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Le Bristol in Paris is one of the eight properties to be defined as a “palace” under the new classification system introduced by the French government.
Authorities have revamped the country’s hotel ratings system over the past few years, with the ‘palace’ classification based on the size of bedrooms, how many languages are spoken by staff and the quality of customer service. It outranks the recently launched five-star status.
Le Bristol’s general manager Didier Le Calvez said: “The palace distinction helps promote France’s hotel industry across the world and really helps Le Bristol to stand out as a superior offering amongst the plethora of luxury hotels in Paris.”
Calvez talked to ABTN nine months ago. He said that the new classification system generally would benefit the French industry. “France was at a disadvantage. Most commonly acccepted standards had five stars, and we in France had four stars. It really came down to when the major cities were bidding for conventions, we didn't have five stars to offer. We had the equivalent, we just didn't have the rating. Now we do.”
Three other hotels in Paris are now palaces - Le Meurice, the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendome and the Plaza Athenee. The Palais in Biarritz, the Airelles and Cheval Blanc in Courchevel and the Grand Hotel Cap Ferrat complete the palace line-up.
The announcement has stirred controversy in France, with other established luxury hotels questioning their omission from the list. The Dorchester Group’s Meurice and Plaza-Athenee hotels have become palaces, but chief operating officer Francois Delahaye, told AFP “I have the bitter taste of victory in my mouth...That the Ritz and especially the George V were not on the list removes all credibility from the award."
Hotel ratings have become an important industry dynamic, with evidence suggesting that people take more notice of review sites than the star ratings. Ratings are also inconsistent across borders. The UK’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport has publicly said that it is considering including results from review sites as part of the official rating system, although details are currently thin on the ground.