What Makes The Ritz The Ritz?

In the St. Louis Ritz-Carlton lobby

On my recent trip to St. Louis I stayed in the Ritz-Carlton.  After staying there, I learned why “the Ritz” is used as shorthand for luxury and top of the line accommodations and why “ritzy” has entered the language as a synonym for elegant.

A vase in the Ritz-Carlton lobby

What makes the Ritz the Ritz?  Well, the lobby, for one.  This is not one of those cookie-cutter hotels with tile floors, a bland neutral color scheme, and a cheap chair and table tucked in one corner of the check-in area.  No, the Ritz lobby features a roaring fire, chandeliers, fine carpeting and furniture, and gilt-edged paintings.  There are multiple seating areas for quiet reading, confidential conversations, or a quick check of the Blackberry.  The tables feature golden clocks, or fine vases, or a Remington-like sculpture.  The entire lobby ambiance exudes comfort and sumptuousness.

The guest rooms similarly have that fine, posh feel about them.  The rooms themselves are considerably larger than normal hotel rooms and are well designed.  (My room had a small balcony, too, but I didn’t venture out to check the view given the arctic temperatures.)

The bathroom soap dish and glassware

The bed, linens, lamps, and chairs are top of the line.  The coffee cup for the coffee maker has the Ritz-Carlton seal and the coffee itself is excellent.  And the bathroom is resplendent in marble, with polished dishes and glassware.  The shower is bright and spacious, with plenty of hot water.

The staff of the hotel were friendly, professional, and quick about their work.  We had breakfast in the dining area where the service was prompt and the food was hot and freshly prepared.  And when we were leaving the doorman held the door open and the bellhop capably carried our bags to the taxi.

What makes the Ritz the Ritz?  Just about everything.