I was lucky enough to get to stay in the Ritz in London in January. I was recently asked what I’d been up to lately, beside feeding elephants and searching for vertigo. After checking in I was escorted to my room and shuddered slightly as I came out of the elevator and up to the edge. The height gave me a little rush to the head – and I was only on the second floor. I arrived after my few days in Prague – a little hungover and really sleep deprived. I actually felt nervous arriving there. Hopping in a cab at Paddington and saying,”the Ritz, please,” felt pretty good. I’ve stayed in the area before and typically take the tube, but arriving on foot, with my backpack tripod and tiny rolling suitcase just seemed wrong. Even so, when the doorman opened the door and reached in for my bags my age, sneakers, corduroy’s and t-shirt probably sunk in. He stopped reaching for my bag and said, “are you checking in sir.”
After answering yes he was incredibly friendly. It was actually the most shocking thing about staying there. I expected them to be very up tight and snooty. It was the opposite, everyone that worked there was just incredibly friendly. It is a bit weird having so many people ready to help you – there are always two staff members per guest. After leaving, the standard ten minute wait to be acknowledged by the bartenders at the Red Lion in Gatwick seemed particularly shabby!
Most of the time I was there I chickened out of walking around with my camera and tripod photographing the place. On my last day, just before checking out I shot this photo. I was in a rush and didn’t want to set up my tripod as I didn’t know the policy on this, and it’d be a shame to survive 4 days at the Ritz and get kicked out on the last one. So, I shot handheld. As you can see the lighting was pretty low so I had to ramp my ISO up. This has led to a lot of noise in the image. Noiseware Pro made a noble effort in fixing this, but I won’t be displaying this one at full size any time soon. If you’re curious to see what I mean by noise you can click the image to go through to Smugmug and view the original size, just scroll around until you find the grainy bits
Next time, I’ll just break out the tripod.