11 NOVEMBER 1938, Page 34

CESAR RITZ By Marie Louise Ritz

This biography (Harrap, I2S. 6d.) of the famous hotelier Cesar Ritz, by his wife, is interesting not only as a success story but as a sort of footnote to the social history of the last sixty years. In 1867 when the ambitious young Swiss was a waiter in Paris, hotels, like private houses, were built with more regard for appearance than hygiene, and the great chefs were architects rather than food experts. Ritz became the pioneer of a new and more scientific conception of hotel-construction. A born manager, with a flair: for the business, he rose rapidly to the top of his -profession, taking with him Escoffier, his co-pioneer, in the kitchen. By the time of his tragic breakdown in 19o2 he was in control of famous hotels all over the world. Madame Ritz tells of his triumphs with understandable but rather tiresome pride, filling her pages with the names of royalties, statesmen famous beauties and those who follow them. Unfortunately, discretion prevents her from making her book more than a collection of society-gossip paragraphs, but the collection covers a period ofgreat social changes, and we can trace the evolution in taste,-mannersAnd composition of " society " from Second Empire Paris, through the Vienna of Strauss, to the Paris, London and Riviera of the American millionaire period. Ritz was successful because he anticipated most of these changes : many distinguished people saw their first real bathroom in a Ritz hotel.