Following a four-year-long renovation, the Hotel Ritz has formally reopened. And the grand resort — which opened in 1898 and quickly became synonymous with while luxury and lavish expense — is once again ready to welcome A-List guests like longtime fans Madonna and Elton John.
Unlike other Paris hotels, which sold away their heritage at public auction before renovation, Mohamed Al-Fayed, who has owned the fabled property since 1979, chose to guard the hotel’s legacy — which includes stays by everyone from Ernest Hemingway, Audrey Hepburn, Coco Chanel, and a host of Spanish, Italian and British royals.
To retain the Ritz’s unique brand of je ne sais quoi, Fayed and New York-based architect Thierry W. Despont have put in considerable effort. And a considerable sum: The Wall Street Journal recently estimated the cost of the renovation at a staggering $450 million.
Some of the changes are as subtle as lace. The hotel’s public areas — the celebrated grand gallery, restaurants, bars and salons — have been slightly tweaked, and two previously shunted garden areas have been re-landscaped and fully integrated within the overall floorplan.
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The rooms and suites have been given a modern facelift, too. State-of-the-art technology, air conditioning, concealed televisions and WiFi are all fully deployed.
There are fewer rooms now — just 142, down from 159. The Coco Chanel Suite, created in partnership with the design house and Karl Lagerfeld, is a highlight of the makeover, and the two-bedroom suite goes for $25,000 per night.
Regular rooms at the hotel begin at $1,100 per night, which is relatively affordable for those committed to puttin’ on the Ritz.