Residence of Coco Chanel. Playhouse to F. Scott Fitzgerald. Inspiration for Ernest Hemingway. Apple of Marcel Proust’s eye. Where Princess Diana had her last dinner.
The Ritz Paris will fling its majestic doors open again in autumn next year, since shutting them more than two years ago for a major overhaul. This is also the first such revamp since owner-billionaire Mohamed Al Fayed did so when he bought the 116-year-old grand dame on the 1st arrondissement in 1979.
The man behind all this – renovation reportedly costs 140 million euros (S$230 million) – is French architect and designer Thierry Despont, who also oversaw the facelifts of New York’s The Carlyle Hotel (United States president John F. Kennedy’s residence when he was in the city) and London’s The Dorchester (haunt of literary greats like poet Cecil Day-Lewis and novelist Somerset Maugham).
For guests, the most notable difference will be more spacious suites, some of which will have terraces. This reconfiguration also means there are fewer rooms – from 159 to 143. The fine wood panelling and soft pastel colours in the 72 rooms and 71 suites remain, while all furniture items are being restored.
The hotel’s famed cooking school, the Ecole Ritz Escoffier, will have a third kitchen to accommodate more cooking enthusiasts and professionals. There are also plans to hold pop-up restaurants for visiting chefs.
The outdoor area will have a retractable roof, while guests at the hotel’s shopping gallery will enjoy panoramic views of a more luxurious Grand Jardin in formal French style, while getting their fashion fix.
Those who prefer privacy going in and out of the hotel will be able to use a tunnel that connects the underground parking facility in the Place Vendome to the property.
In the meantime, we’ll just have to make do for another year without some ritziness.