So you’re coming to Bristol? Excellent choice! But where to stay? Sure, we’ve got Inns of the Holiday and Premier variety, but wouldn’t you rather round off your ventures in the city somewhere special? I’ve put together a list of boutique hotels in Bristol that are sure to make your stay memorable rather than mediocre.
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Boutique hotels in Bristol
Best for: city glamping
St Nicholas St, Bristol BS1 1UB
This four-storey boutique hotel, located smack bang in the heart of the Old City, opposite St Nicholas Market is an exciting and cosy place to base yourself for a Bristol adventure.
For a thrilling, unique stay, go ‘glamping’ in the city and opt for one of the silver airstream ‘Rooftop Rockets’ – a gleaming retro aluminium caravan with all the lux of a modern hotel room (TV, DVD player, iPod dock, disco-colour LED mood lights and free WiFi etc), sat on an astro turf garden on the hotel’s roof.
The 20ft Rocket is the best option for families with one or two children – it’s the largest on offer, with a 5ft Double bed at one end and a seating area at the other which can convert to two single beds for two children up to 13 years, plus a micro bathroom. From your Bristol skyline bolthole, you have a prime viewing spot over the city’s spires and rooftops as well as access to the hotel lounge, courtyard garden and honesty bar, like other hotel room-dwelling guests.
If you’d rather a ‘normal’ hotel room, there are a choice of double, king, twin and triple bedrooms with ‘demisting’ bathroom mirrors and Hangsgrohe power showers.
Breakfast (included) features a scrummy choice of free-range local produce, and post Covid-19, can be ordered in a picnic style hamper, either to your room, or to the courtyard where tables are positioned two metres apart.
From the hotel you’re within walking distance of Bristol Shopping Quarter, many bars and restaurants, the Harbourside and Bristol’s best family attractions.
Travelling here: Bristol Bus Station is just minutes away, Bristol Temple Meads Railway Station is a 10 – 15 minute walk, or a short taxi ride.
Best for: a child-free night away
38 Upper Belgrave Road, Bristol, BS8 2XN
Save this stylish luxury stay for a kid-free weekend away in Bristol (they don’t accommodate children under 12). Located in upmarket Clifton, this double-fronted Georgian merchant’s townhouse has twelve gorgeously decadent bedrooms to choose from (although the loft rooms here are the business).
Each bedroom has its own individual character, with some suites offering views over the vast green parkland of The Downs on one side, while others peer over sloping rows of terraced houses and distant Mendip hills on the other.
Bedlinen and toiletries are top speck, there are waffle dressing gowns and slippers to slink into after a soak in a glamorous double-ended bronze and chrome bath, and a mini bar with a difference – you won’t find the huge overpriced mark-ups of corporate hotels here). It all feels wonderfully indulgent.
The decor is a mix of original Georgian features, contemporary, antique, and artistic furniture with a subtle maritime flavour (a nod to Bristol’s seafaring past). Art lovers will enjoy works by Stokes Croft artists and the David Hockney in the downstairs toilet. Communal chill-out areas include a cosy lounge with log-burner and a pretty outdoor terrace with city views that is perfect in summer.
Begin the day with delicious cooked breakfast or lighter alternatives such as scrambled eggs with smoked salmon, fresh fruits and granolas (all ingredients are as fresh and locally-sourced as possible), before heading out to Clifton Village for a mooch in independent cafés, a spot of boutique shopping, or take a short stroll down to marvel at Clifton Suspension Bridge. For anyone in need of some serious R&R, Number 38 also organise spa breaks in conjunction with The Lido.
Travelling here: Nearby Clifton Down station (10 minutes’ walk) is on a branch line that connects with Bristol Temple Meads.
Best for: art lovers
28 Portland Square, St Paul’s, Bristol BS2 8SA
Situated on Portland Square in St Pauls (near the ‘wedding cake church’, just five minutes from Bristol city centre and Stokes Croft, this former boot factory has been very recently refurbed with the help of local artists, into a fun 23-bedroom boutique hotel with a coffee shop, bar, kitchen, event space and garden. So recent in fact, that it hasn’t even opened yet – and there is much excitement for when it does!
From industrially-styled nooks, to hideaways with a splash of bohemian luxe and a split-level, view-heavy retreat, the bedrooms are all eclectically-decorated, yet not compromising on comfort. Creative guests will love gazing at the urban, pop, and abstract art, photography and neon installations hanging harmoniously across the old walls.
For eating and drinking, The Clubhouse will be a buzzing community hub open to all, with a relaxed atmosphere, a laid-back menu (including some snazzy cocktails) and a programme of cultural events.
Watch this space!
Best for: a self-contained stay
Housed in a grade II* listed Georgian building, just off Clifton Triangle, these five luxury suites have been spruced up with fresh, funky decor and lavish hand-crafted furnishings. Sumptuous features in each room include a state of the art projection cinema and sound system, a phenomenally comfy bed, video painting installation, kitchenette, dining space, Delonghi espresso coffee machine (with milk frother!) and a Roberts radio.
You’re in a great position to explore Bristol from here – the beautiful parkland and epic panoramic city views of Brandon Hill and iconic landmark, Cabot Tower, are just a stroll across Berkeley Square. Clifton Village, Park Street, the city centre and Harbourside are all within easy walking distance (although you’ll need some puff to get back up hilly Park Street!)
Guests staying at Berkeley Suites get complementary use of Nuffield Fitness & Wellbeing Centre (300m away), with its swimming pool, sauna and gym. Visitors after a serious pampering sesh can contact reception about combining their stay with a trip to Thermae Bath Spa. Or if shopping is more your bag, chat to them about their Harvey Nichols ‘shop and stay’ package. Night owls can also make the most of guest access to trendy members’ club, The Square at Berkeley Hotel next door.
In terms of food and drink, the suites’ kitchenette comes with convection hobs, a microwave oven, fridge/freezer, sink, dishwasher and food preparation area. However, if you can’t be bothered to cook, next door’s Square Kitchen menu is also available to order to all Berkeley suites guests and is delivered to your door, to be enjoyed from the comfort of your own bed.
*The Berkeley Square Hotel and Suites are open during lockdown 2 for people travelling for work purposes or for other exempt reasons.
Travelling here: Hotel parking spaces are available for £17.
Best for: onsite spa
53-55 Corn St, Bristol BS1 1HT
On historic Corn Street, housed in two adjoining former 18th century banks, is Bristol Harbour Hotel. The name is a slight misnomer, as you can’t actually see the Harbour from here, although it’s not far away!
There are 42 bedrooms including 3 suites, an award-winning restaurant, cocktail bar and subterranean spa with pint-sized pool, sauna, steam room and plenty of pampering treats on offer. Browsing through the gift vouchers on offer from Bristol Harbour Hotel and I can happily say I’d take any of them right now! A HarSpa facial? Yes please. Foot and leg pamper? Hell yeah. Local gin tasting experience? Where do I sign..?
The corner suites feature freestanding roll-top tubs, grand furnishings, high ceilings and large windows which peer over at St Nicholas Market. There are little luxuries in the bedrooms too, such as Nespresso coffee machines, White Company toiletries and complimentary gin and sherry.
Children under the age of three can stay and eat free at the Hotel, when sharing a room with two paying adults on the same meal basis. They’ve also created an afternoon tea just for kids, and will set little ones up with an activity book, to let you savour your own with minimal disruption.
Best for: iconic views
Sion Hill, Clifton, Bristol BS8 4LD
This hotel will always hold a special place in my heart as it’s where I went into labour with my first child! Perched on the edge of Bristol’s spectacular gorge, overlooking Clifton Suspension Bridge, the Avon Gorge Hotel has long been known for its enviable position in the view-marvelling stakes. Following its multi-million pound refurb by Hotel du Vin, it now has the interior swank to help it live up to surroundings.
Interiors are dark and sophisticated, with the occasional pop of colour, dark wooden furniture and artwork that’ll make you do a double-take. 55 of the bedrooms have Gorge-facing views (the rest look back towards pretty Clifton Village) and come equipped with Nespresso machines and Occitane toiletries. For an extra-treaty stay, go for the Laurent Perrier Executive suite to sip bubbles in twin roll-top baths while peering out at Brunel’s Bridge.
The dining room, now wall-to-wall glass to make the most of those magnificent views, serves up the customary Hotel du Vin classic french dishes. There’s also a large outdoor terrace – the perfect spot for al fresco drinks in summer.
Being a ‘hotel du Vin’, it goes without saying that there is an extensive and eclectic wine (and cocktail) list. Start the night off or retire to the cosy lounge for an aperitif or late-night tipple. For more casual fare, the White Lion Bar has a more relaxed, pub-like atmosphere with gastro style dishes.
You’re perfectly placed here to explore the boutique shops and pretty Georgian architecture of Clifton, venture across the bridge to Ashton Court Estate or wander along the preposterously scenic route to the Downs.
Best for: city centre location
The Sugar House, Narrow Lewins Mead, Bristol, NS1 2NU
A converted 18th century sugar warehouse, Hotel du Vin’s other address in Bristol is an Old City one, that’s been a dependable stalwart of the Bristol hotel scene for some years now. Made up of several buildings all knocked together, it’s something of an upmarket rabbit warren, with 40 bedrooms, dark furnishings, wood panels and open brickwork.
Each bedroom is named after a different wine or vineyard, with the best undoubtedly being Veuve Clicquot – a split-level mezzanine room with a huge bed, lounge and side-by-side roll-top baths.
I’ve had a couple of scrumptious, atmospheric candlelit dinners in the bistro, followed by a nightcap in the bar, or if you’d rather head out, you’re within walking distance of theatres, shopping, restaurants and attractions.
Travelling here: Visit the Hotel du Vin website for directions to the hotel
Best for: budget stays
9 Bridewell St, Bristol BS1 2QD
Previously Bridewell Police HeadQuarters, boutique hostel The Bristol Wing has been lovingly-refurbished and now boasts homely rooms, a welcoming vibe, walls decorated with eclectic art, an impressive 1920s cage lift and ethical credentials that are rare to find.
As a ’boutique hostel’, rather than a bonafide boutique hotel, in the centre of the city, the upsides are that it’s a brilliant budget option in a great location – you’re a short walk away from the bus station, shops, many of Bristol’s best family attractions and the Harbourside. Potential downsides are a lack of privacy or quiet – think of it more as a bustling place to stay, with audible sounds of buzzing city life outside and space that happily lends itself to congregating guests.
Those travelling with children in tow will want to opt for the private family rooms upstairs with twin/double bed and 3 bunks plus en-suite toilet, basin and shower. A travel cot can be added to the room on request and children under two stay for free. There are also shared dorms and private doubles available, some of which are en-suite, others which share bathrooms. Downstairs, you’ll find an open-plan reception, sitting room/common room filled with books and help-yourself coffee and tea and kitchen. Continental breakfast is served in the latter and includes breads, jams, yoghurts and fruit, plus gluten free and vegan options available, to set you up for the day.
There’s also free WIFI, free laundry and self-catering facilities, board games and a widescreen HD TV with some very cosy sofas to plonk yourself down in.
Staying here will automatically boost your social conscience as a small contribution from your room rate goes towards The Bristol Wing’s work with homeless people. The hostel is owned and managed by YMCA Bristol, and they offer 9 single rooms to young homeless people for free as well as 1-2-1 support.
Travelling here: Just across the road from the Bristol’s main bus station and a comfortable stroll from Bristol Temple Meads train station.
Boutique hotels just outside Bristol
Best for: out-of-town rural chic
Can’t choose between a city break or rural retreat? This revamped country pile means you don’t have to! Just 7 miles south-west of the bright lights of Bristol, this chic Georgian mansion house sits surrounded by rolling hills, woodland walks from the door and its very own kitchen garden.
The boutique hotel has nine bedrooms furnished to reflect the traditional elegance of the house and innovatively blended with beautiful modern touches. The four bedrooms at the back are small but cosy, those at the front are bigger and have freestanding baths. All have luxurious beds, period colours, up-cycled furniture and estate-gazing views from sash windows.
Downstairs, the bar is a joy to behold, leather chairs and a woodburner await in the lounge and creative seasonal dishes, whipped up from local, home-grown food, are served in the restaurant.
Travelling here: Bristol is 15-20 minutes by car or there are bus services within a few minutes’ walk of the hotel and a train into Temple Meads from Backwell station.
Berwick Drive, Bristol BS10 7TB, England
Best for: opulent bedrooms and M4/M5 proximity
A 14-bedroom Edwardian mansion set in enchanting gardens 6.5 miles north of Bristol, Berwick Lodge fuses classy English country house with Anatolia vibes thanks to its Turkish/English owners.
Bedrooms are luxuriously-decorated and come with rich upholstery, big beds, impressive bathrooms and views over the gardens, Bristol Channel and South Wales. The suites, Troya in particular, will make your jaw drop (and it won’t surprise you to learn celebs frequently choose this one when they stay!)
In-room beauty treatments, such as massages and facials are on offer, making it a great hotel for a special stay, although you’re only 5 minutes from the M4/M5 motorway here (you can hear it’s distant hum), if you’re looking for a lovely, yet convenient stopover. If you’re travelling with children, extra beds can be provided in the bigger rooms, kids can be catered for in the restaurant and there are cots available.
Outside, there are 18 acres of landscaped gardens (tended to by Prince Charles’ former Highgrove gardener) and woodland to explore, before curling up in the lounge (next to an open fire in cold weather) and tucking into a wicked afternoon tea. Or save your appetite for an 8-course tasting menu (with optional wine flight) in the award-winning AA Rosette Hattusa restaurant.
The city is but a whisper away, with Wild Place, Aerospace Bristol and Blaise Castle Estate a 10-minute drive away.
Travelling here: For Sat Nav use BS10 7TB and then take the private lane to the right of the Sports Ground, which is at the bottom of Berwick Drive. If you’re planning on arriving by helicopter (!), the hotel has a helipad for arrival which can be used for a £75 landing fee.
Castle Street, Thornbury, Gloucestershire, BS35 1HH
Best for: regal fantasies
Boutique hotels don’t come much grander than Thornbury Castle. Fulfil your days-of-yore royal dreams and book a stay in this magnificent 16th century castle, once owned by King Henry VIII (you can even sleep in the room he once shared with Anne Boleyn).
Inside oozes ancient Tudor grandeur – ginormous open fireplaces, oak panelling, suits of armour, a dungeon dining room (open May-Sept), four-poster beds, ornate carved ceilings, heavy regal fabrics and heavy stone walls – blended with luxurious modern touches. For maximum castle-y features in your bedroom, opt for a deluxe double or a deluxe suite.
While there’s no actual spa to speak of, it’s possible to treat yourself to a pampering session in your very own bedchamber- there are a number of glorious-sounding in-house massages on offer bookable with their affiliated Vicarage Farm Holistic Therapy Centre.
Outdoors there’s a vineyard, walled gardens and the chance to soak up some of the atmosphere of country life in Tudor England with activities such as archery, falconry and croquet on offer.
With a choice of four dining rooms, its very own vineyard and kitchen garden, expert sommeliers, decadent afternoon tea and culinary events throughout the year, it’s also a unique foodie treat.
Children aged eight and over are welcome. Dogs £15 per night.
Travelling here: The nearest station is Bristol Parkway (and then it’s a 25 minute taxi ride), or there is free parking at the hotel. Central Bristol is a 30-minute drive.