You might be in town for the attractions of the historic harbour, or a great gig at one of the city’s great venues, an exhibition at the excellent Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, a trip to a museum, or an architectural pilgrimage to the engineering magnificence of the Clifton Suspension Bridge, but whatever you’re doing here, the best hotels in Bristol offer some of the most unusual accommodation imaginable.
Bristol's best hotels
We love the exterior of this Brutalist-style modern block, and the interiors aren’t to be sniffed at either. Contemporary, chic spaces are the order of the day, with nicely appointed en suite rooms that feature modern art and minimalist styling. The setting is perfect; right on the harbour and close to everything in the centre. Try to bag a room with a harbour view for the best experience. wifi, parking and a fitness centre are all included.
Head to the rooftop of this boutique hotel for the ultimate in accommodation – 1950s aluminium caravans (from £80 a night) updated for the 21st century with free wifi, flatscreen TVs and DVD players, and tea- and coffee-making facilities. White wood-panelled rooms below them are fresh and bright, and with iPod docks, and all come with free breakfast, access to an honesty bar, courtyard garden and lounge.
Housed across two former Victorian banks and featuring lots of period touches, the Bristol Harbour is a luxurious hotel in a great location between the harbour and city centre. All 42 rooms and suites are richly decorated with colourful textiles, and offer free wifi, iPod docks, tea- and coffee making facilities, and, perhaps best of all, decanters of gin and sherry. A basement spa has been added to the already impressive services, which include a lushly-styled cocktail bar and an eye-popping banquet hall.
Set in a pretty Georgian townhouse close to Clifton Village, this little hotel is all about artistry, from its bold interior styling to its regular art exhibitions – if you want more, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery is just a two-minute walk away. Prices start at a tempting £60 for simply-styled contemporary rooms with free wifi, a decanter of sherry, tea- and coffee-making facilities, fruit and homemade biscuits. Guests also have access to a members’ club with a pretty cocktail bar in the basement, and the well-regarded restaurant has an outdoor terrace.
The elegant exterior of these handsome Victorian villas set on a pretty Georgian square in leafy, residential Clifton are matched inside by 41 fresh, bright rooms featuring period touches, and lovely big windows with views over the square. High-ceilinged rooms are en suite and feature free wifi, flatscreen TVs, and tea- and coffee-making facilities, and a free buffet breakfast is included. Best of all, prices are peachy-keen for such a nice area, with rooms from less than £70.
You know what you’re going to get with a Hotel du Vin – classy, contemporary décor in an interesting building – and the Bristol outpost doesn’t disappoint. Set in a series of restored Grade II-listed 18th-century sugar warehouses are chic rooms with unusual features – a loft mezzanine or whitewashed stone wall here, a rolltop bath there – but upscale amenities in all; free wifi, flatscreen TVs, iPod docks, rainfall showerheads and Nespresso coffeemakers are standard. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Hotel du Vin without a beautiful bar and bistro restaurant.
It's more of a self-catering hostel than a hotel, but we had to include the Kyle Blue for the fact that it’s actually a Dutch river barge, docked on Bristol’s harbourside. The various configurations of modern marine-themed cabins (from four private cabins through to a seven-bed dorm) sleep 30 people in all and are as quaint as you’d expect – and more comfortable too. There are portholes to peep out of, but if you want better views, the top-deck lounge is the spot to head to. Bathrooms are shared, and there’s a self-catering kitchen, so definitely one for community-minded folk.
Fans of Isambard Kingdom Brunel should definitely make the Avon Gorge their base in Bristol. Overlooking the engineer’s Clifton Suspension Bridge, this handsome Victorian building is a stunner in terms of location, but it’s not just about the fabulous views and proximity to Clifton Village. Rooms are spacious and come with free wifi, TVs, and tea- and coffee-making facilities. Note that not all rooms have gorge views; if yours doesn’t, make for the hotel’s large heated terrace to do your ‘gramming. There’s free access to a nearby fitness centre, too.
For the swankiest interiors in town, head to this once-grand and still very imposing Victorian hotel, which includes a Grecian-style swimming pool and some stunning architectural features amongst its 242 en suite rooms and suites (check out the Palm Court). All feature the standard (aka a bit corporate) Marriott styling, and come with tea- and coffee-making facilities and access to a fitness centre, but not wifi, which is charged at £5.99 a day.
This handsome 18th-century manor set amid gorgeous landscaped gardens is one for those who prefer to be away from the city centre – though given rooms are from less than £30, you’ll have lots left over to spend on taxis into the city centre just under two miles away (though there is free parking too). Spacious rooms, some with whirlpool baths, are fittingly kitted out with classical décor, and come with free wifi, flatscreen TVs, and tea- and coffee-making facilities.