It has been 114 years since Cesar Ritz described his new Parisian palace as, “A little house upon which I am proud to put my name.” Now, over a century later, the doors of the famed Ritz Paris will close on August 1, 2012 for a two-year unprecedented restoration. Under the direction of internationally acclaimed interior designer Thierry W. Despont, the entire hotel will be restored. The project will refresh each room and suite as well as all of the public spaces, bars, restaurants, the Ritz Escoffier cooking school and outdoor gardens. Working with a team of specialists from around the globe, Ritz Paris President Frank J. Klein and General Manager Christian A. Boyens will oversee the grand project.
I have had the great fortune of staying at the Ritz Paris many times, and while I am deeply saddened to see the doors close for the restoration, I anxiously await experiencing the French art de vivre upon its completion. We’ve all heard tidbits in the press about the closing, but I wanted to find out the facts, so I reached out directly to Christian Boyens to confirm some of the details.
The Ritz Paris will be forever timeless.
Q: Christian, like so many, I look forward to the doors of the Ritz Paris reopening in 2014. With that said, is the goal for your patrons to walk through the revolving doors and experience a entirely different layout — a completely new Ritz — or should we expect some familiarity in layout, with updated aesthetic changes?
A: The Ritz Paris will be forever timeless. The Ritz will always stay the Ritz. When you wake up at the Ritz Paris, you will immediately know that you are in Paris,and not in Hong Kong or Los Angeles. The history of 114 years, the ambiance of the hotel, will remain the same. Think of a beautiful classic. We’ll redo the leather seats, perfect the paint …it’s just that the engine will be a little bit more powerful. The most important source of inspiration has been the frequent exchange with our loyal guests about what the Ritz Paris should be in 2014.
Q: If the walls of the Ritz Paris suites could talk, they would have volumes to say. With so many legendary guests gracing the hotel over the years, it seems as though a piece of history is evolving with your renovation. What is the goal for these treasured suites and will these same suites be included in your collection after the renovation?
A: The signature suites at the Ritz Paris have many loyal guests who call them home. Many suites are listed and therefore we will pay great attention to keep the Ritz spirit alive within them.
Q: I know guests from around the world flock to the Ritz Escoffier cooking school. Will the school expand in space and/or scope?
A: We will build on the success of Ecole Ritz Escoffier and continue to develop its programing, improve the general flow of the school and add additional kitchen space to accommodate a wide variety of cooking and pastry ateliers. We talked to many of our frequent students and will take their feedback and suggestions into account.
Q: The Ritz Paris is famous for its unparalleled service. Is there a service in particular that you look forward to introducing and/or once the Ritz reopens?
A: We are certainly aware that high thread-count linens and marble bathrooms are no longer the sole factors guests consider when deciding where to stay. There are magnificent hotels in Paris and the guests have many of choices. The Ritz Paris has always focused on each guest by delivering exceptional service. I believe our location on Place Vendome, our beautiful gardens and terraces, the Ritz Health Club with its amazing pool, and the Ecole Ritz Escoffier, give us something special and unique to offer even to the most demanding and discerning traveler. Rest assured that our service will have some pleasant innovations to offer as well. We’ll keep them a surprise until the opening in the summer of 2014.
Q: My last question…are you already taking reservations for 2014 — I think I need to get my request in immediately!
A: We will keep you informed about when we’ll start to accept reservations. We have lots of interest from guests who would like to spend the last night before we close on August 1, 2012 and would like to reserve their exact suite for our re-opening in 2014.