Paris' Ritz Hotel will shut its doors to guests for more than two years while it undergoes an unprecedented renovation, to begin next summer.
The five-star hotel
—with a history of famous guests from Coco Chanel to George Clooney—has long been considered the city's poshest place to stay. It was founded in 1898 by Cesar Ritz and chef Auguste Escoffier, and had its most recent major overhaul in 1979. Work is scheduled to begin in summer 2012 and last for 27 months.
Owned by billionaire Egyptian tycoon Mohamed Al Fayed, plans were apparently put in motion shortly after the hotel was passed over for "palace" status, a coveted title given to all of France's top luxury lodgings. The cost of the makeover hasn't been disclosed.
All 160 rooms and suites, plus the hotel's facilities, will be modernized yet retain their classic feel and traditional style. Of the 500 employee staff, only 30 will be kept on during construction.
The hotel's restaurant, two-star Michelin rated L'Espadon
, as well as the esteemed Ritz-Escoffier
cooking school, will close as well, although there's been no word as to whether the ever-popular Hemingway Bar
will remain open.[Agence France-Presse
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Photo credit: courtesy caribb