Innovative synthesis of the arts with traditional esprit
The legendary Hotel Ritz Paris, one of the most famous hotels in the world, a Parisian icon, is home to the stylish world traveler who wants to experience romance, luxury, tradition, lifestyle and magic in the metropolis of elegance as well as the capital of love. Thanks to its Egyptian owner, Mohamed Al-Fayed, the Ritz has not fallen victim to any global hotel chain strategy even after its reopening on June 6th, 2016. It has been run as an independent hotel since September 2019 by the dedicated, ambitious and passionate Hotel Manager Laurent Herschbach.
Of course, the Ritz can’t be the same as it once was. The world is changing continuously and luxury hotels must not resist the new zeitgeist. The Ritz in Paris, for example, shows in exemplary fashion, how innovation can be integrated into the historic, nostalgic character of a hotel. The luxury hotel knows just how to make its illustrious guests happy.
The renowned French grand hotel at the royal Place Vendome number 15 in the heart of the city of lights understands exactly how nostalgia and modernity paired with style and elegance are combined into a harmonious whole. In this historic noble hotel, you, dear readers, will find everything which the French capital is famous for: style, sophistication, prestige, feudal lifestyle, longing, romance, to name just a few. For me personally, the Paris Ritz exemplifies the French concept of savoir-vivre.
Dating back to the Belle Époque, the Ritz Paris with its new grandiose lobby, stunning paintings, one new and two restored elevators, sublime columns, exclusive chandeliers as well as grandiose marble staircases looks back on a history rich in tradition and – like The Peninsula Hong Kong (see my report of Feb. 1st 2021) – is still considered the “grande dame” of the luxury hotel industry.
On June 1st 1898, the bright and visionary Swiss mountain farmer boy César Ritz fulfilled a lifelong dream by opening the Ritz Paris. After having brought, as an ingenious hospitality professional and creative manager the famous Savoy in London to the top of the hotel industry, he wanted to lend his own name to a small but fine hotel in Paris and to welcome the rich and beautiful there. Discretion, service, culinary, elegance and well-being were César Ritz’s first priorities. It was very important to him that at that time almost every room had its own bathroom, electric light and a telephone. The Ritz quickly became a meeting place for industrialists, stars from film, fashion and culture, aristocracy and nobility; César Ritz the friend of society, or as Edward VII. Called him, “the hotelier of kings and king of hoteliers.”
Unfortunately, César Ritz experienced a depressive neurosis at the height of his fame, which caused him 16 years of suffering until his lonely death. The hotel also went through some shadowy hours. In 1940, with the occupation of France, it was requisitioned by the German Air Force as their headquarters for four years. However, Charles Ritz, the son of the late founder, came to an agreement with the German commander so that the German officers only owned the part of the hotel on Place Vendome, while the regulars were allowed to continue staying in the part on Rue Cambon. In 1979, Mohamed Al-Fayed bought the hotel from the Ritz family. Probably the most fateful day was in August 1997, when Mohamed Al-Fayed’s son Dodi and his companion, Princess Diana, dined in the Suite Impériale on August 30st. On August 31st, shortly after midnight, they left the hotel and were killed in a tragic car accident in the tunnel under the Place d’Alma.
Fortunately, life is dualistic. Ying and Yang, light and shadow, day and night represent the opposites of our world, and the extravagant Ritz offers exquisite opportunities to enjoy the sunny side of life – provided you have the wherewithal. Dreams come true at the Ritz Paris! The vacation already begins when the guest is picked up at the airport or train station. A hostess waits for the guest on the platform or after baggage claim and accompanies him to the limousine. The driver skillfully drives his Bentley, Maybach or Mercedes through Parisian traffic and within a few minutes, he reaches the Ritz, where an underground tunnel is reserved for guests who want to arrive and depart unmolested by paparazzi or incognito.
The somewhat aging, dusty old lady, who slumbered away in her Proustian nostalgia, awoke royally on June 6th 2016 from her deep sleep.
The Ritz Paris, lavishly renovated in the magnificent original style of the 19th century and faithfully restored in every detail, has lost neither its soul nor its charm. On the contrary: it shines even more royally than before. THE RITZ PARIS is the true and only GRANDE DAME of Paris.
At this point I would like to mention that the renovation, restoration and modernization of the Ritz Paris, which was planned down to the last detail, was a titanic project and cost around 140 million euros. Even the search for the latest technical achievements as well as for the passionate, best craftsmen was a challenge. The Ritz Paris wanted people who could master craftmanship at the highest level. It was worth it! The Belle Époque hotel keeps its finger on the pulse of time and presents a successful balance between tradition and innovation. It deserves my respect. The so-called Ritz philosophy lives on. Everywhere, the attention to detail flourishes and by no means seems antiquated. Finest oak wood work, fine stone-, marble- and parquet floors, elegant carpets, exclusive curtain fabrics, precious upholstery work, majestic gilding, impressive stucco work and stylish chandeliers, to name just a few details, are as the American says, RITZY. This expression emphasizes the uniqueness of a place, a mood or an experience.
Every time I enter the new, handicapped-accessible revolving doors, I feel the living history of this noble hotel in the “hallowed halls”. I feel transported back to the glorious days of the Belle Époque, the heyday of European luxury, and think of the crowned and uncrowned heads who also stayed there, will reside there in the future, or perhaps will stay there when I am a hotel guest, too.
The “Grande Dame” of Paris truly respects tradition; the 71 luxurious rooms as well as the 71 stunning suites are decorated in French classicism and give you an incomparable feeling of well-being. Guests can choose from a variety of rooms and suites: Superior, executive, deluxe, grand deluxe rooms, as well as deluxe junior suite, executive suite, deluxe suite. Fine woodwork, pastel tones, original antiques, such as antique objects and works of art as well as the special attention to detail give each room or suite the very special, personal touch and not only promise an unforgettable stay, but also take the guest, if he embarks on the adventure, into another time.
With the following pictures I will take you to the 40 square meter executive room number 325 as well as to the 45 square meter deluxe room number 326 with view of the grand Jardin and the roofs of Paris. While the classic tulip lamps decorate every bedside table, there are modern reading lamps by the bed. Another technical achievement is the television integrated into a large mirror in the bedroom and in the bathroom, too.
The desk in style of Ludwig XVI. has been carefully restored. The multi-faceted connectors hidden under a golden plate are new.
The 5-star property has kept the pastel colors of yellow, sky blue, almond green and pink in its posh rooms and suites. Golden swans as faucets have also been preserved in the glamorous bathrooms as well as exquisite peach-colored bath towels with the golden Ritz logo. César Ritz once said this peach hue was particularly flattering on women´s skin tones. The bathrobes of the hotel guests also shine in this color. The Ritz watches and the famous traditional golden key as a light switch are still in the rooms and suites. Of course, the light, like all other functions, can still be controlled via modern touch screen and an old-fashioned display panel.
In addition to other small details such as fresh flowers, a bottle of champagne, daily mineral water, fresh fruit and the famous box of chocolate keys as a welcome gift, the housekeeping team ensures absolute well-being with exemplary (turndown) service. If you arrive early in the morning, you will find a small breakfast in your room.
Not to be forgotten are the 15 historically themed and unique prestige suites, which bear the names of their venerable guests. Fashion czar Coco Chanel, American writer-dandy Francis Scott Fitzgerald, macho American literary figure Ernest Hemingway, as well as Marcel Proust, Maria Callas, Charlie Chaplin, Frédéric Chopin, César Ritz, and more are dedicated to these suites, as they all considered “your Ritz” as “your second home.” Coco Chanel even called the Ritz “my home”.
The Ritz Paris continues to score with a fascinating bar and restaurant scene, a famous cooking school, and a patisserie that reveals itself as a gourmet’s paradise.
The Bar Vendôme, with its inviting ambiance, is a chic French brasserie that exemplifies the flavors of upscale brasserie cuisine. It always opens at 10:00 a.m. and invites you to breakfast. From 12:00 you can have lunch there. Afternoon tea follows from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., and dinner attracts house guests as well as Parisian regulars from 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. After winter, this architectural masterpiece is transformed – thanks to the mobile glass roof – into a unique summer restaurant, which provides unforgettable culinary delights in the shade of the linden trees.
The gourmet restaurant La Table de l’Espadon serves French haute cuisine. Unfortunately, the gourmet restaurant was closed when we visited, but we enjoyed the spectacular breakfast at this Michelin-starred restaurant each morning. In 1982, Mohamed Al-Fayed had the design of this spectacular room changed three times before he was satisfied. In the middle of the room, the noble benches are surrounded by eight mirrors and immediately attract attention. I recommend you to dine or take breakfast in this spectacular hall of mirrors.
The renowned “Ecole Ritz-Escoffier” cooking school bears the name of its first chef, Georges Auguste Escoffier. Did you know that the famous peach dessert with the melodious name Pêche Melba was created by A. Escoffier? The hotel’s own school regularly organizes cooking classes, where you can learn the know-how of the multifaceted French cuisine in a unique ambience. This is where the masterpieces of the culinary art are served.
In the historic Salon de Proust, the book-lined walls always give me a very special sense of well-being. I feel like Marcel Proust, who also ate his Madelaines here, observed the other guests and thus gathered material for his novel “In Search of Lost Time”. In this intimate salon, Afternoon Tea is celebrated in style by the fireplace. As you can see, not only I am delighted by the delicious and fancy creations of the chef-pâtissier and chef F. Perret.
The famous Hemingway Bar is the meeting place par excellence for writers, literary critics and journalists. It is stylishly decorated with novels, photographs, an old typewriter and a bust of Hemingway. The Bar Chef enjoys a dazzling reputation and mixes you your cocktail from Tuesdays to Saturdays always from 18:00 to 02:00. Let yourself be enchanted.
The stylish Ritz Bar is dedicated to astrology. You have the opportunity to taste tasty tapas and the famous terrine de foie gras with a glass of champagne from 17:30 to 0:30. Of course, the multifaceted menu offers all sorts of other fine wines.
Ritz Paris Le Comptoir, a modern patisserie, is located in the Rue Cambon wing. It always offers varied delicacies and sweet temptations from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm.
I am particularly impressed by the Ritz Club Paris, which reveals itself as a true temple of wellness after an eventful day. Here the luxury heart finds everything it desires. The neo-classical pool with 800,000 mosaic stones and the lifelike 180 square meter ceiling painting that simulates a mesmerizing sky – a real eight hands illusionistic masterpiece signed by Pierre Finkelstein, Pascal Amblard, Stefano Luca and Jean Sablé, always captivates me immediately. Dive into the pool with me and, after a few rounds, let your day fade away on the comfortable loungers. Furthermore, the exclusive treatments with Biologique Recherche Paris products guarantee a paradisiacal well-being at the Ritz Club from 9:30 am to 8:00 pm. Perhaps you remember, dear readers, that I also wrote about these unique products in my February hotel portrait of the Splendide Royal Lugano.
While the Ritz Paris is a balm for body, soul and palate, the Ritz Club Paris is a refuge for body and mind.
Furthermore, it is important to mention that the Ritz Paris has developed a concept for the safety and health of its guests, the so-called Charte hygiène et sécurité, which is constantly updated. So, you can enjoy your stay without hesitation.
The elegant new shopping gallery with world-renowned noble brands invites you to stroll. It is inspired by the luxurious Parisian arcades and is located along the newly laid out and fascinating garden area.
Ultimately, however, it is every single employee at the Ritz who, in addition to its luxurious premises and its truly tangible history, makes the Ritz a very special place. Be it the hotel manager who greets you personally, the guest manager Pierre who accompanies you to your apartment, the bellboy who carries your groceries to your room, the housekeeper who rings the doorbell in the evening and asks if everything is ok, the Concierge who professionally arranges theater tickets or books a table restaurant.
The privileged location in the Golden Triangle between the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and the Opéra Garnier cannot be topped. Guests can comfortably explore the city on the Seine on foot. The Ritz Paris is “The place to be” in the pulsating metropolis and yet a royal oasis of tranquility.
Thus, I say not adieu, but au revoir! A picture is worth a thousand words. This saying comes true as you discover more photos in the gallery.