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“Uneven and disappointing experience”

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The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
Ranked #2 of 12 Hotels in Dana Point
Certificate of Excellence
GreenLeadersBronze level
US
Level Contributor
19 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Uneven and disappointing experience”
Reviewed 5 August 2012

Just left the Laguna Niguel after an 8night stay and have stayed here on two other occasions along with the next door Montage. In addition, have stayed at many Ritz Carlton hotels around the world but this current trip was an uneven and disappointing combined business and vacation experience with my husband as a travel companion. Definitely the worst 5-star hotel experience I have ever had.
1. Our highlight was the first night arriving among the amazing flower arrangements at the registration desk and heading off to 180 Blu with terrific and attentive service and lovely food and wine with an unmatched view. Love sitting on that beautiful open aired space overlooking the ocean vista. Sadly the trip only seemed to spiral downward after the first day - we tried to replicate the 180Blu meal two nights later and had a very poor experience with wrong orders, delayed meals (our two entrees came at different times varying by 10minutes with one entree either cold or eaten with out the pleasure of a 'couples' meal.
2. ROOM "UPGRADE" disaster....We 'upgraded' to a room for a full ocean view the second day as a special treat which was a big mistake. Our sinks backed up with fecal material rising out of the sinks. We would also have frequent days with lawn furniture piled outside of our room obscuring the view. There was ceaseless barking from the next door neighbors dogs. If you are offered room 1004 please refuse it as we could not get these things changed during our stay and were stuck in this horrible room for our stay. Adding insult to injury was the separate charge of the 'upgrade' that was placed as a single charge instead of an upcharge of the daily rate - this will make it impossible to submit as a business expense and I will have the pleasure of paying out of pocket for the charge. When I tried to work with the business office - I received a 'nothing could be done'
3. SERVICE. The room service, porters and valets were great. The front desk personnel and room service phone personnel were horrible. When my brother and his family joined us during the second half of our stay with a second room we were greeted at the front desk by personnel who let me explain the second room booking under the same name and then rudely told me to step back from the desk since she was helping a customer who had left to go to the bathroom and she was currently unavailable. We stood in front of the empty registration desk for over 5 minutes while the 'bathroom customer' held her place. When she returned the 'bathroom customer' loudly finished a long conversation on the phone about a family members ear infection while we all stood and listened still hoping to eventually be acknowledged as a customer. Very sad second class treatment. About 10minutes later a second registration clerk finally arrived and handed us our keys and didn't even offer help with our bags to the room or even directions to the room. Very bizarre. Sadly, when leaving the resort and being asked 'how was my stay'. I offered that it was disappointing and was only told 'well, that is unfortunate' without any interest in understanding the problems. I would encourage management to work with front desk personnel since they didn't seem to enjoy being in a 'service' industry.
3. AMENITIES: During my trip to the spa I was treated to workman pounding on a broken massage chair next to mine so had the pleasure of workmen talking, laughing, hammering and using various other tools next to my 'relaxing' manicure/pedicure.

Certainly will plan to try an alternative Laguna Niguel location next time since I would not want to spend money and take home this sad experience. Had been looking forward to this venue and our prior visits were much better as reflected in others posting. We had looked forward to this get-away for months so especially sad heading home with this overall C- vacation experience. I think with a little more acknowledgement from management and front desk personnel to help improve our stay we would have been fine but sadly it wasn't meant to be.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled on business
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Helpful?
4 Thank travelmoments2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ritzcarltonlaguna, Executive Office at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, responded to this review, 6 August 2012
Your feedback is critical and we greatly appreciate all of it. We will use it strategically and promptly.
Could you please phone our executive team at (949) 240-2000 at your earliest convenience so we may ensure that we come to a satisfactory resolution with you? Thank you in advance for your time. We look forward to regaining your faith in us.
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Newburgh, Indiana
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2012

We just completed a week-long stay at this hotel. It's scenery is world class. Unfortunately its service is not. I am a member of Ritz Carlton rewards and have stayed at 17 different Ritz Carlton hotels. This is the worst one I have been to.

1. The walls are paper thin. This reminds me of a Hampton Inn.

2. It caters to the masses. It is a large hotel and caters to meetings and weddings. I understand this pays the bills, but it is not helpful to an out of town guest who is personally paying for their own vacation.

If you cater to the masses, you become a Marriott.

The valet situation at this hotel is out of control. They need more help. There are too many locals/non-registered guests visiting the hotel to cater to the hotel guests.

Finally, for the first time ever, I was never shown my room by a hotel employee. I was simply pointed in the direction. We stay on the concierge levels and typically have personalized check-in. This didn't happen. Nor did any type of property explanation.


Wonderful setting. Marriott service, thin walls, loud throughout the night.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank utrays
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ritzcarltonlaguna, Executive Office at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, responded to this review, 6 August 2012
We greatly appreciate your feedback and constructive criticism, thank you. It has been taken to heart and will be used appropriately and promptly. We would be very interested in speaking with you further and personally, and hope you have a moment to contact our executive team at (949) 240-2000. You are valuable to us and we want to make it right for you.
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Dallas, Texas
Level Contributor
29 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 August 2012

We were prepared to be amazed! We've stayed at other RC's and remembered being very pleased and have heard nothing but amazing reviews of this one.

Our 1st impression was "how are we supposed to fit 5 people in this room!?" followed quickly by "really? This is our view? We're Platinum members and we get 1st floor and no view despite making reservation nearly a year in advance and requesting an upgraded room numerous times!?"
The staff was nice enough, no issues there, but there was no legendary service going on.
In fact, I had to call twice for towels by the pool. 3 days in a row we arrived to the smaller pool to find ZERO towels and piles of soiled towels on lounge chairs. So if we wanted to dry off we couldn't nor could we find a place to sit unless we were willing to scoop up everyone's old towels. It was very cold in the shade dripping wet with our room a pretty good hike away. The snack hut thing was never open either. In July?
The ant problem was a little more than irritating as well. My daughter leaned back for about 3 seconds against the wall leading to beach to snap a photo and when she turned around her back was covered in ants! Yikes! Also may want housekeeping to make sure phones in room work, our's didn't = inconvenient.

We inquired every day about an upgraded room, as we desperately needed more space. The best they eventually could do was a room w/ a better view. No help there w/ space.
We moved to the room and I unpacked my things in the bathroom and found the drinking glass to be pretty gross. There was literally something thick running from the rim down the side and dried. I passed housekeeping in the hall and handed to a guy who seemed to be a housekeeping supervisor. Told him we just moved to the room and I found this at my sink. He just stared at me taking it . . . okkkkkkkkk {?} How about "I'm so sorry Mrs. X, let me get you another one right away." or something? Anything?!
We also noticed that it felt more like a big Vegas-y hotel. TONS of events to work around, almost too crowded. Well, obviously crowded considering they couldn't upgrade us.
Note: don't ask for rollaway bed, we could literally feel the coils in our's :(

Location is awesome, we LOVE Laguna! The Market was great, loved Nico :) Loved to get normal quick food in the morning without having to sit down to a big breakfast.
Loved 180 Blue but did experience pretty slow service there. Nice staff, lots of waiting. Beautiful views.
The lobby flowers are exquisite!!!

We stayed at St. Regis Monarch Beach last time and if I had to choose between the 2, I'd choose St. Regis. It isn't beachfront, but by the time I walk all the way down the long drive to the beach, the St. Regis golf cart would have be delivered to the beach. It's also not such a bustling "big" hotel.

Our experience was average. Nothing spectacular, nothing horrendous. Just seemed to be enough issues to even out the things we thought were really good.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
1 Thank TableOf5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ritzcarltonlaguna, Executive Office at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, responded to this review, 9 August 2012
Thank you for your detailed review and photos of our property. We enjoyed having you as our guest. With so many experiences waiting for you, we would be delighted to invite you back to enjoy the resort and memories at a time when our occupancy is lower than during the summer months. We are most certain you would enjoy yourself. Please feel free to contact our office at (949) 240-2000 so we can ensure your next Ritz-Carlton experience is a true Ritz-Carlton experience.
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Virginia Beach, VA
Level Contributor
12 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 August 2012

My wife and I first visited the Ritz Carlton in July 2008 for a retirement party for my predecessor. When asked where I would like to have my retirement party (I live in Virginia), I immediately selected the Ritz. This time, in addition to my wife, my two adult daughters accompanied me. My wife and I had an oceanside room and my daughters had ocean views. While the rooms could have been larger, they were nonetheless, very nice. The staff were all excellent, very knowledgeable, efficient, and friendly. The public areas are exquisite, particularly the flower arrangements and the landscaping.Three things keep the Ritz from being perfect, however -- the large flat screen TVs only receive analog chanels--no digitals. This was a huge disappointment since, having gotten use to HDTV at home, the analog signals appeared fuzzy - like watching BW tv after the advent of color. Second, the lack of an in-room coffee maker was disappointing. The nice balcony overlooking the pacific begged for an early morning cup of coffee. It just wasn't worth it to order $18 (plus gratuity and tax) room service when all I wanted was a hot cup of coffee. We were also disappointed that the pair of shoes that my wife left in the closet were not turned in my the staff cleaning the room.

Room Tip: Ocean side is worth the extra $$$
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  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
Thank hrmobley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ritzcarltonlaguna, Executive Office at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, responded to this review, 15 August 2012
Thank you for the photos....we love seeing them! You will be glad to know we are replacing all of our televisions very soon. We are excited to share them and all of our upcoming enhancements with you (perhaps during your next visit). We have noted your preference for a coffee maker in your room and will make sure we have that for you the next time you stay with us. If you could give us a call at 949 240 2000, we would be more than happy to replace the shoes that were lost. Thank you for your feedback.
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UK
Level Contributor
28 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 July 2012

Delivered in all aspects, staff are all friendly, knowledgeable and well trained.
From our welcome at the Valet parking to departure all were spot-on. The boys and girls at the beach could not have been better, they assist to set you up with chairs/towels/water/boogie boards/flippers and brolly.
The views are superb, location is prime site and from hotel poolside to surf is a 2 minute stroll-perfect!

Is it expensive? of course it is but value and price are not the same thing and in my opinion you get good value all round.
Recommended.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank jubs
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ritzcarltonlaguna, Executive Office at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, responded to this review, 1 August 2012
Congratulations on your ten-night stay! That is fantastic and we thank you. We look forward to your next ten-night visit. We will have so much fun creating more unique experiences and memories for you. Welcome home.
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Newport Beach, California
Level Contributor
134 reviews
36 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 68 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 July 2012

if you are going to visit orange county and want an experience to remember for a lifetime, this is the place to stay. service is excellent. spa and pools are fabulous. new gym is right on ocean and never crowded. views are some of the most beautiful of all hotels in the world. beach is not crowded certain times of the year. facilities are vast and immaculate. food is delicious. would not even need to leave resort to enjoy your stay. golf nearby, bike paths, jogging on the beach, surfing, swimming, fun for kids, weddings. thanksgiving buffet is enormous and outstanding, including service, variety and freshness. you cannot beat this place! and yes, it is expensive, but worth it!!

Room Tip: ocean view south side of the resort.
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  • Stayed August 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank anengineeredtraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ritzcarltonlaguna, Executive Office at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, responded to this review, 30 July 2012
We are so glad you enjoyed your stay with us! We enjoyed creating memories for you to take home with you and keep for a lifetime. You have found your new home away from home! We are very proud of our Orange County jewel and we look forward to sharing it with you again soon.
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Charleston, SC
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 July 2012

I just completed a weekend stay at this property. I have stayed here several times before and always had a pleasurable experience. Hence my decision to stay again on my birthday, as I do every year. The property is very aesthetically pleasing. Everything is very clean and you really feel as though you are at a 5 star property. Unfortunately, that is where it stops though. The service at this hotel is horrible, to say the least. Where do I start? The valet assistant was very helpful in taking us to our room. It was mentioned that it was my birthday and he said he would make sure something was done (champagne, strawberries, etc.). This was not expected or requested. However, we very much appreciated the thought. Nothing ever happened. No birthday wishes from the Ritz Carlton on this stay...
Next, I bought a yogurt at the shop upstairs, which had a nice selection, by the way. They forgot to give me spoon. Since I was on a business call, I called room service and asked that some silverware be delivered to my room, so I could actually eat the yogurt. 1.5 hours went by and no silverware. Being very frustrated, I decided to call the hotel operator. Nobody picked up. It just kept ringing. I called back and the same thing. I then called room service and the line was busy. I called back about 30 times over the next 15 minutes and the room service line was terminally busy. I thought to myself, how does this happen at a Ritz Carlton. I could be at a Holiday Inn and get room service to pick up the line. I called the front desk and registered a complaint, after being put on hold for 12 minutes at this extension as well. I put the yogurt in the small refrigerator in the room and decided to eat it the next day. Tried to call room service to get a spoon delivered. Exact same experience. Yogurt was left in my room refrigerator, uneaten...

Valet service is unsatisfactory. I would always give 20-30 minutes notice and the car was never ready. I only had to wait 5 minutes max, when getting to the valet desk and they were very courteous. However, I was puzzled why I would call ahead of time and the car was never ready.

Lastly, and probably the most damning was my decision to extend my stay. I didn't want to pack and unpack our bags, so I decided to stay at the Ritz Carlton for 2 more days because we loved Laguna Beach and also loved the views at this hotel. Convenience of not moving hotels was key. I called the front desk in an effort to book the additional 2 nights. Was put on hold for 27 minutes. Nobody ever came back to the line... Pissed, I decided to call the Montage on the recommendation of a friend. Was able to immediately book a reservation. Leaving the Ritz now to stay at the Montage. I will do a comparison review when my stay is completed at the Montage.

In closing, I should point out that I am a world traveler for business and pleasure. I stay at the finest hotels in the world and have stayed at many Ritz Carlton hotels; usually with very good experiences. I am not hard to please. I just expect some morsel or resemblance of good customer service and support. That did not happen at this hotel. In fact it was very embarrassing for me. My travel companion was completely fed up with service. We had just stayed at the Beverly Wilshire (Four Seasons hotel) directly before showing up at the Ritz Carlton. I had touted the Ritz to her and ended up eating a healthy portion of crow, with regard to my bragging on this hotel. In comparison, the Beverly Wilshire was in a different atmosphere with regard to customer service. I felt like a king at that hotel. More important, my travel companion was treated like a queen. The price of the Ritz Carlton in Laguna was ridiculous for the lackluster service and attention to detail. I will not stay at this hotel again. Montage, here I come...

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Wolfpack2873
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
ritzcarltonlaguna, Executive Office at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel, responded to this review, 30 July 2012
Thank you so much for your valuable feedback. We take your feedback seriously and will use it as learning and coaching for our leaders. We take great pride in the service we provide and are very disappointed that we have let you down. Could you kindly contact our team in the Executive Office to discuss your experience further? We can be reached at (949 240 2000). Thank you again for your time.
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Additional Information about The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

Property: The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
Address: 1 Ritz Carlton Dr, Dana Point, CA 92629-4205
Phone Number:
Region: United States > California > Orange County > Dana Point
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 On the Beach Hotel in Dana Point
#1 Romantic Hotel in Dana Point
#2 Green Hotel in Dana Point
#2 Business Hotel in Dana Point
#3 Family Hotel in Dana Point
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel 5*
Number of rooms: 396
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
The Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel Hotel Dana Point
Ritz Dana Point
Ritz-Carlton Dana Point
Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel

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