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Putting on The Ritz or Putting on The Shi*z in Paris?

Where: Paris, France
July 7, 2011 at 10:35 AM | by | ()

Our own Eloise, Josh Flagg returns to pit two of Paris' best luxury hotels against one another. Read on to see which hotel is the victor!

So let's talk Paris. I don't know any other city in the world other than New York, which has as many options for luxury hotels and properties. On the right bank alone, you can choose from The Four Seasons (George V), The Crillion, The Ritz, The Mandarin Oriental, The Plaza-Athenee and Le Meurice.

The latter two are both apart of the Dorchester group, so you can be assured you will be staying in style. The Dorchester group (owned by the Sultan of Brunei) is the parent company of some of my favorite other properties such as the Hotel Bel Air (re-opening in October), The Beverly Hills Hotel, The Principie de Savoia in Milan as well as the uber chic Grande Dame, The Dorchester in London. While you can not go wrong with any Dorchester group property in Paris, there still is better.

Now hands down, the location of The Crillion is the best in Paris, I mean it does not get more central than that, but unless you get one of the newer rooms, the accommodations can be very tired. I guess in trying to choose the best hotel in Paris though, it is all opinion, however considering that I have stayed in all the above hotels except for The Mandarin (which just opened), I feel that I am more than equipped to tell you which is the finest of all the properties.

Now you are probably thinking I am going to say The Ritz (pictured on the right) but if you thought that, you were wrong. In fact, aside from being very tired, overpriced and in a dead location at night (unless you want to look in the windows of stores that are closed), I do not enjoy a hotel where you are stopped at the front door and told if you can enter or not based on your dress code. Now believe me, I am not one to walk into a hotel lobby in a bathing suite, but I find it absolutely ridiculous when you can't even feel at home in your own hotel. I mean do I really need to put on my boa and pearls to impress the bellhop?

When I walk around Paris, I put on sneakers and casual clothes and I want to be comfortable, I don't need to dress to impress anyone. I still can't figure out how these women walk around in four inch heels all day, but then I realize it is not that difficult to walk from Gucci to Hermes.

A few years ago, my grandmother and I were staying at The George V where I have been staying since 2000 and she has been staying since medieval times. One day I asked her if we could stay at the Ritz just so I could see what the big fuss was all about. So we checked out of the Four Seasons George V and went over to The Ritz. Well as fast as we went over to The Ritz we left and went back to The George V. My grandmother had stayed at The Ritz before and told me ahead of time I would not like it. However if I did not try it on my own, I wouldn't be satisfied.

For those of you who do not know, I have somewhat of an obsession with hotels, and if I don't try every single hotel, I feel like I haven't lived. One time in New York, I changed hotels five times within seven days because I wanted to get the remaining five in I never stayed in. Moving on...

Firstly, the Ritz gave us a suite which was the size of my guest closet. I got in the room and put both of my arms up and said "Look I can touch both walls". My grandmother said "I have had rooms for my luggage that were bigger than this". We left the hotel and went out for a walk and when we came back we were stopped at the font door.

The guard looked at the two of us and said to my grandmother "Madame, you can not come in here like this wearing tennis shoes." Now if you don't know my grandmother, she is not one you mouth off to (without expecting to get it back ten times worse).

She said to the man (who was most likely just doing his job): "Let me tell you something my good man... The first time I stayed in your hotel about thirty years ago, I did not like it. There was a little sign in the bathroom which said that the hotel did not accept personal checks. I don't know who your clientele is here, but my check is always good.

Secondly I want you to look at your hands. You mean to tell me you are going to make a fuss about my sneakers when you can't even clean your own fingernails? Call the front desk and have them pack our bags, we are going back to the George V".

I don't know who was more in shock, me or the man, but let's just say he let us right back in. My grandmother is a four-foot eleven, tall feisty 91-year old resembling Sophia Petrillo from the "Golden Girls" who speaks in broken English, so if you can envision the scene, it really does make for a good movie. I just stood there in awe, as did the man with the "dirty fingernails" which by the way did not look too dirty to me.

We checked out and as disappointed as I was that I did not even get to try that fabulous pool they had, I was happy when we returned to the George V and they said "Welcome home Madame and Messieurs Flagg," and believe me, they did not say anything about our shoes. And the award goes to, none other than, The Four Seasons George V Hotel. Bon Journee!

Archived Comments:

Grammar Concerns

Would you please expound upon the statement in your article which reads, "I am not one to walk into a hotel lobby in a bating suite" - what is a suite for 'bating? Is this some type of masterbatorium? I am not impressed.


josh you are so right. the ritz lost what wa left of its cache back in the 80s. It is tired and old and living on past glory. maybe the woners have something to do with it.
 the george v has always been the place to stay and just ablout anything that happens is taken with much aplomb by the mgmt and staff. I remember one time Princess Shirazi's pet pigeon escaped and flew throug out the lobby. there was much merriment by mr pozzo and staff until it was caught. and how many hotels in paris can you sit in the lobby and see 23 people you know come thru the door.
 The Crillon rooms are so small that unless you have a suite its often difficult to get the room service table in the room. But last summer they turned away a well known actor and his girlfriend (who were not staying there) from entering because they were both dressed like homeless refugees from the swamp.
 My favorite hotel beside the george is Le Meurice although the last few years we have stayed at the Bristol and talk about service and absolutely exquisite food. Josh you are right on.

Definitely relating to this

Reminds me of the times I stepped into the Park Hyatt Vendome and was treated totally differently just by my dress code, a day apart :)

A couple of things

First, I have experienced the dress code issue at the Ritz first-hand, when just going to take a peek 20 years ago, and I vowed never to stay there even if able to afford it (still getting there!). But it taught me not to let a hotel judge me. I now stay in really good hotels and am never intimidated by them.  They are there to serve me.  Period.  

Josh - I like your grandma's feistiness.  She was 100% correct.  The Ritz's approach is just crass and should have been canned decades ago.

list of 5 stars hotels

Comments: A privileged sense of elegance and exclusivity reverberates from the impressive lobby and public areas to the lavish accommodations and bathrooms. The multilingual staff is known for its beyond-the-call-of-duty service and includes bath butlers, a tech butler (for troubleshooting laptop issues), a gemologist, and an award-winning concierge team who will loan you (or your dog) a Burberry trench coat if it's raining.  Read more of the deluxlist.com comments on the Ritz Carlton in New York <a href="http://www.deluxlist.com/new-york-hotels/1-ritz-carlton/">http://www.deluxlist.com/new-york-hotels/1-ritz-carlton/</a>