There are many hotels in the world named 'Ritz' something, but there is only
one 'The Ritz'. Situated on Place Vendôme, Paris, it defined and set
the standard for luxury hotels for decades. Today there are more expensive and
luxurious hotels around the world, but few can compete with its
Founded in late 19th century by Swiss César Ritz, who at the time was
a celebrity in Europe. He had managed every single luxury hotel on the
European continent, and was the man behind the success of hotels such as The
Savoy. For years he waited for a suiting property to become available, so that
he could build the jewel of the world's hotel market. When in 1896 finally a
private mansion in the middle of the most prestigious area in Paris was up for
sale, he knew that that was where his hotel would be. Today, it is still luxurious
quartier, with exclusive fashion boutiques side by side with international
banks. César Ritz was backed up financially by several royal houses in
Europe, and the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) said "Wherever
Ritz goes, I will follow."
The house was refurbished and remodeled into a hotel of opulence and class,
and was the first hotel ever to have electric lighting all over, bathrooms and
telephones in every room. No effort was spared on even the smallest details,
and this made it the first of the true luxury hotels of the world. Also, with
the restaurant L'Espadon, Ritz popularized eating in public, which was not
common at the time. Today, L'Espadon is rated as a highest class restaurant,
with over 120,000 bottles of wine in its cellars, some unique vintages.
The hotel has been the home of hundreds of royals and celebrities, with Coco
Chanel living there for over 30 years. Ernest Hemingway used to say "When
I dream of afterlife in heaven, the action always takes place at the Paris
Ritz.", and he even got one of the bars named after himself; the
Hemingway Bar. This is also where Lady Di spent her last night in life.
Today it is still often used by visiting monarchs and music and film stars.
The hotel is owned by Mohammed Al Fayed since 1979.