Luxury and glamour are synonymous with The Ritz Paris. When an establishment inspires a song like ‘Puttin’ On the Ritz’ and a household term like ‘ritzy’, you know we’re talking about something really special so it’s no surprise that the re-opening of The Ritz Paris hotel on the 6th of June created a lot of buzz in the media.
After four years of having its doors closed for the first time since opening them in 1898, and a reported $450 million worth in renovations, the iconic Ritz hotel on Paris’ trendy Place Vendôme has opened its doors once more. With brand new features and restored touches, we’re sure you’ll agree that the revamp was worth the wait.
In with the new, update the old
Acclaimed architect, Thierry W. Despont, spearheaded the resplendent interior Ritz renovation that has brought the legendary hotel up to date with modern technology whilst retaining its old-world splendour. General Manager for The Ritz, Christian Boyens, told The Australian, that one of the major reasons for its refurbishment is plumbing. So now every suite has a separate bath and shower with underfloor heating whilst daylight flood the bathrooms, providing natural light in-keeping with the hotel’s commitment to energy saving. But you’ll still feel relics of days of old when you press a peach-coloured towel to your face – a legacy of founder, Cesar Ritz, who believed the colour flattering to the face in the morning light (if you’re a morning person).
What’s glitz and glamour without proper pampering to get you to that state of vivaciousness? A major addition is the Ritz Club fitness centre and the world’s first Chanel spa, Chanel au Ritz Paris – a tribute to the hotel’s resident of 30 years, Coco Chanel. After a day of romancing Paris, set a date with your body by indulging in a Chanel skin care treatment in a private room in the signature spa or take a swim in the neoclassical indoor pool.
The Ritz Paris has an unparalleled guest list made up of some of the World’s richest and most famous, from Ernest Hemingway and Marcel Proust to Beyonce and Kate Moss. The addition of a private underground tunnel and entryway ensures the utmost privacy from unwanted attention (namely that of the paparazzi) and, who knows, perhaps this added measure may have come in handy in Princess Diana’s day, who spent her last evening at The Ritz Paris.
How to best tell the world of the momentous occasion of The Ritz Paris reopening? Make a film about it of course! Behind the Door is a short film released on YouTube on the same day the hotel reopened, creating the desirable buzz that would remind the world that the grand dame has opened its doors once more.
The film, directed by American director, Zoe Cassavetes, encompasses everything the hotel and Paris is about; glamour, mystery, excitement but most of all, romance. It features French actress, Ana Girardot and Spanish actor and model, Andrés Velencoso.
The video begins with Velencoso arriving at the Ritz Paris with a gold key then suddenly spying Girardot and the chase begins. He follows her to a secret, mirrored door that bears a keyhole which matches his key. Within the doors he is transported to a world of feathers and sparkle, candelabras and splendour. The pursuit continues up a magnificent staircase which leads to several rooms entertaining resplendent parties reminiscent of Ernest Hemingway’s days in Paris. In one room, a gold clock ticks backwards; Velencoso has indeed entered a timeless era.
At the bar, he is served a drink by the (actual) Ritz barman, Colin Field and no sooner has he taken a sip, he is blinded by the light of the film projector where Girardot beckons with a gesture of her hand. So what’s a guy to do but follow? And follow her he does, where next he finds himself at a tailor, played by Gen Shimoaka. He gets all spruced up in a tuxedo and is suddenly walking through foliage that leads to yet another party; this one is decadent with strings of pearls decorating overhead, fine dinnerware gracing the long, rose-edged table and the guests dressed in 1920s style but with a modern edge.
‘Puttin’ On The Ritz’ begins to play, the revelry gets underway and it is here the lovers finally unite. They place their keys on a dish presented by the (actual) director of the hotel, Frank J Klein, and the pair, under a shower of gold glitter, walk outdoors. The film concludes with the couple on a bridge gazing across the River Seine as the sun rises behind the Ritz Paris Hotel – perhaps the perfect metaphor that the sun has indeed risen once again on one of Paris’ most iconic cultural cachets.