'When I dream of afterlife in heaven, the action always takes place in the Paris Ritz'~ Ernest Hemingway
It has been a long wait; incorporating drama, fire, anticipation, trepidation – but finally after four long, painful, expensive years the Ritz Paris has finally re-opened. Closed since August 2012 for multi-million euro renovations, the hotel was originally supposed to open three months ago, but a fire in January gutted two suites and part of the roof leading to more delays.
Sources say that owner, Egyptian businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed has spent far more than the original renovation budget but he says everything was "necessary to maintain the pre-eminent position of the Ritz."
All that doesn’t matter any more because he legendary Ritz Paris is finally re-opening its elegant doors on Place Vendôme.
But has it been worth the wait. Early reports say “oui”. With the ultra-talented Thierry W. Despont overseeing interiors how could it be anything but extraordinary? Luxury lovers will be thrilled to know that there as many suites than there are rooms (71 versus 71) which has to be a good sign. . All the suites have been outfitted with museum-quality antiques and heated floors . TLTB readers will love the fifteen individually designed prestige suites; which, like the Maria Callas suite or the F. Scott Fitzgerald Suite, are themed in honour of famed hotel guests.
And there have been plenty of those. There is so much history attached to this hotel, one of César Ritz’s most famous. Charlie Chaplin, Sophia Lore, Cole Porter ('even Pekineses at the Ritz do it…') and a host of other rich and aristocratic guests have stayed here, Coco Chanel liked it so much she moved in. And who can forget Love in the Afternoon filmed at the Ritz with the luminous Audrey Hepburn sashaying down its marble corridors. Of course Bar Hemingway, is named after Ernest for whom apparently the Ritz barman invented the Bloody Mary; 'When I dream of an afterlife in heaven the action always takes place at the Paris Ritz', said Hemingway.
The famous bar is one of the centre pieces of the restoration as is the historic Salon Proust. But there are some very 21st century touches too; we love the idea of the retractable roof over the gorgeous gardens terraces. Competition is fierce in the luxury hotel market in Paris so any true five star has to have a sublime spa, Ritz Paris has one of the best –the eorld’s first Chanel spa. Which has an indoor pool, modern fitness centre with private training rooms and indulgent treatment rooms while a discreet tunnel available for completely private guest arrivals and departures - spa hair is so unattractive cherie…
On a practical level the former private palace, which originally opened in 1898 as a hotel, has brand-new plumbing, heating and cooling systems, and high-speed Wi-Fi. All suites have been outfitted with museum-quality antiques and heated floors.
Take a look at the beautiful new reopening movie – and celebrate with champagne: