We know all the usual hotel chain names, but the Ritz-Carlton hotel brand brings up feelings of luxury, elegance, and comfort. Once guests stay at one of the many Ritz-Carlton Hotels around the world they never stay in a budget motel ever again.
Where is located?
The hotel chain was purchased by its current owners in 1983, and currently has their headquarters in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The Chairman of the company is Bill Marriott, with the parent company being Marriott International. They own over 130 hotels throughout the world today.
The first “Ritz-Carlton Hotel” was actually in Boston, MA, not to be confused with “The Ritz Hotel” which was first established. The Ritz-Carlton brand eventually was expanded to all the other locations around the world.
Chances are that there’s no Ritz-Carlton Hotel in the city you are visiting. But this luxury brand has a loyal following of customers. Many people deliberately seek out a list of hotel addresses, and choose their destination based on whether there is a Ritz-Carlton in their desired city or not.
In their hotel chain they have 91 different luxury hotels and resorts in 30 different countries. The remainder of the 130 are at moderate price range.
The company earned over $3 billion in 2012. In 2017, they employed over 40,000 people, with a large percentage of them working at HQ in Chevy Chase, Maryland. They’re a major employer in the region, and one to take into consideration if you are planning a move to Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Early History of the Ritz-Carlton
Early history of this brand starts with Cesar Ritz, who was a Swiss hotelier. He was the first to establish luxury accommodations in Europe. He managed The Ritz in Paris, and the Carlton Hotel in London. He also had a set of restaurants called Ritz-Carlton on the Hamburg-Amerika ocean liners. The restaurants shut down in 1914 after WWI began.
Ritz passed away in 1918, but Maria Ritz, his wife, continued opening more hotels with his name.
Puttin’ On the Ritz
The Ritz-Carlton luxury brand is perhaps most noted for the famous song called “Puttin’ On the Ritz” by Irving Berlin. The hotel was a true inspiration for providing luxury and elegance, as well as for surviving through the Depression years, without every steering away from their original company values.
How Ritz-Carlton Moved to North America
Around 1911, Albert Keller purchased the franchise rights for the Ritz-Carlton brand in the USA. He set up a company called the Ritz-Carlton Investing Company, and opened the first hotel in New York on 46th Street and Madison Avenue. The company planned to expand to Atlantic City and Philadelphia in 1913.
The first Ritz-Carlton opened in Canada in Montreal in 1912, however, this was not owned by Keller, as he had only purchased the USA rights. Next, his Atlantic City hotel opened in 1921.
There were fifteen Ritz-Carlton Hotels around the world by 1920. While there were two in the USA—New York and Atlantic City, the UK had two in London, with the original Grand Hotel National in Lucerne, Switzerland. Argentina was an unusual location but had the Plaza Hotel in Buenos Aires.
France had two Ritz-Carlton Hotels in Evian-les-Bains, one in Menton, and one in Paris. Italy had the highest number of Ritz-Carlton Hotels than any other country in the world, with two in Rome, one in Naples, one in Rapallo, and one in Lake Maggiore.
Beyond the World Wars
A hotel was established in Boston in 1927, which became the first Ritz-Carlton with that exact name. A regular room rate was $5, with $40 being charged for a luxury suite. By 1929, the hotel chain began to suffer with the Depression.
Edward N. Wyner had established a trust with his father, and they funded the operating losses through to the 30s. They pretended the hotel was full by turning on all the lights in each of the guest rooms.
The entire hotel chain suffered into the 40s. The Atlantic City hotel was sold to another chain, which eventually became Sheraton hotels. The original New York Hotel was demolished in 1951. The only Ritz-Carlton Hotel remaining in the USA was the Boston location.
After Wyner passed away in 1961, the hotel was sold. In 1964, the Ritz-Carlton Boston was purchased for $3.8 million by Gerald F. Blakely. Even though the hotel lost money, he always felt it was a fantastic asset to have. He also acquired all North American rights.
To make things confusing, the name was licensed to another owner in Chicago. The only thing it had in common was the name and logo.
A Ritz-Carlton Hotel luxury condominium complex was built adjacent to the Boston hotel in 1981. In 1983, the hotel chain was sold to William B. Johnson. He created a company from only four people, who brought the hotel back to what it once was several decades earlier.
Over the years the hotel chain has received many awards. They have won for the best Top Large Hotel in Dallas in 2009. They’ve also only been the only hotel company to win two Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Awards. They have also achieved the top lists for dining and service quality.
The Ritz-Carlton has established the Ritz-Carlton Learning Institute where over 50,000 people from a variety of different hotel chains have completed their training in the principles of excellence in hotel customer service.
What to Expect at Ritz-Carlton Hotels
This hotel chain goes beyond your basic hotel room offerings. Many locations offer comfortable outdoor spaces where you can sit and lounge with a drink, while enjoying a heated central fireplace.
In 2019, the Ritz-Carlton line will launch a fleet of three luxury cruise ships that will offer 7 to 10 day voyages. The Ritz-Carlton also has luxury residences where you can live there permanently.
No matter what type of accommodations you choose at The Ritz-Carlton, you’re sure to be presented with a world of luxury, elegance, and exemplary customer service.