I scored a room at the London Ritz --yeah baby! It's one of the nicest and most famous hotels in the world. Obviously it's not cheap � even the name sounds expensive. To give you an idea, I spent $40 just on 24 hours of high-speed internet service -- ouch! That's more than I pay for a month at home. However, the Ritz clientele doesn't care about those inflated prices. All they want is service, prestige and privacy. And service at the Ritz is amazing. They have 320 staff for just 130 rooms. If you need anything like extra towels � boom! Within a couple of minutes a housekeeper dressed in a French maid's outfit is at your door with freshly folded towels. Forget to charge your cell phone? No problem. The concierge has a gadget that can fully charge batteries in 10 minutes! For those who want to stay out of the public eye, photographs are not allowed to be taken except in The Palm Court during one of their afternoon tea sittings.
AFTERNOON TEA AT THE RITZ
Speaking of afternoon tea, it's one of those things everyone should do at least once (cost: 34 pounds = $41 per person). But be sure to make your reservations in advance. The 3:30 p.m. seating requires one month's notice for weekdays, four months on weekends. Earlier tea times that are not as popular, such as 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. are sometimes available the same day. When going for a spot of tea, be sure to dress appropriately. That means gentlemen (as the Ritz calls us) need to wear a jacket and tie. The same rules apply for guests eating lunch or dinner in the hotel (not breakfast). This is one of the few hotels in the world that still has a dress code. Although it's not my cup of tea (pun intended), I'm glad the Ritz is keeping proper English tradition alive. It makes for a pleasant "time machine" travel experience. BTW: The restaurant is one of the most beautiful dining rooms in Europe. It's worth dressing up for.
MY ROOM AT THE RITZ
My room was a woman's dream. It felt very feminine, with lots of pink and restored antique Ritz furniture. Like all the rooms mine was huge, with high ceilings and immaculate detail. The bathroom was spacious, and was filled with luxurious toiletries. But for the prices the Ritz, charges they need to get better mattresses. Mine was kind of lumpy. However, the bedding was extraordinary, and I slept like a king. The elevators are small and so slow that I took the Grand Staircase most of the time. But who's in a hurry at the Ritz? Rates begin at $575. The Ritz London, 150 Piccadilly, London; Tel: 20-7493-8181; fax: 20-7493-2687.
The London Ritz was not the first Ritz built. The Paris Ritz opened in 1898. The Ritz London followed eight years later. In honor of its predecessor, the London Ritz's exterior features Parisian architectural traditions.
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