In May this year, France introduced the Palace distinction, a title which only the best of the best luxury hotels in the country could decorate themselves with. The Le Bristol Hotel, located midway along the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré – the gilded avenue in the overtly posh 8th arrondissement that is home to world-class fashion emporiums and the Élysée Palace – had the honour of being the first hotel in the country to clinch the title. Luxury Travel Beat went to Paris to find out what the fuss was all about.
The Le Bristol was named after Count Bristol, a British nobleman who had a penchant for travel and luxury. Since it opened its doors in 1926, it has been welcoming royalty, dignitaries, and celebrities, and sometimes served as a movie set for some of our times best-known films. Last year, the hotel’s Panoramic suite, and lobby even served as the filming location for Woody Allen’s ode to the French capital – Midnight in Paris – which was received to much critical acclaim in Cannes this year.
The arrival: Like being welcomed back to your family’s annual reunion. Bellboys and receptionists genuinely make you feel like the prized and cherished guest you are. Check-in is quick and efficient before you are escorted to your room.
The rooms: The Le Bristol has 187 rooms and suites, some of which have private terraces and balconies. Luxury Travel Beat stayed at the Paris suite, which at 1, 620 square foot is pretty massive for a one-bedroom. It forms part of a new wing that was recently added to the hotel, and was designed in the style of an authentic Parisian apartment. Features include a pink Portuguese marble bathroom equipped with a steam room, a wrap-around terrace where we enjoyed marvelling at the view of the Eiffel tower at night and even a kitchen.
Dining options: The Le Bristol pulls out all the stops when it comes to dining options for their guests. Restaurant Gastronomique, the hotel’s 3 Michelin-starred restaurant not only offers delectable meals but has a one of a kind history: It is the oldest room in the hotel, having been built by the Count of Castellane in 1929. The other of its restaurant, 114 Faubourg, has a tad less pomp and circumstance about it, despite the fact that it regulary welcomes neighbour Carla Bruni for lunch.
Luxury Travel Beat blurb: Prime location near the famous triangle d’or, ensuring you’re within easy reach of virtually every fashion house in the world, the Champs Élysées, and the Louvre. Service is impeccable, polite and intuitive – none of that famous French arrogance here. Nothing beats sitting in Le Bristol’s courtyard garden in the summer, enjoying light food prepared by the 3 Michelin-starred Chef Eric Frechon. The pool on the sixth floor of the hotel, which was designed by the world-renowned architect who built yachts for the Onassis family, gives the illusion of being on a beautiful sailboat somewhere in the Cote d’Azur. Reality is not much grimmer; the rooftop pool terrace offers spectacular views of the Paris skyline including Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur.
The lowdown: Hôtel Le Bristol Paris, http://www.lebristolparis.com . 112 rue du Faubourg, St-Honoré, Paris, 8th arrondissement. Rooms from $1150 a night.
Luxury Travel Beat travelled to Paris from London courtesy of Eurostar, which operates up to 18 daily services from London St. Pancras International to Paris, with return fares from £69. Tickets available from eurostar.com or 08432 186 186.