The Brightest Light in the City of Lights

I arrived at Hôtel Le Bristol Paris for a three-night stay – and never wanted to leave. Familiar with its gold-plated reputation, I expected to find just another soulless five-star property. Instead, I discovered a palace with staff that keep its golden reputation gleaming the old-fashioned way – through service that matches friendliness with efficiency, and staff that are as warm as they are genuine.

Since 1925, Hôtel Le Bristol Paris has been celebrated for its luxury and service of the highest order. Created in the grand Parisian style, Le Bristol was the first hotel in France to receive the title of “palace”, and has been voted Best Hotel in the World by numerous associations across various categories.

Located at 112 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré – in close proximity to the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, and in the heart of the fashion, design, and art district – Le Bristol is a palace hotel of unparalleled elegance.

Le Bristol defines luxury by embracing the new, the rare, and the wonderful. Created with true craftsmanship, its 190 spacious rooms and suites are appointed in authentic 18th-century style, and are equipped with every conceivable modern comfort. The emphasis is very much on tradition, rather than on being contemporary chic, and this is made clear by the old-style door keys rather than modern key cards. The home-like – or perhaps palace-like – ambience is accentuated most accurately by the presence of its two most elegant residents: the renowned Birman cats, Fa-Raon and his new lady companion, Kléopatre. 

Curious Fa-Raon is the one member of the Le Bristol Paris family who is entirely indifferent to the impression he makes. With aloof self-confidence, he refuses to meet the schedules of journalists or photographers, but affectionate and playful Kléopatre won him over immediately. I encountered Fa-Raon at the concierges’ counter, where he shares his favourite corner with Kléopatre.

Behind the precious fabrics, works of art, and splendid furniture, this palace in the heart of Paris is a harmonious retreat with a unique atmosphere. Take the ancient wrought-iron elevator and cross the plush corridors to discover the extraordinary rooms and suites – magnificent spaces of individual style and timeless elegance à la Française.

Spacious and light, all the rooms and suites display a multitude of refined details, from the entranceway to the bathroom. Measuring more than 40 m², the rooms at Le Bristol are among the most spacious hotel rooms in Paris. Thanks to high ceilings with tall windows, the rooms are flooded with daylight. Attention to detail and exceptional craftsmanship is found throughout, from the detailed inlay of antique rosewood furniture, to the precise rendering of characters in an antique engraving. When the day is done, the intimate atmosphere created by the heavy silk curtains sends out the gentlest invitation to draw the day to an elegant close.

The Grand Suites, ranging from the 55 m² Junior Suites to the 250 m² Prestige Elysée Suites, create the perfect balance between lavishness and homeliness. Each suite is a luxurious setting that typifies Parisian class. Rooms are generous yet intimate, spacious yet warm. Designed like real apartments, coupled with exceptional service, the suites are guaranteed to make even the most seasoned of travellers feel right at home.

The Signature Suites, with the Royal Suites being no less than 300 m² luxury apartments, are fit for royalty, with delicate fabrics and refined furniture that create an atmosphere that balances opulence and warmth. Views from the ornate ironwork balconies, which overlook the prestigious Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, are as romantic as they are unique in Paris.

Adorned with Louis XV and Louis XVI period furniture, antique prints, and precious silks, these apartments evoke the refinement of a private 18th-century town house. In addition to sitting rooms decorated with antique woodwork by Féau and Canovas damask linens, the Royal Suites include a dining area that can accommodate up to 12 guests to enjoy Chef Eric Frechon’s gastronomic cuisine. The bathrooms, all in light Carrara marble and with a separate shower and twin basins, conceal the delightful secret of a private steam room.

Le Bristol Paris is a leading bastion of gastronomy, holding no less than four Michelin stars. The jewel in the hotel’s crown is Epicure, the three-Michelin star restaurant overseen by the long-serving Chef Eric Frechon. It is one of the best restaurants in the world, and a favourite of the Paris elite. Epicure is a temple of gastronomy with Chef Frechon its guru, who matches terroir and handpicked ingredients to astonishing effect.

Chef Frechon’s Poularde de Bresse – as made famous by Chef Paul Bocuse in Lyon – is one of the most lavish dishes in French **haute cuisine**, and is served as a whole chicken poached inside a pig’s bladder, with the breasts served first and the legs served second. Like the rest of his extravagant dishes, it is divine enough to make it worth sacrificing a small portion of your children’s inheritance.

As if three Michelin stars are not enough, the one-Michelin Star luxury brasserie, 114 Faubourg, with its street views of Paris, adds even more to Chef Frechon’s fabulous accomplishments.

Set in the heart of the hotel with views over the Jardin Français, the beautifully appointed Café Antonia welcomes guests for afternoon tea, or less formal lunch and dinner. For the young at heart, there is Le Bar du Bristol, which is the place to be seen in Paris in the evening.

Featuring a Russian Banïya, a rooftop indoor pool overlooking Paris monuments, and treatment rooms with private terraces, the Spa Le Bristol by La Prairie completes this incomparable palace.

With nearly a century of exceptional service, Le Bristol has earned the loyalty of the world’s most privileged guests. The most discerning travellers choose Le Bristol for a first-class Parisian experience, as this beautiful palace in the heart of the City of Lights has become a benchmark for luxury hotels all around the world. Today, this grand palace hotel perpetuates its legend through its enduring values, like its shared passion for the art of French living, combined with its historic grandeur. I am not surprised that this hotel boasts a 60 % guest return rate, as I will most certainly join that group of guests who, over generations and decades, continue to return to this luxurious palace.

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Images © Le Bristol Paris