexist to create the ideal environment. “As the Bay Area’s only oceanfront luxury resort, The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay has always provided, and will continue to provide, a respite for visitors from near and afar,” says General Manager Kevin Kelly. “We are surrounded by an abundance of natural beauty, and the resort takes pride in embracing the elements of the northern California coastline and Santa Cruz Mountains by offering a distinctly local touch, from the moment of arrival until departure.” This starts with a glass of local wine upon check-in and extends to supporting local farmers by incorporating their produce into dishes at in-house restaurants Navio and The Conservatory.

The past few years have seen a bevy of improvements and upgrades. In 2018, the resort opened three new meeting spaces, named Pescadero, Cabrillo, and Moss Beach, in addition to completely renovating its event facilities. These efforts brought the resort’s total meeting spaces to 35,000 square feet, the most of any luxury Bay Area resort. And in mid-2019, the company spent nearly one million dollars to renovate its premium suites. Designed by HirschBedner Associates, which took inspiration from the resort’s coastal location, the Carlton Suite and Signature Suites have been redesigned with the theme of “Ocean Opulence,” a melding of white and off-white with blue and sapphire tones, emulating the stunning ocean views from the rooms’ many windows. The resort’s iconic oceanfront restaurant, The Conservatory, was also renovated, unveiling a new look. Boasting a modern beach house aesthetic with dramatic floor-to-ceiling ocean views and a new, vibrant menu, the transformed restaurant combines fresh, local cuisine and curated cocktails for a one-of-a-kind dining experience. “We are lucky to be based among excellent local farms, vineyards, and artisan food producers,” says Executive Chef Jakob Esko. “All of our menus are very seasonal and always based on what is available locally. Sustainable food products are something very important to us.” For example, all their fish and seafood are caught according to Seafood Watch’s global standard for sustainable and responsible seafood sourcing.

While food, comfort, and style are important, an emotional connection to a place is also critical, and the crashing surf and spectacular sunsets provide that with unparalleled precision. A tradition since the resort’s opening has been the Sunset Bagpiper who brings the traditional music of Scotland to Half Moon Bay every evening. As the music echoes along the coast, guests can enjoy a glass of wine on the Ocean Terrace or by a fire pit.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay has implemented a variety of new protocols in keeping with its high standards of cleanliness and luxury service. “When thinking about the resort, aside from the unrivaled hospitality provided by our ladies and gentleman, the vast natural terrain offers an effortless romantic appeal,” says Kelly. To be sure, The Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay is a full embrace.

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