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The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is Pulling Out All the Stops to Make The Season Bright, and Unforgettable

Written By: Michelle Jaco

A prized gem nestled along the Southern California Coast, Laguna Niguel is home to picture-perfect backdrops comprised of warm sandy beaches and a dazzling oceanfront. Not your typical idyllic white Christmas setting, yes, but the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel has lined up an array of events and activities throughout the holiday season ensured to keep you joyfully warm—literally, as the December weather averages a sunny 70 degrees.


Gingerbread Extravaganza

To describe this 24 by the nine-foot holiday-inspired display as extravagant would be an understatement. With more than 500 hours logged, Sylvain Haage, Executive Pastry Chef, has brought to life a colorful exhibit of culture married with Christmas splendor in the form of a hand-made gingerbread and candy display. This season’s theme of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” showcases a jolly Santa Claus trekking through the nighttime sky across the globe, venturing from the San Francisco Bay Bridge to Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral. Jenna Duran, the Ritz’s Marketing and Communications Manager, explains, “This is an annual tradition the resort has been hosting for 11 years total.” 11 years and counting, and something to look forward to every Christmas season! The display can be located in the main lobby and will be up until the New Year.


Gingerbread House and Holiday Cookie Decorating

This season, the resort will be hosting a large-scale construction project that everyone in the family is strongly encouraged to partake in. The project is completely safe for all ages, as the necessary equipment consists of icing, slabs of gingerbread, and candy—lots and lots of candy. No holiday confection exudes tradition quite like building a gingerbread house. With guidance from Chef Haage and company, who will be present to provide helpful tips and tricks, guests have the opportunity to create their very own cookie-walled houses. The event will be held on Sunday, Dec. 16 from 2-4 p.m at $175 per Gingerbread House.


Holiday Tea

Hosted in the gorgeous Raya restaurant, guests are welcome to enjoy some R&R at their Afternoon Tea, paired with seasonal canapés and sweet treats while overlooking the layered blue gradient of the Pacific sky and its infinite winter ocean. The resort does not offer afternoon tea on a regular basis, so you only have from now until Dec. 13 to join the sipping soirée, so don’t miss out! Holiday Tea is served from Monday-Thursday from 2:30-3:30 p.m. at $75 per person.  


Holiday Storytelling

Perhaps some of the most treasured Christmas memories are the ones that began early on, lounging cozily in the living room, being read to by a loved one and escaping into magnificent worlds filled with memorable characters like a red-nosed reindeer who endure the impossible or a grumpy Grinch who learned how to love. The Ritz-Carlton’s Holiday Storytelling will revisit such nostalgia by inviting guests to partake in this complimentary event in a sit-down reading of the holiday classics. Attendees are encouraged to bring a new children’s book which will be donated to Miracles for Kids to help in spreading the holiday cheer. Miracles for Kids assists families all throughout Southern California in various areas in an effort to focus on the well-being and care for their children. Storytelling will be held at the Eco-Adventure Center on Dec. 7,8,14 and 15 from 5-6 p.m.  


Christmas Cravings

Duran adds that the popular onsite restaurants, Raya and enoSTEAK, will be featuring select holiday dishes. “Every year, our culinary team creates a special four-course menu for the holidays.” This year’s menu does not look to disappoint. Known for its pan-Latin coastal cuisine, Raya will be featuring a special four-course menu beginning with an endive salad, followed by a Christmas soup, and delectable main course options of either pan-seared scallops, turkey tamale or a grilled prime N.Y (G.F). Save room for dessert, as the five spices steamed chocolate cake is an absolute must-try.

For the true steak aficionados, enoSTEAK will also be promoting a special new menu. For its holiday dishes, the steakhouse will be offering a Colorado rack of lamb with various accompaniments and a warm toffee cake topped with Irish coffee ice cream for dessert.

Both restaurants will also be featuring a special New Year’s Eve menu. Raya’s NYE menu can be found here, and more details on enoSTEAK’s options can be located here.

Stay Awhile

To avoid the hustle and bustle that naturally comes along with the holiday season, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel is offering a couple of unique holiday experiences and accommodations to help set your mind at ease. It’s time to treat yourself. Offered now through Jan. 31, The Ritz-Carlton is serving up two luxurious overnight packages:

  1. Inspirations of the Season Package: This selection is great for a holiday retreat or for hosting out-of-town guests. The package includes overnight accommodations, two full American breakfasts, resort fee and overnight valet parking starting at $499 a night.
  2. Luxury Shopping Experience: This option caters to the avid shopper and includes personal shopping services and upscale amenities from the most prestigious shopping destination in Orange County: South Coast Plaza. The experience also includes accommodations, such as overnight resort accommodations, a Holiday Gift Guide, a Ritz-Carlton tote with special gifts from SCP, complimentary valet parking at SCP, admittance to ACCESS (SCP’s posh VIP Hospitality Suite), SCP VIP Passport featuring exclusive offers from more than 250 stores and restaurants and a $1,000 SCP Gift Card Voucher. This deal is available through Jan. 31 starting at $699 a night.

Native Knowledge: The charities affiliated with the Ritz-Carlton, Canine Companions for Independence and Miracles for Kids, are both locally-based, non-profit organizations. Make a donation or volunteer to help out!

Native Knowledge: Most of the events hosted by the Ritz-Carlton do not require reservations, but it is strongly encouraged to book in advance to ensure your spot at some of the most popular events the resort will be offering this holiday season.

Pro Tip: To book a reservation, guests can contact Resort Services at 949.240.2000.

The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel
One Ritz Carlton Dr
Dana Point, CA 92629