(Reuters) - Luxury Paris hotel Le Bristol hit back at France's Competition Council on Monday, saying the 81,000 euro ($95,070) fine it received for sharing information with its rivals was based on contentious assumptions.
Le Bristol was one of Paris's six most opulent hotels that the council fined a total of 709,000 euros last week for sharing information on prices and occupancy, which it considered damaging to competition.
Le Bristol hotel said in a statement late on Monday that it reserved the right to lodge an appeal at the Paris Appeals Court against a decision it considered "unfounded and unjustified".
"The Hotel Bristol considers in fact that the decision is based on an abstract and contentious view of the market ... and an erroneous interpretation of the practices of its protagonists," it said.
It said a number of other luxury hotels also targeted the same clientele as the six establishments in question, and that the council had therefore "artificially limited" its definition of the market.
While it did not deny sharing information, the Bristol said that information was related only to average revenues and occupancy rates for rooms across the board, and that the hotels in question had "never colluded on prices, commercial strategy or market share".
"The Hotel Bristol affirms that such exchanges of information were not aimed at and did not have the effect of altering the rules of competition," it added.
In addition to the Bristol, France's Competition Council -- a government watchdog that fights collusion and market cartels -- last Monday fined the five-star Crillon hotel 248,000 euros. A palatial building in the Place de la Concorde that often houses heads of state, the Crillon until recently was part of the Taittinger champagne family empire and is now owned by U.S. investment fund, Starwood Capital.
The George V, operated by the Four Seasons group , was fined 115,000 euros; the Ritz, owned by Harrods Department store magnate Mohamed al-Fayed, was fined 104,000 euros; and the Dorchester Group hotels, the Plaza Athenee and the Meurice, were fined 106,000 and 55,000 euros, respectively.
The Council said the hotels, famed for their Michelin star restaurants and services that include pools, saunas, spas and suites, had held regular meetings and exchanged emails in which they shared information on confidential prices that they extended to wealthy clients.
At least one other hotel among the six is considering an appeal, a source close to the matter told Reuters.