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Ritz Paris to shut for two-year 'unprecedented renovation'

October 19, 2011|By Mary Forgione | Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
  • The Ritz hotel in Paris will close for more than two years for renovations.
The Ritz hotel in Paris will close for more than two years for renovations. (Miguel Medina/AFP/Getty…)

Has the Ritz Paris lost its mojo? Maybe, but here's how it aims to get it back. The hotel at 15 Place Vendome that once ruled the city as the essence of chic will be closed for more than two years to undergo an "unprecedented renovation," according to a hotel statement.

The hotel will close next summer to redo 160 rooms and suites, restaurants, bars, spa, common areas and even the gardens of the hotel founded by Cesar Ritz in 1898. This also includes closing L'Espadon restaurant and the Ritz-Escoffier cooking school.

A ton of famous folks are associated with the hotel -- Coco Chanel chose it as her home, and Ernest Hemingway and Marcel Proust hung out there too -- but that was then, this is now.

In 2005, the Ritz was one of six luxury Paris hotels accused of price fixing. The six were fined more than 700,000 euros for what the French Competition Council said was collusion.

In more recent times, Hotel Chatter reviewer Josh Flagg dubbed the hotel "very tired" and "overpriced" on a visit this summer, saying it didn't compare favorably with luxury rival George V. And Flagg tells a hilarious story about his  91-year-old grandmother who he says was stopped at the door for wearing tennis shoes.

No details on what the renovations will look like, but French architect-designer Thierry W. Despont is on the case. Despont has overseen many famed renovations, including the Dorchester in London and the Chatwal New York.

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