Hotel Bristol

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Hotel Bristol-Luggage Labels.jpg

The Hotel Bristol is the name of more than 200[1] hotels around the world. They range from grand European hotels, such as Hôtel Le Bristol Paris and the Bristol in Warsaw or 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[2] 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,[3] 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[edit]

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,[4] "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 [5] 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[edit]

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.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Hotel Bristol Project
  2. ^ Bristol Hoteis & Resorts
  3. ^ Le Bristol: A 'Palace' Hotel in its Century by Pierre Jammet, Editions Hoêbecke. Paris, 1998
  4. ^ The Earl Bishop, the life of Frederick Hervey, Bishop of Derry, Earl of Bristol, by William Shakespeare Childe-Pemberton, Hurst & Blackett, London, 1924
  5. ^ Famous Hotels: "Bristol - who or what’s behind the popular hotel name"
  6. ^ Arrest over Le Bristol murder
  7. ^ Thatcher, M. The Downing Street Years, Harpercollins, 1993

External links[edit]

  • 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