Coco Chanel famously made the Ritz Paris her home for 34 years, but the grandest hotels need a little brightening once in a while. The Ritz, which originally opened on the Place Vendôme in 1898, reopened in 2016 after a four-year, $450-million renovation. Starchitect Thierry Despont wisely retained iconic features like the red entry carpet and the hotel’s signature amber scent, but he added brighter fabrics to the public rooms and subtle touches like a heightened lobby ceiling, as well as bolder statements, like retractable glass roofs to the Bar Vendôme and L’Espadon, the hotel restaurants, and the addition of peaceful landscaped gardens. Overall, too, the number of guest rooms was reduced to 142, and the number of staff was raised to 630. Guest rooms are light and airy, with cream walls, Empire furniture, swags of floral silk fabrics, and marble fireplaces with gilt details. Some rooms have balconies, perfect for morning coffee. Down in the Ritz Club, the pool, serenely set in a columned art deco room, is long enough for laps. The Chanel au Ritz Paris is the brand’s first freestanding spa, with treatment rooms featuring (of course) Chanel skin care and beauty products.