The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC is an American multinational company that operates the luxury hotel chain known as The Ritz-Carlton. The company has 108 luxury hotels and resorts in 30 countries and territories with 29,158 rooms, in addition to 46 hotels with 8,755 rooms planned for the future.[4][3]

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC
Company typeSubsidiary
IndustryHospitality
FoundedAugust 1983; 40 years ago (1983-08)
FounderWilliam B. Johnson[1]
Headquarters,
U.S.
Number of locations
119 (2023)[2]
Number of employees
40,000[3] (2017)
ParentMarriott International
Websiteritzcarlton.com

The current company was founded in 1983, when the previous owners sold the Ritz-Carlton brand name and the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Boston, Massachusetts.[3] The brand was subsequently expanded to other locations. The company is currently a subsidiary of Marriott International.[3]

History

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Ritz, Carlton and Ritz-Carlton in Europe

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The story of the Ritz-Carlton brand begins with Swiss hotelier César Ritz, who was well known in the hotel industry as the "king of hoteliers and hotelier to kings." He redefined luxury accommodation in Europe with his management of The Ritz in Paris and the Carlton Hotel in London, among others. He and the renowned chef from his hotels, Auguste Escoffier, opened à la carte restaurants known as "Ritz-Carlton" on board the Hamburg-Amerika Line ocean liners SS Amerika in 1905 and SS Imperator in 1913.[5] The restaurants on those ships ceased operating in 1914 with the outbreak of World War I. Although Ritz died in 1918, his wife Marie continued the tradition of opening hotels in his name.[6]

The Ritz-Carlton in North America

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The Ritz-Carlton in New York City, 1911

The Ritz-Carlton Investing Company was established by Albert Keller, who bought and franchised the name in the United States. The first Ritz-Carlton Hotel in the U.S. opened in New York City in 1911.[7] It was located at 46th Street and Madison Avenue. Louis Diat ran the kitchens and invented Vichyssoise there.[8] In 1911, the Ritz company announced its intention to expand to Philadelphia and Atlantic City.[9] The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia followed in 1913[10] at Broad & Walnut streets,[11] designed by Horace Trumbauer and Warren & Wetmore.[12] The Ritz-Carlton Montreal opened in 1912, not owned by Keller as it was located in Canada. Keller's Ritz-Carlton Atlantic City opened in 1921.[13]

The first Ritz-Carlton chain

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The former Ritz-Carlton Atlantic City, seen in 2011

In the early 1920s, the Ritz-Carlton chain consisted of 15 hotels:[14]

The Boston hotel

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The former Ritz-Carlton in Boston, 2004

In October 1926, 29-year-old Edward N. Wyner bought a third-acre parcel at the corner of Arlington and Newbury streets and formed a partnership called The Ritz-Arlington Trust with his father, George, and business associate, John S. Slater.

The trust sold $5.8 million of bonds to finance the construction of an apartment building to be called the Mayflower. The 18-story, 201-foot (61 m) brick building, designed by Strickland, Blodget & Law Architects, was far taller than anything else along Newbury Street at the time. Construction had started on the second floor when Wyner was persuaded by then-Mayor James Michael Curley to make the Mayflower a world-class, 300-room Ritz-Carlton Hotel, which opened May 19, 1927. Room rates were $5 to $15 per night; $40 per night for suites.

After a hugely successful opening, the stock market crash of 1929 and ensuing Depression brought financial difficulties. The Wyner family funded the hotel's operating losses during the early 1930s, although the interest on the bonds went unpaid. Still in 1933, when only 30 guests were registered in the hotel, Wyner turned on the lights in every guest room to give the appearance that the hotel was full.

Decline of the first Ritz-Carlton chain

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The Philadelphia location was converted to an office building after only a few years in operation. The Atlantic City hotel was sold to Schine Hotels in the late 1940s, and later Sheraton Hotels in 1959.[13] The New York hotel was demolished in 1951, leaving only the Boston location.[15] Edward Wyner died of a heart attack on December 5, 1961. His six sons tried to continue operation of the Boston hotel, but were unable to overcome difficulties, and decided to sell.

The Blakeley years: 1964–1983

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The former Ritz-Carlton Washington, D.C., 2004

The unpaid interest on the bonds dissuaded many from trying to buy the hotel. But Cabot, Cabot & Forbes principal Gerald F. Blakeley Jr. was interested. After more than a year of legal work, Hale and Dorr succeeded at clearing the bond obligations, and in October 1964 Blakeley and associates Paul Hellmuth and Charles Spaulding acquired the Ritz-Carlton Boston for $5.8 million.

"Out of the 20 years I owned it, it made money three years. The other years it broke even, but from a public relations standpoint for CC&F, it was a tremendous asset," said Blakeley, who constructed a 19-story addition to the hotel in 1981, which included more function space, 80 more guest rooms, and 52 condominiums.[16]

In the late 1960s Blakeley obtained the rights to the Ritz-Carlton name in North America (with the exception of Montreal and New York). In June 1978, Blakeley was awarded the rights and privileges of the Ritz-Carlton trademark in the United States and was given a US Service Mark Registration.

In the 1970s, the Ritz-Carlton name was licensed to the builders of a new hotel in Chicago. The Ritz-Carlton Chicago opened in 1975 in a tower atop Water Tower Place. It joined the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts chain in 1977, as there was no Ritz-Carlton chain at the time. Confusingly, it remained part of Four Seasons for decades, marketed as "The Ritz-Carlton Chicago (A Four Seasons Hotel)". It had no association with the modern Ritz-Carlton chain, though it used the name and the iconic logo. The property was sold in 2013 and left Four Seasons, joining the modern Ritz-Carlton chain as a franchise on August 1, 2015.[17]

In 1982, Blakely licensed the name to hotelier John B. Coleman for two hotels he was renovating, The Fairfax in Washington, D.C., and the Navarro in New York City. Coleman renamed them The Ritz-Carlton Washington, D.C., and The Ritz-Carlton New York in April 1982. Coleman paid Blakely a fee of 1.5 percent of each hotel's annual gross revenue for use of the name.[18] The two hotels eventually joined the modern chain that would be founded a few years later.

Current company

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In August 1983, Blakeley sold The Ritz-Carlton Boston and the US trademark for $75.5 million to William B. Johnson,[1] a major Waffle House franchisee who was once the largest owner. He assembled a four-person development team in Atlanta, headed by hotelier Horst Schulze,[19][20] to create the Ritz-Carlton hotel brand and established The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company in its current form.

In 1988, Johnson subsequently obtained the exclusive rights to The Ritz-Carlton brand name throughout the world except for the Hôtel Ritz Paris, The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago, and the Ritz-Carlton Montreal. Unlike The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago and the Ritz-Carlton Montreal, Hôtel Ritz Paris is not associated with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, instead joining The Leading Hotels of the World. In 2015, The Ritz-Carlton, Chicago is no longer part of Four Seasons, and eventually became part of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.[21]

The corporate years: 1983–1999

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The Ritz-Carlton at the Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Germany: completed in 2000, it was the first hotel of the company to open in Europe.

From 1951 to 1975, The Ritz-Carlton Boston had been one of only two Ritz-Carlton hotels in the US. The other was the independently owned Ritz-Carlton Atlantic City which had since been converted to condominiums. Johnson's company paid the Atlantic City establishment to abandon its name and rename itself The Ritz Condominiums.[13]

Johnson would later enlarge the company from just the Boston property to 30 hotels worldwide in just 10 years. He obtained financing to do so from Manufacturers Hanover Trust of New York in 1983 in the amount of $85 million secured by The Ritz-Carlton Boston. This loan was refinanced in 1989 by Manhattan Tops USA of New York for $136.5 million and again in 1994 by The Sumitomo Bank of Japan. By 1996, this mortgage was in default and the interest and penalties brought the total debt to $214.8 million.[citation needed] By splitting this mortgage note into three parts, Sumitomo Bank was able to unbundle The Ritz-Carlton Boston from the trademark rights to the Ritz-Carlton brand worldwide.

Blackstone Real Estate Acquisitions bought The Ritz-Carlton Boston at auction for $75 million in February 1998. A month later, Marriott International acquired the hotel from Blackstone for $100 million. Marriott International, which franchised and managed over 325,000 rooms, then bought The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. and rights to the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain worldwide from Johnson for $290 million in a two-part transaction completed in 1998.

Disposal of the historic Boston property

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In 1998, Christopher Jeffries, founding partner of Millennium Partners, obtained The Ritz-Carlton franchises from Marriott for four hotel properties under construction: two in Washington, one in New York City, and one in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition, Jeffries was searching for a brand affiliation for the new 155-room hotel and 270-luxury condominiums he was constructing as part of Boston's 1,800,000-square-foot (170,000 m2) Millennium Place, a mixed-use complex on lower Washington Street. Due to non-competition clauses, the only way he could obtain a second Ritz-Carlton flag in Boston was to own the existing Ritz-Carlton.

Millennium Partners acquired the original Ritz-Carlton Boston for $122 million (though it had sold for just $75 million less than two years prior) and spent $50 million for renovations. Marriott agreed to allow The Ritz-Carlton affiliation for the condominium complex, known as The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton, sharing all of the services of the hotel.

From 2001 to 2007, Boston was home to two Ritz-Carlton hotels that faced each other across Boston Common. The Ritz-Carlton, Boston Common opened in 2001.

In November 2006, Taj Hotels, a subsidiary of the India-based Tata Group, purchased The Ritz-Carlton Boston from its owners, Millennium Partners for $170 million. The Ritz-Carlton Boston became the Taj Boston on January 11, 2007.[22]

Development since 2010

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The company grew under the leadership of President and COO Horst Schulze. Schulze instituted a company-wide concentration on both the personal and the data-driven sides of service: He coined the company's well-known customer/employee-centered motto, "We are Ladies and Gentlemen Serving Ladies and Gentlemen" and the set of specific service values (standards) on which The Ritz-Carlton employees base service through the present day.[23] Under his leadership the hotels earned an unprecedented two Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards[24] and grew from four to forty U.S. locations.[25]

During this time, The Ritz-Carlton also became known for its influence on service in a wide range of industries, through the creation of The Ritz-Carlton Learning Institute and The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center, created by then-Ritz executive Leonardo Inghilleri, who was an architect of the Ritz's second Baldrige award, where executives from other companies worldwide in many disciplines come to learn The Ritz-Carlton principles of service.[26]

In 1995, Marriott International purchased a 49% stake in The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, and in 1998, they purchased an additional 50% stake in the company, giving it 99% ownership of the company. Schulze and other executives (including Leonardo Inghilleri, Robert A. Warman and Peter Schoch) left to form the West Paces Hotel Group, which took the name of its primary brand, Capella Hotels, in December 2011.[27] In 2007, the partners also formed Solís Hotels.[28]

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company claims it is headquartered in Chevy Chase, Maryland, though the headquarters address is the Marriott address in Bethesda, Maryland, located in the Washington, D.C., MSA.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company partnered with Bulgari in 2001 to operate a chain of hotels owned by and operated under the BVLGARI brand. The company currently has marketing agreements with Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the privately owned Ritz-Carlton Montreal and The Ritz Hotel London.

Simon Cooper joined Ritz-Carlton in 2001 as president and Chief Operating Officer, taking the helm from Horst Schulze. Cooper's mandate was to grow the chain through hotel expansion and product diversification. Under Cooper's watch the company has aggressively expanded its hotels and added The Ritz-Carlton Residences, private residential units, and The Ritz-Carlton Destination Club, fractional ownership residences, to the company's development program.

August 12, 2010, Ritz-Carlton announced its new president and Chief Operations Officer would be Herve Humler, one of the founders of the 1983 company, who will be responsible for leading brand operations and global growth strategy.[29]

In October 2011, Angella Reid, the General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Pentagon City, Virginia was appointed as White House Chief Usher, becoming the first woman to serve in that post.[30]

In 2020, a Forbes article discussing how luxury brands collaborate to attract luxury buyers mentioned that Asprey and Ritz Carlton partnered for their 'purple water beauty amenities,' which includes body lotions and shampoos within the hotel rooms.[31]

Properties

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The Ritz-Carlton currently operates a total of 115 properties, with 44 in the United States and Canada, 38 in Asia and the Pacific, 14 in the Middle East and Africa, 11 in Europe, and 8 in the Caribbean and Latin America.[citation needed]

Notable properties

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Lobby on 103rd floor at The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong
 
The Ritz-Carlton Berlin
 
The Ritz-Carlton Montreal
 
The Ritz-Carlton Jeddah
 
The Ritz-Carlton Georgetown
  • The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur, in Malaysia's capital city, opened in 1997. It is the only 'all butler hotel' operating in the city, offering butler service to all of its 300+ rooms and suites and has since been ranked among the "Gold List" of hotels by Condé Nast, ranked as "one of the top five butler hotels" by The Independent and regarded by Travel and Leisure as one of "The World's Greatest Hotels".[32]
  • In 1999, Ritz-Carlton acquired the former Hotel St. Moritz in New York City,[33] re-establishing a presence for the brand in New York City for the first time since the former Ritz-Carlton New York[34] left the Ritz-Carlton stable in 1997 (it later became a Westin, then an InterContinental, then condominiums).[35]
  • On Friday, July 17, 2009, at 7:47 a.m. Jakarta time, a bomb exploded in The Ritz-Carlton Mega Kuningan, Jakarta, Indonesia destroying the first floor of the hotel. The explosion occurred 2 minutes after the explosion at the nearby JW Marriott Jakarta. The hotel was scheduled to host the Manchester United football club the following Monday during the Indonesia leg of its Asia tour, but the visit was canceled due to the bombing.[36] Nine people including 2 suicide bombers were killed.[37]
  • On December 22, 2009, The Ritz-Carlton opened its first "Reserve" property, Phulay Bay, in Krabi, Thailand.[38] Since then, six more properties with Reserve branding have opened: Dorado Beach in Puerto Rico (2012), Mandapa in Bali (2015), Zadún in Los Cabos (2019), Higashiyama Niseko in Niseko (2020), Rissai Valley in Jiuzhaigou (2023), and Nujuma in The Red Sea Project (2024). The Ritz-Carlton Reserve properties are distinctive resorts built in exotic places, and are some of the most exclusive within the company, with the number of available rooms in each property ranging from 50 to 113. Until April 14, 2022, The Ritz-Carlton Reserves did not participate in the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty program, meaning guests could neither redeem nor earn points there.[39]
  • On November 4, 2013, the Ritz-Carlton Kazakhstan opened in Almaty. The 145-room hotel sits on the top floors of the Esentai Tower, the tallest building in Central Asia.[45][46]
  • In January 2014, Ritz-Carlton opened a hotel in Herzliya, Israel featuring a spa and the brand's first kosher restaurant.[47]
  • In May 2017, Ritz-Carlton opened a hotel in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the hotel was also opened as a conference hall making it one of the largest conference halls in Jeddah. The hotel is located in Al-Hamra district, a place famous for its luxury hotels and nearness to the Corniche.[48]

Former properties

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Asia

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  • Jimbaran, Bali, Indonesia: The Ritz-Carlton Bali, Resort & Spa – Opened on November 29, 1996, as the first Ritz-Carlton resort in Asia,[49] management terminated on March 31, 2009.[50] Property reopened on April 1, 2009, as Ayana Resort & Spa Bali,[51] with sister hotels also opened within the 90-hectare integrated resort such as Rimba Jimbaran – Bali (opened 2013), The Villas at Ayana Resort Bali, and Ayana Residences Bali. The name "The Ritz-Carlton Bali" currently refers to another resort opened on February 2, 2015, in Nusa Dua, located on the opposite side of the South Kuta area (not to be confused with Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve property also opened in 2015 in Ubud).
  • Gangnam, Seoul, South Korea: Renovated and reopened as the Le Méridien Seoul in 2017.[52]

Europe

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North America

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Australia

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  • Sydney Ritz-Carlton Double Bay: management terminated 2001[65]

Accommodations

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Historical

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US Non-US Total
2007[66] Properties      36      34      070
Rooms 11,627 09,978 021,605
2008[67] Properties      37      33      070
Rooms 11,629 10,204 021,833
2009[68] Properties      40      34      074
Rooms 12,115 10,171 022,286
2010[69] Properties      39      35      074
Rooms 11,587 10,457 022,044
2011[70] Properties      39      39      078
Rooms 11,587 11,996 023,583
2012[71] Properties      38      42      080
Rooms 11,357 12,410 023,767
2013[72] Properties      37      47      084
Rooms 11,040 13,950 024,990
2014[73] Properties      39      48      087
Rooms 11,424 14,090 025,514

0

From 2015

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North
America
Europe Middle E.
& Africa
0Asia &0
Pacific
Caribbean
Latin Am.
Total
2015[74] Properties 40 12 10 27 7 96
Rooms 11,839 2,929 3,166 7,231 1,966 27,131
2016[75] Properties 40 12 12 27 7 98
Rooms 11,839 2,925 3,835 6,998 1,966 27,563
2017[76] Properties 40 13 12 30 7 102
Rooms 11,685 3,081 3,835 7,502 1,966 28,069
2018[77] Properties 39 13 13 30 6 101
Rooms 11,398 3,079 3,867 7,520 1,786 27,650
2019[78] Properties 39 13 13 33 8 106
Rooms 11,410 3,079 3,523 8,207 2,081 28,300
2020[79] Properties 39 13 13 36 8 109
Rooms 11,833 3,080 3,523 8,754 2,081 29,271
2021[80] Properties 39 12 14 38 10 113
Rooms 11,839 2,835 3,763 9,222 2,372 30,031
2022[81] Properties 41 12 15 38 9 115
Rooms 12,508 2,689 3,988 9,192 2,007 30,384
2023[2] Properties 42 12 15 41 9 119
Rooms 12,787 2,703 3,979 9,703 2,007 31,179

Cruise ships

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In 2018, Ritz-Carlton announced that it would enter the cruise market. Construction problems at the Spanish shipyard and COVID-19 delayed the launch of the first ship, the Evrima, originally set to January 2020.[82] Inauguration cruise has been moved numerous times due to pandemic: April 2021,[83] November 2021 and currently May 6, 2022.[82] The cruising arm of Ritz-Carlton would operate under the brand "The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection".[84] It was announced that The Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection would join the Marriott Bonvoy, Marriott International's travel program effective November 9, 2021.[85][86] After a number of delays, Ritz-Carlton Yacht Collection finally took guests onboard its first ship, Evrima, in October 2022. The ship sailed from Barcelona, Spain.[87]

Two more ships, the Ilma and the Luminara, are under construction at Chantiers de l’Atlantique.[88][89] The Ilma started her sea trials on 16 May 2024.[90] (2024-05-16 13:27 (UTC+2))[91]

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See also

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References

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