Ritz Paris Hotel Review
Location: Place Vendôme
Address: 15, Place Vendôme
Tel: (33) 01 43 16 30 30
Fax: (33) 01 43 16 45 38/39
Related Article: Five "Ritzy" Experiences at the Ritz Hotel Paris
Ritz Hotel Overview
One of the most talked about hotels in the world, the Ritz doesn't need much of an introduction. Created by Cèsar Ritz in the 1800's to lure the aristocracy out of their palaces, "liberated" by Ernest Hemingway in the '40's, home to Coco Chanel and Marcel Proust, visited by Kings, Queens, Princes and Princesses (Diana spent her last days here), and beloved by modern celebrities (a suite is named after Elton John), the elegance, prestige and reputation of the Ritz is irresistible for those wanting to stay in a historical fantasy setting in Paris.
For modern travelers with a need to measure the bottom line, the question, is at 700€/night, does the Ritz live up to the fantasy (or to the hype)? After our visit in October 2006, our answer is "yes".
Located in an 18th century palace on the Place Vendôme, the Ritz has 162 rooms, a third of which are suites. The hotel contains a staff of over 600 hundred with a ratio of three staff persons/room. Room rates averaged 700€ for a room. Before booking, check out the special offers on the Ritz's web site. The free breakfasts, airport transfers, room upgrades, and VIP treatment bundled into some packages make a stay at the Ritz much more affordable.
Ritz Hotel Ratings
Classified as a five star hotel. Our ratings (1-5 stars):
Overall: 4.5 stars -Although the Ritz is more expensive than many hotels in this category, the amenities and ambience, make this a top choice for a fantasy escape to Paris. For first time visitors to Paris, the seductiveness of the Ritz, may make it hard to leave the hotel and experience the beauty of Paris.
Instead, we recommend the Ritz to seasoned Parisian travelers who have the time to indulge in the French "art de vivre" (art of life) - visit the elegant spa for a facial and massage, sip champagne in one of the most stunning indoor pool settings in the world, relax and have the Ritz staff procure for you your favorite chocolates or that "hard-to-find" souvenir, and order a custom gourmet meal delivered to your room via 24 hour room service. The Ritz is expensive, but if you think of the Ritz as a destination, not just a setting for your Parisian travels, the cost does not seem so extreme.
Location: 5 stars - Located in heart of Paris at the Place Vendôme , the Ritz is centrally located to the Louvre, the Tuileries, and a short walk to the Opera.
The streets adjacent to the Ritz may have more square feet of luxury goods than anywhere else in the world. According to French law, only jewelers can be situated on the Place Vendôme, so when leaving the Ritz, you'll be surrounded by magnificent gems in all the store windows. It is a short walk to "designer's row" on Rue du Faubourg St-Honoré, where you can "shop until you drop" at Gucci, Hermès, and Chanel boutiques (whose namesake, Coco Chanel, made the Ritz her home). Famous gourmet food stores, like Fauchon and Hediard, are located around the corner.
At night, the area is an elegant backdrop for cocktails after an evening out.
Style and Decor: 5 stars - From the moment you enter the revolving doors of the Ritz, off the impressive Place Vendôme, you are surrounded in luxury. The hotel is elegant, quiet, full of old world charm, and above all, simply gorgeous. The décor is not the sleek style of most luxury hotels but has more of an aristocratic country feel. Think the palace at Versailles. When you enter the Ritz, the city recedes and you expect to step outside to sweeping lawns and vast forests. The courtyard garden with its rich greenery, statues and fountain, as well as an abundance of fresh flowers - courtesy of a staff of 5 florists - reinforce the impression that the hustle of the city is far away.
Staff: 5 stars – With a staff of 600, you would think that you would see people everywhere, but the service is wonderfully unobtrusive, with staff literally fading into the woodwork. There is a whole network of “hidden” passageways within the building which enables the staff to slip behind almost invisible doors in the wall and disappear. The service is impeccable - sold out theater tickets, impossible to get restaurant reservations, and obscure items magically appear at your request - 24 hours a day.
Amenities: 5 stars - The Ritz contains two bars, a Michelin starred restaurant, a Spa serving both men and women, and an indoor pool with a pool bar. A few of the stellar amenities for hotel guests at the Ritz are described below. More amenities available to the public at the Ritz are described in our article "Five Ritzy Experiences at the Hotel Ritz."
Restaurant: The hotel’s L’Espadon Restaurant, is a Michelin star rated restaurant, overseen by the award-winning chef, Michel Roth. L’Espadon was the first French starred restaurant to offer a gourmet vegetarian menu. Interesting menu items, such as the monochrome menu (e.g., all red food) are a fun additional to the traditional French menu selections. The restaurant decor is opulent with trompe l’oeil ceilings, swagged drapes, and views into the garden.
Bar: The Ritz’s most famous bar, the Hemingway Bar is a bit of a surprise. On first entrance, it is a bit less than what most people expect. It is also a bit more. The small size encourages a clubby, intimate, feeling among the guests. The anecdotes surrounding Hemingway’s time spent at this bar are numerous as well as amusing. One is that a young Hemingway, before he became famous, used to "play the ponies" at the local track to earn enough money to have a drink at the Ritz once a week. Hemingway has also been quoted as saying, "When I dream of heaven and the afterlife, the action always takes place at the Ritz Paris". Visit the Hemingway Bar, soak up the literary atmosphere with a cocktail, and toast to Hemingway's memory - "Papa" Hemingway would be pleased.
Pool: When you enter the pool room of The Ritz’s Health club and Spa, you are amazed to find that you are actually several stories underground. Modeled after ancient Greco-roman baths, the soaring ceiling, creative use of lighting, and frescoes on the ceiling and wall create a space that feels light and airy. If you stay at the Ritz, do not miss having a cocktail poolside. It is an unforgettable experience.
Value for Money: 3 stars - For many of the people who stay at the Ritz, money is no object. What if you're well off enough to enjoy a fabulous stay at the Ritz, but not well off enough to do it without giving careful thought to your bank balance? Is it worth the splurge?
Our bottom line: There are many luxurious hotels with exceptional service in Paris for you to rest your head at night. If you are looking for more than a bedroom, but for a pampering experience or a fantasy escape, book a room at the Ritz. For you, the memories of your stay will be priceless.
Ritz Hotel Room Details
Rooms - The rooms at the Ritz do not disappoint. They are huge for this area of Paris, averaging about 375-400 square feet. Each room at the Ritz is unique with its own décor, but all are fashioned in a classical French style. Brocade tapestries hang on walls behind the beds, and chandeliers grace the ceilings. Luxury touches such as velvet, silk and brocades are carefully chosen with complementary furnishings to create a room that feels like a private guest apartment rather than a typical hotel room. Many of the furnishings are antiques that are maintained by the Ritz staff of master craftsmen.
The comfortable beds with all new mattresses are draped in satiny cotton bed sheets and fluffy duvets that feel like you are sinking into a cloud.
The Ritz is a vacation destination but WiFi connections in the room and a modest but well equipped business center make this a desirable option for travelers who need to keep in touch with the office. The Ritz’s Video on Demand system gives its guests over 100 TV stations, dozens of movies, and thousands of songs available on each plasma screen TV screen. In some rooms, the plasma televisions are cleverly disguised by mirrors over the fireplaces. The rooms have also been updated with Bose sound systems for the best listening for audiophiles.
When booking your room, request the Cambom wing for more up-to-date and intimate rooms, or the older Vendôme wing for larger, more deluxe suites. For lovers of the Da Vinci code, request room 512, where Tom Hanks appears in the first scene of the movie. Room 512 is also noted for the beautiful hand-frescoed walls.
Bathrooms: The all-white bathrooms are large in size and outfitted in elegant marble with chrome accents. The high-end toiletries are by La Prairie.
The bathrooms are unique from other luxury hotels in two respects. First, the gorgeous golden swan fixtures on the sinks are exclusive to the Ritz.
Second, the bathrooms contain peachy-pink (not hotel white) fluffy towels. One of the most charming bits of trivia about the Ritz is the origin of these peachy-pink towels. Cesar Ritz chose this color for the towels over the traditional white because it was much more flattering to a woman’s complexion. Hold a towel up to your face and test out this theory during your stay at the Ritz.
Author: Cheryl Montgomery