Essential Architecture-  London

The Ritz


 Charles Mewès & Arthur Davis  Developer César Ritz


150 Piccadilly (overlooking Green Park) London W1J 9BR






brick with limestone trim


  Artwork by Simon Fieldhouse. (Copyright Simon Fieldhouse)
  Sign above the western entrance to the arcade
The Ritz Hotel London is a 133-room hotel located in Piccadilly and overlooking Green Park in London.

Famed Swiss hotelier César Ritz opened the hotel on May 24, 1906. The building is neoclassical in the Louis XVI manner, built during the Belle Époque to resemble a stylish Parisian block of flats, over arcades that consciously evoked the Rue de Rivoli. Its architects were Charles Mewès, who had previously designed Ritz's Hôtel Ritz Paris, and Arthur Davis, with engineering collaboration by the Swedish engineer Sven Bylander. It was the first substantial steel-frame structure in London.

Ritz personally managed much of the hotel's operation for many years. He hired world-famous chef Auguste Escoffier to provide cuisine to match the opulence of the hotel's decorations; he placed a special bell in the entryway by which the doorman could notify the staff of the impending arrival of royalty. The high standards to which he held his staff and the ultimate luxury which he provided his guests had been entirely foreign to Victorian Londoners, and the sensation he caused in the hotel industry precipitated a dramatic shift in that industry's focus.

The hotel was owned for some time by the Bracewell-Smith family who also had significant stakes in the nearby Park Lane Hotel. However the oil crisis in the early 1970s affected business and prompted the family to sell their stake to Trafalgar House in 1976 for £2.75m. [1]

David and Frederick Barclay purchased the ailing hotel for £80 Million from Trafalgar House, in October 1995, through their company Ellerman Investments. They spent eight years and £40 Million restoring it to its former grandeur.

The current General Manager is Stephen Boxall.

The Ritz's most famous facility is the Palm Court, an opulently decorated cream-colored Louis XVI setting for the world-famous institution that is "Tea at the Ritz", (though, strictly speaking, Tea at the Savoy is the original version) once frequented by King Edward VII, Charlie Chaplin, Sir Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, Noel Coward, Judy Garland, Evelyn Waugh and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. The Rivoli Bar, built in the Art Deco style, was designed in 2001 by interior designer Tessa Kennedy, to look like a bar on the Orient Express. A table at the Restaurant still needs to be booked weeks in advance.

The hotel has two private dining rooms, the Marie Antoinette Suite and The Ritz Room.

In 2006 the William Kent House was opened as an extension of The Ritz. The William Kent House has been converted in a complete Function area with the Burlington Room, the Queen Elizabeth Room and the most ostentatious William Kent room. The William Kent House also accommodates three of The Ritz' top suites: The Arlington Suite, the Royal Suite as well as the Prince of Wales Suite.

On 27 January 2007 around 300 people were evacuated to the nearby Mayfair Hotel following a fire alarm in the hotel. No one was hurt in the blaze, which started in the basement Ritz Club casino kitchens extraction vents. The Ritz casino only suffered "minor damage". The blaze happened around 1420 GMT and fire-fighters were present in the building for two hours before allowing the guests and staff to return.


Official site