The History of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company

The legacy of The Ritz-Carlton begins with the celebrated hotelier Cesar Ritz, the “king of hoteliers and hotelier to kings.” His philosophy of service and innovations redefined the luxury hotel experience in Europe through his management of The Ritz Paris and The Carlton in London.

When Cesar Ritz passed away, his wife Marie continued the expansion of hotels bearing his name. In the United States, The Ritz-Carlton Investing Company was established by Albert Keller who bought and franchised the name. In the early 1900s, several hotels were known as The Ritz-Carlton, in places such as Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlantic City and Boca Raton. However, by 1940 none of the hotels were operating except The Ritz-Carlton, Boston. The hotel embodies the vision of Cesar Ritz, Yankee ingenuity and Boston social sensibilities. The standards of service, dining and facilities of this Boston landmark served as a benchmark for all future Ritz-Carlton hotels and resorts worldwide.

The Ritz-Carlton, Boston revolutionized hospitality in America by creating luxury in a hotel setting:

  • Private bath in each guest room
  • Lighter fabrics in the guest room to allow for more thorough washing
  • White tie and apron uniforms for the waitstaff, black tie for the Maître d’ and morning suits for all other staff, conducive to a formal, professional appearance
  • Extensive fresh flowers throughout the public areas
  • A la carte dining, providing choices for diners
  • Gourmet cuisine, utilizing the genius and cooking methods of Auguste Escoffier
  • Intimate, smaller lobbies for a more personalized guest experience

In 1983, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC was formed. Lead by president and founding father, Colgate Holmes, alongside Horst Schulze, Joe Freni, Ed Staros and Herve Humler, the company began to expand, adding new properties across the United States. Within two years, the brand had opened five hotels, including The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead, The Ritz-Carlton, Atlanta, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel and The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. This rapid expansion continued, and by the close of 1992, The Ritz-Carlton had expanded to 23 exceptional luxury hotels, earning its first Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award. The following year, they opened their first hotel in Asia, The Ritz-Carlton, Hong Kong.

In 1998, the success of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company had attracted the attention of the hospitality industry, and the brand was purchased by Marriott International. Since this purchase, The Ritz-Carlton has continued to grow, providing exceptional service and genuine care to their guests across the globe. In 2000, The Ritz-Carlton Residences opened their first property in Washington, D.C., followed by their first Destination Club property, Aspen Highlands, Colorado in 2001. In addition to dozens of new hotels around the globe, in 2008 the company opened the first Ritz-Carlton Reserve property, offering a private sanctuary experience in Phulay Bay, Krabi, Thailand.

Today, the company continues to grow and to inspire life’s most meaningful journeys in the most desirable destinations on earth.


The Ritz-Carlton Logo

The lion and crown Ritz-Carlton logo is a combination of the British royal seal (the crown) and the logo of a financial backer (the lion). This logo was created by Cesar Ritz. Later, Cabot, Cabot and Forbes (owners of the Boston hotel) decided that the logo was “not sufficiently noble.” They revised the logo to what is utilized today. It is interesting to note that The Ritz-Carlton hotels in Atlantic City and New York had similar logos on their hotels in the late 1920s. While in Europe at this same time, The Ritz London logo consisted of a lion and The Ritz Paris logo contained a crown.

When The Ritz-Carlton, Boston opened, it had obtained permission to use the name from The Carlton Investing Company of New York, which was licensed by The Ritz Hotels Development Company, Ltd. of London, England.


The Cobalt Blue Goblet

Many of The Ritz-Carlton hotels and resorts worldwide continue to set their tables with the signature cobalt blue glasses. These goblets were designed to match the blue Czechoslovakian crystal chandeliers in the original Dining Room in The Ritz-Carlton, Boston. Coincidentally, blue glass was considered a status symbol in 1920s Boston. Window glass imported from Europe underwent a chemical reaction when hitting the Boston air and turned blue. Blue glass windows meant the homeowners could afford imported glass. The Ritz-Carlton, being quite fashionable, ordered glasses in this color.


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