Our series on iconic hotels around the world continues with the St James London landmark The Ritz.
One of the few remaining jacket-and-tie establishments around, The Ritz London has retained its upper-crust elegance since 1906. César Ritz planned a London hotel so grand it would take away business from The Savoy, where he had been manager and left under a cloud, together with legendary chef Auguste Escoffier. Interestingly, South African mining magnet Alfred Beit partnered with Ritz to form the Ritz Hotel Company.
The Best Hotel In Europe
Afternoon tea at the Ritz London’s elegant Palm Court remains a much-loved institution, and the hotel was recognised last year as the best hotel in Europe, as voted for by readers of The Telegraph.
The award was presided over by HRH Princess Eugenie of York. No other London hotel has such close ties to the British royal family. It has The Prince of Wales’ Royal Warrant for Banqueting and Catering and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth celebrated her 80th birthday there.
The 177-metre Prince of Wales suite is one of four signature suites in the hotel, located in an adjoining and historic 18th-century building, William Kent House. This is a former prime-minister’s residence that overlooks Green Park.
As a guest in one of the signature suites, the hotel’s 8th generation Rolls-Royce Phantom Extended Wheelbase is yours for a complementary airport pick-up or drop-off. The Phantom EWB is in the Ritz’s own blue hue and has monogrammed navy blue carpets and headrests embroidered with the Ritz’s lion.
A “Ritzy” Experience
And, to be certain they succeed in delivering a “Ritzy” experience, the hotel is always looking for ways to dazzle. Over Christmas, for example, aside from the impressive Scottish Pine tree, they partnered with game company Hasbro to supply guests with a game hamper, including Jenga, Connect 4 and Operation, as well as a specially-trained board-games butler to ensure families have the best possible time together. Many hotels have bath, pillow, pet and even tech butlers, but this might well be a first.
With 136 rooms and suites, this Piccadilly landmark is just a hop, skip, and a jump from Buckingham Palace. The Ritz Restaurant retains its Michelin star in 2019 while Rivoli, the hotel’s Art Deco bar, has magnificent Lalique wall panels and a sensational cocktail list.
The Ritz Club is an exclusive private gaming club, located in the hotel’s lower ground floor. They also have a relationship with Japanese hair stylist and colourist Hiro Miyoshi, who opened his second London salon on the hotel’s seventh floor. You will find Asprey products in the bathrooms.
An Iconic Dress Code
The hotel’s dress code is almost as famous as this iconic landmark. Men are required to wear a jacket and tie (jeans and sportswear are not permitted for either women or men) for afternoon tea in The Palm Court, and for lunch and dinner in The Ritz Restaurant and Terrace.
In all other areas of the hotel (The Ritz Restaurant breakfast service, The Rivoli Bar, The Long Gallery and The Ritz Club), smart casual attire is required. Shorts, trainers and sportswear are not permitted in any of the hotel’s or club’s restaurants or bars. Also, any items which cover the face, must be removed inside the hotel.
Words by Brian Berkman