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Ritz Paris to Undergo Extensive Renovations

Owner Mohamed Al Fayed plans to close the landmark hotel next summer for 27 months.

PARIS — Some fashion editors will have to find new digs during Paris Fashion Week.

Mohamed Al Fayed, the owner of the Ritz Paris, will close the hotel for renovations for 27 months, starting early next summer, in what is being billed as the biggest refurbishment in the history of the 113-year-old establishment.

Architect and interior designer Thierry Despont, who has previously worked on the Claridge’s and Dorchester hotels in London, has been put in charge of revamping rooms, suites, restaurants, bars, the spa and leisure areas, in addition to the Ritz Escoffier cooking school and the hotel’s gardens.

Ritz Paris president Frank Klein and general manager Christian Boyens are to oversee the project.

“The renovation project is indispensable in order to maintain the preeminent position of the Ritz Paris,” Klein stated. “Today, our objective is twofold: to perpetuate the tradition of excellence established by its founder, César Ritz, in 1898, and to ensure personalized support for our employees during the temporary closure of the hotel.”

The fate of the 500 employees is still being negotiated, but it is understood that a majority will be laid off. The Ritz has pledged to help its staff find new jobs.

Competition in the Paris luxury hotel sector has heated up with the arrival of three Asian-operated newcomers in the last year: the Royal Monceau Raffles Paris, the Shangri-La and the Mandarin Oriental Paris.