The city's elegant, discreet hotel – whose history is as rich and opulent as its setting, just near the Elysée – features welcoming décor, Paris' only spa by La Prairie, spacious rooms and on-premise Michelin-starred restaurants.
More than a hotel, Le Bristol is a Parisian cultural landmark, as well as a global reference.
Le Bristol is the definitive Parisian Palace hotel — Photo courtesy of Le Bristol Paris
Nearly 100 Years with Only Two Owners
First built in 1925 by the man who was successful in securing the virgin property, Hippolyte Jammet, and later succeeded by his son Pierre Jammet in 1965, the hotel has had only two families as owners in its near-century-long history.
Today, it's owned by the Oetker Group, headed up by Rudolf and Maja Oetker. The recent refurbishments in the landmark's interior décor can be credited to Maja, whose taste is the final word in elegance, from the rooms and suites to the lobby and public areas such as the Jardin Français.
Epicure is the hotel's 3-Michelin-starred restaurant, and its 2011 renovations were a collaborative effort between Maja and the celebrated architect Pierre-Yves Rochon.
The hotel's gleaming exterior façade is credited to pierre de Comblanchien, a particular kind of calcareous stone quarried from France's Cote-d'Or region. Other landmark buildings where this noble material has been used in Paris include the floor of the Basilique de St.-Denis, l'Opéra de Paris and the Carrousel of the Pyramide du Louvre.
Le Bristol Paris' hotel rooms and suites are some of the city's most spacious, as well as being the most refined and elegant — Photo courtesy of Le Bristol Paris
Le Bristol's Celebrity- and VIP-Filled Past
It is true that this Palace hotel ("Palace" is a distinction earned by only the best hotels in France.) was made famous once again recently by Woody Allen's cinematic lens, namely when it served as the backdrop for his film Midnight in Paris.
But that is just one of the more recent feathers in this jewel of a property's cap.
Indeed, when it comes to celebrities, Le Bristol can claim that it has welcomed Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin and many others, in addition to Josephine Baker.
One of the essential elements of the hotel – and perhaps the one that most attracts celebrities and other VIPs such as Golda Meir, former Prime Minister of Israel – is its renown for its concierge service. It is the Palace hotel in Paris that goes above and beyond the call of duty (within the limits of decency).
One of the legendary stories involves the singer Prince. He had just left Le Bristol on his way to give a concert in Amsterdam. Upon his arrival backstage, it was discovered that his favorite guitar had been detained at customs at Charles de Gaulle airport.
Prince absolutely refused to go on stage and perform without that particular guitar. An emergency phone call was made to the head concierge at Le Bristol, and after many machinations within a lickety-split timeframe, Prince's guitar's release from customs was secured and delivery assured in time for him to still make it on stage for his mega-concert.
This is the kind of dedication that has brought generation after generation of families and clients back to Le Bristol whenever they stay in Paris.
The On-Premise Restaurants, Bar and Spa
There are three outstanding restaurants, one bar and one spa on-site at Le Bristol. The showcase restaurant, Epicure, is headed up by Eric Frechon, a 3-Michelin-starred chef.
Their Michelin-starred Le 114 offers wine evenings the first Monday of the month, hosted by resident sommelier Marco Pelletier.
Formerly the bar, re-christened Le Jardin Français, the lobby's casual dining area overlooks the beautiful interior courtyard garden.
And the cozy, elegant Bar Le Bristol, tucked away, is headed up by award-winning barman Maxime Hoerth.
The Spa Le Bristol by La Prairie is also award-winning, having been named in 2012 the "Best New Luxury Spa" during World Luxury Spa Awards. It's the only spa in Paris that offers treatments and products by prestige beauty brand, La Prairie.
It's also one of the very few spas in the heart of the city that offers use of a pool. The sixth-floor pool – designed like the prow of a turn-of-the-century sailing ship – is the city's only hotel swimming pool that offers views onto the rooftops of Paris while you do your laps.
Le Jardin Français at Le Bristol Paris is the lobby-level dining area in which to enjoy a relaxed meal or drink — Photo courtesy of Le Bristol Paris
Spacious Rooms and Luxury Suites
The French have a saying: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”
When Le Bristol opened its doors in 1925, it offered its clients 187 spacious rooms. Today, after having acquired two additional adjacent buildings, it still offers a total of 188 rooms and suites.
As you can see, the emphasis is on spacious. And just as in the 1920s when the hotel was the first in Paris to offer its clientele air conditioning in the public areas, today, too, the landmark property still pursues the absolute best comforts and amenities so that its guests remain exquisitely cared for, while preserving its dedication to class and traditional hospitality.
90th Birthday Celebrations
Le Speakeasy – On Sept. 10, Le Bristol has an event planned invoking the Prohibition years when the speakeasy and flappers were all the rage. When you make your reservations for the event, you'll be given the password that will allow you entry into this special evening, where 1920s-inspired cocktails will be featured. Reservations required.
Day of Well Being – On Sept. 20, Le Spa Le Bristol by La Prairie will offer a day's itinerary of a yoga session, followed by an aquagym session, then a light repast, followed by a private dance class and a beauty session. Reservations required.
The Dinner of the Century – On Oct. 24, Chef Eric Frechon is putting on a gala dinner that will take place in Le Bristol's Salon Versailles. Dress code? 1920s. Décor? Art Deco and a host of classic cars from the era will be displayed for guests upon arrival. Reservations required.