Buy a piece of the Ritz

The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Front Page -

on­aire ke­fellers ed gends h s ings. scov­ered vorce, stol. or­t­edly stuck in a bath­tub there with his lover, and Coco Chanel called the ho­tel home for more than 30 years. Trag­i­cally, it’s also the place where Diana, Princess of Wales spent her fi­nal hours with Dodi Fayed – the late son of the ho­tel’s owner, Mo­hamed Fayed.

“For me, the Ritz is the quin­tes­sen­tial lux­ury ho­tel, a Parisian sym­bol as em­blem­atic as the Eif­fel Tower. It’s the Ver­sailles of the ho­tel world. It rep­re­sents Parisian chic,” says Vin­cent Darré, an in­te­rior de­signer who has come to know the con­tents of this Parisian icon more in­ti­mately than most.

Fol­low­ing the Ritz’s re­cent $450mil­lion (£318mil­lion) re re­fur­bish­ment, which saw it re­open in its sub­tly new guise in 2016, 10 10,000 pieces of the ho ho­tel’s orig­i­nal fur­ni­tur ture and dec­o­ra­tive obje jects, in more than 3, 3,500 lots, will be put up for auc­tion next we week in Paris.

To give bid­ders a se sense of con­text, Darré ha has re­cre­ated var­i­ous ro rooms, in­clud­ing the Co Coco Chanel, Wind­sor an and Im­pe­rial suites, the Chi­nese Lo Lounge, Ga­lerie des Vit­rines and th the Ritz bar, in a five-day ex­hi­bi­tio tion that runs un­til Mon­day at the au auc­tion house Artcu­rial’s HQ, ap a pri­vate man­sion on the Champs Ely El­y­sees.

Work­ing his way through a “giga gan­tic labyrinth of fur­ni­ture”, Da Darré se­lected his favourites as th the four-posted beds, small broc cade ot­tomans and Re­gency- style lanterns. He is “crazy”, he says, about the gilt wood Louis is XVI-style beds, the leather so­fas as from the bar, the mar­ble baaroque con­soles and “the in­exxhaustible glit­ter­ing of the e chan­de­liers”.

Although there is one piece he would cer­tainly bid on – the Louis ouis XVI-style dog bed which, it t seems, be­longed to the Duke and Duchess of Wind­sor, and has a guide price of €600€800 (£522-£697).

The most valu­able item, says Stéphane Au­bert, Artcu­rial’s l’s auc­tion­eer, is a pair of metal al and mar­ble torchères (can­de­laabras) that greeted guests in the en­trance hall, es­ti­mated to be worth €8,000-€10,000. Sim­i­larly iconic are the Louis XVI-style dress­ing ta­bles. “César Ritz wanted to high­light the beauty of ev­ery woman by plac­ing th­ese ta­bles in ev­ery room as a sym­bol of fem­i­nin­ity,” says Au­bert.

“This sale is an ex­cep­tional one. It’s the first time that buy­ers and col­lec­tors will have a chance to buy a part of this pres­ti­gious ho­tel, which em­bod­ies the el­e­gance and in­ti­mate lux­ury of the French art de vivre.

“The Ritz Paris is a leg­end with a time­less and unique style. César Ritz wanted his cus­tomers to feel at home in a beau­ti­ful house.”

While many of th­ese pieces will doubt­less be des­tined for pri­vate dis­play cab­i­nets and gal­leries, their guide prices are not as pro­hib­i­tive as you may imag­ine for such iconic pieces of fur­ni­ture. Cheaper lots with es­ti­mated val­ues of €100-€200 in­clude Louis XVI-style clocks and sconces, floor lamps and the fa­mil­iar red se­cu­rity cor­dons. For less than €100, you may even be able to pro­cure a set of gilded coat hooks.

Souvenir hunters with an eye on furnishing their own homes would surely love the curv­ing vel­vet Bar Vendôme sofa (€600-€800), a mini bar (€400€600) or a piece of un­mis­tak­able blue and gold sig­nage point­ing to the health club and ter­race (€400-€600). You can even bid for the ho­tel’s first bath­tub (€1,500-€2,000) – the one that wit­nessed Ed­ward VII’s mis­for­tune, per­haps? It’s a pi­o­neer­ing fea­ture, in any case, as the Ritz was the first ho­tel to pro­vide en suite bath­rooms. S Sen­ti­men­tal­ity will driv drive most bid­ders, says Ant An­thony Lass­man, fou founder of the high-end trav travel com­pany Nota Bene Global. “For those who like this clas­sic dec­o­ra­tiv ra­tive style, it’s a chance to buy a rel­a­tive bar­gain with p prove­nance,” he says. “The old Ritz was grand, elit­ist and snobby. They knew how to make you awa aware when you didn’t fi fit in. But with this at­ti­tude came el­e­gance and old world glam­our.” The su­per­wealthy who have taken suites at the ho­tel for weeks on end, fans of the likes of Hem­ing­way, Fitzger­ald or Chanel, and also in­te­rior de­sign­ers who might have the per­fect spot for an un­usual item, are also sure to fea­ture promi­nently among bid­ders, says Brett Tryner, a fine art auc­tion­eer at Ch­effins es­tate agents. “It may also at­tract hote­liers look­ing to buy all the el­e­ments of a cer­tain ro room and recre­ate it, as the sale of The Savoy’s con­tents did 10 yea years ago. Other buy­ers will be seek seek­ing items to dec­o­rate their din­ner party ta­ble to im­press guests.” Tryner adds t that the celebrity premium added to many of th­ese items – fur­ni­ture in the Coco Chanel suite or a bed that Hep­burn He lounged on – may leave the guide prices in its wake. “The best prac­tice f for sell­ing th­ese types of i items is to es­ti­mate their re­al­is­tic value and let the mar­ket de­cide what it’s worth. Some names, such as Princess Diana, will also add enor­mous pre­mi­ums.” With the sale of its con­tents goes the “soul” of the ho­tel, adds Tryner. “Once th­ese items have been scat­tered around the globe, there is no go­ing back.” Guests at the newly re­fur­bished Ritz Paris can take con­so­la­tion in the ho­tel’s motto, how­ever: “Ev­ery­thing must change for things to re­main the same.”

In the Ritz bar, 1939, main; a statue, be­low, from €3,000 Can­dle hold­ers, from €800; Re­gency-style ta­ble, from €3,000; photo of Coco Chanel, from €200

Seafood stand, left, from €800; a gar­den gate, from €3,000

Em­pire-style sofa, from €1,000, left; a bar­ber’s chair, top, from €600

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