*****UPDATE: The Ritz London has now confirmed it has been sold to a Qatari investor – for full details click here.*****
The Ritz London on the capital’s Piccadilly has closed its doors for the first time in its 113-year history, as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The iconic five-star hotel first opened on May 25, 1906, and remained open during both World Wars – indeed Prime Minister David Lloyd George is said to have held a number of secret meetings at the hotel during the latter part of World War I.
A statement on the hotel’s website says:
“It is with great sadness that we have taken the decision following the Government’s advice, to temporarily close The Ritz London.
“This is the first time in the history of our great hotel that we have closed our doors to our loyal guests since we opened on Piccadilly in 1906. This is a very sad, but inevitable, decision and our priority during these unprecedented and challenging times is the health and well-being of our brilliant colleagues and much-loved clients.
“As soon as it is safe to do so, the entire Ritz team look forward to re-opening our revolving door. Until then, we thank you for your ongoing support, we really do appreciate it, and we wish all the very best for the difficult weeks ahead.”
Designed by French architect Charles-Frédéric Mewès and Englishman Arthur Davis, the hotel was opened by Swiss hotelier César Ritz, and is currently owned by the Barclay brothers, although the pair had recently been in talks with Saudi investors over the possible sale of the property.
A potted history of The Ritz London can be seen here, with highlights including the hotel featuring in several scenes of the hit 1999 film Notting Hill, and receiving a Royal Warrant for banqueting and catering services in 2002.
Many of London’s hotels have closed their doors following plummeting demand and current government guidelines instructing people to stay at home for all but essential reasons.