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Culture / Travel

Stunning Ritz Paris Fire Isolated

Landmark Hotel No Longer in Jeopardy, Reopening Date Uncertain

BY // 01.19.16

Just as we wrapped our February issue late last night, with my letter from the editor discussing the stunningly renovated Ritz Paris, the news came in the middle of the evening Texas time that the top floors of this landmark hotel, built in 1898, were in flames. Thankfully, by the time we awakened this morning, the fire had been contained.

Becca Cason Thrash had hosted the Paris Ritz general manager Christian Boyens, head bartender Colin Field, and director of communications Anne Benichou for a lavish cocktail fête on Thursday of this past week. The hotel was in the midst of finishing touches in preparation for the March unveiling and reopening, after a three-and-a-half-year restoration, the first time the hotel had closed its ornate gates since 1898.

According to Benichou in an email today, the fire was started in an isolated area of the roof of the rue Cambon building. “The historical wing of the Place Vendôme, where the majority of our rooms and suites, the gastronomic restaurant, the brasserie, the spa and gardens are located, was not affected,” writes Benichou.

 The Paris Ritz was home to Hemingway, Proust, Coco Chanel and myriad writers and fashion legends, and has had only two owners in its 116-year history: Cesar Ritz and, since 1979, Egyptian billionaire Mohamed al-Fayed. Al-Fayed’s son, Dodi al-Fayed, and Princess Diana were killed in a car crash in a Paris tunnel shortly after leaving the Ritz in 1997.

Home, chic home.

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