Some times, it’s good to be a member of a tribe…
A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to have dinner with the Trend Tribe, as guests of the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. We were treated to an unparalleled evening of food, wine and stunning views from the restaurant Raya, the brainchild of famed chef, Richard Sandoval. As to be expected, the food was divine, prepared expertly by Marissa Gerlach, an energetic and passionate chef who surprised us all by her youth yet extensive experience in the kitchen. The views were fabulous, with the sun sinking below the waves while we perched 162 feet above sea level. It was extravagent and amazing and so much of what we have all come to expect from any Ritz Carlton property.
But what I didn’t expect from this luxury resort? A commitment to the planet.
Raya and the entire Ritz property as a whole, are shining examples of how elegance can still be sustainable. The menu at Raya features all sustainable seafood, along with organic, local produce and locally raised, free-range beef and chicken. All of the servers and staff that came to talk to us about our food, including Chef Marissa herself, proudly spoke not only of the beauty of the menu, but the farms from which the food came. They talked about relationships with local farmers and truly knew where their food was coming from.
But sustainability doesn’t stop just with the two restaurants on property, both of which share this passion for farm to table cuisine. The hotel has partnered with Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, as well as environmentalist, activist and film producer, to create the Ambassadors of the Environment program. This program allows guests to take “eco-adventures”, to explore and learn about their environment, and to learn how to protect and sustain it. From touring the hotel’s organic garden and compost area, to whale watching off the Southern California coast, the Ritz truly takes “being green” to an elegant new place.
As someone who strives to live a green lifestyle but still enjoys her luxuries, the Ritz has the best of both worlds. A luxury property that not only caters to the needs and wants of its clients, but to its planet as well. Every step they take to reduce their carbon footprint through composting, conserving and recycling truly shows that being green can have a place in a world usually known for excess.
Thank you Ritz-Carlton for finally proving that sustainability can be elegant.
All photos courtesy of Lindsey Garrett.