With nearly a week ahead of us and the rarely accurate weatherman’s doom and gloom forecast for the week messing with our heads (not), our jaunt to the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel as a Valentine from the MoH to moi is now officially a memory.
But what a lovely one.
Remember those commercials that one of the cruise lines used to run depicting an average person pumping gas and day dreaming about their experience in temporary splendor? Doesn’t ring any bells? Fine.
Well, that was our weekend at the Ritz. Totally. Amazing. Now, it would have been a bit better if the coffee we stopped for on the way would have had a lid that actually kept the coffee IN the cup instead of dripping down my white shirt, but no problem. I just happened to have a damp towel in the car so I could wipe down the console on the way to keep the valets from actually knowing we were slobs instead of just wondering.
I’d been to the Ritz once before with a group of girlfriends and since then, a make over of more contemporary lines, patterns, and color palate has given the hotel a fresh summery look — so much so that I had trouble remembering it was mid February. You know, with temperatures in the high sixties and low seventies instead of mid-eighties? Sorry. I couldn’t resist. You do understand that I would enjoy having a real winter, right? I know I’ve made that perfectly clear.
But I digress.
So how relaxing was it?
There’s plenty of beach to walk along and tide pools to explore if you’re inclined to crawl on the rocks and you can talk your husband into carrying your purse and your wedgies. And if you’re really lucky, he’ll even kneel down and roll up your jeans so they don’t get wet. It seems the surfers are there 24 hours a day doing more floating than surfing, just waiting for that perfect wave. If you don’t quite feel like walking down to the beach, or
trudging bounding back up that hill, there’s a cute little car that comes and goes on a schedule that will drive you down and pick you up to your heart’s content. And the exercise facility is grand. Although we did peer into the room, even the ellipticals positioned in front of the ten foot bay windows with a full view of the Pacific wasn’t enough to encourage us to don our spandex and bounce off an ounce. Or a thousand. We did, however, take time to admire those who had chosen to do so from outside the window as we used the stairs to the beach.
The lounge (okay, so they call it The Bar, but it doesn’t exactly fit my image of a bar) has a great menu to sip and taste while you sink back into the low chairs and wonder whether the man sitting with the woman in the corner near the window with the view is Antonio Gates. But maybe that was just the Moh’s Strawberry Bellini playing tricks with his brain.
And if you’re curious (and we were…), there’s Eno — a Wine, Cheese & Chocolate tasting room that hosts a variety of vintners throughout the year, and for a fee, offers a class to discover how each of their respective wines taste. We met the Nachbaurs who left corporate jobs nearly 18 years ago with little knowledge or experience to begin their Acorn Winery. I love hearing about people who take a leap like that. I know it’s what I’m supposed to be doing right now, but I’m a bit slow on the uptake. Just give me some more time and I’ll get there. I know it. Although I’m more a lover of white wine than red, and the MoH loves his Coca-Cola on the rocks…we enjoyed the class and the company at our table. The pairing of the selected wines with the various handmade chocolates, cheeses, and meats were very, very good.
And just in case that wasn’t quite enough wine, a bottle of bubbly was sent to our room. Nice.
A nap in the afternoon sunlight was a perfect way to rest for a late dinner at Restaurant 162′ where we enjoyed food that made my tastebuds sing. A surprise dessert in celebration of our anniversary in December (better late than never?) was a enough to have us waddling back to our room with silly grins on our faces.
We slept with the French doors open so we could hear the surf while tucked under the thick down comforter.
Breakfast was brought to the room at 9:30 and we ate some more.
Another walk on the beach, a massage and some sauna time for the MoH, and a quiet corner in the lounge for me with a good book finished off our time at a lovely hotel.
Back to reality.
But absolutely no complaints or snide remarks about Paradise.