Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Ritz Carlton

The Ritz-Carlton name is a legend when it comes to five-star hotels. Spanning the world and every major destination, their impressive collection of hotels attract the most discriminating travelers seeking distinction. Founded on a combination of European excellence and American intelligence, it all began with Cesar Ritz who was considered the “king of hoteliers and the hotelier to kings.” Their level of service is outstanding, and has been used as an example by which many other companies, not just hotels, set their standards by. Here is an in depth look at the origins of this intriguing, landmark brand.

The first hotel to bear the Ritz label was the Hotel Ritz Paris, followed by the Ritz Hotel London, and both were lead by Cesar Ritz. While not entirely under the ownership and management of Ritz, several hotels were opened in North America bearing the Ritz name. When the Ritz-Carlton Boston opened it’s doors in 1927, it signaled a new era in American hotels, and it changed the essence of what a luxury hotel was to be considered. It was an instant success, and became a favorite among Boston’s wealthiest and aristocrats. The level of status that this particular hotel held was like no other. It was deemed as something of a private club, and entrance was only granted to the extremely rich, and privileged. There was a strictly enforced dress code that was aligned with the formal standards of Boston high society. Before the 1960’s, the level of formality was excessive. Holding such stature allowed the hotel to go to such measures as dismissing reservation requests if the paper upon which the inquiry was written was not posh enough.

Soon, Ritz-Carlton was established as a chain, extending into the area of resorts in addition to extremely luxurious hotels. As a brand, they are highly awarded, continuously being recognized for their service, excellent hotels, and incredible dining. Today, the reputation remains the same, and throughout the world, in their resorts and hotels you can expect exquisite service, gorgeous interiors, and some of the very best accommodations money can buy. In every major city, Ritz-Carlton has you covered. Cool fact: The Ritz-Carlton Hong Kong towers nearly 500 meters into the sky, and has the boasting claim of being the tallest hotel in the world.

Always a first choice among celebrities, by the 1940’s the Ritz hotels of Europe became synonymous with providing safe shelter to many ousted rulers during the tumultuous years of World War II. Housing the likes of royalty, government officials, spies, members of the British Cabinet, and arms dealers, who sought the refuge of hotels such as the Ritz Hotel London and Hotel Ritz Paris for their impeccably built structures that were touted to be safer than anywhere else from the threat of bombs. There were such monarchs as King Zog of Albania, and King Peter of Yugoslavia now mingling with covert spies disguised as socialites, one can only imagine the conversations that went down in these places! One of the Ritz Paris’s most famous inhabitants was Coco Chanel, who took up residence there when the Nazis occupied the city. A woman with a talent for survival as much as fashion, it was her romantic involvement with a Nazi officer that provided her perfect access to move into such a protected dwelling. It was this same talent that kept Mademoiselle Chanel from being charged for war crimes, as those around her served time after the war for their involvement, as she cited her resourcefulness in just happening to know the right people.

The Ritz-Carlton brand has been legendary from the start. Owning a unique, interesting history, and being the location for historical happenings has only added to the mystique. From their roots and into the future, the excellence in service and luxury is outstanding. Gold stars and diamond ratings are nothing new here, it’s part of the package and expected. Year after year, from Conde Nast to Forbes Travel, you can expect the Ritz-Carlton name to be repeated time and time again. 

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