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REVIEWS


6


THE RITZ Paris


LOCATION: The 1st arrondissement’s Place


Vendôme, in the centre of Paris. FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Decadent! The Ritz, which reopened its doors in June 2016 after a four-year refurbishment, can be found in the Place Vendôme, where its neighbours include Louis Vuitton, Van Cleef & Arpels and Cartier. I’d been warned that a stay involves a lot of greetings from a lot of people, and it’s true: everyone is impossibly friendly and there’s not a trace of stuffiness – the army of staff are helpful without being overbearing. The interior is about as far from minimalist as you can get: every surface seems to be covered or filled with oil paintings, huge bouquets of flowers, expensive-looking sculptures and


weighty chandeliers. A GOOD BASE FOR: The Place Vendôme is the ideal base for the wealthy traveller, from tourists hoping to scale the Eiffel Tower to retail addicts keen to splurge on


designer goods. Guests are a real mix, from solo businessmen and women to couples and families with young children (why didn’t my parents ever take me to hotels like this?). But the fantastic facilities mean that staying put is just as much fun. There’s a Chanel spa (the brand’s first), a designer boutique-filled gallery and a beautiful garden. The public areas are filled with cosy nooks and crannies where guests can relax with a book or indulge in some people-watching. The pool, where guests can swim amid frescoes and mosaics, must be one of the


world’s most beautiful places to take a dip. THE FACTS: The team behind the hotel’s renovation knew that this historic hotel could not be changed too dramatically. In fact, 80% of the original furnishings and artwork remain – when the hotel shut its doors in 2012, these were moved to 125 shipping containers on the outskirts of Paris. New windows in the reception area provide stunning views of the Place


Vendôme and we ascended to our room in a bespoke circular elevator designed especially for the hotel. In the bedrooms, technology has deliberately been hidden away, and rooms are refreshingly clutter- free. There’s plenty of bling. The gold taps in the bathroom are encrusted with red and blue jewel-like stones and the bath is the size of a small swimming pool. The water comes out of the mouth of what I believe to be a golden swan. There are several dining options, including the Bar Vendôme which is a beautiful space with a retractable glass roof. When it comes to tipples, the most sought-after spot is the Bar Hemingway, a former haunt of the writer. Those put off by the waiting list


can try the adjacent Ritz Bar. WOW: The service.


BOOK IT: From £890 per night. The Suite Impériale is a cool £25,000 a night. RITZPARIS.COM


TAMARA HINSON


aspire march 2017 — 89


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