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The Ritz, London 

150 Piccadilly
Tel: 44 207 493 8181
Tel: 877 748 9536
view web site ›'s insider take:

One of the world's famous hotels (no longer related to the even more famous Paris Ritz) opened in 1906, and is quite as lovely as it was in its first heyday—thanks largely to more than ten years of sympathetic private ownership. You really need to have a penchant for your Louis XVI, though: Staying here is like owning the Petit Trianon for the duration, especially if you get a room (one of 137) on the west side overlooking Green Park. Everywhere are sparkly glass chandeliers, heavy silk curtains, and curvy brocaded armchairs; the ornate cornices are not just gilded, they are 24-carat-gold–leafed. Bathrooms and fireplaces are marble; ceilings are at least 12 feet high; and everything comes in the Ritz candy palate of rose, lemon, peach, and powder blue. After years and acres of minimalism and white, it's all rather refreshing, especially after a Champagne tea or an exorbitant meal in the outrageously elaborate restaurant with its frescoes and putty-and-pink boudoir chairs. There's a fitness studio on the seventh floor, but runners also have Green and St James's parks literally on their doorstep. The salon, refurbished in early 2006, also provides a range of health and beauty treatments.

Appeared in the Condé Nast Traveler Gold List, a directory of the world's best hotels and resorts, in 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

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