August 1, 2012, was the day that the sumptuous Ritz Hotel closed its doors. With a desire to earn the pedigree of a true luxury hotel, Mohammed al-Fayed decided to organize a large overhaul all while conserving the Parisian refinement and art de vivre that César Ritz debuted in 1898. Despite a fire having destroyed an entire floor of the hotel just a few months earlier, the Ritz will finally be reopening it doors on June 6th, right at the heart of the Place Vendôme. Its hand-selected luxurious clientele will once more be able to access the 159 rooms and 56 suites at the price of 1,000 to 18,000 Euros a night. L’Espadon, the temple of French haute cuisine headed up by Nicolas Scale, will host François Perret, the Shangri-La’s reputed pastry chef, immediately following the reopening. Another major transformation is the opening of a brand new spa by Chanel. The most privileged of Parisians will be able to sign up at the Ritz Club and take advantage of an exceptional line of services, each imagined by the French haute couture brand in memory of Gabrielle Chanel, a regular of this fastidious locale. The hotel’s reopening will no doubt bring happiness to many, but why in fact does the Ritz still fascinate us so?
On June 1, 1898, César Ritz made the Hôtel de Gramont the most coveted place to be in all of high society. A veritable monument, it was the first to be equipped with electricity on every floor with every room having its own private bathroom. Since then, the Ritz has hosted numerous personalities: Jean Cocteau, Colette, Marcel Proust, and Paul Morand all regularly visited this historic location, the symbol of Parisian opulence. F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz” after his numerous rendezvous at the Café Parisien, the hotel’s illustrious bar. Audrey Hepburn would film “Love in the Afternoon” there in 1957, while Coco Chanel passed away there in 1971 within the Rue Cambron apartment she had inhabited for over 30 years. This is how the memorable hotel has forged its reputation through the years. Like Ernest Hemingway, another regular, once said: “When I dream of afterlive in heaven, the action always takes place in the Paris Ritz.”
The Ritz is a legendary location that has symbolized French luxury and glamour for over a century. A rendezvous points for great figures in history, Chanel even presented their Métiers d’Art 2016 and 2017 collections there.