I have never visited the city of Bristol before, so I was eager, not only to enjoy my prize STA win at the Bristol Hotel, but to also get a flavour of the area's culture and surroundings.
Our sat nav, 'Griselda' helped us to cruise through the large urban zone before arriving at our central destination in Prince Street, at around 4pm. Complimentary parking had been arranged in the adjacent NCP car park which was very convenient.
We were warmly greeted at reception where everything was fully explained to ensure our stay was enjoyable. We were allocated a room on the sixth floor to give us a great view overlooking the quayside with its pedestrian, Pero Bridge. A pair of distinctive horned shaped sculptures act as counterweights for the lifting section. It was named in honour of Pero Jones who came to live in Bristol as the slave of John Pinney.
The hotel is one of eleven in 'The Doyle Collection.' which can be found in six major cities in the UK, Ireland and the USA and who pride themselves on extraordinary hospitality and expert service. Our deluxe room was spacious and stylish with additional luxuries including a Nespresso coffee machine, towelling robes and slippers and complementary mineral water. The room had a large bed, bedecked with cushions, chic, modern furniture and a large flat screened television. A shame there was no fridge, as I always think they are useful to have. The bathroom had a bath with a combined shower and specially chosen bath products were available.
After settling in, we decided to explore some of the sights before our meal at 7pm. We walked over the Pero Bridge, linking the bars, restaurants and attractions towards the well lit Millennium Centre with the Bristol Aquarium and new ice rink. Autumn skaters were enjoying their 'spills and excitement' and young children clung on to their 'penguin aids' to retain their balance. As well as water features, there is the Big Screen (gifted to the City Council as part of the Cultural Olympiad), and a massive bronze sculptured stag beetle.
We walked on in the direction of the Cathedral, but unfortunately did not get to look around as a service was in progress. So we headed up Park Street with it's Christmas lights, passing the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery and the University. It's a bit of a climb going up the street, but great coming down!
Returning to the hotel, we got ready for dinner in the The River Grille. We were greeted by the staff on duty and shown to a window seat overlooking the water with it's narrow boats and small, anchored yachts. Relaxing, informal and candlelit, we watched the many cyclists, walkers and joggers coming and going while waiting for our food. The restaurant uses west country ingredients such as fresh fish, steak and delicious cheeses from local farms. My starter was a Chicken Terrine, followed by a beautifully moist fillet of salmon. There was a nice choice of desserts, but as a Type 2 diabetic I chose the cheese and biscuits. We had a complementary glass of wine to accompany the meal. We were waited upon by a very nice, local young man who was very helpful and polite. We even learned some history about the warren of underground passages running beneath the city, some of the tunnels dating back to the 12th century!
After an enjoyable meal we decided to have a short walk before retiring for the night.
Breakfast was self-service apart from the coffee or tea. There was plenty of choice from full English to Continental. My husband was fascinated by the crisp autumn morning and people rushing across the bridge on their way to work, whilst we sat and ate a relaxed breakfast. Boat reflections shimmered in the light of a wonderfully sunny start to the day, with birds hovering and swooping in search of some scraps of food. The hotel itself, straddles the old and the new part of Bristol, making it an ideal situation for exploring this fascinating city.
We couldn't leave without having a last walk around on such a glorious morning. We were able to do this because we had been given an extended checking out time by the hotel. When we did finally leave we were given a complementary bottle of water each for our onward journey.
We both had a wonderful time and were treated really well in the hotel. As for the city, there is so much to see … but that gives a good reason for a return visit!