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View Full Version : Why are so many unrelated hotels called Continental, Metropole, Bristol or Astoria ?



Maciamo
09-06-12, 19:27
These are very common names for hotels. There are dozens, if not hundreds of them in many countries around the world. They are all unrelated to one another. So why is it that these names are so popular ? What do they mean by Continental Hotel ? Any hotel that is not on a island is continental. Why are there Metropole hotels even in small towns and beach resorts ?

I only found some clues on Wikipedia about the Bristol Hotels (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hotel_Bristol). There are over 200 of them worldwide, and they seemed to have been named after the first Hotel Bristol that was founded on Place Vendôme in Paris in 1816. Apparently it had so a high reputation that its name was emulated all over Europe.

If you know about the others, please tell me. There are more widespread hotel names like Palace Hotel or Imperial Hotel. Some are common simply because of the lack of imagination of their owners/founders like Central Hotel, Station Hotel, Grand Hotel and the like.

spongetaro
10-06-12, 00:24
I've noticed the same phenomenon with cinema's names. Ritz, Plaza, and Rialto are common names for cinemas in France

patradio
19-03-13, 22:40
These are very common names for hotels. There are dozens, if not hundreds of them in many countries around the world. They are all unrelated to one another. So why is it that these names are so popular ? What do they mean by Continental Hotel ? Any hotel that is not on a island is continental. Why are there Metropole hotels even in small towns and beach resorts ?

I only found some clues on Wikipedia about the Bristol Hotels. There are over 200 of them worldwide, and they seemed to have been named after the first Hotel Bristol that was founded on Place Vendôme in Paris in 1816. Apparently it had so a high reputation that its name was emulated all over Europe.

If you know about the others, please tell me. There are more widespread hotel names like Palace Hotel or Imperial Hotel. Some are common simply because of the lack of imagination of their owners/founders like Central Hotel, Station Hotel, Grand Hotel and the like.


We have Napoleon to thank for this.

In the nineteenth century the British were virtually the only people in Europe who could afford to travel, the Napoleonic wars having devastated much of mainland Europe. The entire tourism industry in Europe therefore sprang up almost exclusively to serve the British, and to a lesser extent Americans. Since British tourists' main concern when choosing a hotel was that it would give them as familiar an experience as possible, hoteliers often chose English names for their hotels, and the idea grew that a hotel with a British connection must be a good hotel. European cities that were on the culture trail were full of hotels with English names, and many survive today. Paris, for example, is home to the Hotel Belfast, the Hotel Glasgow, the Hotel Queen Mary, the Hotel Richmond, the Hotel Rochester, and the Queens Hotel among others.

The French town of Le Touquet was popular among wealthy British expatriates from the 1920s, and still has a Hôtel Le Westminster, a Hotel Bristol, a Hotel Windsor, a Victoria Hotel, and a Hotel Red Fox (obviously a reference to the upper-class English sport of fox-hunting). There are countless other towns across Europe with hotels with similar names, and the tradition has in fact spread worldwide, even to locations that had no traditional connection with Britain, such as Macau in China, where a "London Hotel" is to be found.

patradio
19-03-13, 22:43
BTW, my earlier reply also answers your question about "continental". As you say, anywhere that isn't an island is "continental". From a British point of view, hotels in Europe were ALL "continental" in that Britain is an island and the mainland European countries were on the European continent.