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This article is about the parent company to The Ritz-Carlton Hotel brand. For other uses, see Ritz (disambiguation).

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company
Privately held subsidiary
Industry Hospitality, tourism
Founded 1983 (1983)
Headquarters Chevy Chase, Maryland, United States
Number of locations 81 hotels worldwide in 26 countries.
Key people Bill Marriott,
Arne Sorenson,
(Chief Executive Officer)
Herve Humler,
(President & Chief Operating Officer)
Peter Cole,
(Chief Financial Officer)
Bob Kharazmi,
(Global Officer, Worldwide Operations)
Chris Gabaldon,
(Global Officer, Sales & Marketing
Revenue IncreaseUS$ 3 billion (2012)
Owner(s) Marriott International
Employees 38,000
Parent Marriott International
References: [1]

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. is the parent company to the luxury hotel chain, The Ritz-Carlton Hotels. Ritz-Carlton operates 81 luxury hotels and resorts in major cities and resorts in 26 countries worldwide.[2]

The current company was founded in 1983, when the brand was bought from the previous owners to start The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C., based in Atlanta, Georgia, which began expansion of the brand to other locations. The hotel company is today a subsidiary of Marriott International.

Predecessor Company

Ritz, Carlton and Ritz Carlton in Europe

The story of The Ritz-Carlton begins with Swiss hotelier César Ritz who was well known in the hotel industry as the "king of hoteliers and hotelier to kings". Ritz 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 a la carte restaurants known as Ritz Carlton on board the Hamburg-Amerika Line ocean liners SS Amerika in 1905 and SS Imperator in 1913.[3] 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.

The Ritz-Carlton in North America

In 1911 the Ritz company announced its intention to expand to North America.[4] 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 in 1911.[5] It was located at 46th Street and Madison Avenue. Louis Diat ran the kitchens and invented Vichyssoise there.[6] The Ritz Carlton Philadelphia followed in 1912 at Broad & Walnut streets.[7] 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.[8]

The Boston Hotel

On 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 $2.1 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 Curly 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 the hotel was full.

Decline of the first Ritz Carlton chain

The Philadelphia location did not survive the Great Depression and was converted to an office building. The Atlantic City hotel was sold to Schine Hotels in the late 1940s, and later Sheraton Hotels in 1959.[9] The New York hotel was demolished in 1951.[10] By 1952 only the Boston location remained.

Edward Wyner died of a heart attack on Dec. 5, 1961. His six sons tried to continue operation of the Boston hotel, but it was too difficult, and a decision was made to sell.

The Blakeley Years: 1964-1983

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 $3.8 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 completed a 19-story Ritz-Carlton luxury condominium complex on land adjacent to the hotel in 1981.

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.

Ritz-Carlton Chicago

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 chain in 1977, as there was no Ritz-Carlton chain at the time. Confusingly, it remains part of Four Seasons and has no association with the current Ritz-Carlton chain, though it uses the name and the iconic logo.

Current Company

In August 1983, Blakeley sold The Ritz-Carlton Boston and the US trademark for $75.5 million to developer William B. Johnson,[11] who assembled a four person development team in Atlanta, headed by hotelier Horst Schulze,[12] to create The Ritz-Carlton concept and established The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co.

In 1988, Johnson subsequently obtained the exclusive rights to The Ritz-Carlton name throughout the world (except for the 210-room Hotel-Ritz Paris, The Ritz-Carlton at Water Tower Place in Chicago, and The Ritz-Carlton in Montreal).

The Corporate Years: 1983-1999

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.[9]

Johnson would then 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 Sumitomo Bank of Japan. By 1996, this mortgage was in default and the interest and penalties brought the total debt to $214.8 million.

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 of New York bought The Ritz-Carlton Boston at auction for $75 million in February 1998.

A month later, Host Marriott Corp. of Bethesda, Maryland, acquired the hotel from Blackstone for $100 million. Marriott International, which franchises and manages Marriott’s 325,000 rooms, bought The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. and rights to The Ritz-Carlton name worldwide from W.B. Johnson for $290 million in a two-part transaction completed in 1998.

Disposal of the historic Boston property

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. Because of noncompetition 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 on 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.[13] The Ritz-Carlton Boston was renamed as Taj Boston on January 11, 2007.[13]

The Ritz-Carlton today

The company grew to become the hospitality leader in the US 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 credo, "We are Ladies and Gentlemen Serving Ladies and Gentlemen" and the set of specific service standards on which The Ritz-Carlton employees base service through the present day.[14] Under his leadership the hotels earned an unprecedented two Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards[15] and grew from four to forty U.S. locations.[16]

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

In 1995, Marriott International purchased a 49% stake in The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, and in 1998, purchased an additional 50% stake in the company giving it 99% ownership of the company when Schulze left with other executives including Leonardo Inghilleri, Robert A. Warman, Peter Schoch and others to create the West Paces Hotel Group,[18] purveyors of the Capella[19] and Solís[20][21] hotel imprints.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is now headquartered in Chevy Chase, 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 also has marketing agreements with Bulgari Hotels & Resorts, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and the privately owned Ritz-Carlton Montreal, The Ritz Hotel London and the Hotel Ritz Madrid.

Simon Cooper joined The 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 has added The Residences at The Ritz-Carlton (private residential units) as well as The Ritz-Carlton Club (fractional ownership residences) to the company's new development program.

On August 12, 2010, The Ritz-Carlton announced their new President and Chief Operations Officer would be Herve Humler. He is one of the founders from 1983, and will be responsible for leading brand operations and global growth strategy.[22]


The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company has been featured on Zagat Survey Top Lists for dining, hotels and service. The Dallas, USA and Wolfsburg, Germany locations both received top honors from Zagat in 2009, including Top Large Hotel for the Dallas location.[23] The Ritz-Carlton is the only company to date to win two Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Awards (1992 and 1999).[24] Ritz-Carlton's President and COO Horst Schulze was recognized for Ritz-Carlton's contributions during his tenure with Corporate Hotelier of the World Ishikawa Medal for contributions to the Quality movement.[24]

Other accomplishments

The Ritz-Carlton is notable for attempting to share its knowledge of quality as it applies to service. Initially this was done at the request of the Baldrige committee, but The Ritz-Carlton ultimately adopted this as a central mission through the creation of The Ritz-Carlton Learning Institute and The Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center.[25]

In October, 2011, Angella Reid, the General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Pentagon City, Arlington, Virginia was appointed as White House Chief Usher, becoming the first woman to serve in that post.[26]

It also has major service training operations in its Ritz-Carlton Learning Institute and Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center, created by Ritz-Carlton executive (emeritus) Leonardo Inghilleri,[25] where nearly 50,000[27] executives from other companies worldwide have been trained in The Ritz-Carlton principles of service.

Notable current properties

In 1999 Ritz-Carlton acquired the former Hotel St. Moritz in New York City, reestablishing a presence in New York for the first time since the 1951 demolition of their previous building.[28]

The first Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Russia, The Ritz-Carlton Moscow, was opened in Moscow on July 1, 2007. The Ritz-Carlton Suite, billed at US$13,715 per night, is listed at number 15 on World's 15 most expensive hotel suites complied by CNN Go in 2012.[29]

The first Ritz-Carlton in India is slated to open in Bangalore in 2013.[30]

On 29 March 2011, The Ritz-Carlton opened the highest hotel in the world, The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong on floors 102-118 of the International Commerce Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui on Kowloon Peninsula, Hong Kong.[31] The lobby is 425 m (1,394 ft) above the ground, making the hotel the tallest in Asia.[32] Asian Headquarters of Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse, and Deutsche Bank are located in the same 110-storey building.[33]

The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte which opened in October 2009 is the first Ritz-Carlton property to earn LEED Gold Certification[34] and the youngest Ritz-Carlton property to earn 5 diamonds, and is the only 5 diamond property in Charlotte (and one of only three in the state of North Carolina).

The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott Hotels at L.A. Live opened February 2010 and share the first skyscraper built since the early 1990s in Downtown Los Angeles. The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles was awarded a LEED silver certification.[35]

The Ritz-Carlton Shanghai, Pudong was elected the "The Best Hotel in The World" by the readers of Condé Nast Traveler.

The Ritz-Carlton operates fractional residences at several locations in the United States under the name Ritz-Carlton Destination Club. Properties include Aspen Highlands and Vail in Colorado, St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, San Francisco and Jupiter, Florida.

On Tuesday 17 July 2009 at 07:47 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 Hotel. 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 26 August 2013, members of the Filipino diaspora protested at The Ritz-Carlton, Los Angeles and JW Marriott Hotels at L.A. Live against the Priority Development Assistance Fund scam. It is believed that the family of the alleged mastermind of the scam Janet Lim-Napoles owned a condominium unit in the building said to be worth $2 million.[38]

The second Ritz-Carlton Hotel in CIS, The Ritz-Carlton Almaty, will be opened in Kazakhstan in November 2013.

The Ritz-Carlton hotels in popular culture

In E.B. White's children's novel The Trumpet of the Swan, the main character Louis (a trumpeter swan) stays at The Ritz-Carlton Boston, where he eats watercress sandwiches and sleeps in the bathtub.

On the HBO original series Boardwalk Empire, the character of Enoch "Nucky" Thompson (portrayed by Steve Buscemi), the treasurer of Atlantic County, occupies the entire 9th floor of a fictionalized version of the hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The real Enoch "Nucky" Johnson on which Nucky Thompson was based did in fact occupy an entire floor of suites at The Ritz-Carlton Atlantic City until his arrest in 1941 on charges of tax evasion.

A 1922 short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald is titled, "The Diamond as Big as the Ritz."


External links

  • Ritz-Carlton Hotels Official Website
  • Ritz-Carlton Destination Club Official Website
  • Ritz-Carlton Corporate Website

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