It came as a shock for the hotel’s loyal clientele when the Ritz closed in 2012. Now, after four years of work, this icon of the Parisian hotel industry reigns again in the place Vendôme.
Never since 1898, the year when the visionary entrepreneur César Ritz opened the establishment, has the Hotel Ritz Paris known such a transformation. After four years of renovation work mobilizing nearly a thousand workers and artisans, this most distinguished of Parisian luxury hotels opened its doors again in June. The famous guests who once frequented the Ritz – including Coco Chanel, Hemingway and Proust – would certainly not feel out of place: the Ritz is still very much itself. When the renovation was decided, there was no question of bringing in some trendy designer to turn its inimitable style upside down. The owners wished to preserve the soul of the building and the New York firm of interior architects Thierry W. Despont followed their instructions to the letter. The 71 suites and same number of rooms are still infused with the Grand Siècle spirit of the great hotel of the place Vendôme, with its timeless air of luxury à la française. Four restaurants and bars (including L’Espadon, run by chef Nicolas Sale), a new Salon Proust (open at tea time), the iconic swimming pool and the Chanel spa all add their distinctive touches to the Ritz experience so prized by the hotel’s devotees and sophisticated travelers. Another new feature is a gallery of 95 displays behind glass dedicated to jewelry, fashion and watches, and five boutiques presenting the cream of French and European skills, allowing clients to shop without leaving the hotel. But what would a legendary establishment be without the people who run it? At the Ritz, we are delighted to see that Colin Field, the acclaimed barman of L’Hemingway, is back. Then, taking over from the chef Michel Roth, Nicolas Sale’s task is to earn stars in the great gourmet guides. We should also remember that this is the only luxury hotel with its own school of cuisine: the eminent Ritz Escoffier, which has been completely refurbished. So Paris and the Ritz are at last reunited, ready to write a new chapter of their long, brilliant association in the history of French excellence.