Just Wanderlust Blog » A discerning, food-loving, & culturally curious road warrior seeks the world's beautiful and bizarre destinations.

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Fave Hotels Bringing Sexy Back: #5 Ritz Carlton, Laguna Nigel

As I hinted at earlier, I’m not really much of a “roughing it” type of girl, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t spent my fair share of nights in hostels, camps, and budget accommodations.  Given a choice, I obviously would prefer a 5 star hotel every time (who wouldn’t?), but my love of traveling often means I have to settle for an average accommodation (it gets expensive trying to go to 4 new countries every year!).

Anyway, so far, I’ve probably stayed at 150 different hotels so I have a lot to say about them.  While I can’t remember all the hotels I’ve been at, there are 5 that I think fondly back to as having that “wow factor” – something that just differentiates them from all the other properties I’ve seen to-date.  Over time, I’m sure this list will evolve (T and I generally try to stay somewhere different each time – we once got out of a timeshare sale by telling them we love checking out different properties on vacation and couldn’t possibly imagine being tied down to their one property – true story), but for now, my #5 fav hotel is the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Nigel.

Needless to say, it’s the Ritz so anyone who’s familiar with this luxe brand will already know that the rooms will be tastefully appointed and the service will be top-notch.  But that’s not why I love this place (although it helps).

What really sets this place apart is their signature scent.  Oh my gawd, I kid you not, this hotel is easily the best smelling hotel I’ve ever set foot in.  And somehow, they’ve managed to infuse the whole place with this glorious sweet, sweet scent that just envelops you when you walk in – it’s both overwhelming and overpowering but in all the right ways.  It’s also smells unobtrusively “pretty” enough to appeal to both men and women (can I bottle it up already?). I’m telling you, this is what heaven smells like.

As if that wasn’t reason enough to check this place out already, the hotel is also located perfectly above the Pacific such that you get the most uh-mazing floor-to-ceiling views from their restaurant Raya.  With a little imagination, you can actually pretend you are on a cruise ship in the Mediterranean with that view.

Finally, if you’d much rather enjoy the outside Southern California weather you can sit out on the terrace for a drinks and snacks.  My favorite is to sit out here with a glass of bubbly, truffle fries, and oysters.  If that’s not the quintessential Orange County lifestyle, I don’t know what is.

If you’re down for a weekend escape, the rooms start at $375 (tip: you can get deals if you’re on their email list), but if you are in the area already, you should just come get some drinks!  And if you need company, I’ll go with you.

(photos from the Ritz-Carlton)

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