Contributor/ Amy Guttman
Best Known For
Le Bristol is among the grand dames of Parisian hotels. Even after a 100-million Euro renovation, it retains its classic 18th century look and feel. The hotel is best known for its position in the heart of Paris, on the stylish rue du Faubourg St. Honore. It’s also an unofficial historian, with stories charting local and world events, as well as the development of luxury hotels in Paris. Built in 1925, and owned by just two families (currently the Oetkers) in 90 years, fans of Le Bristol love it’s independent, family-owned feel.
The Good Stuff
Le Bristol is so rich with history; a “miscellany” has been produced detailing fascinating stories about its guests. There are too many tales to tell here, but one little gem is about Ann Morgan, daughter of JP Morgan. The American had been a guest many times before returning to Le Bristol in 1940 when she booked 18 rooms supposedly for her staff. Over her 18-month stay, original owner Hippolyte Jammet knew Morgan was housing Jews escaping to New York via Lisbon during World War II, yet turned a blind eye. The small book reads like the biography of an incredible character. An entire staff of pastry chefs churns out elaborate desserts and eleven different types of bread are baked daily.
Le Bristol’s greatest strength is its warmth and familial welcome. Awarded “palace” status by the French tourism board, the hotel could easily suffer an overly-stuff vibe, but doesn’t. Loyal guests wax lyrical about specific members of staff and the extra touches they provide to make stays memorable. If you aren’t celebrating a special occasion, this is the place to invent one. It may even become an annual tradition. Clientele are international, with a high percentage of Americans, at least during my stay. Non-residents come for Frechon’s cooking at Epicure.
Inside the hotel – 8/10
My stately room was awash in pale, sky blue decor and ivory and gold-trimmed furniture. The spartan bathroom was saved by a bountiful supply of La Prairie products, a good way to entice guests to its spa. There are two things people come to Le Bristol for, beyond staff and service, the wood-decked, nautical-style swimming pool looking out over Paris’ rooftops, including views of the Eiffel Tower, and Eric Frechon’s 3-Michelin star restaurant. Request one of the 36 terraced rooms facing the inner courtyard and boxed gardens.
Outside the hotel – 9/10
On the rue du Faubourg St Honore, one is at the heart of Paris’ fashionable, affluent, embassy-filled enclave, with sites like the Champs Elysees, Place de la Concorde and le Grand Palais on your doorstep. A short stroll down a tree-lined avenue reaches the metro if you’re after a more boho environment. Neighbours are high-end labels, like Louboutin, and stalwarts like Maxim’s are your local cantines.
Image courtesy of Oetker Collection