In France, the Ritz is the latest in a line of Paris luxury hotels that have been bought by oil-rich Arab consortiums.
In France, the Ritz is the latest in a line of Paris luxury hotels that have been bought by oil-rich Arab consortiums. The Ritz, perhaps the world's most famous hotel, gained some of its renown from its connections with American authors, Ernest Hemmingway and Scott Fitzgerald. For many years it was the home of the century's best-known figure in haute couture -- Coco Chanel.
SYNOPSIS: The hotel was built int he Place Vendome by Cesar Ritz in 1898. After he died, his wife made the Ritz the place to stay when the rich and famous visited Paris. The hotel's managing director, Monsieur Bernard Ponche announced on Monday (19 March) that an Arab consortium similar to the one which bought another great Parisien hotel the Meurice, had bought a majority share holding in the company. Membership of the consortium, like the sum paid for the Ritz, is unknown, but sources in Paris suggest it includes several Saudi Arabians.
Now the Ritz has gone the way of the Prince de Galles, and Parisians regret another part of their heritage passing into Arab hands. The French Ministry of Finance still has to approve the sale, though this seems a formality. In any case, the deal has ensured the Ritz stays in business for at least twenty-five years more.