The iconic Hôtel Ritz Paris is finally reopening its doors on June 6 after a four-year renovation and 118 years after its grand debut in 1898. Located on the Place Vendôme, it has been called home and favorite local hangout by many a star, including French writer Marcel Proust, Americans-in-Paris Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and the one and only Coco Chanel.
The hotel was once an 18th-century palace, and at the time of its opening by Swiss hotelier César Ritz, it was purportedly the first of its kind to have ensuite bathrooms in every room. In 1979, Egyptian businessman Mohamed al-Fayed bought the hotel from Ritz and remains its current owner. He decided that the hotel was due for a major renovation after a nonstop run of 114 years and hired New York-based French architect Thierry W. Despont for the job.
Although many of the grand hotel's original details have been preserved and merely updated, there is now an overall lightness and brightness pervading the property. What's entirely brand-new are much of its internal functions, including plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems, Wi-Fi, and smart phones. Also, where the original hotel had 159 rooms, there are now only 142, with 71 of them being suites (the most famous ones being the Imperial Suite and the Coco Chanel Suite, plus several new "themed" suites.)
Other additions include the Salon Proust, the world's first Chanel spa, a tunnel for guests to enter the hotel in private, an underground ballroom, and retractable roofs.
Head on over to the New York Times for a peek inside the resplendently updated hotel. Below, you'll find a teaser trailer for a new film by Zoe Cassavetes, made for Ritz Paris's grand reopening, and a look at the renovation process.
- The Ritz Paris Is Back [The New York Times]
- The Weird Lives of Famous Long-Term Hotel Residents [Curbed]