The Ritz, Paris’s most expensive hotel is the kind of place most people would only dream of staying. The infamous 5-star palace hotel has been home to countless great figures of history such as Coco Chanel and Ernest Hemmingway and dates back to the late 1800s. Located in Paris’s tres chic Place Vendome, the area is well known for housing some of Paris’s finest 5-star and Palace hotels, along with some of the world’s greatest fashion houses and Michelin starred restaurants.
After 5 years of renovation, the Ritz opened its doors again in the summer of 2016 and Paris was whole again. From the outside, the Ritz looks like another beautiful 5-star palace hotel, with well-dressed doormen and black Mercedes always parked out the front. However, the façade is only a teaser of what lies ahead once you go through the towering revolving doors… Follow the red velvet walkway, and you have officially entered the Ritz world.
With over 159 rooms, a two star Michelin restaurant, several bars and a casual dining restaurant, the Ritz Paris is by no means a small boutique hotel. Despite its seemingly small entrance off Place Vendome, the hotel is four stories high with two large interior courtyards as well as a huge underground 1,700 square meter swimming pool and spa area, oh and did I mention a small indoor, luxury shopping mall? The Ritz is its own little luxury world within Paris where anything you desire can be yours (at the right price).
When the day finally came to stay in this dreamy hotel, I arrived feeling less movie star-ish than I would have liked to after spending the entire day cleaning and moving out of my old apartment, I probably smelled like a mixture of vinegar and bleach and I couldn’t find my hair brush before I left. But the staff treated me like Mariah Carrey and I was welcomed with smiles and laughs and what felt like genuine warmth. The concierge showed me up to my room and I tried my best to play it cool when really, I wanted to scream and jump up and down on the bed with excitement.
The room was fit for a princess, with detailed draping around the bed, gold everything, plush pillows, silk trimmings, large windows opening onto the courtyard below. Every detail of our deluxe room had been meticulously thought out and it showed.
Beside the bed was a series of dials which could be magically activated by waving your hand over them, from there you could push a little gold button for things like “room service, privacy, and close the curtains”. Next to the large windows lay beautiful silk chaise lounge, a small table with an array of mini desserts and fresh fruit, and a personal note from the manager welcoming us to the Ritz.
I wandered down our hallway to the bathroom which was about the same size as the apartment I had just spent the day moving out of. A pair of large his and hers sinks greet you as you walk into the shiny gold room and a huge, deep bathtub rests to the left with a TV screen and waterproof remote. Opposite that was an enormous walk in shower (you could probably fit at least 15 people in there), with a large over hanging shower head and multiple side jets, the shower room could also double as a personal steam room. With gold fittings everywhere it was a lot of gold and a lot of bling-bling for one mammoth bathroom, there was no mistaking that we were in a palace hotel.
After unpacking my belongings in the many elegantly hidden cupboards and wardrobes I decided to head out and explore the many features of the hotel.
If you’re lucky to be visiting the Ritz during the summer, the best place for a glamorous cocktail in the sunshine must be the Ritz bar where they open the doors into the stunning ‘Grand Jardin’ for the summer months. Large glass tables have been spread out over beautiful white marble flooring and manicured shrubs and jasmine bushes surround the interior courtyard so that you almost feel as though you have been transported in to a private English country garden. The staff are brilliant and willing to help with suggestions. My personal favourite here is the espresso martini, with the perfect amount of creaminess and alcoholic kick! There is also a mini ice-cream stand operating in the summer time. Take a good book and you could spend all day here!
One of my favourite places to come for cocktails on a chilly Paris night is the intimate Hemmingway bar. Originally under a different name the bar was “liberated” by Hemmingway from Nazi occupation in 1944 before he downed a record 51 dry martinis. The bar took its name from the famous writer who used to spend many a nights drowning his sorrows while Cole Porter would also spend hours every day here composing music. Now decorated as a homage to Hemmingway the cosy bar features photographs by the writer, hunting trophies, old American football badges, hunting tools and array of objects all dedicated to the man himself in a cove of rich wood and upholstered leather. The extensive cocktail list could give you anxiety about which delicious and unique drink to choose. Luckily the staff here are absolutely on the ball and are always willing to offer suggestions. Their drinks are also SUPER strong so take your time and soak up the atmosphere of Paris’s cosiest bar.
Located close to the entrance of the Ritz on Place Vendome, Bar Vendome is the perfect place for a casual get together with friends or business lunch. During summer, the courtyard area is open and the winter a glass ceiling transforms it into a beautiful winter garden. Offering bistro style food, refreshments and cocktails you will love soaking up the sunshine in its glamourous art deco surroundings totally embodying the adjective “Ritzy”. This is also my favourite spot in the Ritz for people watching as there are just so many fabulous fashionistas that pop in for a quick business lunch.
The spa at the Ritz is as you would expect- oh SO chic. Inspired by Coco Chanel the spa has stuck firmly with the classic black and white theme which touches of silver and chrome. I decided to treat myself to a massage while there and indulge in a little bit of Chanel luxury. From the moment I walked in the staff were incredibly warm and welcoming and very attentive. I had a consultation with my masseuse in my private room and was offered a delicious juice before being shown access to my own private dressing room. I got to choose everything, from the music playing to the oil that they used, and she really understood when I said I liked it firm but not too hard so I left feeling blissful and zen. The spa uses all CHANEL products in their treatments.
The one downside to this fabulous hotel is the enormous fee for using the swimming pool. You would expect as a guest, that access to the spa and pool facilities would be included when you are paying such extravagant prices for a hotel room. However, at an extra 280 euro to use the pool for one day you might as well fly to Nice and take a dip in the Ocean. It did take away a little of that VIP feeling that the Ritz had given us while staying there.
Getting breakfast in bed is my favourite thing to do when I stay in beautiful hotels. And my goodness this did not disappoint. I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves here…
Apart from refusing to pay to use the pool, I was so overjoyed to be able to tick something so special off my bucket list. Thank you to the Ritz Paris for making me feel like a total princess in your charming and elegant world. It was truly magical.
Eat well, live well, travel well. xx
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