A stay at Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel with kids

Parents might assume a Ritz Carlton hotel is too, well, ritzy for a family vacation. In fact, the family-friendly offerings at Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel make the acclaimed resort a smart choice for families looking for great vacation value.

ritz carlton laguna niguel

Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel with kids:

The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel is located right on the Pacific Coast between the beach towns of Laguna Beach and Dana Point, CA. While a stay is expensive by any standards, your room rate stretches beyond luxury accommodations (which are often lost on kids): families will enjoy excellent service, a completely relaxed atmosphere, hassle-free access to a beautiful beach, and local expertise tapped from the team of concierges, bellhops, and front desk staff.

ritz carlton laguna niguel

Kid-friendly offerings at Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel:

Families looking for an ideal beach day can take advantage of the Ritz Carlton’s Beach Butler Service, which not only brings your family straight to the beach via beach shuttle, but also keeps your hands free: ‘beach butlers’ will bring all your essentials to you (and always have towels and sunscreen on-hand).

Ritz Carlton laguna niguel

The Dana Pool is tucked into a garden courtyard, with exposure to sunshine but not wind. Located adjacent is pool dining and beverage service, and ice water is always available. We loved that plenty of pool toys were available, and that kids were welcome in the hot tub. An additional pool exists on the Monarch side of the hotel, and tennis courts and basketball courts are also available for families, as well as a full-service fitness center for adults.

ritz carlton

On site at the Laguna Niguel property is Eco Adventures, with opportunities for families to experience the local environment with sea hikes, snorkeling, surfing, and more. We attended the then-called Forests Under the Sea snorkeling program, which included a fun (and informative) naturalist talk followed by a full snorkeling trip to nearby Woods Cove in Laguna Beach.

Check it out on the Pit Stops for Kids YouTube channel:

We were able to learn more about the sea life we’d been spotting while snorkeling on our own, and learned what we could do to help sustain the beach and ocean life eco-system. Tip: Ambassadors of the Environment is available to non-resort guests as well, and is a great value for those looking for an informative half-day ocean excursion.

Ritz Carlton Ambassadors of the Environment

Date last visited:

July 2012

Distance from the interstate:

Right off PCH (Pacific Coast Highway) in Orange County, CA.

Room rates:

Room rates vary by season and type, from $500-well over $1000. At the time of our visit, we stayed in an oceanview fireside room, located off the Dana Lawn. This location was great for kids: it featured an outdoor fireplace and small patio leading to plenty of lawn space for kids to play on (complete with a horseshoe pitch). Rooms include marble bathrooms, luxury bedding, and in the case of an oceanfront room, amazing views. Note: one thing our Ritz Carlton room lacked was complimentary coffee and tea service, standard in almost all luxury hotel rooms. (Secondary note: my kids are only frowning in the following photo because the sun is in their eyes. They didn’t care about the lack of coffee service…that was all me.)

fireside ritz carlton room


The Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel offers several dining options for families, all featuring wonderful service and ambiance (but all costing families accordingly). We ate an incredible meal at Raya, where our server couldn’t have been more friendly to the two kids I had with me (ages 11 and 13). The food was delicious, but even more impressive was the sunset seen over the Pacific from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Raya is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and while dining here for every meal will not be budget-friendly, I do recommending budgeting for at least one special meal here.

For faster, easier-on-the-wallet fare, the Marketplace serves up a nice, quick breakfast. The poolside dining offers high-qaulity snack and lunch foods (including excellent nachos), but for stays of more than a day or so, I recommend buying some groceries and making use of the mini-fridge. The concierge can recommend many off-property restaurants as well. Tip: if you plan to eat most meals on-property, it may be worth the expense to book a ‘club level’ room. Club level guests enjoy five daily food services included in their room rate, including lunch foods, full breakfasts, and cocktails.


From most points in Orange County or LA, guests will take I-5 to Crown Valley Parkway, then turn left (south) on the PCH. From Laguna Beach, the hotel is a straight shot down the PCH (about 15 minutes’ drive).

As I disclose whenever applicable, I experienced the Ritz Carlton Laguna Niguel, the Ambassadors of the Environment program, and Raya as guests of Ritz Carlton. While this hospitality is appreciated, it did not come with expectation of a positive review. (And I did pay for my own nachos.)



About the author

Amy Whitley AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.




  1. I usually skip over the Ritz when I’m looking at hotels as I assume it’s too fancy to be taking my kids to, but this location looks like a lot of fun. Love the reflection of the ocean in the balcony doors, and thanks to your kids for toughing out that picture (and to you for toughing out the no coffee).

  2. I’m glad that you found the Ritz Carlton to be family friendly. Our family loves staying there during our trips to Southern California. The service is always top notch and the location is beautiful. I highly recommend visiting around Christmas so that you can see the giant gingerbread house. You can stop by and see if even if you aren’t a guest. They do a fantastic job of decorating the hotel for the holidays.

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