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View from the 180 Blu lounge
Let Us Stay With You: is the tagline associated with staying at a Ritz Carlton.

  • Let us take your eyelids back in time.
  • Let us re-create the recipe from your favorite meal in Paris.
  • Let us help you unwind without leaving the city.
  • Let us turn a weekend of pampering into a memory you'll be reminded of at every turn.
 When you talk about opulence, the Ritz Carlton Dana Point is the poster child for their corporate marketing campaign.  Their premise is to focus on guest experiences and the memories that guests will remember for years to come. The moment you set foot onto the property you are transported to a world of pristine beauty, relaxation, and luxury.   The lobby area, completely constructed of marble and lined with fresh cut flowers, gives you a feel of elegance.  As you walk further inside, you pass by a plethora of dining options including a fine dining restaurant EnoSteak, Bar Raya in the center of the building, an express bistro named the marketplace, an upscale bistro named Raya, and the 180 Blu outdoor terrace lounge.  At almost all of these locations you are greeted by a wall of windows with a million dollar view of the Pacific Ocean.  

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During my stay, I was fortunate enough to experience one of the ground floor rooms - with a walkout patio overlooking the ocean and a fireplace to enjoy the cool nights.   We were thoroughly impressed by the attention to detail from the wall decorations and architectural details to the marble bathroom with jack and jill sinks.  I could imagine this room being a wonderful retreat or romantic getaway for even the most demanding guest.  

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After dropping off our luggage and changing out of our work attire, we chose to venture down the the 180 BLU, one of four bars and eateries on property.  This open air restaurant and lounge offers one of the best views of the Laguna/Dana Point areas due to its elevation and uninterrupted line of vision. 

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Here my co-worker and myself sat and enjoyed watching the sun go down.  180BLU was an otherworldly experience; the sound of the ocean, wonderful fresh breeze, and sipping their Hibiscus Margarita - a drink composed of Herradura Silver (one of my favorite tequilas), hibiscus, and lime - was divine.    My co-worker asked the mixologist to concoct a cucumber vodka martini which was cool and refreshing to the taste.   They know how to imagine your tastes and deliver satisfying results

  To go with our fabulous drinks, we ordered their Ceviche Mixto,

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which had a very unique twist: the add popcorn to the top!  The ceviche was composed of aji panca panca popcorn sauce, rock shrimp, bay scallops, calamari, roasted corn, cucumber, red onion, and cilantro.  We were given plantain chips and paper thin potato chips as our serving utensils making it a very fun experience.  We agreed that it could use a different variety of seafood since there was an overwhelming amount of tiny shrimp that seemed perhaps frozen beforehand, but the taste was still very pleasant and we appreciated this to start.

After sitting for another hour enjoying the ambiance, we decided to order their special of the evening, which was their sushi.  Their selection was pretty standard, but they delivered high marks in presentation and the freshness of the fish.

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To make the entire experience even more breathtaking than it already was, a musician soon walked in carrying his peace sign music stand and guitar.  This long haired blond gentleman depicted the stereotypical California beach surfer and was talented to boot!  He played acoustic guitar all night long singing classic and modern songs from artists like Coldplay, Jack Johnson, John Mayer, Sting, and Oasis.  We requested songs all night long from his list he brought with him hoping he would continue the entertainment all night long.   In fact, I kept hoping I would still be able to hear him from the patio of our room, but the sound didn't carry out that far.

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To keep us happy all night with the cooling temperature, the Ritz staff walked around passing out fleece blankets to bundle up and stay outside.  We graciously accepted them and spent one more hour into the evening listening to the music and breathing in the fresh ocean air.

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When we were finally ready to depart, we happily walked back to our room and started our fireplace.  (I've included a daytime shot so you can visualize the amazing surrounding and setup!)  Shortly after our arrival to the room, there was a knock at the door and a gentleman hands us a large plastic tube full of ingredients - which I soon realized was a smores kit!  If you've read my post on the Kimpton Firesky, then you already know how excited I was to find another hotel focused on you enjoying every aspect of your stay.

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  We grabbed the tube, went straight out to the patio, and started the fireplace.   And that's where I sat for the rest of the night listening to the ocean and eating smores sandwiches.   

After feeling satiated, I fell asleep with the patio doors wide open to the ocean.  I slept better that night than I had in days, probably due to the wonderfully comfortable beds and the sound of the ocean.  

In the morning we called down to room service and requested tea, coffee, and a beautiful sunrise.  Although the staff quickly asked what kind of "sunrise" we wanted, they quickly understood our joke and laughed along with us.  Talk about a staff aimed to please!  

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So, we wrapped up our wonderful time at the Ritz and left feeling refreshed and invigorated.  I highly suggest that if you ever make it out to the area, try to stay here, or atleast make a pit stop at the 180BLU and enjoy the wonderful atmosphere.  You will be transported to a place or serene beauty with a staff ready to provide anything you desire.

 





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