From brand spanking boutique hotels to fresh fine diners and new artisan retailers, On The Radar is all about spotlighting LUXE’s latest loves.
The Ritz Paris
Holding court over the famed Place Vendôme
Why we love it:
One of, if not perhaps the most storied hotel in the world, the Ritz Paris’s walls are permeated by more than a century of decadence, tragedy, scandal and style. The signature Ambre perfume-scented atmosphere settles heavily, whispering volumes of the property’s ghosts and eons past. But history aside, even the most illustrious jewels wear with age, and so in 2012 the Place Vendôme’s most famous resident shockingly bid adieu to the world, and shuttered for what would ultimately be four long years and a cool $450m’s worth of total overhaul.
Fast forward to June 2016 – decades after French aristocrats, Marcel, Cole, Ernie, F.Scott, Nazi occupiers, Coco and Di wandered the halls – and following a hugely overblown timeline and budget, plus a series of freak occurrences seemingly suggesting doom for the reinvented Ritz (floodwaters, fire, a city-wide climate of terror), the hotel’s top-to-toe make-over was ready to unveil.
Or perhaps ‘make-under’ is a more appropriate description, given designer Thierry Despont and his more than 800 stonemasons, upholsterers, gilders, woodworkers and painters were tasked with simultaneously restoring the hotel to its former glory, updating the property’s modern conveniences, and leaving the space ‘unchanged’. No mean feat.
Yet, Despont has done just that, albeit with shades of the caricaturesque, seamlessly integrating new elements (the updated Ritz Club Paris, the brand-designed and maintained Chanel Spa and 23,000 sq ft Chanel Suite, the Palais Royale summer gardens), with long recognised drawcards including the iconic Bar Hemingway, unrivalled design opulence, flawless service, and of course the opportunity to live as a prince but for a moment in this nostalgic porthole to another world and time.
But will the rebooted yet yesteryear-harkening Ritz capture the curiosity and imagination of future ‘digital’ generations navigating a sprawling competitor landscape in search of ‘authenticity’? As ever, time will ultimately tell, though if early reservations rates offer any indication, it’s that the Ritz has more than a few chapters yet to be written.
15 Place Vendôme, 1st, Paris. +33 1 43 16 30 30. ritzparis.com
Published 5 October 2016.