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The walls of the legendary Ritz Hotel could tell some interesting stories. Some sad, others romantic, yet others scandalous. Find out what happened in the hotel’s rooms, before you visit!

Secret stories of the Ritz Hotel

Eva Ledecká
04.Oct 2017
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2 minutes

The walls of one of the most luxurious hotels in Paris and the world hold secrets which have become legend. Many famous celebrities have spent their nights here, and what they experienced has often gone down in history.

“There is something in the building and its walls. When people walk in, they start to whisper as though they were in church,” says Claude Roulet, who worked at the hotel for 14 years and wrote two books about it. 

How the hotel became a symbol of luxury

The Ritz Hotel was built in 1898 by Swiss hotelier César Ritz in cooperation with executive chef August Escoffier. It was the first hotel in Europe to introduce electricity and a telephone to every room. What’s more, each room had an en suite bathroom. It very soon became a symbol of luxury and was visited by prominent clients, including members of royal families, politicians, writers, film stars and singers.

To this day, several hotel rooms bear the names of the most famous guests, such as Coco Chanel and Ernest Hemingway, who lived at the hotel for many years.

Last words of Marcel Proust and night of Lady Di

Marcel Proust came to the hotel for dinner almost daily. He also wrote his most famous cycle In Search of Lost Time here. Legend goes that he came to the hotel until his death, and when on his deathbed he ordered a beer from the Ritz Hotel.

“Thank you, dear Odion, for bringing me a beer from the Ritz,” were allegedly his last words.

It was in this very hotel that British Princess Diana and her boyfriend Dodi Fayed spent their last night. The very next day, both died in an automobile accident in a Paris tunnel. 

Byty Janáčkovo nábřeží 207m
Byty Janáčkovo nábřeží 207m, Praha 5

The story of Ernest Hemingway

Possibly the most loyal guest of the Ritz Hotel was Ernest Hemingway. Not only did he spend so much time drinking at the hotel that they named a bar after him, but he also pronounced the famous sentence:

“The only reason not to stay at the Ritz in Paris is because you can’t afford it.”

Even more famous is the story that recounts how Hemingway “liberated” the hotel from the Nazis. Legend goes that after finding himself in Paris against as a war correspondent from the USA, he didn’t want to wait for the city to be liberated from the Nazis in order to visit his favourite hotel again. He took a few weapons, a jeep and headed to the hotel to retake it on his own. When he arrived at the Ritz, the bellboy told him the Germans had already left.

“He left his weapon at the door, walked in and ordered champagne,” claims Roulet.

Coco Chanel and her fling with a German officer

The famous fashion designer lived at the Ritz for 35 years. Her time spent here is primarily associated with accusations of collaboration with the Nazi enemy. Specifically, the allegations concern German officer Baron Hans Gunther von Dincklage. Recently revealed documents indicate that she provided him with certain information, although Roulet believes that her role was not really active. Apparently, she was simply in love with the officer.

May famous love stories started and ended between the walls of the Ritz Hotel. If you make your way here, you might experience something exciting, something that will remain forever hidden only in your memory and locked in a luxurious room at the extraordinary Ritz.

Reopening in 2016

Thanks to a multimillion-euro refurbishment (140 million euros), the hotel was reopened in 2016 and now boasts 159 luxury rooms. Renovations were carried out by order of the Egyptian owner Mohamed Al-Fayed, restoring the superior luxury standards for which the hotel was famed. The rooms now feature the latest technologies, and there is a mobile glass canopy above the restaurant, but the hotel gets its real sheen from its romantic and scandalous past.

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Hotel Ritz
15 Place Vendôme, 75001 Paris France
+33 1 43 16 30 30