Home Lifestyle Between transformation and essentials, director Nathalie Bader revolutionizes the Ritz Paris brand

Between transformation and essentials, director Nathalie Bader revolutionizes the Ritz Paris brand

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As a symbol of ultimate luxury, a heritage monument, tricolor pride and…an impenetrable fortress. The Ritz Paris is all of these things at once! With a small nuance, today it is also the meeting place for Parisians who dare to push the door of the legendary institution on the Place Vendôme. To surprise, to follow the narrative of a timeless legend, to publish the Ritz label, this is the roadmap of charismatic director and board member, Nathalie Bader. The architect of this revival shares his vision during a one-on-one meeting.

Three years after you arrived, in a context vastly complicated by the onset of the pandemic, how has your roadmap been affected?

Natalie Bader : I was finally moved a little bit and in a positive way. We were starting projects and the availability of the teams in a slow hotel due to the pandemic allowed us to have more dynamic forces to launch, build and accelerate projects.

Among your projects that have achieved notable results: let us mention the development of the “Ritz” brand and the opening of The Address to Parisians. Was it difficult to share the art of living of this great lady without confusing the fundamentalists?

It is always difficult to open a brand without upsetting fans of its exclusivity and secrecy. In the case of the Ritz, we reconnect with the initial philosophy of the place, wanted by César Ritz, a lively, festive place, where something is always going on. Parisians love the Ritz, they are very happy to have rediscovered it in a more open, more ‘welcoming’ way and have the potential to appropriate a little piece of the legend.

Nathalie Bader, Director and Member of the Board of Directors of The Ritz Paris © Cécile Gabriel

The Frame x Ritz Paris brand, available in department stores in France and abroad, is also distributed on selected online platforms. How do you want to develop this collaboration?

The cooperation surprised us with resonance and success. We have seen genuine support for this project from our clients, the media, fashion professionals and the public. We would like to continue to agree with FRAME in a more creative and feminine spirit… always RITZ without limits… (and FRAME!) the rest is in progress…

Crisis or no crisis, Paris continues to attract major hotel groups, including the most prestigious. Threat or opportunity?

For me this is a clear opportunity!! To show again and again our excellence in service, in our places, in our experiences…. An opportunity to reinvent yourself, to be surprised but also to carry on the legend of The Ritz. And then, if the competition is open, that means the customers are there, and the tourists continue to put Paris in their favorite destinations, and that’s also very good news!

Natalie Bader: We are thinking of another hotel in the world and we will make the brand shine outside its walls thanks to the brand’s products …

The shortage of labor and the crisis of occupations did not spare the luxury industry and prestigious titles. Was the Ritz Paris affected in some way?

Yes, of course, we’ve had some disappointments and shortfalls in staffing at certain times of the year. This forced us to develop ingenuity. But above all, adjust our recruitment methods and focus more actively on the concept of employer branding to attract the best talent and retain employees in our teams.

In your strategy, there is also an internationalization bet: what are the next openings we should expect?

The projects are still classified but I can tell you we have plans to open pastry shops at the Ritz Le Comptoir in Paris and beyond. We’re thinking of another hotel in the world and we’re going to make the brand shine beyond its walls thanks to the brand’s products… It’s all in progress.

The Ritz named Palace, finally not on the shelves to better distinguish your uniqueness?

This discussion does not concern us. More than just a palace, the Ritz is unique, both in its location and in its decor and service. I myself am amazed every day by this legendary hotel and its team. More than just a testimonial or poster, this is a very lively place for legend(s)!

What is your style of management, rather a ‘control freak’ or do you encourage willing taking of initiatives?

I believe I have a participatory management style that encourages initiatives, I go fast, I think ‘outside the box’…and I like people with whom I can do 1 + 1 = 3 or even more!! It’s very exciting.

Your fondest Ritzy memory?

I have so many fond memories of the Ritz and enjoy there every single day…but I have to say that living in the empty Ritz during a pandemic, (which almost never happened in the life of the hotel), was almost a mystical experience. We feel this hotel is positively ‘populated’, the presence of guests and customers who loved the Ritz is evident, it’s exhilarating and absolutely intimidating… We realize we are a link in the long saga of the Ritz. Ritz forever!!

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