Madrid Ritz loses glitz as fire forces out guests

20th July 2010, Comments 0 comments

Madrid's five-star Ritz hotel has been forced to relocate more than 200 guests in alternative accommodation around the Spanish capital after a fire, a spokesman said Tuesday.

The prestigious establishment, which charges 5,000 euros (6,470 dollars) per night in its royal suite, should reopen Friday provided the electric cables damaged during the small blaze have been fixed, the spokesman told AFP.

A flue in the hotel kitchen caught fire overnight Sunday to Monday, sending thick clouds of smoke through the luxury hotel, which was built in 1910 and located near Madrid's famous Prado museum.

The Orient-Express company that owns the hotel said in a statement that "all security systems are certified and up to date," and the management praised its staff for their "fast and efficient reactions".

Some guests were less impressed.

"It is a disaster, very badly organised and we are very tired," said one to the El Mundo newspaper, while another guest quoted by ABC described the "pandemonium and disorganisation" at the hotel during the blaze.

© 2010 AFP

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