Editors' Picks

Hôtel Ritz Paris

Iconic, decadent, grand

15 Place Vendome, Paris 75001

33-1-43-16-30-30

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Indagare Adored

At a Glance

Paris’s most romanticized Belle Époque hotel adapted to meet contemporary tastes after an extensive 2016 renovation, which introduced a sensitive redesign by Thierry Despont to the Ritz’s world-famous antique grandeur (there are 274 chandeliers and 820 appliqué murals alone). You can still picture the long list of royals, fashionistas and literary icons (Marcel Proust, Cole Porter, Coco Chanel) strolling past the gilded moldings, the grand salons and the impressive collection of oil paintings. But the 142 rooms and suites are more spacious than before, with airy layouts and polished details. The hotel has also since become the first in France to obtain certification from the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. What remains unchanged is the top team—the Ritz has always been famous for service that is as graceful and elegant as the setting itself.

The Standout: The Coco Chanel suite, a black-and-white extravaganza that pays tribute to the fashion icon’s 30-year residency at the property Don’t Miss: The oak-paneled Bar Hemingway, which has just 25 seats and remains virtually unchanged since the writer held court here

Indagare Loves

  • The interior courtyard garden, one of the largest private green spaces in Paris (and the accompanying Suite Grand Jardin, with its own garden terrace)
  • The indoor pool (captured memorably in Adam Gopnik’s Paris to the Moon)
  • L’École Ritz Escoffier for cooking and pastry classes teaching Parisian favorites (often with Champagne)
  • The guaranteed access to your room no matter how early you arrive

Review

The best thing about the Ritz today is that it is still essentially the old Ritz. Its legendary status as a home-away-from-home for royals, fashionistas and literary icons is what sets it apart from other luxury hotels, and the hotel continues to pay loving tribute to events and personalities from the hotel’s past.

During the extensive renovations between 2012 and 2016, artisans working with period materials and techniques restored original architectural and decorative details to their former glory under the direction of Thierry Despont. Gilded moldings and the bathrooms’ signature pure gold–leaf swan faucets gleam brightly again; Empire-style furniture in the grand salons has been polished and reupholstered; and an impressive collection of original oil paintings hung throughout the hotel has been painstakingly restored. Thierry Despont (whose design projects include New York’s Carlyle Hotel and The Dorchester and Claridge’s in London) brought new life into the classical interiors with a respectfully light touch, refreshing the décor as opposed to redoing it. Eighty percent of the furniture and decorative objects are spruced-up originals. Beloved quirks like the peach towels and robes in the bathrooms (which César Ritz believed gave the skin a healthier glow than the standard white) also remain unchanged.

When the Ritz opened in 1898, Place Vendôme was not yet home to the luxury brands (Cartier, Vuitton, Chopard, Chanel, etc.) that make the plaza one of the world’s most picturesque upscale shopping destinations. Still, right from the start, the former hôtel particulier designed by Louis XIV’s architect, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, attracted rich and famous tastemakers from across the globe. Alluding to the Ritz’s fashionable patrons and their fabulous soirées, Irving Berlin cemented the association of the hotel with luxury, style, and gaiety in his jazzy 1929 “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”

More than 90 years later, the legacy of these “ritzy” habitués—from Cole Porter to Coco Chanel—still looms large; their elegant and chic genes imprinted in the hotel’s DNA. Among the hotel’s first regular patrons, Marcel Proust famously entertained by the hotel’s fireplace in a salon that now bears his name. Today, this comfortable library-lounge Salon Proustserves thé à la française featuring pastry chef François Perret’s (formerly of the Shangri-La and Meurice hotels) to-die-for madeleines (mais bien sûr!). A resident of the Ritz for over 30 years, Coco Chanel has a second-floor suite named for her, which is appropriately outfitted with Art Deco furniture and plenty of black lacquer. Barflies and literature buffs can enjoy their favorite cocktail and delight in conversation at the legendary oak-paneled Hemingway Bar, named for Ernest Hemingway, but also a favorite haunt of F. Scott Fitzgerald (who publishedA Diamond as Big as the Ritzin 1922). A stop at the Hemingway Bar is recommended for any visitor to Paris.

All accommodations at the Ritz Paris have been arranged and decorated to maximize natural light and create a spacious layout. Of the 142 rooms, including 16 suites, eighty percent of them can be connected making all kinds of combinations possible for families and friends traveling together. The marble bathtubs in two-thirds of the bathrooms now face a window. In terms of décor, the Empire period furniture remains, but dark and heavy fabrics have been replaced with a range of soft pastels. The nine deluxe suites offer balconies overlooking the courtyard garden that are spacious enough to enjoy breakfast or dinner en plein air. One of the deluxe suites (which the staff call the "townhouses," as they are more akin to private homes than hotel rooms) has an additional rooftop patio. Another room-to-get is the sixth floor Mansart Suite, which has a 500-square-foot terrace. The largest suites (Windsor and Imperial) evoke the salons of Versailles. Located on the first floor, these magnificent chambers have no outdoor space, but do have huge windows overlooking the Place Vendôme. Technology-wise, the Ritz has always been a pioneer. In addition to being the first hotel to be lit entirely by electricity, it was also the first to offer guests en suite bathrooms and private telephones. Today, high-tech upgrades have been woven seamlessly into the design of the original hotel. For instance, flat-screen TVs are tastefully hidden inside mirrors or gilded picture frames.

The hotel’s public areas are bright and airy. Windows in the elegant shopping arcade that runs along the hotel’s courtyard (which is home to the largest private garden in Paris planted with white flowers and retrofitted with heated alcoves for year-round enjoyment), allow for lots of natural light. In addition to family luxury brands, the arcade features a Ritz concept store selling exceptional travel-related items and a TWG Tea Boutiqhe. State-of-the-art retractable roofs over the hotel’s primary restaurant,Bar Vendôme, create an elegant indoor/outdoor dining option at the quintessentially Parisian brasserie.

Recent additions to the hotel include the full-service Ritz Club Spa and a chic David Mallett Salon, both located in the basement (next to the stunning indoor pool). The new Ritz Bar in the rue Cambon lobby (just opposite Hemingway’s), is a chic and modern bistro open all-day for drinks and dining. The hotel’s famous Escoffier cooking classes have recently been upgraded with larger kitchens to accommodate budding chefs of all levels including children (ages six and up).

Who Should Stay

History buffs who seek classic Parisian luxury and glamour. Longtime fans of the Ritz will be happy to know the hotel’s heart and soul has endured the test of time. Refreshments have been made to upholsteries, moldings are regilded and high-tech amenities have been added, but the original glamour and sense of Old World luxury remain. Newcomers, therefore, will still enjoy an authentic Ritz experience—much of which has to do with the incredible personal attention that staff lavishes on each guest.

Impact

Indagare Impact hotels have been carefully vetted according to our Impact Hotel Criteria.

It can be rare for such an urban hotel to make grand overtures towards sustainability, but it’s fitting that one of the best is located where the Paris Accords were signed. The Ritz's Pillars of Impact mirror Indagare’s: heritage conservation, social commitment, and environmental preservation. In 2022, the property conducted an ecological audit, reducing its energy needs and setting up new waste management processes, including managing emissions. At the same time, it contributes costs to supporting local suppliers, renovating important Parisian sites, and serving disadvantaged Parisian communities. With such a large suite of initiatives, the Ritz became Indagare’s very first Urban Impact Hotel.

— Mara Hoberman

Written by Indagare

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