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.

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Top dogs at Vienna Bristol

The Bristol in Vienna is offering a luxury, €50-a-day deal to pamper pets, with choice menus, comfortable bedding and walks. We like this picture, from a report in 'The Local', which brings news about Austria in English. No matter that it's an unashamed publicity-seeking pooch.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Bristols are big in Karlovy Vary

The Bristol Group in Karlovy Vary has eight top hotels in the celebrated spa town. Once known as Carlsbad, after it was founded by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV in 1370, it was one of the most glamorous spas in late 19th-century Europe, and today it has been revitalised. The complex is divided into two areas. Bristol Royal is in the West End by the English Park. It comprises the Bristol Hotel, the Bristol-Palace, Tereza, Kralovska, Vila Livia and Gregory House, while Bristol Riverside in the centre of town is made up of the Kolonàda and Pavlov hotels. The Vila Tereza is the former residence of the Austrian Empress ‘SisI’ Elizabeth, wife of Franz Josef I. 
The original Bristol was the Bristol-Palace (in the background of the picture above), which dates from 1890. Its many famous and glamorous guests included Sigmund Freud who met his nephew, Eddie Bernays, founder of public relations, here, and they are the background to ‘Freud’s Enema’, a chapter in High Times at the Hotel Bristol.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Tourist board celebrates the Colombo Bristol

The Ceylon Tourist Board is 50 years old this month. To mark the occasion the Sunday Times of Colombo, Sri Lanka, published a piece about the great days of travel when holidaying was “a genteel affair”. Its main photo is a postcard of the Hotel Bristol, seen here, which is included in a round-up of the grand Victorian hotels. Its first managing director was William Tudor Stephen Saunders, who had arrived in Ceylon in 1868 and worked as a planter before he sold his plantation and settled in Colombo. He left the Bristol Hotel in 1901 to become managing director of the Grand Oriental Hotel. 

The Hotel Bristol in Columbo is the setting for Postcard from Mark Twain, a chapter in High Times at the Hotel Britsol

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Collectors' hotel room key fob

This key fob from room 1045 of the Hotel Bristol Kempinski in Berlin has just been posted on eBay for auction. My first thought was that this was cheeky, and it should be returned to the hotel. But it is called 'vintage' and I suppose it is. Heavyweight keys are things of the past. Now all we need is a bit of plastic like so many other pieces of plastic, with the room number written on an enveloping sheet that is not worth anybody collecting. Those hefty old key fobs tell of a pre-smart time when everything was shaped for purpose and given particular substance. Even as I look at it I can sense it in my palm, giving me a secure feeling that I have a safe and sound bed for the night.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Buffa chairs from Hotel Bristol Merano

This pair of chairs by the Milanese designer Paolo Buffa (1903–1970) have just come up for auction in New York, with an estimate of $3,000–$5,000. . They come from the Hotel Bristol in Merano, one of the most famous modern hotels in Italy before and just after the second world war. the hotel’s elegant furnishings no infrequently turn up at auctions, and a book about its demise was posted in Hotel Bristol News in December 2008. 

The Architectural Digest says: "Studying the oeuvre of Milanese architect and designer Paolo Buffa is generally a lesson in sophisticated, inventive classicism. Whether he was producing furnishings for a swish ski-resort hotel or constructing gracious villas for the haute bourgeoisie of Italy’s northern Lombardy region, where he lived, Buffa’s work was marked by unmistakable suavity.”