SJ (Hearts): Livin' La Vida Ritz-Carlton

Friday, August 24, 2007

Fashionistas of the world, chant along with me: there's no place like the Ritz, there's no place like the Ritz. Too bad we can't click our heels Dorothy-style and magically transport ourselves to the nearest Ritz-Carlton when the week gets rough and we need a little break from reality. Lucky me, I got my break last week: four fabulous days at The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans, to celebrate the third anniversary of my 27th birthday (you do the math). Ahh... heaven on Earth.

Frette Classic Hotel Collection bed linens
Frette Classic Hotel Collection

$100.00 & Up (each piece)
Available at:

Ok, I have to admit that the absolute best thing about the Ritz is the service. Although each Ritz-Carlton has its own distinct flair, superbly crafted to match the city around it, the phenomenal Ritz-Carlton service is the tie that binds. There's something special about Ritz service. It's the concierge who walks you out the back way to show you that you can stroll to dinner down Iberville rather than Canal, by passing Bourbon. It's the ultra-friendly housekeepers dressed in retro-style, Tiffany blue uniforms. It's the fact that each and every employee, from the handyman to the bellhop, acknowledges your presence when you get within 25 feet. It's the elaborate turn-down service complete with filled ice bucket, stacks of Ritz bottled water, luscious chocolate, weather report, breakfast menu, and mood music. Really, everyone is royalty at the Ritz.

Too bad you can't bring a fleet of Ritz personnel home with you when you leave. Want to steal a little piece of Ritz-Carlton luxury for your very own? You can recreate a bit of the mystique by stocking up on the luxe products featured in each Ritz guest room. They really are the icing on the cake.

If the service is the single best thing about the Ritz, the beds are a very close second. Seriously, the feather beds at the Ritz-Carlton are like sleeping in a cloud. So soft. So smushy. I took a nap every single afternoon just so that I could spend extra time swaddled in the Ritz bed sheets. A little investigating turned up the secret that I really should have guessed on my own: Ritz beds are decked out in only 400 thread count Frette linens. Starting at $100 for a pair of mere 200 thread count queen-size pillowcases and going up from there, Frette's 100% Egyptian Cotton sheets (top right) are hardly a bargain. But, they do make one amazing bed.

Valrhona Chocolate Bar
Valrhona Chocolate Bar

$5.69 & Up
Available via:

After a good long nap, one needs to freshen up before heading out for the night. The Ritz-Carlton makes bathroom time uber luxurious by stocking the full line of Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au thé blanc products. The unisex white tea scent accented with white pepper is fragrant, but not overwhelming. Get a little sample by picking up the Guest Collection (above left), which contains Eau de Cologne, Oshibori (aka: scented wet towlettes), Body Lotion, Bath & Shower Gel, and an oval soap. To get the full effect, you'll have to do a little more shopping at the Bvlgari counter: also on hand at the Ritz is the matching Bvlgari Shampoo and Conditioner.

Remember that luscious chocolate at turndown service? Mmm. It was so good that I had to track it down. Turns out that the complementary chocolates at the Ritz are miniatures of the super luxe Valrhona chocolate line (right). Leave it to my favorite hotel to hand out piles of $6-a-bar chocolate like it was leftovers from the day after Halloween sale. I knew there was a reason I love the Ritz.

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