An extensive expensive hotel remodeling project, the renovation has finally brought the legendary Ritz Hotel back to its former glory, and then some. It took 4 years and some say $200 millions, (others report $400 millions, and others €200 millions) but he result is stunning. Respecting the features and personality of what has been Coco Chanel’s residence, marrying past and future, mixing precious fabrics and technology was no easy task.
A little history of the Ritz Hotel
In 1705, the building in Place Vendôme was a private residence, then became Hotel Gramont, then a bank. In 1898, under César Ritz ownership - a Swiss Hotelier whose history is quite interesting in and of itself - with the collaboration of the no less famous Auguste Escoffier, chef, restaurateur and culinary writer, the building became The Hotel Ritz, Paris. With the luxury and comfort only the very rich, famous and powerful could afford, the decades went by until it was used as headquarters by the Nazi Germany during WWII.
After belonging to the same family for years, the last heirs to the Ritz family sold it to Egyptian businessman Mohamed al-Fayed who decided it was in need of a makeover. However, and despite the history and luxury, the Ritz didn't receive the “Palace distinction” from the French Government. The hotel was lacking the modern amenities one might expect to enjoy in such grand lodging, while some of the “new decor” was slightly lacking the “je ne sais quoi” that would make it truly perfect.
Ritz hotel remodeling project: what was preserved, what was changed
If there is one hotel remodel that will make history, it will be the Ritz’s. This icon of luxury and glamour is now more glamorous and luxurious than ever. Given its 118 years of history, that was hard to achieve. The historical features, architecture and antiquities were left in the décor, restored; the only things that have been heavily updated are the plumbing and electricity. The Ritz hotel is still filled with antiques and none of this could actually work if the guests didn’t have enough water pressure when they take a hot shower or bath, if the power goes out when the air conditioning is turned on, or if they couldn't connect to wi-fi.
Today, technology has permeated all aspects of our life and anything that can make it better, easier as well as comfortable and worry free, has to be taken into account. Expectations were high. But perfection was attained, thanks to the talent and experience of all the artisans who were involved. It doesn't necessarily takes a vision when you are working with such a canvas but it takes dedication and hiring the best in all trades, a team of 800 composed of Stonemasons, woodcarvers, upholsterers and carvers. Up and down the scope from architects, designers, engineers, plumbers, electricians, painters and more, everyone had to know their place in the choreography.
For the record, there is a reason why the word “ritzy” has become an adjective. The legendary Ritz hotel remodeling project will be remembered as one of the most expensive of all times (the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans in 2011 was $275 millions). If it was possible to undertake that type of delicate hotel renovation, keeping intact the 18th century French decor and style while upgrading to the 21st century, anything is possible. Because besides time and money, it takes a team, it takes talent, it takes passion.
Featured image Nicholas Peter, Gavin Davies/ Shutterstock.com
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