An hour’s drive south of San Francisco but a world away, the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay is one of California’s ultimate oceanfront escapes. This is laid-back luxury in all its glory, with stylish rooms overlooking Half Moon Bay’s secluded coves. Trails lace the property, so you can stretch your legs a bit getting delightfully pampered at the on-site head-to-toe spa (try the Redwood Forest Ritual, one of their signature treatments). Golfers can test their game on the resort’s Ocean Course, with blue Pacific views from every hole, and tennis players can take advantage of the resorts six lighted courts; court reservations and use of house rackets, balls, and a ball machine are included in the resort fee. Another nice touch are the private fire pits, which are the pretty-much-perfect place to watch the sun go down, or to scan the horizon for migrating whales.
Speaking of nature, a stay in Half Moon Bay would not be complete without communing with it. Bike or hike along the California Coastal Trail, which runs right through the Ritz-Carlton grounds, or rent a kayak or surfboard and spend an afternoon in the water. Bird watchers will have a field day spotting great blue herons, egrets, red-tailed hawks, and even bald eagles. Just be sure to pack a scarf and a light, warm rainproof jacket, as weather conditions can change quickly.
When it’s time to refuel, the resort’s signature restaurant, Navio, incorporates local produce in such sea-to-table specialties as a roasted local black cod. For a more intimate setting overlooking the the Pacific, book a table at The Conservatory. At both, you can sip sommelier-selected flights of California vintages, plus artisanal cheeses and chocolates.