Paris's famed Ritz hotel to reopen in June after fire


Paris (AFP)

The landmark Paris Ritz hotel will reopen in June after major renovations, three months behind schedule because of a fire on its top floor earlier this month, a spokesman said Friday.

The 118-year-old hotel, storied as the lodging of choice of Charlie Chaplin, Coco Chanel and Ernest Hemingway, has been closed since 2012 for top-to-toe refurbishment.

Situated on the glitzy Place de la Concorde in the heart of the French capital, the Ritz is also where Princess Diana and Dodi Fayed dined before their fatal car crash in 1997.

The luxury hotel was originally meant to reopen on March 14, but a fire broke out on its top floor on January 19. No one was injured in the blaze but dozens of firefighters took hours to extinguish the flames.

A spokesman for the hotel said the highly anticipated reopening was now set for "early June", with a precise date to be chosen in the coming weeks.

The classically styled hotel founded by Swiss entrepreneur Cesar Ritz in 1898 is now owned by Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Al Fayed, father of the late Dodi Fayed.

The refurbishment, estimated at 140 million euros ($150 million) in 2012, is aimed at sprucing up the ageing hotel to better cater to the tastes of its mega-rich clientele.