In keeping with our yearly tradition and based on our own luxury hotel reviews, as well as close analysis of the hotel’s customer service throughout all departments, marketing & communications – including media presence – both traditional & digital, dining offerings, product condition, comfort, Spa, wellness, guest experiential offerings, market positioning, innovation – we are honoured to name RITZ PARIS, 2018 global luxury hotel of the year (CPP-LUXURY.COM). Our review can be accessed here.
With a very discreet, almost ‘secretive’ presence on social media and a very limited number of accepted media reviews, RITZ PARIS is this year’s best luxury hotel, in a league of its own. RITZ PARIS’s social media accounts pale in comparison with its Palace counterpart hotels, yet the hotel has been running at an average of 70 to 80% occupancy at the highest rates in Paris since day one of reopening, the biggest challenge of the hotel being that a vast majority of its guests require a very specific accommodation.
The multi-million dollar renovation which saw the hotel close down, for the first time in its history, RITZ PARIS has maintained its sheer classic elegance adding some key technological enhancements.
Service surpasses the expectations of the most discerning travellers – ultra-personalised yet discreet and adapted to the nature of each client (whether more expansive, private or outgoing), intuitive, genuine and most importantly consistent throughout all the departments. There is also a predominant sense of pride that staff exude to being part of the family of such an iconic hotel. The hotel magazine which is available in the rooms is actually about the RITZ PARIS family, depicted in every-day life humorous situations, captured in high-quality black & white.
A lot of credit goes to Christian Boyens, a young Peninsula Hotels educated executive hotelier who not only oversaw the transformation of the hotel through the extensive renovations but who also runs a team which works in perfect synchrony, much like an orchestra. Unfortunately, Mr Boyens was not available during my stay, however, he apologised for his absence in an email he personally sent after my stay (before any review was published) and graciously declined an interview through an email Q&A preferring one in person – which will be a wonderful excuse for me to return.
Mélanie Hubert has recently taken over the top communications and PR position at RITZ PARIS. She arrives from the Shangri-La Paris where she has done a tremendous work in positioning the ‘Chinese’ luxury hotel among the city’s top five Palace ranked hotels. I am certain Mélanie will keep RITZ PARIS’ social media presence limited, mostly based on teasing campaigns – not to mention any brand associations / partnerships or collaborations.
The only YouTube featured media coverage is a short video of ‘Vogue spends a day at RITZ PARIS’ which also perfectly captures the effortless and sometimes even playful traits which are part of the RITZ PARIS brand DNA, along with the ‘healthy, glowing effect of apricot peach’, which ‘pretentiously’ described the ‘unusual’ colour of the towels at the RITZ. The ‘ostentatiously glitzy’ gold swan-shaped bathroom fixtures (not even gold plated).
With the renovation, the hotel took the opportunity to even further enhance the comfort of its rooms and suites – SmartTv’s, high-speed internet, touch control pads for temperature, lighting and DND (the old style coloured button-push controls were also kept), heated bathroom floors, soundproofing (including indoors) and bespoke bathroom amenities. I had the privilege to enjoy a newly developed suite category, Grand Jardin Suite with a large outdoor terrace which must be a blessing in the warmer months of the year.
Home the world’s only CHANEL Spa, RITZ PARIS’ history is also about Coco (Gabrielle) Chanel who remains the hotel’s only ‘brand ambassador’ but one that paid for this honour.
RITZ PARIS is home to fine dining L’Espadon Restaurant – excellent foods and service, with a most creative menu in a majestic setting, a high floor ceiling that could be intimidating for those who step in for the first time. The versatility of the restaurant, with an outdoor space, plays an important part. The lack of a better Michelin ranking may be seen as a shortcoming, however, the lack of a second restaurant would make the dining offering limited, especially that the RITZ’s patrons also include local Parisians.
“At the Ritz, nobody pushes you,” Marcel Proust once said. It’s an observation that earned the author of “In Search of Lost Time” a salon named in his honor, a place where RITZ serves a unique French version of the Afternoon Tea.
École Ritz Escoffier The cooking school of the hotel, is unique, not only for the expert training of Chefs but also for the initiatives which allow select guests to experience the ‘behind the scenes.
Above all, the biggest achievement of Mr Al-Fayed, the long time owner and ‘guardian’ of the hotel, is not only to have maintained intact the soul and the spirit of the hotel, but most importantly, to stay true to his own understanding of what true luxury stands, which is only to be judged by guests who may not have a Tripadvisor or loyalty program card account and who do not ‘vote’ in the countless travel magazine rankings.
However, this makes RITZ PARIS’ marketing, communications & sales most challenging as they may enjoy sharing a RITZ PARIS moment in a ‘filtered’ photo on their private Instagram or Facebook accounts, to their close friends and who may prefer to take a taxi from CDG Airport because they traveled on a low cost airline, instead of RITZ’s pick up from the door of the aircraft and may not necessarily wear an easily recognisable luxury brand such as Loro Piana sweater or a Delvaux handbag.
For RITZ PARIS, guests are the real ‘influencers’ whose word-of-mouth mentions or references weigh much heavier than any blogs, magazines or celebrity associations. In 10 years since luxury business online magazine CPP-LUXURY.COM was set up and with 121 luxury hotel reviews, RITZ PARIS is the first and only hotel I have felt not being treated as ‘media’ but like any other long-time patron of the hotel.
Chapeau bas !
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