Tel: 0117 923 0333
On this excursion out of London I discover there’s more to Bristol than sherry, enjoy the waterside and am reminded of Amsterdam. The food’s good and the city is a cornucopia of vintage shops and foodie outlets. Definitely worth a weekend away!
Bristol City centre has the feel of a provincial big hitter. Plenty of large, institutional Victorian buildings, some war damaged in fill and a few modern monstrosities. But head down to the harbour area and it feels more like Covent Garden–on-Sea. Warf buildings and old boathouses have been converted into a buzzy exciting zone. Full of bars, restaurants, market-stalls and vintage shops it feels full of life and vibrancy.
The Bristol is part of this transformation. It’s housed in a bold modernist building facing the water and beyond, views of the countryside if you’re on an upper floor. The interior is plush without being over the top and the communal areas are cosy and private.
Comfortable and full of charming staff The Bristol is one of the Doyle collection of boutique hotels although The Bristol feels a little large and not quite individual enough to be classified as that. The view from our top floor room allowed us to watch the city come to life, twinkling lights, music and laughter were switched on one by one.
A highlight of the hotel is the bar area which leads down to the restaurant, a vast glass extension that affords the perfect vista of the waterside and the cobbled street. But before eating I’d suggest having a drink of two as if it’s the evening you are more than likely have a pianist on the white baby grand piano tinkering away. He was very good playing everything from the Titanic theme to Noel Coward numbers.
The food is good here, we started with smoked salmon and scallops. Both were fresh and the scallops nicely caramalised. The kitchen has a Josper Grill, one of those indoor BBQ cooking devices that cooks meat at very high temperatures quickly. It did my steak justice, which came with a peppery sauce. Puds are also worthy of a mention.
When we checked into our room we were delighted to find a welcome tray of macarons and fresh strawberries, very welcoming after a long drive. The room was smallish and had a comfortable bed. One thing we both noticed was a lack of good lighting. Both the bathroom and the bedroom had no source of key light, something that could illuminate the room. Now it might be our age but I’m finding this an increasing problem that lovely plush hotels like you to enjoy your stay in near total darkness.
A walk around Bristol (the city) the next day was rewarded with spotting an original Banksy painted on a wall near a bridge. Hailing from the city I suppose it was inevitable he would crop up somewhere. The streets near the hotel are peppered with interesting cafes and vintage clothes shops – a reflection on its university status no doubt. It gives the place a sense of youth and the feeling the next generation are coming through.
Bristol (and The Bristol) are both great places to visit and the hotel is in a good position for a weekend break, close to everything you’d want to be near. The restaurant was also very enjoyable, apart from the good food and service, more than once I glanced out through the wall of glass across the cobbled path with a few trees here and there and caught a reflection on the water I was minded of Amsterdam, no bad thing at all.