Ritz-Carlton Fined $1.6 Million in Beach Violations in California

Ritz-Carlton was forced to pay a $1.6 million fine Thursday after it failed to provide public access to the nearby beaches at one of its California properties.

According to The Associated Press, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Half Moon Bay outside San Francisco was ordered to pay the penalties after the resort did not make it clear that all beaches in California are open to the public.

In addition, the California Coastal Commission found the hotel failed to display signs declaring the beach open to the public, and even went as far as preventing easy access to beachgoers.

Commission officials said the Ritz-Carlton was required to have a free public parking lot with 15 spaces and reserve another 25 spots in its garage, but the hotel instructed valets to park cars of hotel guests and golfers in public spaces.

The $1.6 million penalty was part of a settlement between the hotel and the commission, with $1 million going to a fund that provides signs, trails, stairs and other amenities to help the public use state beaches.

The remaining $600,000 will go to the Peninsula Open Space Trust to help purchase a property north of the hotel to expand public beach access. Ritz-Carlton also agreed to expand the beach parking lot, install signage, better train its staff and post the information on the hotel’s website.

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