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The Hotel Bristol is the name of more than 200 hotels around the world. They range from grand European hotels, such as Hôtel Le Bristol Paris and the Bristol in Vienna to budget hotels, such as the SRO (single room only) Bristol in San Francisco. They are not a chain, except in Brazil, where Bristol Hoteis & Resorts has around a dozen hotels throughout the country with the Bristol name.
The first known Hotel Bristol was in Place Vendôme in Paris. It opened in 1816 and became a favourite of the Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, who had a suite there. When it closed in 1916, its name was fought over, and finally won by Hippolyte Jammet, who opened Hôtel Le Bristol Paris in nearby Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, today one of the city's five-star palace hotels.
 The Bristol name
Two possible origins of the name are the association with the English port-city of Bristol, and Frederick Hervey, the fourth Earl of Bristol and Bishop of Derry (1730–1803). According to his biographer, "So widely famed was the Bishop as a traveller, and so great his reputation as a connoisseur of all good things, that Lord Bristol's hotel...came to be the best known and regarded in every city or town where he sojourned and was thus the precursor of the Hotels Bristol to be found all over Europe. Lord Bristol died in Italy at the start of the Napoleonic wars (1803–15), which interrupted the Grand Tour. The Bristol in Paris was one of many opened in the ensuing peace, hoping to re-establish the Continental tourist trade. The fact that many hotels, such as the Bernini Bristol in Rome, use the coat of arms of the City of Bristol in their logos leads to speculation  that they are named after the city and not the Earl-Bishop. But there is no evidence that the Bristol family ever granted use of their arms to any hotel, while the city's coat of arms can freely be adopted to give an aristocratic image.
 Modern distribution
Italy now has the most hotels of this name, with more than 50, whilst France has around 30. Many luxury Bristol hotels from the Edwardian era (for example in Beaulieu-sur-Mer, London, Lugano, Mar del Plata, New York, Naples and St Petersburg) have not survived, but a new Hotel Bristol opened in St Petersburg in 2012, and the Bristol Hotel, Odessa (1899) has reclaimed its name after changing it to the Krasnaya Hotel during the Soviet era. One of the oldest still functioning is the Bernini Bristol in Rome, which opened in 1874. Modern hotels to use the name include those in Frankfurt, San Diego and Gurgaon, India. The city of Bristol in England did not have a Bristol hotel until 2007 when Jurys Hotel Bristol changed its name simply to The Bristol.
- Hôtel Le Bristol Paris is a favourite of film stars, and has monthly fashion shows in the Bristol Bar. P. G. Wodehouse was kept there by the Germans during World War II. Amschel Mayor James Rothschild was found hanged in his room there in 1996 and Polish millionairess Kinga Legg was murdered in her room in 2008.
- Valerie Solanas, author of the S.C.U.M. Manifesto and attempted assassin of Andy Warhol, died in room 202 of the Hotel Bristol in San Francisco. Richard Ramirez (a.k.a. Night Stalker) stayed in the same hotel, room 315, during his killing spree in 1985. Part of the story of the 1972 comedy film What's Up, Doc? starring Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal takes place in the Hotel Bristol, San Francisco.
- Hotel Bristol, Warsaw opened in 1901 on Krakowskie Przedmieście. Thoroughly refurbished in its original style in the 1990s it was reopened by Lady Thatcher, an event that forms the final chapter of her memoirs.
- Hotel Bristol (Berlin) opened in 1891 and was destroyed in an air raid in 1943. It held the first international IAA (Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung) motor show, in 1897, and was involved in the Krupp scandal, detailed in William Manchester's book on the arms manufacturer.
- The five-star luxury hotel in Vienna opposite the Vienna State Opera House is now one of the most exclusive hotels in Austria and arguably the world after being restructured by the famous hotelier Georg Hochfilzer. It has hosted many historical figures including Teddy Roosevelt. It was here that the Prince of Wales and Wallis Simpson sojourned at the height of their affair, in 1936; the most sumptuous suite is named after him.
- Leon Trotsky was accused of meeting with others to plot against Stalin in the Hotel Bristol (Copenhagen). An alibi was established in 1937 when the Dewey Commission showed that the hotel had burned down in 1917.
 See also
- The Hotel Bristol Project
- Bristol Hoteis & Resorts
- Le Bristol: A 'Palace' Hotel in its Century by Pierre Jammet, Editions Hoêbecke. Paris, 1998
- The Earl Bishop, the life of Frederick Hervey, Bishop of Derry, Earl of Bristol, by William Shakespeare Childe-Pemberton, Hurst & Blackett, London, 1924
- Famous Hotels: "Bristol - who or what’s behind the popular hotel name"
- Arrest over Le Bristol murder
- Thatcher, M. The Downing Street Years, Harpercollins, 1993
- The Earl of Bristol Didn't Sleep Here, But the Hotel Might Be Named After Him, Wall Street Journal, Sept 27, 2008.
- High Times at the Hotel Bristol: Twenty Bedtime Tales by Roger Williams (Bristol Book Publishing, 2007, 2010)
- UK: The Bristol fashion, Telegraph (Travel), 15 April 2000.
- The Mitred Earl: An Eighteenth-Century Eccentric by Brian Fothergill (Faber & Faber 1974)
- The Arms of Krupp by William Manchester, details corruption in the Berlin Bristol (Little, Brown, 1968)
- The Earl Bishop, the life of Frederick Hervey, Bishop of Derry, Earl of Bristol by William Shakespeare Childe-Pemberton, Hurst & Blackett, London, 1924