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The Bristol Hotel

by Chris Cox

In an unbeatable location in the middle of Bristol, on the waterside at the harbour, you’ll find a modernist concrete building, home to the warm and welcoming The Bristol Hotel. This Doyle Collection hotel, a family run small chain of luxury and urban hotels, stands in the most enviable of positions, just a short walk from art galleries, cinemas, theatres and incredible eateries. Whilst perfect for a stroll alongside the boats outside or a hop over Pero’s bridge to the arty Watershed or Bristol Hippodrome, inside you’ll find it an ideal boutique hotel to park yourself for a city break.

The staff can often make and break a hotel, so upon walking through the small but elegant lobby to check in, there’s always a sense of anticipation upon your first encounter with the staff. Luckily there was nothing to worry about as throughout the hotel every member of staff we met with uniformly wonderful. Attentive and friendly, warm, professional and efficient. From a cheery check in, to the chit-chat over dinner in the onsite waterfront River Grille Restaurant, everyone seemed genuinely pleased to interact and to be offering us hospitality. Full of local knowledge and Bristolian pride they couldn’t have offered better advice on where to go, what to eat and how to get there.Staying in Deluxe Queen on one of the coldest days of the year we were delighted to find the air condition and radiators working well, quickly making our room a cosy snug. Out the window, glorious views of the city spread before us. Looking down on the Harbourside and its many boats, across to a big wheel and the excellent We Are The Curious museum. To our right was the city centre and world famous Bristol Hippodrome whilst a short stroll from the hotel you’ll find the historic Bristol Old Vic. Next door The Arnolfini art gallery and just across the bridge M Shed museum and its assorted super hip containers housing restaurant and shops.

The duck down duvets ensured a restful nights sleep in the red accented warmly lit room; and I was over-the-moon to find a hotel TV with a Chromecast system that actually worked. Allowing me to simply beam Netflix from my iPhone directly to the TV, so I could binge watch with a coffee from the in-room Nespresso machine in my dressing gown and slippers. The Temple Spa bathroom amenities are a welcome luxurious treat in the well laid designed chic rooms.Dinner at the aforementioned River Grille offered yet more beautiful views of the harbourside out of the floor to ceiling windows and plenty of chances to people watch. Open to residents and non-residents alike it was full of a buzzy atmosphere thanks to the connected River Lounge which filled the lofty ceilings in this dramatic room with the energy of people having a good time.

The bow-tied staff were as friendly as they were attentive, constantly topping up our wine and water glasses before bringing us huge portions of delicious food to enjoy. The Josper Grilled fillet steak was faultless and although we weren’t close to the sea, being next to the harbour was close enough to enjoy the seafood skillet was ludicrously full with fresh seafood. Our expensive tastes meant both options were the most expensive on the menu yet still came in at under £30 each which for a fancy hotel restaurant it was surprisingly good value, especially considering the quality and portion size. An eclectic and seasonally changing menu was an excellent mix of the sort of classics you expect in a hotel with trendy food trend choices and locally sourced options. Of course no dinner is truly dinner without dessert. The almost obligatory chocolate fondant was as decadent and delicious as you would hope allowing us to round off the meal nicely before tottering back upstairs to the fluffy and soft bed and another episode of something on Netflix with the wifi strong enough and fast enough to allow for full HD streaming.Breakfast the following morning allowed for more people watching, as the night time revellers were replaced by the morning joggers. The boats bobbing up and down as we enjoyed the buffet with all the usual full english or continental suspects and some bonus surprises such as pancakes going down a treat. For those not staying the Afternoon Tea in the same space looks like an incredible popular option to enjoy a fine scone with a fine view.

It’s unlikely that you’ll need your car when visiting with so much just a short stroll away so it’s simple enough to park it next-door in the attached NCP car-park for when you sadly have to hit the road and head back home.

A calm and collected hotel in the middle of a thriving city is just what you want on a city-break. You want the chance to easily explore then come back and rest and The Bristol delivers it in spades allowing you to feel connected to the heart of the city whilst offering a reassuringly restful stay in a chic, contemporary and truly friendly hotel.

The Bristol Hotel
Prince Street
United Kingdom


  • Chris Cox

    Chris travels the world performing his multi award winning mind reading act. He’s the star of BBC Three’s ‘Killer Magic’, West End magic show ‘Impossible’ and is creative consultant for Heston Blumenthal & ‘The Fat Duck’. He lives in London and spends most of his time watching theatre, cooking or travelling. His favourite destinations include Japan, New Orleans and the Maldives.

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