Ritz - The story behind the famous luxury hotels

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  • Published: 17 May 2018
  • This is the first and only filmed biography about Cesar Ritz, inventor of modern hotel business.
    It is the story of a peasant boy in a remote mountain area and thus starts there, in the place he grew up in, Niederwald. The film follows Ritz’ way to Paris, Cannes, Rome and London. Finally, the film ends in the clinic where Ritz spent his last days, back in Switzerland. The film features interviews with family, friends and experts: the directors of the Ritz in Paris and Rome, a follower of the chef Escoffier, and Jacques Tardi, an artist specializing in the “Commune de Paris” and thus knowing the Paris of the Ritz period particularly well.

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    Cesar Ritz’ story is one of personal drama: a man who has it all and finally collapses. He loses everything in the end, his family, the hotels, and his mind. Only his brilliant opus survives.

    Ritz’ genius consisted in captivating every novelty in record time and in transforming it into his world of hotel business almost instinctively. The technical progress was the main inspiration of the ingenious inventor. Cesar Ritz was every bit like the fuming and effervescing locomotives of his time that pulled him across Europe, from capital to capital, to the hotels of the Ritz Company, resembling themselves huge machines.

    The big challenge (and at the same time the charm) of the film stems from the fact that our protagonist belongs to an epoch long bygone. We are thus trying to revive this time with various visual aids. The atmosphere that Ritz created with his concept of the hotel business was based on illusion: in the hotel, everything is deamlike, a world apart: luxury, small and greater extravagancies, everything served to create a fairy tale. The guest is to pass from reality into hi own, sumptuous dream.

    The entry hall, the saloons and the suites of the Ritz hotels transmit a special, almost unreal ambiance. It revives the era od Cesar Ritz: the Paris Ritz as well as in the St. Regis Grand in Rome (another of his hotels) have lately been restored like historical monuments. This spirit and this accuracy help to reawaken the taste, the genius and the philosophy of Cesar Ritz. In this film, Cesar Ritz and his chef Auguste Escoffier make their presence felt again today.

    © Licensed by First Hand Films

Comments • 193

  • Elizabeth Ferguson
    Elizabeth Ferguson  2 hours back

    What an amazing documentary. So much research, archive hunting, and amazing editing.
    This film and it's historical value is an absolute work of art. Thank you.
    What an amazing visionary, Ceasar Ritz was. What a drive to realize his vision on a grand worldwide scale. It is as if the Gilded-age is frozen in time and can actually be experienced in modern-day, because of Mr. Ceasar Ritz.
    Such a sad ending, a man who never felt on par with his wealthy clientele. So sad, when in reality he far exceeded the majority.
    There is no doubt Ritz kept an unhuman feverish pace to build his dream,
    With no intention of introducing rumor into history...I wonder if Ceasar Ritz may have contracted Syphilis? His mental deterioration and rapid decline sound more like the effects of this now treatable disease. Yet the horrific truth is when left undiagnosed or untreated it is a completely devastating disease to the brain.

    • Karen Okeane
      Karen Okeane  17 hours back

      And interesting and informative biography.

      • Felicia Moreland
        Felicia Moreland  19 hours back

        Wow Mr Ritz created a fabalous brand.

        • richard wilmot Ph.D
          richard wilmot Ph.D  7 days back

          PH'K THE RITZ-- A PLACE 4 AH SOULS-- A TOILET!

          • djsweetpea1
            djsweetpea1  2 weeks back

            Hygiene? I just watched their chef touch food with bare hands, then lick his hand , put spices in this same hand and sprinkle them on food...

            • cameronpaul
              cameronpaul  2 weeks back

              Ritz Carlton hotels have nothing to do with the original Ritz Hotels. As far as I am aware the only original ``Ritz`` hotels are those in Paris, London and Madrid and the Grand Hotel in Rome.

              • Alicia Young
                Alicia Young  3 weeks back

                What a Extradinary Story. Also a Very Sad one a Very Wonderful Mind Very Driven and Intelligent of Course Elegant and Refine Even Tho He Did not posse a College or Even a Elementary School Education He Was a Extremely Intelligent and Creative Man. Very Unsettling Mr. Ritz Died in such an Awful Way it's a Contradiction of Who This Fine Man Was🌷🌷🌷🌹🌹🌹🌹🌷🌷 Tfs💗

                • Dennis Morris
                  Dennis Morris  4 weeks back

                  Such attention to detail - beautiful!

                  • Gettin BeyWay
                    Gettin BeyWay  4 weeks back

                    Omer Acar ❤️😍❤️

                    • cabsep
                      cabsep  1 months back

                      This is a very interesting documentary. Mrs. Ritz was a very classy woman. Despite such tragedy, she displayed such kindness. I wonder what became of their other son.

                      • gardensofthegods
                        gardensofthegods  1 months back

                        It's possible that due to some powerful enemies ,Ritz may have been slowly poisoned with something that eats at the brain ( someone else suggested he may have had syphilis ). It was wise of his wife to eventually leave a potentially treacherous world where she too could be removed from the board of directors against her will , should her good friend the baron be out of the picture . She was able to find something more intimate , and possibly safety in the remote village where her husband's family had roots . That may have been a very smart move on her part .

                        • eyecan8
                          eyecan8  1 months back

                          Wow! Balance in all things - right Mr Ritz -i enjoy this video. Everything start with a idea within 🙋🏾‍♀️

                          • Tesla Kuhn
                            Tesla Kuhn  1 months back

                            I would have liked to see his drawings. It is sad that no one thought to keep them. His records, also. It almost makes me wonder if he wasn't actually sick mentally, but his eyes were damaged during his passing out of stress. He may have also had hypertension. Poor guy didn't deserve that kind of dismissal.

                            • Tesla Kuhn
                              Tesla Kuhn  1 months back

                              It was common at the time to drug people like this, wasn't it? I'm sure that wouldn't help, if so.

                          • Julia Witt
                            Julia Witt  2 months back

                            Incredible documentary. So interesting. Thanks

                            • Nano Vahidy
                              Nano Vahidy  2 months back

                              What a wonderful lifestyle to admire from afar. I’d love to live it, but there’s a part of me...a greater part of me...that would prefer to reject it and exercise better judgement by accepting what is real and nurturing it.

                              • angela spielbusch
                                angela spielbusch  2 months back

                                Love ❤️ the Ritz!!!

                                • Luis Navarro
                                  Luis Navarro  2 months back

                                  ‘Pairs’ amongst ‘Friends’. Human ‘Ritz’.

                                  • Aimee Thomson
                                    Aimee Thomson  2 months back

                                    Still a ritz

                                    • Forward_Ever &_Ever
                                      Forward_Ever &_Ever  2 months back

                                      Just imagine so much this man had accomplished, yet he couldn't read...just hard work, A class discipline & ethics...strong principles...values..love it

                                      • Forward_Ever &_Ever
                                        Forward_Ever &_Ever  2 months back

                                        @JW Rogers thanks for correction lad

                                      • JW Rogers
                                        JW Rogers  2 months back

                                        He could read. He was just a horrible speller.

                                    • Rebecca Swanson
                                      Rebecca Swanson  2 months back

                                      I love Mohamad Fayad! I remember he called Prince Phillip Dracula. Lol

                                    • michael bressette
                                      michael bressette  2 months back

                                      A Luxurious Remnant of what was, kind of like a photo album that has come to life & preserved for all time. I couldn't afford to stay in the broom closet at the Ritz BUT to walk threw it would be just as good. A time when people where extremely high maintenance as was these exquisite architectural pieces of art. I enjoyed this video very much, It gave me some other topics to research associated with the Ritz & those close to them. Thank you for the video & the tour of the time :)

                                      • Carla araujo
                                        Carla araujo  3 months back

                                        An excellent documentary that brings the real history behind the famous Ritz Hotel. And the most important is that mr. Al Fayed keeps its tradition and customer service excellence beyond the time.

                                        • Annie's Mom
                                          Annie's Mom  3 months back

                                          Interesting story. The progression of Ritz's symptoms sounds like he had Alzheimer's disease.

                                          • Cherokee Cunningham
                                            Cherokee Cunningham  3 months back

                                            I find it astonishing that Cornelius Vanderbilt attended the opening of the Ritz d'Paris in 1898, since he passed in 1877 [52:40]. Otherwise, invigorating video.

                                            • Haren Russel Samson Makaea

                                              Get the basics right, and that is what folk will remember. The croissant 🥐, the coffee and soup lol 😂 😂 😂 not the caviar, truffles or champagne! 🤣

                                              • Fatima Ali
                                                Fatima Ali  3 months back

                                                I think nobody speaks about Mr. Mohamed Al Fayed. He in my boooks done a FABULOUS JOB UPKEEPING THE RITZ TRADITION. HE HAS BECOME A FOLLOWING ON CUSTODIAN AND HE OWNS THE RITZ IN PARIS HE IS A PROPER EGYPTIAN ENTREPRENER. I WOULD LOVE TO MEET HIM ONE DAY I THINK PARIS SHOULD GIVE HIM THE HIGHEST ACALADE AS HE SPENDS HIS MONEY IN PARIS AND HE DID IN LONDON HARRODS IN LONDON. UNTIL HE SOLD IT TO THE GREAT ROYAL FAMILY OF DOHA HE KEPT IT IN THE FAMILY FRAME ALWAYS I PERSONALLY ADMIRE MR. FAYED AND CESAR RITZ MR. RITZA PAID A HEAVY PRICE FOR HIS ACHIEVEMENT BUT HE WAS FAR SIGHTED LIKE MR FAYAD THEY ARE/WERE TOUGH COOKIES AND TO DATE MR. MOHAMED FAYED STILL IS
                                                MAANSHALLAH BLESS HIM ALWAYS. AMEEN


                                                REGARDS
                                                FATIMA......LONDON

                                                • Rose Marie Homeyer Bente
                                                  Rose Marie Homeyer Bente  3 months back

                                                  Very nice. Thank you.

                                                  • Clara Derrick
                                                    Clara Derrick  3 months back

                                                    Very informative documentary. Just stumbled upon this. I subscribed to you.
                                                    I have stayed at the Ritz in Paris as a child and teen plus adult. I would as a child and teen look at the plaq of this man and never knew about him. I always thought, “What an interesting face. So stern and masculine. Yet eyes that told a story. Such determined eyes and a determined face.” Never did I imagine the man he was.

                                                    • Gino Genaro
                                                      Gino Genaro  3 months back

                                                      George five hotel the best of paris. Mercy vous coupe 2019 now

                                                      • Myles Garcia
                                                        Myles Garcia  3 months back

                                                        What a wonderful documentary to stumble upon. I've had "high tea" there at the Ritz-Paris! C'est incroyable!

                                                        • Tsetsi
                                                          Tsetsi  3 months back

                                                          The woman wanted to be buried in her husbands village... what devotion!

                                                          • Cristina-Daria Ciornei Karlsson

                                                            Marvellous!

                                                            • Rabbit Hare
                                                              Rabbit Hare  3 months back

                                                              4:06 Oww what a strong granny she is.... In fact that activity keeps her fit ,healthy & in great shape...

                                                              • Sippin’ Tea with Satan and Freddie

                                                                *I heard of the Ritz because of Queens Good old fashioned lover boy* 😑

                                                                • Margaret Frook
                                                                  Margaret Frook  4 months back

                                                                  Why are all Ritz hotels not run this way?

                                                                  • Absolutely Fab
                                                                    Absolutely Fab  4 months back

                                                                    Wow wow and triple WOW!!! I ve been working in at least ten hotels incluiding 5 stars in different countries, not degree done at all but i must say, i totally understand Mr. RITZ and wanna say thank you to this documentary.

                                                                    • Zubaida Kablan
                                                                      Zubaida Kablan  4 months back

                                                                      Nice memory informations. Thanks alot

                                                                      • Caroline Robinson
                                                                        Caroline Robinson  4 months back

                                                                        Them go to hell with their devil worship .heaven is better than all of these. Am striving to make it in to meet my maker the Lord Jesus amen

                                                                        • PiaBlooming
                                                                          PiaBlooming  5 months back

                                                                          Maybe Mr. Ritz was passionate about hygiene. But I went to the Ritz (attending an event from the French government ) 2009 I believe- And I sit on some yellow/mustard chairs outside of the room. And I noticed the armrest -is that the right word? - were dirty dirty . Dark Handprints all over .. I never forget it. Other than that. Its true its a charming and atmospheric place.

                                                                          • Tesla Kuhn
                                                                            Tesla Kuhn  1 months back

                                                                            I know how you feel. I stayed in a hotel brand twice that was once very highly esteemed. There were crazy stains on the lampshades, holes in the chairs, and I'm pretty sure the second one gave me bugs of some kind. The first hotel I had walked in on the cleaning lady, who had a toilet brush in the drinking glass, and folded the towels from the floor. It was completely insane. It's been bought out, I am guessing. The only explanation for it's sudden decline. We need more people like Mr Ritz, but I doubt any corporation would ever finance them. Too much greed, though they continue to charge excessively for poor service and amenities. Sorry for the long response.

                                                                        • Jaganath Rayan
                                                                          Jaganath Rayan  5 months back

                                                                          Excellent!

                                                                          • Katie Zinno
                                                                            Katie Zinno  5 months back

                                                                            Two points were missed. 1. What happened to Charles? 2. Where did the name Carlton come from?

                                                                            • Marcus LeeP
                                                                              Marcus LeeP  6 months back

                                                                              Very very , very NIcei ]]]]]]]]]][[[[[ qnice..

                                                                              • Bobbi Estrella
                                                                                Bobbi Estrella  6 months back

                                                                                I never knew this about the Ritz! This is fascinating! Also, I love the switch between Swiss German, French and English.

                                                                                • CasualGamer47
                                                                                  CasualGamer47  6 months back

                                                                                  incroyable hôtel de luxe

                                                                                  • Cheenjoo Pearl
                                                                                    Cheenjoo Pearl  7 months back

                                                                                    Very nice documentary.
                                                                                    Sounds like Mr. Ritz was driven mad. He just happens to start having these mental issues the same year his son dies and his other son emigrates...or more like flees from the country? And then, Mrs. Ritz is being bullied out of her rightful place in the business? Quite a short time for everything to be falling apart so fast. It's sad that you can't be a success without the vultures who want to take it from you plotting to rob you of your success; not having worked one day at building it. They wait for the visionaries to create amazing things then pounce on it with a sense of entitlement that is irrational. Like the owner of Trader Joe's who said in a PBS interview how some business guy started making calls to his home asking to purchase his business--nicely at first, then not so nicely--as he stated, "he twisted my arm" into selling it. And people wonder why only three corporations own just about every successful business there is. Businesses that used to be privately and family owned. If you want to succeed at a high level, be careful, someone may come and twist your arm until you drop that business in their hand. That is, if they can't get you with the IRS or some scandal to slander your name first.


                                                                                    All the same, salute to Mr. Ritz for what he created from the bottom-up.

                                                                                    • atinis
                                                                                      atinis  7 months back

                                                                                      *This was the last place at Ritz hotel whereby, Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed were before their accident took place!*

                                                                                      • Norfolk250
                                                                                        Norfolk250  7 months back

                                                                                        I-too, and the youngest of 13 children.

                                                                                        • Boele Staal
                                                                                          Boele Staal  7 months back

                                                                                          Nice work guys! Very interesting indeed!