travel in style: half moon bay, ca

Is there anything more blissful than one of those picture-perfect fall weekends? The air is crisp, the leaves are changing, and all you want is a day at a pumpkin patch and a hot spiced cider. It’s positively idyllic. And yet…I found a way to improve on it.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I spent a weekend in Half Moon Bay recently – specifically at the Ritz-Carlton property there, which was (predictably) amazing. Friends, all I can tell you is that if you’re looking for that idyllic fall weekend, this is exactly where you want to be. It turns out that fall is peak season in Half Moon Bay. Summer’s fog (and the tourist traffic) has cleared out, and there are pumpkin patches as far as the eye can see. (Did you have any idea that HMB was the pumpkin capital of the world? Me neither.)

Sure, you could stay at any of the perfectly nice hotels along Highway 1 as you head into town. But really, if you’re going for idyllic, why on earth would you stay anywhere besides the Ritz? I’m a ridiculously lucky girl, so this isn’t the first time I’ve stayed at a Ritz-Carlton property. And every time, the service is other-worldly, the food is exceptional, and the rooms are stunning. But this particular Ritz might be my favorite of all.

ritz-carlton-half-moon-bay, via shopping's my cardio(Yep, that’s Mr. SMC, making a rare cameo! Isn’t he a hunk?)

They call it the Castle on the Coast…and they’re not exaggerating. It’s only 30 minutes from San Francisco, but it feels like you’ve escaped to some exotic, exclusive tropical locale. And because they’re due west from SFO, it’s easy as pie to fly in and spend a night in Half Moon Bay before you head into the city. Which you really, really should.

For me, the beauty of a night at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay is that the stay is the vacation. Sure, stop in Half Moon Bay’s adorable downtown for lunch and window-shopping (tchotchke shops and art galleries galore). But then, head straight for the hotel, where they’ll greet you by name and take your car, your bags and your worries off your hands. Stroll the Coastal Trail that’s just outside their door (or book a Segway tour if you’re feeling brave – their guides are adorable), get a massage in the spa or a tasting flight in their wine bar, then settle in for a relaxing, decadent meal at Navio (with an all-new menu and a focus on sustainable seafood). After dinner, grab a nightcap and make your way to the oceanfront fire pits for a little romantic stargazing (or just to roast a few marshmallows).

breakfast at ritz carlton, via shopping's my cardio

The next morning? Order your breakfast in bed, and curl up on the window seat in your room with a cappuccino and the paper, and ogle the view until it’s time to pack up and head home.

I know. I’m feeling kind of tortured just reading that, and I want to turn around and go back immediately. But here’s the thing – you can! This very weekend, in fact, is the Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival. So even if you aren’t ready to commit to a whole weekend, throw the spouse in the car and head down for a day! Check out all of the fun downtown, then treat yourself to dinner at Navio before you head back to reality.

A huge thank you to everyone at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay for making my visit one of the best weekends off I’ve had in ages. From the front desk to the chef to the housekeeping staff, every last person went out of their way to make sure I had a wonderful time, which is what makes Ritz-Carlton properties so very special.

Disclaimer: The Ritz was kind enough to host me for this stay, but as always, all opinions are 100% my own.

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