The Ritz London
The luxury hotel Ritz London looks more French than English but in every other way it is the epitome of a grand English hotel. Certainly, when you think of traditional high tea, the Ritz is the hotel that comes to mind. ClassicTravel.com is please to add this luxury traditional hotel to our collection. The location of The Ritz London on Piccadilly and overlooking Green Park is about equidistant from Knightsbridge and Mayfair, two of London’s best areas for shopping and dining. The ever watching staff outnumber guests two to one.
Thr Ritz London ban Jeans, T-shirts and sneakers. This cuts down on the number of tourists who get in, and makes surveillance of the guests (CEOs, dignitaries and front-page personalities) just a little bit easier. Keep in mind that in most of the public areas, men are required to don tie and coat.
The dress code may definitely seem excessive, but it is in keeping with the hotel's formal decor, which can feel a bit like wandering the halls of Buckingham Palace. More importantly the hotel occupancy reinforces that, in deed, there are still a certain clientele that like dressing up. No other hotel anywhere creates such a regal aura and, the dedicated long-term staff is among the finest in Europe.
The Ritz London is constantly maintained and with the exception of some of the baths, which can be out dated, the hotel is looking better than ever. Never content to rest upon its laurels, maintenance at this 103-year-old institution is generally impeccable.
Louis XVI decor predominates, and the furniture fairly glows with a warm patina. Discreetly hidden in a gilded alcove near the entrance, the reception area is manned by a deft, multilingual staff. Farther in, the long, opulent gallery on the ground floor ends with the entrance to the Ritz Restaurant, where a pianist plays in a period French setting of elaborate plasterwork, looming chandeliers and a gilded ceiling awash in pink trompe l'oeil scenes.
Chef John Williams continues to steer The Ritz London in the right direction with his creative menus offering both modern and classic European selections. Jacket and tie are required even at breakfast. But, then, the Queen frequently dines at a table set discreetly off in the corner. In season, guests can dine in the more informal Italian garden.
Dancing to an orchestra remains popular on Friday and Saturday nights. The fountained Palm Court remains a shrine for serious socializers, who come to practice the ritual of afternoon tea. (To partake, even guests must book up to a month in advance.) Breaking the hotel's gilt chain of florid style, the flashy Rivoli Bar shows bold art-deco accents that include Lalique glass panels, chairs upholstered in faux leopard skin and period lighting fixtures.
Exercise facilities is not one of the hotels high points. The gym is small but thankfully well equipped. The spa services are also limited with just one treatment room for massages, manicures and pedicures.
Meeting space is glamorous and well connected to the needs of 21st century travelers. There is a lovely venue in the original building, but most high-profile powwows prefer to gather in the adjoining William Kent House, where five stunning period halls seat up to 120. The William Kent Room itself boasts a magnificent coffered ceiling and majestic surroundings that would not look out of place in the Vatican.
The exquisite guest quarters are decorated with the same Louis XVI flourishes and high-quality reproduction appointments and antiques seen in the common rooms. Done in silky tones of blue, pink, peach and yellow, their elegance masks plenty of high technology: Each room is outfitted with dual-voltage outlets and U.S. and U.K. modem access that management brags is the fastest Internet connection in Europe.
Other amenities include air-conditioning, multiline phones with multilingual voice mail, flat-screen TVs and minibars. Some rooms boast brass beds and marble fireplaces (nonworking). The marble baths feature vanities full of luxury toiletries, including facial-treatment packs, as well as deep tubs, roomy showers, plush robes and slippers, phones and hair dryers.
Suites hearken back to the Gilded Age and feature opulent dimensions, white furniture a la Francaise cloaked in luscious brocades, and gold-tone taps in the baths. Particularly choice are corner suites in the -18 and -19 series, which overlook both Piccadilly (from sitting rooms) and Green Park (from sitting rooms and bedrooms). Rooms facing the rear and the park are quietest.
Service is of the if-you-can-pronounce-it-we-can-produce-it ilk, including 24-hour room service, turndown, twice-daily maid service (thrice if you prefer), daily newspapers, complimentary shoeshine and even butler service, for a fee. Pets are allowed case-by-case.
The Ritz's clientele is usually composed of a cast of characters right out of central casting. It’s difficult sometimes to tell by the required uniforms (suits, ties and designer gowns) who's arrived by chauffeured Bentley and who's trudged their luggage up through the Underground. Civility and Victorian tradition continue to reign at this hallowed altar of hospitality.
Lastly, make sure your stay at the world famous Ritz London includes one High Tea experience. You'll never forget it!
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