Did you know that César Ritz was born today in 1850? He was a Swiss famous hotelier. A hotelier is someone who manages one or more hotels. César Ritz was born to a poor peasant family. He started working as a waiter and eventually, with hard work and keen observation, gained enough experience and confidence to manage a company of very popular and luxury hotels and restaurants, favored by the wealthy and society elite. The phrases putting on the ritz or the term ritzy, which means something elegant or luxurious, comes from the grandeur and opulence associated with Ritz-Carlton Hotels and Restaurants.
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César Ritz was known as the “king of hoteliers and hotelier to kings”.
During his apprenticeship as a sommelier, César Ritz was told “You’ll never make anything of yourself in the hotel business. It takes a special knack, a special flair, and it’s only right that I tell you the truth – you haven’t got it.”
To gain experience with ‘esteemed people’, Ritz followed a ‘migratory life’. He made note of where and when the rich and influential people visited throughout the year and made plans to move to those locations ahead of their arrival, so he could work in the establishments they patronized. He was careful to observe the tastes and expectations of the wealthy elite. Eventually his competency and skill attracted the notice of the social elite who came to associate Ritz with good taste, luxury, and excellent service.
The Ritz hotels became the most popular places for the rich and famous to meet. He campaigned to have licensing laws altered so his restaurants could open past 11 PM and on Sundays. Previously aristocratic women did not dine in public, but it became quite popular to be seen in the Ritz dining and supper rooms.
Some of Ritz’s patrons included Sarah Bernhardt, George Sand, Alexandre Dumas, the Prince of Wales, and many others from British and European Royal or noble families.