From a cocktail inspired by Salvador Dali to a piano Frank Sinatra once played for Ava Gardner, Madrid’s Ritz hotel has a century’s worth of classy artefacts and anecdotes. But its gilded taps and Baroque facade are showing their age. With foreign investment in Spain’s stricken property sector picking up, new owners from Hong Kong and Saudi Arabia now plan to dust off this five-star institution of Madrid high society and bring it into the 21st century. ‘Over the years, the Ritz has earned a reputation as a hotel where you would take your grandmother, but where you would not come with someone aged 25 to 45,’ said its general manager Christian Tavelli. A stone’s throw from the Prado Museum on a tree-lined boulevard, the grand white edifice was built for King Alfonso XIII in 1910 by French architect Charles Mewes and Swiss hotelier Cesar Ritz. ‘It is a very special establishment. It is unique in Madrid, because of its history, its character and its location,’ said Inmaculada Ranera

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