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HEARD ON THE BEAT / TOURISM

Ritz Named Most Romantic Hotel

April 29, 1999|E. SCOTT RECKARD

The world's most romantic hotel looks out upon Catalina sunsets from the bluffs of Dana Point, a survey of Gourmet magazine's tasteful readers has found.

They bestowed the honor on the Ritz-Carlton, a Mediterranean-style luxury hotel with sweeping coastal views and unusual options for the romantically inclined. Guests making marriage proposals can order up a pillow for the suitor to kneel on, an overstuffed armchair for the object of desire to occupy, champagne and a sprinkling of rose petals--all delivered anywhere on the grounds. "The gazebo is popular," hotel spokeswoman Suzanne Willis said. "We can put it down on the beach if they like."

The only other California hotel to win in one of Gourmet's specialty categories was the Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, which won for best spa.

Neither hotel made Gourmet's overall best list, which was topped by the Halekulani in Honolulu. The survey, in its third year, ranked more than 150 hotels, resorts and inns in 27 countries in general and specific categories, including dining, bars, pools and workout centers. It also ranked hotels by region, with the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco named No. 1 in Northern California overall and Los Angeles' Hotel Bel-Air topping the Southern California list.

E. Scott Reckard covers tourism for The Times. He can be reached at (714) 966-7407 and at scott.reckard@latimes.com.

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