As fashion’s unofficial home during Paris Fashion Week, it’s a pretty perfect match for Karl Lagerfeld’s latest collection (but more on that later). And after reopening this past June after an extensive renovation, a grand event such as this was only fitting. Below, 11 facts you didn’t know about what is perhaps the world’s most famous hotel.
Its recent renovation took four years and $200 million.
Which left more than enough time to generate hype. However, the hotel also underwent a renovation from 1980 to 1989.
There was a fire during the renovation.
The incident occurred on January 19 of this year. It took 66 firefighters to ultimately contain the blaze. Employees were evacuated, but work was able to resume the very next day.
Eight hundred stonemasons, gilders, painters, wood-carvers, and upholsterers worked on the job.
Thierry Despont, a well-known architect whose focus is on homes and hotels, was the designer.
Its staff includes 600 concierges, sommeliers, chefs, maids . . .
. . . room service personnel, laundresses, and voituriers. In other words, you’re well taken care of at the Ritz.
Coco Chanel lived in the hotel and worked across the street.
So understandably, it makes a lot of sense for the French house to stage its latest collection at the site.
It has a Chanel spa—the first of its kind.
When the renovation was unveiled, it included the first-ever Chanel spa. Chanel’s skin-care products are used in the treatments. During the renovation, the health club, now renamed the Ritz Club Paris, also got a facelift. It’s Neoclassic and Art Deco pool is its highlight.
The building’s facade dates back to 1705.
Louis XIV’s principal architect, Jules Hardouin-Mansart, sketched its initial design. Hardouin-Mansart is perhaps the most famous architect of the French Baroque period.
Princess Diana ate her last meal at the hotel.
She tragically died in a car accident later that night.
The hotel has appeared in three Audrey Hepburn films.
Funny Face, Love in the Afternoon, and How to Steal a Million.
During the Jazz Age, the hotel and its bar entertained a number of famous guests.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Marcel Proust, and Ernest Hemingway are just a few. Oscar Wilde, legend has it, complained about the electric lights. But many artists and writers were inspired to include the Ritz in their work as well. Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night and Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises both include scenes set in the storied establishment. (And the hotel’s Bar Hemingway and the Salon Proust are, of course, named for the two authors.)
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor were also regulars.
After the duke abdicated the throne of England to marry Wallis Simpson, the couple left England. They lived throughout Europe, and the Ritz was a favorite spot.