Founded by César Ritz -- a Swiss entrepreneur -- in 1898, the Ritz is celebrated for its associations with celebrities such as Charlie Chaplin, Coco Chanel and Ernest Hemingway, who has a small bar named after him. And of course, the hotel inspired the word "ritzy" as well as a 1930 song by written by Irving Berlin and popularized by Fred Astaire.
The hotel gained a tragic notoriety on August 31, 1997, when Britain's Diana, Princess of Wales, was fatally injured in a car crash nearby. Also killed were Mohamed Al Fayed's son Dodi (Diana's companion), and the driver Henri Paul, acting security manager of the Hotel Ritz. Here is video of Princess Diana's last hours taken by the hotel's security cameras:
I've always liked to go to the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz to breathe in the luxe and sip on a way overpriced cocktail.