Hotels London Life Luxury

LIVE AT THE RITZ – A BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION AT THE RITZ HOTEL

15/10/2019

Ever since I stayed at the Ritz Hotel for the very first time in May 2012, I have always wanted to return. Our fabulous stay left an everlasting impression on me and my husband and that’s why we chose to return to celebrate our wedding anniversary in May 2018.  We had the most magical time enjoying the Live at The Ritz dinner & dancing extravaganza.

The music, the dancing, the food, everything was exquisite, it felt like we were living in a glittering Hollywood movie thanks to the smooth tones of Peter O’ Donnell and his five-piece jazz band. A romantic bygone age when glitz and glamour was the order of the day and life was just a little bit more enchanting.

The Ritz Hotel lobbyLive at The Ritz - the lobby and bust of former PM Margaret Thatcher

The Ritz Hotel has the amazing ability to make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time and not for a second do I mean that the hotel is somehow stuck in a different time zone, it’s very much up to date and this is evident throughout the hotel. The beautiful regal surroundings in majestic Louis XVI style, the dramatic sweeping staircase in the lobby and the grand long gallery with its sparkling chandeliers and stunning floral displays makes the Ritz one of London’s most luxurious and prestigious hotels.

The grand long galleryLive at The Ritz the grand piano

Then there’s the Palm Court and its famous Afternoon Tea which is highly revered by the worlds’ top hotels.  This is why I vowed to make The Ritz Hotel the place to celebrate my birthday and that’s just what we did a couple of weeks ago.

Live at The Ritz, the Palm Court

Live at The Ritz afternoon tea at the Palm Court

Afternoon Tea is taken here at the Palm Court.

In front of the Palm Court where Afternoon Tea is served.

In front of the Palm Court where Afternoon Tea is served.

When I was here last year, I was offered a guided tour of the hotel which I found fascinating. I learnt so much about the history of the Ritz Hotel which formed the basis of one of my posts about the hotel. This time, I felt very much more relaxed as Mr A and I arrived together promising to enjoy as much of the hotel as possible. Stepping through those revolving doors is the best feeling in the world and I was excited to experience that once again…. that’s when the Ritz Magic really begins. Just like the fairy Godmother in Cinderella waving her magic wand only this time, the magic doesn’t end when you leave The Ritz, the memories last a lifetime and some of that fairy dust stays with you forevermore.

Outside the Ritz Hotel the revolving doors.

The check-in process is seamless at the Ritz where a line of beautiful receptionists quickly attend to your requirements, you don’t lift a finger literally. Your luggage is ready and waiting for you as the doors to your beautiful room open.

Ritz reception

Our stunning room was simply breath-taking, enormous, light and airy on the 6th floor, we were told these rooms had recently been refurbished, they look out onto Piccadilly, I could see the Wolseley from our balcony which is just across the road from the Ritz.  I was sure we had only booked a superior room, but I was later told we had been upgraded to a Deluxe King room.

Live at the Ritz - Upgraded to a Deluxe King roomOur stunning Deluxe King Room

The bathroom was the absolute star for me, a huge expanse of marble with a stand-alone shower, something I always expect in a hotel but never guaranteed, double basin, a deep bath, bidet and toilet. The bathroom has brilliant lighting facilitated by spotlights as well as lights long the mirrors and a large magnifying mirror which I was very happy to see because it meant my make-up application would be a doddle later that evening.

The Ritz bathroomThe Ritz bathroomThe Ritz bathroomThe Ritz bathroomAsprey toiletriesThe Ritz bathroom

Apart from the Hotel de Crillon in Paris, I have never stayed in a hotel with a bathroom of this quality and luxury, not even at the Savoy Hotel. I shouldn’t have been surprised; this is the Ritz Hotel after all. I could tell by Mr A’s impression that he was equally delighted “we really need to have a bathroom like this at home” and I was thinking exactly the same…. perhaps when we move to have a bathroom half as beautiful as this would make me very happy indeed. There are large super-soft towelling bathrobes, Asprey toiletries, there’s even tissues embossed with the Ritz insignia. Later, I need to tell you about the little touches that completely impressed me; for me, it’s reaffirmed the hotels’ status as the finest hotel in the world, a benchmark by which other hotels are measured and aspire to be like.

The Ritz bed

The room itself is the embodiment of elegance and refinement.

The magnificent fireplace

The large white marble fireplace is the feature of the room framed by a large mirror with white detailed frame complementing the marble fireplace. There are three windows which makes me feel that we have a corner room. All three windows have the most gorgeous heavy curtains, two sets in fact, rich blue silk curtains line the sumptuous heavy cream and blue floral design festooned with traditional valance, tassels and tie backs.

Lie at the Ritz the elegant windows

A blue velvet chair sits in front of the window and adjacent, floor to ceiling wardrobes which are equipped with him & her slippers, solid mahogany shoe trees, a safe, luxurious fabric hanger and a clothes brush and duster.

Live at The Ritz

In the alcove of the second window sits a small coffee table with an elegant white orchid plant and two chairs in blue stripe fabric, a writer’s desk at the end completes the regal feel to this room. I sat here to take notes while enjoying my glass of champagne which the hotel very kindly offered for my birthday.

The writers desk

The gorgeous chairs in the room

Birthday treats, champagne and cake Live at the RitzLive at the Ritz champagne

The huge bed is full of plush pillows and a heavy bedspread in the same fabric as the curtains, super comfy and warm, I knew we would be in for a good night’s sleep later that evening. I was completely blown-away by the generosity of the Ritz Hotel offering a complimentary bottle of perfectly chilled Baron de Rothschild champagne, flowers and a mini birthday cake and a special birthday note.  These little touches made me feel so special, it was the start of good things to come.  We enjoyed our glass of bubbly as I snapped away taking photos, the champagne was much appreciated and much needed!

We decided to pop out for something light to eat as we hadn’t eaten since breakfast. Careful not to get too full, we settled on a salad and sandwich from Pret a Manger. Just a little bit further along Piccadilly is the luxurious store Fortnum & Mason, a personal favourite of ours especially my mum who always orders her Xmas hampers here.

Toasting my birthday with champagne

Eager to get back to enjoy every moment of the hotel and get ready at a leisurely pace, we enjoyed more champagne toasting my birthday. Later that evening, Mr A fancied a cup a tea so we ordered room service, now let me tell you, the Ritz don’t do things by half. It was a proper silver service Tea with beautiful china, hot water to dilute the tea should it over brew plus the most delicious cinnamon shortbread, we were told this was complimentary; I’m even more in love with this hotel if that’s at all possible. I was truly grateful for the very generous hospitality. It was an absolute pleasure to enjoy a shower and get ready in the glorious surroundings of the super-lux marble bathroom.

Live at the Ritz

I was so excited to have dinner at the hotel and enjoy the Live at The Ritz once again. Even though we’d experienced this very special event before, it didn’t mean that it was any less exciting, even more so because we knew what to expect.  We wanted to book the hotel’s new wine bar, the Secret Garden, open weather permitting but it was full, I knew it would be on this gorgeous September evening as it was a very warm day. I promised myself that next time we stay at the Ritz, I would be sure to ask the hotel to make a reservation at the Secret Garden well in advance. Nonetheless, we had the opportunity to have drinks at the hotel’s classy art-deco like Rivoli Bar, it oozes glamour and it’s easy to see why. People who aren’t staying at the hotel can visit the Rivoli Bar for drinks but must book in advance. Every month there is a signature cocktail plus this month, the hotel was promoting a very special champagne.

"The Rivoli Bar.

As we entered the magnificent Ritz dining room, I felt extremely lucky and privileged to be here again. Some experience Live at The Ritz just the once, but Mr A and I were here for a second time and I felt the luckiest girl in the world. I wanted to enjoy every second of this magical evening.  Our reservation was for 8:15pm, shortly after we were seated, the band began to play, and you know you’re in for a special evening.

Live at the Ritz the dining room

The waiters are pristine and elegant looking flying effortlessly around the Ritz dining room attending to diners’ every need, the service is always exemplary at the Ritz. First, we are asked if we’d like water for our table and then a breadbasket with lush creamy butter followed by little morsels of deliciousness in the form of 3 types of hors d’oeuvre which we enjoy while I peruse the wine menu. Mr A always leaves the wine choosing to me, not that I am an expert, I decided to go for the Chablis Rive Droite Domaine Testut. Live at The Ritz is a special dining package offered by the Ritz Hotel which includes your room for the night, breakfast the next morning and a luscious 4-course tasting menu devised by the hotel’s resident chef, award winning Michelin chef, John Williams MBE who very kindly signed my Ritz cookbook which my children bought me for my birthday. These packages start at £840 for a superior room but you can book ahead to enjoy Live at The Ritz on any Friday (£110 per person) or Saturday (£125 per person) which includes the four-course dining menu and live music and entertainment.

Ritz cookbook signed by John Williams chef

Mr A and I chose our starters, I went for Sea Bream with courgette, basil & menton lemon and Mr A chose the Isle of Mull Scallop Tartar with apple & marigold. Every dish comes at a leisurely pace so you can enjoy every mouthful without feeling rushed and of course enjoy the live music which is fabulous, think old-school Hollywood movies as Peter O’Donnell reels off Cole Porter classics and songs from the Rat Pack (Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jnr to name a few) plus professional dancers entertain diners with the Tango, Salsa and Samba, you can get up on your feet and join in too!!

dinner dancing Live at the Rirz

The dancers displaying their skills on the dance floor.

Live at the Ritz menu

Scallop Ceviche.

Live at the Ritz menu

Sea Bream.

For the second course, we went for Lobster Ravioli with carrot & lemon verbena and Ballotine of Duck Liver with peach & hazelnut. Both these dishes stood out for us, Mr A devoured his duck liver which was very similar to foie gras and my ravioli was utterly gorgeous bathed in a bisque-like sauce with carrot and verbena.

I was quite anxious to see whether the famous Ritz Beef Wellington was going to make an appearance ever since I saw the 4 programmes on TV all about the Ritz Hotel and sure enough it did. There wasn’t any doubt I was going to choose the Beef Wellington which came with wild mushroom and red wine jus. I was really surprised Mr A didn’t go for this instead choosing the Halibut with mussels, girolles and Romanesco, both dishes were sublime. My husband always makes a point of choosing something different to me so that we can try different dishes.

Live at the Ritz

Halibut.

Beef Wellington live at the Ritz

The Beef Wellington.

As the lights dimmed further and we were eating by candlelight, the music was playing and the wine was flowing, it was just the most romantic setting, and did we dance? Mr A convinced a rather shy me to get up with him as he whisked me around the dance floor, well  maybe not as dramatic as that but we definitely had fun as we promised ourselves to really go to those dance lessons we had talked about for so long!

Dinner and dancing at the Ritz Hotel

Eating by candlelight while the soothing tones of the live jazz band played.

Dessert for me is always the best bit, I decided to choose the English Raspberries with vanilla & elderflower which was in fact a delicious tart with fresh raspberries and Mr A went for the Roast Fig & Port Soufflé with almond & Jersey milk ice cream, a perfect autumnal dessert. I noticed a few other diners were experiencing some theatrics in the form of a very classic French dessert, Crêpes Suzette. This dessert is prepared at your table on a hot plate that is wheeled over by the Ritz waiters containing crepes, oranges and liqueur. The crepes are gently bathed and basted with beurre suzette, a sauce of caramelised butter and sugar, fresh orange juice and flamed with Grand Marnier or other orange-based liqueur, Mr A and I looked on in astonishment, we’ll definitely have this next time.

Raspberry & Elderflower Tart

Raspberry & Elderflower Tart.

You can choose to have coffee which always comes with petit fours and is the perfect end to what was a fabulous, magical and romantic evening.  I wish I could come to the Ritz every month to enjoy Live at The Ritz, I can’t express how very special this twice weekly dining and dancing extravaganza is. We retreated to our lovely boudoir where I was completely taken aback by the Ritz Hotel’s turndown service.  Do you remember when I mentioned the little touches? its what sets this hotel apart from all other deluxe hotels. it isn’t just the bedspread being drawn back, it was completely removed and the bed prepared for sleep with lots of comfy pillows, sheets and blankets. In one of the episodes about the Ritz Hotel, the chambermaids talked about how the Ritz do not believe in duvets and everything is traditional with bed sheets and blankets, I remembered this when I saw the bed looking quite different to before.

Bathrobes

New bathrobes are also supplied at turndown along with a complete new set of toiletries.

Bathmats are replaced at turndown service.

Bathmats are replaced at turndown service.

In the bathroom, new bath mats are placed at the foot of the shower and bath, bathmats come in their own zip-up Ritz logo bag and there are two new ones left in the evening plus a complete new set of toiletries so that you can use for your morning shower.  There are new bathrobes and all my make-up which I left very untidy when I was getting ready was placed very neatly in the corner on a face towel. Everything was clean and tidy just as we found it when we arrived earlier in the day, this really left a huge impression on me, never before have I experienced this in any hotel, I’ve stayed in.

Ritz bath towels

Everything has the hotel’s insigna embossed including robes, towels even tissues!

The next morning, we got ready for breakfast which is served in that magnificent dining room. I was reminded of the fabulous evening we enjoyed the night before; how glorious the room looks in daylight dressed for breakfast.  A centrepiece of fresh fruit, cereals martini glasses full of luscious rice pudding, yoghurts, cheese and hams plus delicious viennoiserie and chilled bottles of champagne, all this plus a cooked breakfast. As we were seated, we are offered freshly squeezed orange juice which I chose instead of my usual grapefruit juice and tea and coffee. We both had an English breakfast with scrambled and poached eggs plus a round of perfectly crispy toast, both white and brown is served and more of that creamy Ritz butter and delicious fruity preserves. Breakfast is definitely a sumptuous affair, it’s just what we needed and we take our time to enjoy every moment.

Breakfast at the Ritz

After breakfast, we checked-out leaving our luggage at reception and popped out for a little bit of shopping despite the rain, was it really warm and sunny yesterday? Mr A is keen to get back to the hotel to enjoy a cigar in the Ritz Hotel’s new Cigar Lounge which opened last year.  A wide selection of cigars is available stored in a special humidifier, the only way to keep cigars in optimum condition.

Ritz cigar loungeRitz cigar lounge

My husband smoking a cigar

Mr A smoking his cigar!

Cigar lounge

You can then enjoy your cigar in the lounge with drinks and cocktails, it’s perfectly ventilated so that no cigar smoke or smell escapes into the rest of the hotel. I spend about half an hour enjoying a cocktail while Mr A is thoroughly enjoying his cigar before I escaped to the Rivoli Bar to have a final glass of champagne. Is it really time to go home? Sadly, it is but the magic doesn’t end there. We leave with a generous present from the Ritz Hotel, their signature candle which smells divine, a spicy blend of Christmassy aromas which I really look forward to lighting during the festive season.

The Ritz candle

We both had the most magical time at the Ritz Hotel, each time is better than the last if that’s even possible. I had a fabulous birthday which I didn’t want to end, I could spend a lifetime at the Ritz and it still wouldn’t be long enough. The icing on the cake was saying hello to the Ritz Hotels Head Concierge Michael de Cozar who appeared in the TV programme “Inside the Ritz”. Forty-five years dedicated service to the Ritz, that’s loyalty but why would you want to leave such marvellous and luxurious surroundings, the Ritz Hotel is like a huge family. He asked me if we had been to the hotel before so I told him that I was a food and travel blogger and this was our third visit, he promised to make me the famous Ritz Crêpes Suzette next time we’re here and that right there is why I love this hotel so much.  Everyone is important to the Ritz whether you’re royalty, a celebrity or a humble ordinary visitor. I’m eternally grateful to the Ritz Hotel, for their generosity and hospitality and for making our stay and my birthday magical. Everything from the room upgrade, the champagne, the lovely tea and biscuits and birthday cake was much appreciated and made our stay even more special. We had a wonderful time which will stay with me forever……. until the next time.

Me and my husband at the Ritz

The Ritz offer other packages as well as the Live at The Ritz, take a look on their website

The Ritz Hotel

150 Piccadilly

London W1J 9BR

Email at: reservations@theritzlondon.com

020 7300 2222

Our champagne, birthday cake, Tea & biscuits and candle were all complimentary and gifted by the hotel. All photo’s and opinions are my own.

 

 

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