Bristol’s harbourside is one of my favourite areas of the city. Its a great area to stroll along the waterside, but it’s also got a wonderful mix of bars and restaurants and is also home to one of my favourite attractions in the city, the interactive science centre At Bristol. Perfectly placed for a harbourside base is the Doyle Collection’s Bristol Hotel, so when Emma and I were invited to stay during our weekend of Bristol exploration we jumped at the offer.
Welcome to the Bristol Hotel
They always say don’t judge a book by it’s cover, and this is very much the case with the Bristol Hotel. Outside it has a not so appealing brutalist concrete facade – something that’s become a part of its identity, since its a listed building, but once through the doors the ambience changes completely and it’s clear to see you’ve walked into a luxury boutique city hotel.
A huge vase of fresh flowers takes centre place in the warmly-lit reception area, but the special touch I loved was the homemade lemonade on offer you’re invited to try before heading up to your room.
Mood lighting greeted us the lift doors opened onto our floor. I did love the decor of the public areas – and ever since have been trying to persuade Justin that we really need one of those circular sofas by B&B Italia.
Our room at the Bristol Hotel
After the low lighting of the hallway we were surprised by how bright our twin room was when we opened the door – especially as it was quite an overcast September day in Bristol. We both loved the cream and rich red colour scheme, and straight away went exploring – one of the best things about hotel stays in getting to look for all the fun little features and treats they’ve left you, right?!
Emma had fun with the nifty Nespresso machine, while I found the gorgeously thick and fluffy robes and slippers (which I didn’t take long to slip into after dinner!) and checked out the flat screen TV from the amazingly comfy leather chair.
We were also suitably impressed with the walk in rain shower in the bathroom and the lovely botanical range of Temple Spa toiletries.
Dinner at the River Grille restaurant
It wasn’t that much later that it was time for dinner, something I was hugely looking forward to as I’d only ever experienced vintage afternoon tea at the Bristol Hotel so far and I’d heard great things about their full menu.
The River Grille is a really beautiful high ceilinged restaurant that, like our room, overlooks the harbourside and we were treated to a window table, which gave us some great people watching opportunities. Before long however, all eyes were on the menu as we tried to decide between some wonderful sounding dishes, which included chicken livers with asparagus, spring onions and jamon, suckling pig with purple potatoes and a mustard jus and an amazing steak selection from the Josper Grille.
Eventually we decided to start with the soup of the day (which came with a delicous selection of breads) and the duck egg with parma ham, asparagus and truffles, and we weren’t disappointed.
Throughout our stay at the Bristol Hotel the service was impeccable, but I was exceptionally impressed with the restaurant, as they truly went out of their way to help with my restrictive dietary requirements. As I’m currently on the low fodmap diet for my IBS I’ve not been going out for dinner as I used to as it can be quite awkward to find a suitable meal, but having forewarned the kitchen they were more than happy to tailor anything on the menu to suit my delicate stomach!
This was so kind and allowed me to sit back and really enjoy the meal – something I did thoroughly! For my main I went with a personalised version of their rack of Nailsea lamb, with watercress and quite possibly the best mash potato I’d ever tasted. After demanding that Emma also try it and help me work out what they had done to make it so amazing, I actually asked how the chef had made it and was told it was simply butter and white pepper – but man he worked some magic!
Emma decided to go with a meaty treat and went for the 6oz burger with sweet potato fries. We both found our dishes to be tasty and filling and would happily go back there for dinner next time we’re in the city.
After all that food and hard days at work, we were pretty done for so we decided that rather than venture out to a nearby bar we’d head back to our room get comfy in those robes and chill out in front of the TV – which ended up with us watching the classic White House Down – we love a bit of cheese on a Friday night
I was concerned that the noise from the bars close by would affect my sleep but actually the windows did a great job of keeping out the sounds of late night revellers and I woke up refreshed and ready for us to catch up with our other halves and go our Bristol sightseeing day.
Breakfast delights at the Bristol Hotel
First though we headed back down to the Riverside Grille where we were quickly seated with a large pot of tea and then went off to check out the breakfast buffet spread. Breakfast was another area where the hotel really shone – sometimes hotel breakfasts feel cobbled together as an afterthought but the spread at the Bristol Hotel was great. As well as a full cooked breakfast selection, there’s an excellent continental spread with fresh pastries, breads, yogurts, meats, cheeses, smoked salmon, nut butters and fruit and, perhaps the most exciting breakfast-related item ever – a fresh pancake maker.
As I couldn’t try the waffle mix myself Emma kindly stepped up and had a second breakfast of freshly made mini pancakes right after testing out the rest of the items on offer.
Again kudos has to go out to the restaurant for having gluten free bread readily available by the toaster (a rare sight I must say!) so I treated myself to some GF toast with smoked salmon and eggs.
Refreshed from our great night’s sleep plus now caffeined up and full of breakfast, we were in the perfect shape for our day of exploring Bristol!
Bristol Hotel – review
The Bristol Hotel is well placed for visitors to the city and we’d definitely recommend it to any friends or family members visiting Bristol.
It had the luxury feel you’d expect from a Doyle Collection hotel and although I don’t often have the need for a hotel in Bristol, if Justin and I were ever planning to have a special overnight stay in the city this place would be top of my list.
I will definitely return to the Bristol Hotel sometime soon though – the Riverside Grille is a lovely place to go for a nice meal out and I hope Justin might treat me to a nice dinner there again sometime soon…
Our stay at the Bristol Hotel was complimentary for the purpose of review, but all opinions are our own.