The Legacy of the Ritz Paris

November 02, 2016

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The Ritz Paris has survived two wars, an
economic crash, a renovation, a devastating
fire, assorted terrorist threats and
Johnny Depp.

 

I was intrigued by one of Adea’s blogs titled, The Newly Renovated Ritz Paris that was written by Aimee and posted on July 22nd of this year. I was even more interested when I came across a riveting article by Guy Trebay that appeared in the 9/16 issue of the Condé Nast Traveler.

The Ritz Paris – Executive Room

The Bar Vendome in the Ritz Paris – has a retractable glass roof

Photo: Courtesy of Condé Nast Traveler

Trebay has unearthed a number of delicious tidbits in this piece that I’m dying to share with Adea readers, so here goes:

THE HISTORY: When the Ritz opened in June 1898, it was the most advanced of the world’s great luxury lodgings, with telephones and private baths in every room.

THE OWNER is 87-year-old Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Al Fayed who put up the $441.6 million to renovate this aging structure that was originally created by cobbling together an 18th century palace and its surrounding buildings.

THE CHALLENGE Closing the Ritz Paris in 2012 for the first time in its then 114-year history was risky, according to general manager, Christian Boyens. But it was also necessary.  “In a sense, we didn’t have a choice,” he says.  

THE FIRE The set-in-stone opening date of June 2016 had been threatened by a multi-alarm fire in January that damaged an entire block of newly renovated rooms. “The fire itself was not a big deal,” explains Boyens, “it was really the water that damaged the rooms and suites.”

THE CHANGES The Ritz Paris now has a new 21,500 sq. ft. garden, a new underground ballroom, a new Chanel spa, a tunnel linking the hotel to its underground parking garage for guests wishing to avoid the paparazzi and a sensitive restoration of the hotel’s paneled and gilded interiors.

The Ritz Bar is the Ritz Paris’s new bistro

THE GLITCHES Billionaire Barry Diller, who was an “early on” guest, reportedly said, “Nothing works.” Others referred to the phone system and said they longed for the good old days when the hotel had a switchboard with an operator whose voice sounded like a rake being dragged over gravel. Other guests mentioned the door handles that fell off in one’s hand and the gilded sconces that slumped off freshly painted walls. Merely speed bumps. It will all work eventually.

THE ELEGANCE Much of the old Ritz Paris has been preserved. The thick peach-hued bath towels hang from heated towel racks, there are gilded swan taps on baths and sinks, mirrors in the bathrooms are now inset with hidden televisions and the wireless Internet connection is powerful and free, still unusual in 21st century Europe. 

The Ritz Paris – Suite Chopin

THE LEGENDS Coco Chanel lived at the Ritz Paris for 35 years and Nobel-prize winner Ernest Hemingway is said to have uttered this pointless remark, “The only reason NOT to stay at the Ritz when in Paris is if you can’t afford it.” No comment. Except to say that currently the room rates start at 1,000 euros a night (roughly $1,112).

LET’S NOT FORGET JOHNNY DEPP Apparently he loves the Ritz Paris and has stayed there many times. In the 1990s he dated Kate Moss. She had an apartment in Paris but Depp refused to stay in it. “He thought he was slumming,” she famously said, “so we always went to the Ritz Paris.”

MAY WE SUGGEST…

Packable, easy-to-wear Adea layering tops are great any time of the year when traveling here in the U.S. or abroad.

Shaun Nelson-Henrick

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