Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay is a beautiful category 4 property located about 25 miles from San Francisco International Airport (SFO). The rate for this property often is $500+ per night and this property is on top of literally every travel bloggers “best category 4 Ritz-Carlton” property. Perhaps as a result of the hype, literally everyone who gets Chase Ritz-Carlton Visa Infinite card goes or wants to go here.
Not long ago I was visiting San Francisco (again!) and it seemed like a good idea to burn my free night certificate (from said chase card) to check this property out. But I was a bit skeptical about the hype and looked up some info online beforehand…and I was glad I did.
This property is 24.5 miles drive away from San Francisco International Airport (SFO). A party of 2 can Uber Pool for 27-30 bucks each way. Alternatively, you can use public transportation (apparently for as low as roughly $6) but that requires you to change 3-4 buses/train. Do NOT use taxi as that can cost you $90-110 each way.
A word of warning – you’ll likely not find uber (or lyft) early in the morning, say 6-8 am. I would not have plans to leave this place around that time.
Jogging and Beach
To the left of the hotel there is a ocean side jogging trail. You won’t see a complete sunrise while jogging (or anywhere from the property for that matter).
On the other hand, you’ll see sunset from practially anywhere, granted it isn’t ruined by clouds or worse fog.
If you walk along the trail for a while, you’ll see a path that leads to the beach.
The beach isn’t big but that is made up by the fact that it does not get many visitors. We were there in early December, the water was obviously cold enough to not have a lasting beach experience.
So we went back up and followed the jogging trail. There’s a small swamp right behind the beach and a wooden bridge helps you cross it.
I saw someone jog through the field so maybe you can go a little further than what is shown in the picture above.
The staff seemed nice. When we were checking in, we were asked if we wanted to drink wine but I passed on the offer. Apparently we also had a bottle awaiting us in the room. Again I passed on it because I don’t drink but I did appreciate the rose petals.
Our room had direct view of the ocean. In the evening sunset was clearly visible from our room which is nice. All of this was a consequence of mentioning “we’re celebrating a xyz occasion”. I feel like getting a suite upgrade in this property should be easy granted you’re “celebrating an occasion” and explicitly ask for it beforehand.
The room had an empty refrigerator which is a major plus for me. I had brought food from San Francisco and that minimized my food cost at Half Moon Bay. They also had some tea which is nice.
1 Day Booking is Enough
A major appeal of this property is its golf course, and if you’re a non-golfer like me, you won’t find much to do at this property. In fact, there isn’t much to do spontaneously in Half Moon Bay altogether. Sure, you could independently book activities, like whale watching, ahead of time but you can likely do those things elsewhere, at a cheaper price.
With above in mind, I think one day booking is more than enough to explore this property. I recommend getting to the property in the morning so you can explore the property. If they don’t have a room for you, just leave your stuff with the bellman, and start walking around. By the time you check-out next afternoon, you’ll have seen and experienced everything you want at Ritz Half Moon Bay 5 times over.
It is a nice property for sure but beyond that there isn’t much to go on. As I said previously, there simply isn’t much to do in Half Moon Bay. To top it off, the property is a bit further away from everything else at Half Moon Bay. Sure you get a nice view of the ocean, a jogging trail nearby the ocean, and a beach that gets very few visitors, but how much do you value that over the resort fee, valet/parking fee, and the obvious super duper expensive cost of dining?
If you’re in the area, you might as well experience the property (for a day) and see the hype for yourself. I would not recommend going out of one’s way to stay at this property. You could have far more fun throwing away cash in San Francisco. If you do plan to go there, just make sure it isn’t a foggy day as fog could exponentially diminish your experience at this property. Also, you might as well bring food with you as dining option here is unnecessarily expensive.
Lastly, I will say that this property has zero re-visitability factor for us. While we’re glad we went to Half Moon Bay, we’ve zero desire to revisit the property.