Tuesday, 4 October 2016

The London Bristol Hotel for the best meal in town

Here’s an ad for the Bristol Hotel in London, just popped into my mail box. It was a match for its opposite number in Paris. It occupied two adjacent buildings, at 33 and 34 Burlington Gardens, and according to The Gourmet’s Guide To Europe by Liet-Col Newnham Davies and Algernon Bastard (crazy names, crazy guys), the Bristol’s Spanish manager, Ignacio Lersundi, gave “one of the best, if not the best, table-d’hôte dinners obtainable in the English capital". But by the time the Guide was published, in 1903, Lersundi was dead and a fifty-three year lease had just been taken on the Bristol Hotel building by the Ladies Army and Navy Club, for near relations of men who held, or had held commissions in the services. With more than 3,500 members, it was the biggest women’s club in the world, offering cards, billiards and ‘many feminine attractions’. 

Monday, 26 September 2016

Israeli President in Odessa Hotel Bristol

When the grand Hotel Bristol was built in Odessa in 1899 more than a third of the city's population was Jewish. Today Israeli President Reuven Rivlin arrives at the hotel for the 75th anniversary of the massacre at Babi Yar when more than 33,000 Jews and nearly 70,000 Roma and political prisoners were killed in Ukraine by the Nazis. (There were further mass killings in Odessa in 1941 and 1942). Rivlin will address parliament and participate in a conference at the Bristol Hotel about his ‘ideological mentor’, the Odessa-born Zionist Ze’ev Jabotinsky (1880-1940), the subject of an exhibition in the city’s Literary Museum.

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Four Points for Zakopane Bristol

In its 1930s heyday, the Hotel Bristol in Zakopane, Poland, was a lively place. At one time it was run by Adam Chrzanowski, and his wife, the writer Stefania Laudyn, who together had founded the New York’s Kuryer Naodowy, and their guests included Joseph Conrad and Artur Rubenstein. This picture is taken from a series of photographs from the time, published online by Interia Nowa Historia that shows the town of handsome wooden buildings and cheerful holidaymakers. Situated in the south of the country by the border with Slovakia in one of the most beautiful parts of the Tara Mountains, it is still a popular summer hiking and winter skiing resort. After the war the building was nationalised and became a holiday home. In 2013, after it had been lying derelict, the local council decided to sell it. The buyer, just announced, is Sheraton Starwood, and they plan to turn it into a 97-bed hotel, opening in 2020. It will drop its historic Bristol name, and be branded The Four Points by Sheraton Zakopane, a companion to the the Four Points by Sheraton Warsaw Mokotów, planned for the Polish capital in 2019.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Cigar box from New York Bristol

This has just popped up on eBay. The 145-room New York Bristol, on Manhattan's West 49th Street near Radio City, was a landmark hotel in the city, and its Pink Elephant Bar a popular hang-out. There's lots of stuff that come ups on eBay from the hotel -- matchbooks, ashtrays, beer mats, keys, brochures, postcards. This is the first time I have seen a cigar box. The hotel features in 'The Lonely Doll and the Castor Oil King', a story in High Times at the Hotel Bristol

Monday, 15 August 2016

Karachi Bristol and the Avari family

The Bristol Hotel, pictured here, was one of the best-known hotels in Karachi. It was built in 1904 for the Raj and was known for its parties and good food. In 1941 it was bought by Dinshaw B Avari, a Parsi, but after partition it was requisitioned, as no business was allowed to be run by an Indian. His son, Byram D Avari, is now chairman of the Avari Group, whose top-class hotels include Avari Towers, one of Karachi’s tallest buildings and the only five star hotel in Pakistan. He is also Social Head of the city’s Parsi community, who practise the Zoroastrian faith. In an article on minorities in today’s Express Tribune, he recalls his father's treatment: 
Today in Pakistan, we as a minority don’t experience any such discrimination.The honour, the respect and the equality we as a Parsi minority enjoy with the majority community has today made us shine out because Pakistan acknowledges the Parsi contribution."
The Bristol was bought in 1960 by Rizvi Sahab, who ran it until 1994, when it closed.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

New Hotel Bristol for Bristol

A bottle of Champagne was smashed last week on the side of the former Executive Plaza building in downtown Bristol VA, to christen the new 55-bedroom Bristol Hotel. Built in 1925, the 7-storey block is listed, but the $20million renovation will gut the place, leaving a few interior features such as the elegantly decorated lobby. The proposed rooftop bar will have views across the town, which straddles the Tennessee/Virginia border, to the Appalachian Mountains. The Hotel is being developed by McCall Capital, for Charlestowne Hotels, and is scheduled to open in August 2017. 

Many of the town’s visitors come for the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, opened in 2014. An affiliate of the Smithsonian, it holds events and concerts, and centres on recordings made here in 1926–7, before Nashville, 300 miles away, got going.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Bristol Hotel in New Jersey beach resort

This postcard of the Hotel Bristol in Asbury Park, New Jersey, has just gone up for sale on eBay. The Bristol was one of several grand Victorian resort hotels described by Janet H. Burgents in her book Reflections of Asbury Park. They offered saltwater baths, touring cars and theatre performances, with separate meal hours for children and their nannies. This picture is dated 1922, the year before a 'mysterious' fire wiped out the hotel. 'Closed for the season, it went up in flames in half an hour taking with it the Garden Theatre, the Edgemore, Keswick and Victoria Hotels,' writes Burgents.