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There are surprisingly few places to stay in Bristol, even less than neighboring Bath, and some places are certainly better than others. I had a chance to spend a night at The Bristol with my dad. While I can’t compare it to every other hotel in Bristol, I can say it was surprisingly good. There was absolutely nothing in my stay I could find fault with.
The Bristol Location
Quite possibly the best part of The Bristol is its location directly on the waterfront. It is located on St. Augustine’s Reach, a hand-dug canal dating back to the 13th century and leading into the city center. St. Augustine’s Reach is where the bus and boat tours leave from. It also has some fantastic restaurants, including The Stable with some of the best pizzas in town.
Within 10 minutes walking are nearly all the main attractions of the town. Pero’s Bridge is right out back, the Bristol Aquarium and We the Curious are across the bridge, St. Nicholas Market is just to the north and Cabot Circus is a couple minutes past the market. Just to the south across Prince Street Bridge is the M-Shed museum, and the S.S. Bristol is another 5-minutes walk past that.
The Bristol Check-In and Hospitality
With so many hotels going digital with computers to check in at, it was a welcoming sight to have an actual receptionist to greet my dad and me. She set us up to talk with the Director of Sales and Marketing, who was able to provide me with the history of the hotel. Rather than a chain, the hotel is part of the Doyle Collection, a group of eight family-run hotels in capital cities, plus Bristol and Cork which are considered “capital” cities of their region.
The hotels in the Doyle Collection stand out with their personal touches and boutique feel. Walking into The Bristol had a cozy feeling, and belied the huge property that it is. More than 150 rooms are available, in addition to the extensive conference, wedding and meeting facilities available.
I got one of the few rooms of the hotel with two twin beds. It was located on the second floor, so the view of the waterfront was slightly hampered by the trees, but the autumn colors were gorgeous.
The room is decorated with red and black highlights. The two twin beds were actually pushed together to form a king-size bed. Two comfortable chairs provided a place for my dad to read the book about Bristol that was left on the coffee table, while I utilized the large desk at the back of the room. Several outlets were available, including USB chargers and ports to connect a laptop to the flat panel in the room. The bathroom had all the usual amenities, including something I’d never seen before. When I stepped out of my hot shower, I found the mirror without any steam on it. There was heating behind the glass, keeping it warm enough to prevent condensation. Talk about attention to detail!
Breakfast at The River Grille
A buffet breakfast buffet is available in the River Grille Restaurant overlooking the harbor. This wasn’t your usual continental breakfast provided by hotels, nor was it a simple English breakfast. They did have all the usual English breakfast ingredients, plus Scottish black pudding and so much more. In the hot section were porridge and veggie sausages with their own tongs.
The cold buffet was beautifully laid out with fruits, smoothies, cheeses and meats, yogurts and hard-boiled eggs. Finally, there were cereals, granolas, pastries, muffins, bread, and various toppings. To round it out, four juices were available. As soon as we arrived, the waitress took our orders for lattes, which were included with the meal.
It wasn’t just the amount of food available, but the quality. It’s rare that I find a buffet with such good quality food. I usually can’t eat buffet eggs, yet people were making fun of the two fried eggs that I took. I guess an English breakfast is only ever supposed to have one.
I certainly look forward to staying at The Bristol again the next time I’m in Bristol. I’ll probably have to go back next January since I missed so many attractions this trip. Three days just isn’t enough time to explore the city. Maybe you’ll be around too?
The Bristol Hotel Information
- Address: The Bristol Hotel, Prince Street, Bristol BS1 4QF, United Kingdom
- Phone: +44 117 923 0333
- Website: www.doylecollection.com/hotels/the-bristol-hotel
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