Once the industrial heartland of the south-west, Bristol has more recently become one of the trendiest places in the country with house prices soaring. Separated into districts, each neighbourhood has its own character. The city has a strong maritime history and was a pioneer of the industrial revolution – don’t miss a peek at Isambard Kingdom-Brunel’s groundbreaking suspension bridge and ocean liner, the SS Great Britain. It’s also a superb place to see street art, watch live theatre, soak up some cafe culture and lounge by a lido. Take a look at these top Bristolian hotels.
Avon Gorge Hotel Du Vin
Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Avon Gorge are among the most iconic landmarks in the city. Stay here and you’ll be afforded front-row views of them. The heritage building on Sion Hill was once a spa, with its steam pumps, the original marble and stained glass windows preserved as part of the sleek refurbishment. Its White Lion Pub has one of the largest terraces in the southwest, with an urban industrial-chic interior and there’s an art-filled cocktail lounge. Goram and Vincent is the main restaurant, featuring an open kitchen replete with coal-fired grills, a smoker and bespoke clay ovens.
Taking its cue from the original Artist Residence in Brighton, this hip, creative hot spot is found in the up and coming St Paul’s district. Decorated with limited edition art prints, shabby chic original fixtures, industrial accents, and an eclectic mix of vintage and reclaimed furniture, it’s a bohemian dream, with the added benefit of luxe conveniences like Roberts radios, Nespresso coffee machines, fully stocked minibars and organic Bramley bath products. There are many room categories to suit every type of traveller including the Broom Cupboard, Boot Room, Factory, Loft, The Lookout and an Artist Suite – some of which are dog and family-friendly.
Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa
Set in a Grade-II listed building that once housed the Lloyds and Midland Bank, the interior of this grand hotel was inspired by Jacopo Sansovino’s High Renaissance library on St Mark’s Square, Venice. Rooms and public spaces have pops of bright colours, fashionable patterned wallpapers and lashings of vintage-esque glamour. Venture below ground to the ‘vaults’ and the hotel’s HarSPA for some hydrotherapy and treatments featuring TEMPLESPA products. Dine on seafood and British classics at Harbour Kitchen and take a seat at the art deco style marble countertop of The Gold Bar speakeasy, for some magical mixes and live tunes from DJs.
Also a Grade-II listed property, the Berkeley Suites form a selection of elegant apartments. Guests staying at the suites enjoy access to the private members’ club The Square (incorporating the renowned Square Kitchen), as well as the gym and spa facilities at nearby the Nuffield Health club. In-room workspaces, bespoke kitchen units hidden in Georgian style dressers, cinema projectors, Delonghi espresso coffee machines with milk frothers, fluffy bathrobes, Elemis toiletries, Vi-spring beds and video painting installations set these art-focused self-catering apartments apart. The venue has been awarded the Condé Nast Johansens Award for Excellence for two years running now.
The Bristol Hotel
A member of The Doyle Collection, The Bristol offers high standards of service in a thriving location, with 187 guest rooms. It’s a modern hotel, overlooking the activity of the city harbour in this stylish, arts-centred district. Picture windows make up the frontage of The River Grille Restaurant, providing diners with front-seat waterside views as they feast on steak and seafood. While The River Lounge serves drinks and afternoon teas with a relaxing ambience. Previously named as the best city break hotel in the South West by The Sunday Times 100 best British Hotels, this is a great base for soaking up the city’s many delights.
No 38 Clifton
This hillside Georgian merchant’s house looks across to the verdant Downs on one side and Clifton village’s colourful houses on the other.12 bedrooms have a gentle maritime theme with bulkhead lamps, trunks, art depicting seafaring and deep blue hues. Bathrooms have REN toiletries, robes and suites have copper or tin soaking baths. Relax beside the log burner in a cosy lounge, or soak up the southern sun on the homely terrace. It’s too small for its own restaurant and spa, but breakfast is served in bed, spa treatments can be arranged at the nearby lido and there’s a choice of delectable eateries within a stroll.
Hotel du Vin Bristol
Found in a collection of converted sugar warehouses in the city centre, this is one of two Hotel Du Vin in Bristol – the other lies further out at Avon Gorge – As such, it has Grade II listing and is filled with quirky industrial features. Modern amenities found in the 40 bedrooms (set across three floors) include Nespresso machines, air conditioning and premium bedding as standard. Dine out on the terrace in good weather or enjoy the ambience in its award-winning French bistro. And enjoy a beverage or two in the aptly named Sugar House Bar. If you’re planning an extra special visit, book the Veuve Clicquot suite with its twin bathtubs, or Harvey’s for its private terrace.