The Ritz, Paris
An institution since 1898, the lavish, opulent Ritz—near the Louvre museum and Tuileries gardens—has maintained its stature as one of Paris’s leading hotels despite a plethora of trendy newcomers. Of course, not everyone can claim the Ritz’s history: it was the world’s first hotel to have a private bath in every room, and everyone from Edward VII to Coco Chanel has called it home (in Chanel’s case, for 37 years). A massive renovation in 2007 updated its infrastructure, yet Belle Époque touches remain. Swan-shaped, gold-plated faucets grace the tubs; a surfeit of period Louis XV, Louis XVI, and Empire furniture fills the rooms; and thousands of euros worth of flowers scent the air each week. Traditional white-glove service, a Roman-style pool ringed with columns, and a Michelin-starred restaurant only add to this lap-of-luxury experience.
Insider Tip: Order a Bloody Mary at The Bar Hemingway (the cocktail was invented here for the namesake novelist), and let legendary bartender Colin Field entertain with tales of his romantic life.
Room to Book: Avoid the “intimate” rooms in the Cambon wing; instead, ask for No. 527 for a view of the Opéra, or a Superior Executive for a room overlooking the tranquil, newly planted Grand Jardin.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.