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Putting on the Ritz - London calling

Updated on May 21, 2014
afternoon tea - palm court - ritz london
afternoon tea - palm court - ritz london | Source
arlington street london - the entrance
arlington street london - the entrance | Source
The famous Arlington street Entrance - The Ritz London
The famous Arlington street Entrance - The Ritz London | Source
luxurious function room - ritz
luxurious function room - ritz | Source
london ritz
london ritz | Source
tea time - palm court - ritz hotel
tea time - palm court - ritz hotel | Source

Puttin' On The Ritz


If walls could talk, the London Ritz Hotel would have many tales to tell. Tales of royalty, artists, celebrities, writers, politicians, diplomats and intrigue.

And few establishments have a name so identifiable that it enters the language, creates a place in the dictionary.

Concise Oxford - Ritzy - high class, luxurious – ostentatiously smart.

The Beginning

You’d expect the founder, Cesar Ritz, to be gentry. On the contrary, he began life as a Swiss peasant who at 17 became a waiter in a Paris restaurant. His first job, at 15, was apprentice wine water. He was soon sacked. "You'll never make anything of yourself in the hotel business," pronounced his employer. "It takes a special knack, a special flair... you haven't got it."

But he had a dream, visualising ownership of hotels where guests would be spoiled, pampered, indulged. He’s credited with creating the saying ‘the customer is always right’. He’d be pleased to know at the London Ritz his vision is still splendid.

Welcome

The Ritz is not just a hotel; it’s a legend an institution. Situated on Piccadilly, near Fortnum and Mason, close by stylish boutiques and restaurants, it’s only a short walk across Green Park to check if the neighbours are home at Buckingham Palace.

From the moment you whirl through the revolving doors on Arlington Street - yes the same doors through which monarchs and luminaries are ushered, life is transformed. Step into the elegant entrance hall, ablaze with floral arrangements and the greeting by porters is warm, welcoming

Hall porter Michael De Cozar is a gem. His genuine courtesy and professionalism shine through, and once he and the staff know your name they remember you as they welcome or farewell you throughout the day

I confess to having to pinch myself. I’m feeling famous and important just by being here. After all, the staff to guest ratio is two staff to every guest room. And how many hotels have their own gilder on staff? Shakespeare take note – In this establishment - all that glisters really is gold.

Small by some standards, the hotel has 133 rooms or suites and no two are alike. In 1995 there was a complete refurbishment, keeping and enhancing the Louis XV1 style of unique furnishings, antique paintings, gilded friezes, deep carpets, rich heavy curtains and bathrooms panelled in marble.

World Famous Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea is taken in the Palm Court. This sense of occasion is highlighted by the décor and ambience. Ionic columns, rosy pink coloured chairs, marble tables.

The light is often described as the most flattering in Europe, deliberately chosen by Cesar Ritz to enhance the complexion - perfect, especially for women of a certain age. Thanks Cesar, I’m glowing.

Steaming tea is sipped from floral china cups. A selection of freshly cut crust-less finger sandwiches, egg and mustard and cress, smoked ham, cream cheese and chives, smoked salmon and the most traditional of all - cucumber.

When you’ve almost had your fill, warm, freshly baked scones, arrive with time-honoured jam and clotted cream. Then cakes and pastries - wicked, bite-sized, melt-in-mouth creations.

All this while a pianist plays music from an earlier era - There were angels dining at the Ritz and a nightingale sang in Berkeley Square.

It’s all so civilised, so English, echoing nostalgia of days gone by.

This is a must for visitors to London and children are welcomed. There are several sittings throughout the afternoon and evening. Reservations are necessary and gift vouchers are available.

Romance

The Palm Court manager says it’s not an unusual request is for an engagement ring to be dropped into a glass of champagne and served midway through the tea ceremony.

I can’t think of a more desirable way to pop the question especially if the ring has been purchased on the premises.

There’s a stunning collection of jewellery and watches designed for Ritz Fine Jewellery, just inside the Piccadilly entrance.

Again Cesar Ritz inspired a trend by inviting jewellers of renown to exhibit their wares at his hotel.

Dining In

The Ritz restaurant is magnificent – the painted ceiling, reminiscent of the most perfect summer day, is circled by eight chandeliers, linked together by gilded garlands.

Mirrors reflect the décor and sophistication - marble columns, shimmering glass, the golden life size figures of Thames and the Ocean. Who needs food?

Of course dining here is an experience, for the cuisine, the presentation, the attentive staff. Prince Charles is an avid admirer and granted the Warrant for banqueting and catering services to the Ritz; the first hotel to receive one.

The restaurant often offers a dining experience combined with tickets to the theatre or an art exhibition.

Cocktails

The Rivoli bar is the place to see or be seen. It’s so relaxing here it’s easy to miss the décor. Huge gold leaf shells light the ceiling.

Lalique panels of classical figures adorn the pillars. The bas reliefs were carved especially – the chandeliers made in Turkey, are threaded with strings of light for extra sparkle.

If Walls could Talk

Back to the past and its intrigues: imagine eavesdropping on this conversation.

It’s 1934 and Thelma, Lady Furness, mistress to the Prince of Wales, is lunching at the Ritz with Wallis Simpson. Lady Furness is about to leave for a trip to the States.

Wallis states, quite sincerely of course - “Oh, Thelma, the little man (the Prince) is going to be so lonely.”

“Well dear,” Thelma replies, “you look after him while I’m away Wallis. See that he does not get into any mischief.”

Wallis didn’t bat an eyelid. Taking Thelma at her word she looked after the prince with virtuosity. When Thelma returned her telephone calls to HRH were not accepted.

In 1936 the Prince, who would have been crowned Edward V111, abdicated. He declared he would not be King without the woman he loved, Wallis, by his side.

These walls abound with many such stories. The Ritz is one of the world’s truly great hotels, luxurious, elegant and traditional.

An online gift shop and voucher service is available. Twitter has recently been introduced.

“When you travel a lot, places can tend to blur one into another. There is only one Ritz.

More info - www.theritzlondon.com www.visitbritain.com

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    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Great job! I love the Ritz...and the song too:)

      I had high tea at the Brown Palace in Denver...that sounds similar to this but not close enough to make me want to pass it up! Gorgeous photos too!

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

      I felt as if I was with you as you described this fantastic place. Great job.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Awesome! Thank you for letting me tag along. This reminded me of the many great SF restaurants that are no more. For this also I thank you.

    • Pavlo Badovskyy profile image

      Pavlo Badovskyi 4 years ago from Kyiv, Ukraine

      Great hub. I loved both the description and facts about it!

    • janetwrites profile image

      Janet Giessl 4 years ago from Georgia country

      This is a beautiful and picturesquely presentation of the Ritz in London. I have not been at such a high-class hotel yet but the way you described it made me dream as if I were there. Wonderful.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      realhousewife - thank you so much for your comments - yes the song Puttin' on the Ritz does conjure up a host of all the best things in life. If ever I'm in Denver I'll look out for Brown's Palace. It's on the list.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      WND - Greetings, so happy you enjoyed this visit to the Ritz London. Much appreciate your comments.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Mhatter - thank you for 'tagging' along and enjoying a visit to the Ritz - Yes, how things change - glad it brought back some local memories. Best...

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      Lovely, & what I like is that this hotel is a product of a man from humble beginnings made good. A great hub!

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Pavlo - thank you so much - I really appreciate your comments -

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      janetwrites - thanks for such lovely comments - great you enjoyed the visit to the Ritz with me - dreams can come true - who knows?

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Michelle - yes indeed a great story - inspiring - thanks so much for your comments - appreciate it.

    • profile image

      Valleypoet 4 years ago

      My wife recently treated her Mum to a birthday weekend in London, the highlight being a trip to The Ritz for sandwiches, scones, cake and tea...they both loved every minute of being pampered to, and feeling like royalty. I never realised The Ritz had such humble beginnings.....some interesting facts here, and an excellent guided tour, thank you Maj:-))

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Hello Valley - what a coincidence - what a wonderful birthday gift -I'm so glad they both enjoyed the Ritz afternoon tea - it certainly is impressive. And I'm very pleased you joined my 'guided tour' Hope you are all well and warm in England.

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 4 years ago

      Oh my what a lovely hub - I so do love afternoon tea and in an environment like this and with a young pretty lady like you would be so divine.

      What a world class tour guide you are - I would love to see a book by you of a different travel spot or destination in this world of ours - so much fun that would be.

      I love scones too, lol.

      Sending you my sincere warmest wishes from Colin and his cats and I am having my wake up coffee after night shift sleep at lake erie time ontario canada 12:22pm

    • khmazz profile image

      Kristen Mazzola 4 years ago from South Florida

      Excellent hub!! :)

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Hello Canada and Colin and Cats - thank you so much for your response to the Ritz - lovely to have your company for afternoon tea - mmmm those scones. Very pleased you liked the tour -I'll write that book one day. All best wishes -12-17pm down under.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      khmazz - thank you so much - appreciate your comments.

    • pagesvoice profile image

      Dennis L. Page 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

      Voted up, useful, interesting, awesome and beautiful. I could picture the elegance, charm, royalty and nostalgia. From a personal point of view, I have found that the smaller, older hotels offer so much more when it comes to attention to detail and going the extra mile for their guests. One particular historic hotel we stayed at was so pet friendly that room service showed up with 2 doggie beds and 2 bowls of treats. Every member of the staff wore ear pieces and the first thing the doormen asked was the name of our dogs. From that moment forward, whenever we left our room with the dogs, each staff member that saw us would say, "Good morning Jasmine. Good morning Dexter. Oh, good morning Mr. & Mrs. Page."

      When it was my granddaughter's birthday my daughter wanted to make it extra special by bringing her to the above hotel. I sent the management a note about the occasion and upon their arrival they had a gift basket for my granddaughter at the check in desk, with chocolates and flowers in their room. Now that's my idea of customer service.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Hi, I remember going there years ago, we went up with a works party believe it or not! lol! it was beautiful, we then went on to the Dorchester for a meal and cabaret, great hub, and the photos were amazing!

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      pagesv - thank you for your comments and votes re the Ritz - most appreciative.

      You words paint a lovely picture of one of your favourite hotels - how civilised and how such attention to detail makes the guest special.

      A great experience. Thank you again.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Nell Rose - you have so much style - what a party!

      Glad you enjoyed the Ritz visit - and ahhh those memories! lol.

      London is an amazing city - still love being there...

      Thanks so much -

    • Rosemay50 profile image

      Rosemary Sadler 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

      A fabulous hub Maj. Living the high life at the Ritz. I haven't been there but felt as though i was there with your wonderful descriptions. A great look into how the other half live and as you say if walls could speak some exciting stories they would tell.

      Voting UP and sharing

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Rosemay - thank you - the Ritz has so much history - I'm delighted you enjoyed the visit with me. Afternoon tea is rich in ceremony and well worth a visit if you find yourself in London. I know, we are so far away! But fingers crossed -

    • profile image

      Sueswan 4 years ago

      Hi Travmaj

      How lovely it would be to have tea at the Ritz. I will have to add it to my bucket list.

      Voted up +++ and sharing

      Have a good day. :)

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Sueswan - I hope you manage a visit one day - I wonder if your bucket list is like mine? - Overflowing!

      Thanks for commenting and voting - much appreciated

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      Oh so interesting and I now look forward to many more by you.

      Eddy.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Thank you Eddy - good you dropped by for a visit to the Ritz - much appreciated.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 4 years ago

      What a wonderful hub filled with royalty and sweet pleasures that filled both my eyes and my belly.You wisked me away to a world I seldom see.With wonderful stories and a true love to enjoy daily.I couldn't make it to England so you were kind enough to bring England to me.Thanx so much have a glorious day.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      DREAM ON - so happy you joined me on this visit to the London Ritz - it is a fascinating place filled with history and so much to explore.

      I'm so glad you enjoyed the visit - thank you, much appreciated. Best to you and yours...

    • liesl5858 profile image

      Linda Bryen 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hi! travmaj, another great hub of yours about the Ritz in London. Thank you for sharing this wonderful journey to the Ritz. I just love reading your hubs because they are so beautifully written. Beautiful photos as well.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      liesl - Hello - thank you for stopping by for a visit to the wonderful Ritz hotel - glad you enjoyed it. And thank you for your lovely comments - cheers...

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Oh how absolutely lucky you are! I am living vicariously through you in reading this hub and admiring those rich photos. Fabulous! In Paris, we plan to stay at the Waldorf Astoria in Versailles, but it's no Ritz!

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Flourish - yes I am definitely lucky - I'm so glad you stopped by for a visit to the London Ritz.

      I think the Waldorf Astoria sounds splendid. I'm just packing for Cyprus via Dubai. Life is interesting....Best wishes and enjoy Paris

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      Sounds like a hotel from the old, classic films like 'Grand Hotel.' It's sounds fabulous, fantastical and splendiferous. Sadly, not the kind of place I would be comfortable in. Still it was an enjoyable hub. :)

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 3 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      This was such a lovely visit through the Ritz. You described everything perfectly. Twenty years ago, my husband worked for the Ritz Carlton just north of Atlanta (he generated various kinds of reports, forms, and literature for them). We never got to stay in one of their rooms, although we got to go to Sunday brunch a few times. It was nice of course, but pales in comparison to what you have described. Hope you are doing well. Theresa

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Theresa - good to hear from you and I love the comments - thank you very much.. The Ritz has a remarkable history and I always want to know more. I'm travelling at the moment so not much hubbing but will be back on track soon. Meanwhile, thank you for stopping by - best wishes....

    • Jennifer Stone profile image

      Jennifer Stone 3 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Oh yes.. despite being a born and bred Brit, I've never been to the Ritz! Now I realise what I've been missing! A "must do" has just been added to my list, great hub travmaj, I love the history and the wonderful description of afternoon tea that has made my mouth water! Enjoy your travels, all the best!

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Hi Jennifer - great to have you stop by - I hope you get to the Ritz and enjoy afternoon tea - it really is magic. I'm talking myself into another trip and another visit - it's not difficult! Best wishes

    • grand old lady profile image

      Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 3 years ago from Philippines

      Never been to the Ritz, but of course everyone knows the song. And I remember Piccadilly from a game of Monopoly that I used to always play with my brother and sisters when we were children. How interesting to know that a Swiss peasant is the man behind the Ritz. This was a great article, informative and so very well written:).

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      grand old lady - thanks for having a visit to the Ritz with me. Lovely reminder of Monopoly too - it's so universal.

    • Anne Harrison profile image

      Anne Harrison 3 years ago from Australia

      I was once taken to lunch at The Ritz, it is indeed an amazing place. Thanks for the memories, and a great hub.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Anne - thanks for your comments and glad it brought back some lovely Ritz memories. Yes, amazing!

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      Wonderful hub on the Ritz hotels. We have one in Cleveland, OH and I have been to afternoon tea there. It is a special treat and I always feel "English" for the afternoon. When I was married my husband and I stayed at the Ritz for the weekend and customers are really pampered. It is a great experience. Thanks for sharing your own Ritz experiences with us and your photos are great! Voted up+

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      suzzettenaples - appreciate your comment and vote -I'm glad you too have those special memories of the Ritz. Happy days. Thank you.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 2 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Great description of the Ritz!

      You painted the picture so well, that I could visualize the awesome place. Sounds very romantic!

      I would love to visit this sometime in future. Great hub, voted up!

      Thanks for the Follow as well!

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      ChitrangadaSharan - thank you for visiting the Ritz with me - it is indeed a most romantic place. I hope you manage a visit in the future. Thank you for your comments and vote...best wishes.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 2 years ago from Florida

      I will have the tune "Putting On the Ritz" on my mind the rest of the day! Oh, I'd love to visit the Ritz and see how the "other half lives". I enjoyed your description and the photos, too.

      Voted up, etc. and shared.

    • Arachnea profile image

      Tanya Jones 2 years ago from Texas USA

      now this looks interesting. back later for a thorough reading.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Hello Mary - such a catchy tune isn't it? I'm glad you enjoyed a look around the Ritz, it has so much to offer. Thank you for commenting and the votes - much appreciated.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Hey Arachnea - thanks and hope you get back sometime for a read....

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      We have stayed in The Ritz, not in London though, and when we arrived, business cards are there already waiting for us with our Ritz address. We love old hotels and when we can, stay in them as they have more character. and more stories to tell.

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      aesta1 - Hello again - thank you and yes I agree with you, history, characters, intrigue, stories to tell...

    • MDavisatTIERS profile image

      Marilyn L Davis 2 years ago from Georgia

      Good evening, Travmaj; others have expressed the same thoughts and feelings that I had reading this. It was a wonderful tag-along. Thank you. I took my youngest granddaughter to a high tea several years ago. A courageous young lady opened a tea shop in our small southern town. Frequented by aging grandmothers, like myself, without complimentary lighting like the Ritz, though. We had a wonderful time. She liked the music, much to my surprise... Again, lovely writing and images. ~Marilyn

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      MDavisatTiers - Hello, good to know you enjoyed this outing via my hub. Lovely to take your granddaughter to such a lovely occasion - it seems many places offering afternoon tea are now catering to our younger generation. I'm taking my granddaughter soon - hope she enjoys it as yours did. Thanks again -

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      What fun to explore exquisite places like this famous hotel. I've heard the song many times, but I've never had a chance to be "Puttin' on the Ritz". Thanks for the experience in photos and for the details.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Hi Peg, and thank you for visiting the Ritz London. So much history and 'that' song just says so much. With thanks = Maj

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 2 years ago from Australia

      You certainly look like you're glowing at the Ritz! I enjoyed the visit with you.

    • travmaj profile image
      Author

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Hi Rangoon House - sure was a good visit - glad you enjoyed it too.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 21 months ago from Home Sweet Home

      I never been to london but your pictures are enchanting

    • sujaya venkatesh profile image

      sujaya venkatesh 19 months ago

      so gorgeous

    • travmaj profile image
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      travmaj 19 months ago from australia

      sujaya - hello and thank you for enjoying a gorgeous look at the Ritz. It is gorgeous!

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