César Ritz’s legacy has changed little since it opened in 1909. With faultless service, a superb location, an atmosphere that borders on the theatrical and one of the loveliest dining rooms in Europe, a stay here makes for a truly exceptional experience.
Piccadilly, next to Green Park.
Address: 150 Piccadilly, Westminster, London W1J 9BR, England.
Style & character
The peoples’ grande dame London hotel. Claridges, once so snobbish, had to change to appeal to all but The Ritz, a place where everyone has always gravitated for a celebration (as witnessed by its wildly popular afternoon teas, served from 11.30am till 7.30pm) has ever been a hotel for everyone. Integrity and tradition remain – jacket and tie in the restaurant; long-serving staff and traditional uniforms – and combine to give a timelessly elegant yet constantly busy feel. The Long Gallery and Palm Court are ravishing; the dining room is one of the loveliest in Europe. Historic William Kent House, just behind, is seamlessly joined to the Ritz to provide lavish private function rooms and two of the hotel’s top suites.
Service & facilities
From the doormen with their white gloves tucked into their epaulettes and the pair of bellhops who open the double doors to each arriving guest to the frock-coated flunkies, the white-coated barmen and the chambermaids in their pinnies and caps, staff are near faultless (though not perfect: expected help with bags was not forthcoming on arrival at the revolving front door). There are characters too. The old-school showmen-cum-concierges man their desk with bravado but always puts the guest first. Head concierge Michael de Cozar has held the job for 35 years; his father worked at The Ritz for 27 years and his brother also works there.
Bedrooms and suites – salmon pink, rose pink, yellow and blue – have been restored in their original Louis XVI style (no ‘guest designers’ indulging themselves here, as in rival hotels). There are several signature suites with magnificent views, including the Green Park Suite, which displays a more contemporary feel, yet still traditionally furnished, with white walls and a soft purple colour pallette.
Food & drink
Executive Chef John Williams joined The Ritz in 2004 and in October 2016 gained a Michelin Star for the first time, although the quality of his food has long reached that standard. “What makes me particularly proud” he says “is that the other grande dame London hotels that have stars for their restaurants are because of named, entrepreneurial chefs brought in to run them; they aren’t employees of the hotel, but I am, pure and simple, and proud to be”. His distinctive classical British dishes match their beautiful surrounding. Stand out dishes include langoustine with cauliflower and pickled onion, turbot with leeks, Oscietra caviar and champagne sauce and crêpes suzette, flambéed at the table. Head Sommelier Giovanni Ferlito’s wines – and his knowledge – complement the food. And on Fridays and Saturdays there is dinner and dancing; what other London hotel offers that?
Access for guests with disabilities?
There are two specially adapted rooms.
Yes, welcome. The hotel has a family programme, Kidz@TheRitz, which includes complimentary ice cream in all the outlets.
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