On a recent visit to Paris, France one of our teams strolled into the Hotel Ritz on the Place Vendome seeking to browse the menu for L’Espadon, the hotel’s gourmet restaurant, where they had made reservations to dine later in the week. Nearly every hotel in Paris that hosts a fine dining restaurant proudly displays the menu in a glass case outside the entrance to entice potential diners. On approaching the entrance to the Paris Ritz hotel, the doorman took on the demeanor of a security guard and asked them what their business was at the hotel. Once they explained their purpose he allowed them to enter. Just inside the entrance, another man with the demeanor of a security guard was watching the people moving in the lobby and called to our team as they moved toward the restaurant. In terse language he said they could not approach the restaurant and that there was no menu available near the restaurant entrance.
He indicated that if they wished further information they should go to the front desk. On arriving at the front desk and asking to see the menu the young lady who greeted them said they should go to the restaurant and indicated where it was. Two additional desk personnel approached and informed our team that the only information available was on the hotel website (apparently they felt the need to outnumber our team of two, or just had nothing better to do at the time). Truly service oriented staff would have printed the menu from the website using the equipment in front of them rather than simply sending restaurant guests back out into the Place Vendome with nothing but a negative impression. The hotel’s staff attitude and service belied the “When a dream comes true” concept touted on the hotel website.
Our team left the hotel and made plans to dine elsewhere. In a city filled with fine dining venues it was a matter of minutes before they secured reservations at an outstanding gourmet restaurant. We can only imagine that L’Espadon is able to draw an adequate clientele from the hotel guests at the Ritz as the Hotel Ritz in Paris was singularly unwelcoming and borderline hostile at the very idea of non-guests passing through their hallowed halls to visit their fine dining restaurant.