News & Reviews Europe France Review: Ritz, Paris

Chanel Spa, Ritz Paris

Ritz, Paris
Room type: Deluxe Suite
Duration: 28th > 30th June, 2018

After suffering a fire just prior to opening, then an armed robbery just after opening, Ritz Paris had suffered enough.  But misery needs company, so I was on my way.

Depending on what source you read, Ritz Paris spent either the GDP of Greece, or the significantly higher figure of €1bn, on its refurb.  Clearly this needs paying back, which goes a long way to explaining why this property is run by megalomanic accountants.

It exists in the realm of properties like Burj al Arab – the desire to stay is no more than a box ticking exercise, but one that you know will leave you disappointed.  And yet we do it anyway.  This is the game, but I don’t think I’m winning.

There is a complete lack of value for money here, ranging all the way from the lewd €76 for a caesar salad, to €48 for a club sandwich that tasted like a Pret trainee built it from cardboard, and finished with the pièce de résistance: €25 to watch Die Hard. Nowadays you can hire Bruce Willis for less than that.  It is all well and good charging obscene fees, but you then have to deliver on them and The Ritz only delivered bad news. Even the free breakfast felt like a rip off.

Our room, #120, is sold as a Deluxe Suite during Summer, for it works as a duplex with a large, outdoor terrace.  In winter, not even Pierre in accountants could manage to figure out a way to make you pay for something you can’t use, so it becomes a mere room.  They setup the room beautifully, although the previous guest must have accidentally left behind some champagne, as Pierre would never have signed off on that.  This suite is all about the terrace, and why not?  Sitting there, sun shining in my face, hearing the trickling of water from the garden below?  Hell, if I could afford some of their water, I’d toast to that.

Here’s to good fortune. You’re going to need it to pay for this trip.

I already knew that I did not like the design, so normally I would forgive it.  But I just cannot. Those golden swans will haunt my dreams until the day I die, like a Tchaikovsky nightmare.  The finishings are all to a high spec and clearly a lot of money was spent on it, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.  Josef Fritzl probably spent significant sums on that bunker, but we’re not going to start worshipping the man, are we?

Credit where it’s due, this is slightly more glamorous

The tech in particular bothered me, with the tiny TV built into the mirror at the end of the bed going against the renowned bigger is better philosophy of the last 9 billion years.  There are no coffee or tea making facilities, but at least they offer complimentary services to your room.  Only kidding, have you not been paying attention?  They charge €40 for a coffee.  This is the Ritz, baby.  You play by their rules.

All the room controls are managed by the phones, such as AC, DND, lighting and the weather.  You can’t actually control the weather, just like you can’t control the amount of light coming into the room.  The room completely lacked any resemblance of blackouts and even lacked a door to punish the eyes even more, so the best sleep is not forthcoming, but you’ll sleep easier if you don’t spot the spider webs next to the bed. Housekeeping must have been on strike or were hardcode arachnid fans, for not only did we have had a spiders webs, but dust everywhere and the terrace uncleaned during our stay.  Spiders and swans – it ain’t quite the Fox and the Hound.

Argh

Arrrrghhhhh

ARRRRRRRGGHHHHHH

Riddle me this: if there are enough golden swans, does it dazzle you enough to ignore everything else?

Elsewhere, you may be tempted by the world’s first Chanel Spa.  But don’t be.  First you need to get there, and the corridors were always so busy that they need a traffic warden to manage it.  I expect the next soft refurb will either have some traffic lights or a roundabout installed.  After escaping the hustle and bustle of the Ritz corridors, you can enjoy the hustle and bustle of their spa.

It genuinely was the busiest I’ve ever seen a city hotel pool, likely not helped by the hotel selling memberships.  A Chanel spa sure looks classy, but there was nothing classy about having to share a day bed at 7pm, nor having no room to even enter the pool.  I failed to see the appeal anyway, as the pool offers jets to give the feel of a jacuzzi, but significantly lacks the temperature of one. I could at least appreciate the gender specific sauna and steam room which was accessible right from the pool, and the day beds which came with a remote control to get the position absolutely spot on.

You wanna charge €76 for a salad?  Make it amazing and I’ll pay it.  You can’t charge high prices and offer poor quality – something has to give.  With breakfast having no buffet and being a minimum fixed fee of €65, you better hope it comes included in your package, as my one yoghurt and two pieces of toast hit that milestone.  As we waited for our room, complimentary drinks were offered; mine, a €23 virgin mojito.  As the bill arrived, we mentioned it was complimentary, which they knew about but said we needed to sign for it anyway.  Of course it was on the bill at the end, those accountants didn’t get to the top on generosity.

Ritz Paris probably considers this a 5 course meal

The Good

  • No one tried to burn the hotel down or rob us during our stay
  • Excellent location, although the magnificent Hôtel de Crillon is also nearby.  Just sayin’.

The Bad

  • Swans
  • Spiders
  • Prices

The Luxurious

  • One less item on your to do list.

Conclusion

There was clearly a lot of money spent here, but it would have been better spent by giving it to charity. It was one of those properties that the more time I spent there, the less I liked it.  Their philosophy seems: I am the Ritz, I shall not justify my actions.  There was no slick service, impressive room, spa or food, so you’re really just left with a name, some bars, being in Paris and what feels like a parade of shops.  With half the hotel feeling like a shopping mall, perhaps they would be best finishing the job and turning it into one.

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Tom Cahalan

Written by Tom Cahalan on 9th Sep '18

Dorsia Travel’s co-founder Tom Cahalan’s take on travel is reliably candid. Here’s his take on what’s good, bad, and luxurious.

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