Can there be anything more romantic than dinner and dancing at the Ritz Hotel? It’s something I’ve always wanted to experience as I’d read so much about this twice weekly event through the monthly emails that I receive from the Ritz Hotel. Reading about it on their website further cemented my desire to experience the razzmatazz of good old-fashioned jazz music, dancing and Michelin star dining. This dinner and dancing extravaganza is surely something that sets the hotel apart from all other luxury hotels as I don’t know any other hotel in London that offers such a fantastical event. I always knew that one day, I would get the chance to experience this for myself.
To envisage the magical events at the Ritz such as dining & dancing, their renowned and very popular Afternoon Tea whilst being serenaded to melodies of live piano and harp, the very fancy Ritz Club (Casino-like subterranean club) and their Champagne Garden Terrace in the summer, you must first understand a little bit about this iconic hotel. The Ritz is undoubtedly one of London’s most prestigious and legendary hotels, class and elegance, understated glitz and glamour ooze from every corner of the hotel. It’s the epitome of luxury, style and sophistication from a bygone age….an essence of nostalgia; put simply, it’s The Ritz Magic as I like to call it, to stay at this iconic hotel is simply a dream come true.
When we were looking at hotels to celebrate our 27th wedding anniversary and having stayed at the Savoy last year, we looked at Claridge’s and the Dorchester, both equally beautiful and majestic and I don’t doubt we will stay at both these hotels however, I knew in my heart it was the Ritz where I wanted to stay again. I already knew a little bit about the hotel as we celebrated a wedding anniversary here in 2012 so I knew we’d be in for a real treat but this time, we chose to enjoy the hotel’s illustrious dining event. Back in 2012, it was the “Puttin on the Ritz” package that appealed (links at the bottom of the page) a bottle of beautifully chilled champagne awaits you in your room as well as breakfast the following morning and the crowning glory, that famous Afternoon Tea. It’s all about the dancing, music and food in the Dining & Dancing package, a four-course dinner at the hotel’s Michelin starred restaurant under romantic candlelight, dancing to a live jazz band plus a sumptuous breakfast the following morning, can there be anything more idyllic?
Having spent a lovely day so far where I was graciously offered a tour of the hotel which you can read here, it gave me an opportunity to see parts of the hotel I would otherwise not have been able to and to learn about the hotels’ rich history. We were high simply on the ambience of the hotel and our beautiful surroundings, getting ready while enjoying a glass of champagne in our luxurious room, we would be heading down to the Rivoli Bar for cocktails before dinner. The Rivoli Bar is a very special and exotic looking art-deco bar with a vast selection of cocktails, champagne, spirits even caviar makes an appearance, you can read more about our stay here.
Walking to the Ritz’ formal dining room, I was full of nervous excitement, butterflies dancing around inside was a feeling I had not experienced in a long time. I was stunned by how beautiful the room looked from when I last saw it earlier that afternoon. The towering marble columns and sparkling gold chandeliers looked even more spectacular while the Ritz waiters had worked so hard transforming this already opulent dining room into a palace of glitz and glamour, the subdued lighting giving off the most romantic atmosphere.
Singer Peter O’ Donnel and his band who’ve toured the world were in full swing spinning off song after song of iconic favourites from the Rat Pack and the Cole Porter generation as well as talented dancers performing the Tango, Rumba, Salsa and other ballroom classics. Dinner starts at 7:00pm with last sittings at 10:00pm however the music and dancing continue late into the night, diners were already up and dancing when we were seated.
Executive Chef, John Williams MBE serves a set four-course menu (2 starters, mains and dessert but there is a choice of 2-3 of each dish) which changes regularly, he is passionate about using fresh seasonal produce for example organic beef from the Cornish moors, lamb from the Lake District and succulent lobsters from South West Scotland are just some examples. It’s no wonder that the Ritz Restaurant is regularly featured in the Sunday Times Top 100 Restaurants and I now know why, apart from the splendid setting, the food is culinary heaven.
We started off by choosing our wine, a deliciously chilled Chablis followed by some crispy thin crackers and creamy butter which was emblazoned with the iconic “R” denoting the Ritz. Mr LmP and I both chose the Terrine of Duck Liver with rhubarb and Gingerbread, a sublime delicate rich melt-in-the-mouth dish like foie gras which is why we both chose it, foie gras is probably our favourite dish which we always have in Paris, the richness was offset by the tart rhubarb, the gingerbread was the perfect addition. As the evening progressed and it began to get dark outside, the lights were dimmed further and before long, we were eating by candlelight while the music transported us to a different era.
Our second choice of starter was a Langoustine Ravioli for me, it was accompanied by broad beans, lemon verbena and bisque, my husband chose Smoked Eel with horseradish and beetroot. My ravioli was sublime submerged in a rich bisque puddle, if I was at home, I would have licked the bowl for sure, Mr LmP adores eel so that was the perfect starter for him. Everything is very formal at the Ritz dining room, as a rule, men must wear a jacket and tie and of course ladies dressed immaculately in floor length gowns or cocktails dresses, I opted for my black Ghost chiffon backless dress which I bought for our Paris trip. Having said that, although there is a certain formality, it’s by no means stuffy. There is an even mix of clientele, younger couples enjoying the romantic ambience and more senior couples and groups of family and friends, the older couples were the ones who were first on the dancefloor putting us all to shame! Nothing is rushed during our evening because this is by no means your usual dinner date, the waiters glide around the dining area so gracefully, everyone knows where to go, what to do and how to deliver it, waiters impeccably dressed resembling their quintessential Parisian counterparts who are still dressed in formal waiters’ attire to this day.
For our main, Mr LMP and I chose the Bresse Duck with Apricot, Walnut and Fennel which is utterly delicious however, we both found the duck to be a little bit too tough the skin not sufficiently rendered but what do I know, it really didn’t take away from the enjoyment of the dish, everything married together beautifully.
The evening was in full swing as the professional dancers wowed us with their dexterous moves and the band continued to impress with their vocal renditions of Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra et al and softer instrumental jazz played throughout the evening. Desserts arrived after we had sufficiently digested the first three delicious dishes, I chose a banana souffle with a rum and raisin ice cream and Mr LmP chose an explosion of rhubarb with a tart and ice cream. I found my banana souffle to be a little bit heavy and more of an autumnal dessert but in all honesty, neither of us could finish dessert because we were fit to burst by that time, in hindsight, I would suggest laying off the bread or crackers, ok, I know it’s hard to resist but in the least, arrive on an empty stomach to fully enjoy each dish.
Our evening was sadly coming to an end, as the last glass of wine was poured, and we sat back to enjoy the soothing tones of softer jazz, we were immersed in just the most magical atmosphere, a feeling of perhaps being in a movie, I was in my own little world as I imagined the film La La Land, dancing to iconic music from many of those old 1940’s Fred & Ginger movies. As we walked back to our room giddy with happiness and with a little spring in our step humming to the tunes, our stay at the Ritz was by no means over; tomorrow was another day and another chance to enjoy The Ritz Magic. I was further surprised by my husband’s announcement of wanting to bring me back to the Ritz for my birthday, he could see how much I loved our stay. Dinner and dancing at the Ritz is a truly dazzling event, one of romance, fantasy and magic, it’s the epitome of old-school Hollywood glamour and I can’t wait to be immersed in that fantasy once again.
The “Puttin’ on the Ritz” package starts at £570 and includes a bottle of Champagne Barons de Rothschild – Ritz Reserve on arrival
One night’s accommodation
Legendary Afternoon Tea in the Palm Court
English breakfast the following morning, click here for more information.
The “Dining & Dancing” Package starts at £625 and includes
One night’s accommodation
A four course “Live at the Ritz” dinner dance in the Michelin-starred Ritz Restaurant (every Friday & Saturday)
English Breakfast the following morning, click here for more information.
For Afternoon Tea offers, click here for more information or contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Restaurant Terrace and the Garden Bar Champagne Terrace is open from May to September (weather permitting) click here for more information.
The Ritz offer other packages too, look on their website
The Ritz Hotel
London W1J 9BR
Email at: email@example.com
020 7300 2222
Photo’s are my own unless stated, opinions are my own.