Swiss hotelier César Ritz started it all in the early twentieth century with his luxury hotels. To live in elegance and luxury, especially in an ostentatious manner, or to dress fashionably, is to put on the ritz. Irving Berlin wrote a song about it: Fred Astaire danced it, Ella Fitzgerald swinged it, Mel Brooks parodied it, Bertie Wooster made a hash of it (until Jeeves set him right), the Leningrad Cowboys speed-metalled it. The swanky Ritz Hotel in London serves a very nice traditional afternoon tea — more, I think, than you could hope for at the Ritz Holiday Flats, despite the quite lovely script lettering of its name and the evocative palm tree.

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