Bordered by Gloucestershire and Somerset, Bristol has a distinctively modern vibe thanks to a big student population, thriving arts community and a growing technology industry. Ready to explore the city in style TLE checked into Bristol Harbour Hotel and Spa in search of a luxurious urban base. It didn’t disappoint.
Bristol Harbour Hotel and Spa encompasses two very architecturally interesting former bank premises. The prominent Headquarters of Lloyds Bank was inspired by Sansovino’s 16th Century Library in Venice, helping its evolution to luxury hotel feel like a natural move. The hotel also includes the award-winning Jetty restaurant concept and a brand new spa making this a great all-round city escape.
Check in and Welcome
We arrived early and left our bags with reception to explore the surrounding area. This is a fantastic base for exploring Bristol; Bristol Cathedral, Cabot Circus and the River Avon are all just a 10 minute stroll away. It’s also only 20 minutes from Temple Meads train station.
Before heading to our room we decided to check out the bar in The Jetty. While coffee, tea and soft drinks were all available we opted for cocktails. After asking for recommendations I enjoyed a delicious ‘Garden Gate’ made with Hendricks gin and St Germain Elderflower. It was the perfect blend of sharp and sweet. Suffice to say one of the first things I did after arriving home was put ‘St Germain Elderflower’ on my shopping list.
Once it was time to check in we were given a quick tour of the hotel before being shown our suite where our bags had been conveniently placed. Overall the welcome and check in was slick and friendly.
There are 42 rooms and suites at The Bristol Harbour Hotel and Spa. One of my favourite quirky aspects was the complimentary decanters of gin and sherry in each – a lovely, thoughtful touch.
Our room had two huge twin beds, an ample seating area and a very spacious en suite. The smart colour scheme of mustard and navy was complimented with beautifully designed furniture and tasteful artwork. Overall the room was a lovely place to unwind and relax.
The en suite had both a bath and walk in shower and The White Company toiletries added an extra luxe touch to the room. Inside the huge wardrobe there were plenty of hangers, a well-stocked mini bar and a lovely little larder of goodies. We made good use of the Nespresso machine in the morning.
Set in the vaults of this former bank, the underground spa is extraordinary. Here you’ll find a swimming pool, steam room, sauna and hydropool. There are also plenty of areas for lounging and relaxing.
After a day exploring the city, a long soak in the hydropool followed by a session in the steam room and sauna was perfect. So often hotel “spas” consist of a few treatment rooms and perhaps a sauna, but this is a real treat for anyone serious about spas. While it’s not huge, I found this – along with the underground location – made for a much cosier and relaxing experience.
During our stay we checked out The Jetty Restaurant. Set within the former banking hall, this restaurant has character aplenty; from the huge, arched coloured windows to the sleek modern marble surfaces and inviting banquette seating.
I ordered from the separate vegan menu, which featured at least two choices per course. An impressive start. On the recommendation of the very friendly maître d I ordered the wild mushroom risotto which arrived promptly and on trend in a mason jar. But this wasn’t a case of style over substance. Hearty and comforting, this starter was everything a good mushroom risotto should be. If anything, the portion size was slightly oversized for a starter; a nice problem to have. My dining partner opted for the scallops, apple and bacon starter, which was quickly devoured.
For the main course I chose the spiced coconut vegetable curry, which had just the right kick and a great selection of vegetables. Of his main course, my dining partner said “having never seen the combination of duck and squid I had to try it. The duck was cooked to perfection and the rest of the plate complimented it perfectly.”
Lured in by the mention of peanut brittle, somehow I found room for dessert. My poached pear arrived plump and perfectly spiced drizzled with chocolate sauce and a huge hunk of peanut brittle. It was delicious and so much better than the usual vegan offerings in non-vegan restaurants. My dining partner enjoyed a trio of cheeses which came with an ample stack of crackers and grapes.
Both of our meals were exceptional from start to finish. The Jetty does not suffer from the usual fine dining trap of measly portions, quite the opposite. The atmosphere is sophisticated yet relaxed and the staff were friendly and helpful.
If you’re heading to Bristol, I can’t recommend the Bristol Harbour Hotel and Spa enough. It’s in the perfect location for a spot of exploring with so many of Bristol’s treasures within ambling distance. The rooms are beautifully designed and comfortable; the food, cocktails and service at The Jetty are impeccable and the addition of the spa makes this the perfect choice for a city break.
Finances and Details
Room rates start at £135, suites from £285
Address: 53-55 Corn St, Bristol BS1 1HT
Tel: 0844 811 1103