Ritz Paris: A Rendez-Vous with Luxury
I will take you on an immersive journey through the captivating world of the Ritz Paris, providing a detailed exploration of its rich backstory
Each destination has its unique charm and character, but only a select few manage to captivate the essence of true luxury, blending history, sophistication, and unparalleled service. Among these few, the Ritz Paris stands tall as a beacon of opulence and refinement. In this review, I will take you on an immersive journey through the captivating world of the Ritz Paris, providing a detailed exploration of its rich backstory, elegantly appointed rooms, world-class culinary offerings, rejuvenating spa, vibrant neighborhood, exceptional service, commitment to sustainability, and dedication to accessibility. Join me as we delve into the heart of Parisian grandeur and uncover the secrets that make the Ritz Paris a world-renowned destination for discerning travelers seeking the ultimate luxury experience.
The Ritz Paris, nestled in the heart of the City of Light, has been an icon of opulence and refinement since its establishment in 1898 by the legendary Swiss hotelier César Ritz. Alongside his trusted partner, the French chef Auguste Escoffier, Ritz sought to create a haven of unparalleled luxury and comfort for the world’s elite. The hotel quickly gained a reputation for its sumptuous surroundings, unrivaled culinary offerings, and impeccable service, attracting royalty, political dignitaries, artists, and celebrities. Its illustrious guest list includes names such as Coco Chanel, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Audrey Hepburn, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, each drawn by the allure of the Ritz Paris and its dedication to providing a truly exceptional experience.
In 2016, the Ritz Paris closed its doors for an extensive four-year renovation under the guidance of architect Thierry W. Despont. The ambitious project aimed to bring the hotel into the modern era while preserving its historical charm and the essence of the Ritz’s original vision. The extensive restoration saw the meticulous refurbishment of the hotel’s ornate interiors, the addition of cutting-edge amenities, and the careful preservation of the architectural details that have come to define the Ritz Paris. Upon its grand reopening, the Ritz Paris emerged as a modernized palace, seamlessly blending its storied past with contemporary luxury, solidifying its status as one of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after hotels.
The Ritz Paris boasts 142 rooms, including 71 luxurious suites, each adorned with an elegant blend of traditional French design and contemporary flair.
The rooms, adorned with Empire-style furnishings and luxurious textiles, may not cater to everyone’s preferences. Even the smallest rooms are more spacious than the typical one-bedroom Parisian apartment, while the suites appear as if they were taken directly from the opulent halls of Versailles. Technology is artfully integrated and concealed, with televisions camouflaged within gilded mirror frames and remote controls encased in leather. Coffee machines are intentionally omitted to emphasize the hotel’s dedication to service but can be brought to the rooms upon request. Instead of a tablet, guests receive a personalized magazine-style guide to the city.
The bathrooms maintain numerous original elements that add to their charm. The striking gold swan faucets are impossible to miss, as are the peach-hued bath linens, which César Ritz, the hotel’s founder, believed would enhance one’s complexion. Additionally, valet call bells installed beside the bathtub remain as a nod to the past, although they now serve as purely decorative elements.
The Belle Époque-inspired Bar Vendôme serves as the hotel’s brasserie, divided between an intimate bar and a terrace sheltered by a retractable glass canopy. Exquisite offerings such as caviar and oysters precede popular main courses (approximately $74) that incorporate seasonal ingredients, like roast chicken with white asparagus, complemented by a smooth Marsannay from Domaine Bruno Clair. Be sure to linger for the extraordinary desserts crafted by pastry chef François Perret.
For a truly indulgent experience, savor Nicolas Sale’s creations at the one-Michelin-star Les Jardins de l’Espadon for lunch (two courses for $108), or the two-Michelin-star Table de l’Espadon in the evening (five courses for $399). The latter also serves breakfast each morning, which somewhat diminishes its exclusivity. Tea can be enjoyed in the garden or the library-style Salon Proust, named after another distinguished guest.
Arguably the hotel’s most iconic spot is the intimate, no-reservations Bar Hemingway, where it is rumored that the writer liberated the hotel from the Nazis and proceeded to consume 51 cocktails in succession. This tale seems hardly believable after savoring just one of Colin Peter Field’s masterful martinis. The Ritz Bar, located across the corridor, is designed with a lighter Art Deco touch.
The Ritz Club Paris is a serene oasis in the heart of the bustling city. This luxurious spa offers an indoor swimming pool, state-of-the-art fitness center, and a range of bespoke treatments, including massages, facials, and body rituals. The exclusive partnership with Chanel provides guests access to the world’s first Chanel spa, offering unique treatments inspired by the brand’s iconic products.
Upon entering the pool room of The Ritz’s Health Club and Spa, you’ll be astonished to discover that you are, in fact, several stories below ground level. Inspired by ancient Greco-Roman baths, the vaulted ceiling, inventive lighting, and frescoes adorning the ceiling and walls contribute to a space that feels open and bright. If you’re staying at the Ritz, be sure not to miss the opportunity to enjoy a cocktail by the poolside – it’s truly an unforgettable experience.
Situated in the heart of Paris at Place Vendôme, the Ritz enjoys a central location, in close proximity to the Louvre, the Tuileries, and a brief stroll away from the Opera.
The vicinity of the Ritz is possibly home to the highest concentration of luxury goods in the world. French law dictates that only jewelers can establish their businesses on Place Vendôme, so when you depart the Ritz, you will be greeted by the sight of stunning jewels adorning the windows of nearby shops. A short walk takes you to “designer’s row” on Rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, where you can indulge in retail therapy at Gucci, Hermès, and Chanel boutiques (Coco Chanel herself resided at the Ritz). Renowned gourmet food stores, such as Fauchon and Hediard, can be found just around the corner.
In the evening, the elegant surroundings create a perfect backdrop for enjoying cocktails after a night on the town.
The Ritz Paris is renowned for its exceptional service, with a dedicated team of Les Clefs d’Or concierges, skilled butlers, and attentive staff, ensuring that every need is met with precision and grace. From arranging private tours to securing coveted restaurant reservations, the Ritz Paris goes above and beyond to create an unparalleled guest experience.
Despite having a staff of 600, one might expect to see personnel bustling about constantly. However, the service at the Ritz is delightfully discreet, as employees seem to blend seamlessly into the background. The building contains a series of “hidden” passages that enable staff to slip behind nearly imperceptible doors in the walls and vanish from sight. The service is flawless – even sold-out theater tickets, elusive restaurant reservations, and hard-to-find items are promptly secured upon request, 24 hours a day.
The Ritz Paris is committed to sustainability and has implemented various eco-friendly initiatives. The hotel utilizes energy-efficient lighting and heating systems, has a robust recycling program, and sources local, seasonal ingredients for its restaurants. Moreover, the hotel’s Green Attitude program encourages guests to participate in environmentally responsible practices during their stay.
The Ritz Paris is dedicated to providing an inclusive and comfortable experience for all guests, ensuring that individuals with varying needs can fully enjoy their stay. The hotel offers wheelchair-accessible rooms, equipped with widened doorways, lowered switches, and grab bars in the bathrooms to facilitate ease of movement and convenience. Ramps and elevators are available throughout the property, making it simple to navigate between floors and common areas.
In addition to addressing mobility concerns, the Ritz Paris also caters to guests with hearing or vision impairments. The hotel provides visual and auditory assistance, such as visual fire alarms, vibrating alarm clocks, and telephone amplifiers, upon request. Braille signage and tactile paving are strategically placed throughout the property, and the staff receives regular training to accommodate guests with diverse accessibility needs.