The landmark Paris Ritz hotel is re-opening its palatial doors to guests Monday after nearly four years of renovations and a major fire.
The classically styled hotel, owned by Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Al Fayed, has undergone a top-to-bottom overhaul after promising a “legend to be reborn” when it closed for the works in 2012.
The iconic Ritz, situated on the swanky Place Vendome, will open its doors with 71 luxurious suites, including 15 historic Prestige Suites, and 71 rooms.
Renowned interior architect Thierry W Despont oversaw the restoration which will unveil three restaurants, three bars including famed Bar Hemingway and beautiful gardens and terraces with retractable roofs and floor heating to be enjoyed year-round.
École Ritz Escoffier will benefit from a third demonstration kitchen and the historic Salon Proust with its wood-burning fireplace will offer Ritz afternoon tea.
The Ritz Club will welcome “CHANEL au Ritz Paris,” the exclusive area dedicated to the art of CHANEL skin care for a unique sensorial and customized beauty experience. This two-story wellness universe will also feature an indoor pool and a modern fitness center.
A discreet tunnel connecting the parking lot to the hotel will be available for completely private guest arrivals and departures.
The hotel was supposed to have re-opened in March but a fire ravaged a section of the building in January, delaying the plans.
The hotel founded by Swiss entrepreneur Cesar Ritz in 1898 is storied as the lodging of choice of Charlie Chaplin, Coco Chanel and Ernest Hemingway, who has a small bar named after him.
“When I dream of afterlife in heaven, the action always takes place in the Paris Ritz,” Hemingway once said of the hotel that inspired the word “ritzy”.
The American writer famously rallied a group of Resistance fighters to go and liberate his beloved hotel which had been requisitioned in June 1940 by the Nazis and occupied by German brass including on occasions Hermann Goering and Joseph Goebbels.
However he was too late as the Nazis had already left, so he took to the bar where he is said to have run up a tab for 51 dry Martinis.
In more recent history however, the Ritz has become known as the place where Britain’s Princess Diana spent her last hours before a car accident in a tunnel in the French capital while being pursued by paparazzi.
The refurbishment of the Paris hotel, estimated at 140 million euros ($150 million) in 2012, was aimed at sprucing up the ageing hotel to cater to the tastes of its mega-rich clientele.
It now boasts a summer restaurant under a movable glass canopy, a larger ballroom and the latest technology in its rooms.
Below, The Ritz Paris presents its reopening movie, directed by Zoe Cassavetes and starring Ana Girardot and Andres Velencoso. The story of a couple in Paris is living the dream of a magical journey. A golden key give them a privilege and access to an ultimate luxury and bespoke experience. They meet the most caring people that offer unforgetable moments.