History is almost everywhere you look in the city of Bristol on the Avon River. As one of England’s oldest ports, there’s much to keep you preoccupied in this historic city. Apart from its rich history, Bristol is also well-known for its vivid street art scene. Not surprising, given that one of the world’s best-known muralists, Banksy, is from this part of the world. Whether you’re in the city to catch up on its history or here for the culture, you’ll find plenty of accommodation. Some of the best hotels in Bristol city centre are housed in refurbished townhouses. You won’t find many Best Western hotels in Bristol, but one that stands out is Best Western Henbury Lodge Hotel on the outskirts of town.
Besides a large number of hotels, there’s no shortage of eating places either. Restaurants range from high-end French-themed dining to hip cafes, canteens, and espresso bars. As far as culture and attractions go, you’ll find more than enough to keep you busy during your time here. Furthermore, the historic city of Bath is less than an hour’s drive from Bristol. If you have the time, you could also check out the top things to do in Bath.
Where to Stay in Bristol
First-timers to the city would probably prefer to be close to the attractions so staying in the Old City is your best bet. Old City is a step back in time with its cobblestone streets and historic landmarks in proximity to the city center. Some of the best hotels in Bristol city centre such as the Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa and The Bristol Hotel are in the vicinity.
Harbourside is another good option with its riverside views. There are plenty of shops, cafes, and restaurants to be explored in the area. It’s also where you’ll find some of the more affordable hotels and hostels. Another good area for affordable accommodation is the Old Market neighborhood. Architecture buffs will have a field day here with a myriad of architectural designs on display.
Clifton is the upmarket area of Bristol. Families will enjoy the quiet neighborhood with its Georgian architecture. Thie iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge and Bristol Zoo are in the area. Many of the best hotels in Bristol are located here.
If you’re loyal to the Best Western chain, you won’t find many Best Western Hotels in Bristol, but there are some excellent options on the city’s outskirts. Also, if you do decide on a trip to Bath, check out our list of the best hotels in Bath for a comfortable stay.
Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel
A recent multi-million dollar facelift has pushed the Bristol Marriott Royal Hotel right up the rankings of the best hotels in Bristol city centre. The historic hotel has been standing tall for over 150 years and boasts of being the oldest hotel in Bristol. Over the years, its hallways have welcomed the likes of Winston Churchill and Cary Grant, amongst other important personalities.
The exterior of the building is quite imposing with its bay windows and somber look. However, the interior is quite the opposite. Chandeliers and other elements of a bygone era beautifully blend in with the new. Peek into the Palm-Court room, and you’ll understand what we’re talking about. It’s a step back in time with its stained glass ceiling, Bath stone walls, and statues. The venue is a popular choice for weddings.
Guest rooms are spread over six floors and fall into 12 different categories. This is a fairly big hotel, so it’s well worth remembering your room number! The rooms are pretty spacious and well equipped with a good range of amenities. Given the opulence of space, the rooms fall a bit short on decor. That being said, the little pops of color and modern artwork do add a touch of panache to the rooms. Rooms on the upper floors offer great views of the cathedral, harbor, or Park Street.
The hotel features a well-equipped fitness center, so you won’t have to worry about skipping your fitness regime. Food options are plenty in the vicinity, but should you choose to dine in, Miller & Carter Steakhouse will definitely satiate your cravings.
Brooks Guest House
In sharp contrast to the Royal Hotel, you’ll find the contemporary Brooks Guest House. Smack dab in the middle of the Old City; this guesthouse stands out as one of the best hotels in Bristol in the affordable segment. The hotel’s location puts you in proximity to jazz pubs, restaurants, and historic churches. An easy walk will take you to important landmarks such as the cobbled King Street and Cabot Circus shopping area.
What makes this award-winning guest house so great is the vibe and the quirky decor. Expect street art in the courtyard and caravans on the roof! Yes, you can rent a ‘Rocket’ too! While the rooms are on the smaller side, they’re well-decorated with standard amenities. For a novel experience book, one of the ‘Retro Rocket’ rooms ranges from 16ft to 20ft. They incorporate caravan technology with a compact bathroom, hanging space, and bag storage.
Breakfast is included in the rate. Given the current situation, a picnic breakfast basket is delivered to the room in the mornings. In normal times, however, you can enjoy breakfast in the breakfast room furnished with leather sofas and rustic tables. You’ll find plenty of restaurants in the area so you won’t need to worry too much about your next meal. Overall, the service at this hotel is quite outstanding, so you’ll definitely have a good stay here.
Number 38 Clifton
If you want to get away from the bustle of Bristol for a day or two but still be near enough, Number 38 Clifton offers just that. It sits at the top of the City, giving you panoramic views of the city from one side of the hotel. On the other hand, the hotel’s front offers views of the vast expanse of Clifton Downs. It’s quite a long walk to the city center or harbor from here, but frequent buses plying on that route will allow you an easy commute. Clifton Down station is also 10 minutes away.
A former Georgian merchant’s house, it now houses twelve stylish bedrooms. There are distinctive nods to its past reflected in the hotel’s decor with trunks, chests, and bulk headlamps, plus a few maritime paintings. However, it’s not all traditional decor but a beautiful blend of the modern with the old. Guest rooms are especially comfortable with all the amenities you would find in a high-end hotel. All rooms include Roberts radios, Ren bathroom products, and Waffle dressing gowns, among other things. The Loft Suites are the clear standouts with huge beds, velvet upholstery, and outstanding bathrooms with standalone tin or copper bathtubs. One thing to note, the hotel does not accommodate children under the age of 12.
While a continental breakfast is included in the room rate, you can also enjoy a cooked breakfast with an option for vegetarians for a small fee. A selection of wines, champagne, and made-to-order cocktails is also served in the drinks lounge. You’ll also find a well-stocked mini-bar with wine, champagne, and soft drinks in the rooms. There are more than enough dining venues around the corner to satiate your tastebuds.
Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel
Another of the best hotels in Bristol that fuses the past with the present is the Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel. Housed in a Grade II-listed building on Broad Street in the Old City Quarter, the hotel puts you in proximity to St Nicholas Market, Cabot Circus Shopping Center, and Harbourside.
Like many of the old buildings in town, this one has also seen the likes of Churchill and the Rolling Stones step into its lobby. A recent makeover has added plenty of color to the interiors in the form of art. It draws its inspiration from UpFest, the largest urban street art and graffiti festival in Europe. You’ll find over 500 pieces of commissioned street art adorning the spaces, beginning with the spacious lobby.
182 spacious rooms and suites feature high ceilings, colorful chairs, and subtle dark green walls. They come equipped with a range of modern comforts such as Nespresso coffee machines, flat-screen TVs, and complimentary WiFi, among other things. Some ensuite bathrooms have bathtub/shower combinations.
Keepers Kitchen & Bar, the onsite restaurant, is a good place to unwind. Open throughout the day; the menu does offer some pleasing options. The bar is a popular hangout with locals, especially on Saturday nights when a DJ mixes up some mellow tunes. Breakfast is not included in the rate, but you can begin your day with a paid-for continental breakfast.
Beech House is not your average hotel but comfy city apartments with the feel of a boutique hotel. It definitely fits the bill of being one of the best hotels in Bristol city centre. If you’re looking for spacious accommodation in Bristol, this is one of the best there is. It’s only a five-minute walk to the shops of Clifton Triangle and Park Street from here. The world-renowned Clifton Suspension Bridge takes about 15 minutes. Take a stroll in The Downs if you want a bit of fresh air.
A grand Victorian villa has been tastefully refurbished to accommodate 14 studios and apartments. Each is individually designed with wood floors, fireplaces, and a mix of modern and vintage furniture. The kitchen is well stocked with Bosch appliances that include a dishwasher. There’s also a washing machine, television, and comfy Hypnos bed in the rooms.
For someone looking for larger accommodation, the custom-built two-bedroom Mews House is a good option. You’ll find enough pots and pans in the kitchen to rustle up a meal. However, if you prefer eating out or takeaway, there are a few restaurants in the vicinity.
Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin
Set in Clifton Village, one of the prettiest areas in Bristol, the Avon Gorge by Hotel du Vin ticks all the right boxes. It’s easy to see why this is one of the best hotels in Bristol with its beautiful interiors and fantastic views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Avon Gorge. A short walk will take you to the area’s many boutiques and restaurants. Bristol Zoo is also within easy reach from here. It may not be one of the most fascinating zoos globally, but it’s worth a visit.
While the building dates from 1898, the recent makeover by Hotel du Vin has given the hotel a whole new character. There’s a fine marble staircase that leads to the function rooms adorned by a red carpet, but what stands out are the dining spaces. The restaurant, Goram & Vincent, doesn’t just serve up some delectable cuisine. It also has an excellent setting.
Floor-to-ceiling glass windows provide a fine view of the iconic suspension bridge. There are tables on the restaurant terrace too if you want a closer look. The food here brings in quite a few regulars, so reservations are a must. The White Lion Pub also has seating inside and outside on the terrace. It boasts of having one of the largest terraces in the southwest. Apart from these, The Lounge is furnished with new sofas, modern armchairs, and plush cushions. It’s the perfect place to unwind after a long day.
However, if you’d rather retire to your room, you won’t be disappointed either. Colorful accents and stylish wooden furniture blend in with the dark color palette to create a stylish yet cozy space. The bed is super comfy, and the room has enough comforts to keep you in. Suppose you have the money to splurge, book one of the suites. The Signature Suite is obviously the coveted space in the hotel, with its twin roll-up baths looking out onto the iconic bridge. No matter what room you pick, you’ll love the comfort.
Best Western Henbury Lodge Hotel
You won’t find many Best Western hotels in Bristol, but there are quite a few in the neighboring towns and cities. The Best Western Henbury Lodge Hotel does stand out as one of the best hotels in Bristol, though. This stylish country house hotel is about five miles from the city centre, but closer to the Cribbs Causeway Mall. It’s easy to get to the city centre from here as the No.1 bus stop is right outside the hotel.
Like many of the best hotels in Bristol city centre, this one is also housed in a refurbished Georgian building. The stable block has been given a facelift to make up the 20 spacious rooms of the hotel. Well-appointed bedrooms are tastefully decorated in shades of red, white, and yellow. You can choose from double rooms and twin-bedded rooms. Some superior double rooms come with super king-sized beds and a lounge area. There’s no lift on the property, so it’s best to book a room on the ground floor if you have difficulty climbing stairs.
Breakfast is served in the Blaise Restaurant from 7 am to 9 am on weekdays and an hour later on weekends. The restaurant is also open for dinner with a menu that changes seasonally. If you choose to dine in, a good idea would be to make a reservation. Guests can also enjoy traditional afternoon tea, served in the beautiful lounge with an open fireplace.
One of the best hotels in Bristol city centre to base yourself is the city’s namesake, The Bristol. Situated on the Harbourside, it enjoys a central spot that puts you close to the nightlife, museums, art galleries, or whatever else you want to explore this side of town.
The exterior of the building is a topic of debate with its pod-like design. However, the interior draws guests to the hotel—a sleek and chic vibe envelopes all the spaces. From the luxurious bedrooms to the public areas, the interiors have been well planned. You can look forward to a good night’s sleep on the comfy, generously sized beds that feature duck-down duvets ad plush bedspreads. Rooms fall into three categories, with the more expensive ones looking out onto the harbor.
On the hotel’s ground floor, you’ll find the River Grille Restaurant that offers British bistro dining. The views of the river through floor-to-ceiling windows are quite lovely. It’s even more special on the weekends when musicians regale you with jazz or the piano. The relaunched Shore Cafer Bar with its Harbourside terrace is another good space to enjoy a quick bite, especially in the summer.
Breakfast is charged separately, but a complimentary a la carte breakfast is included in the rate if you choose some special offers. For those who like to stay on top of their fitness regime, there’s a fitness suite on the fourth floor for guests.
Hotel du Vin & Bistro Bristol
Offering chic contemporary ‘loft living’ style bedrooms and a warm, inviting atmosphere Hotel du Vin & Bistro Bristol stands out as one of the best hotels in Bristol city centre. The hotel’s location puts you close to all the city’s main attractions. Whether it’s a stroll along the waterfront that interests you or shopping at Cabot Circus, it’s within easy reach. Also within easy reach of the hotel is Bristol Cathedral, Arnolfini gallery, and other attractions.
A collection of 18th-century sugar warehouses have been tastefully converted into one of the best hotels in Briston city centre. High ceilings and exposed brickwork in some places are a nod to the city’s industrial past. Taking it up a notch in style and comfort are wood floors, rich dark colors, and leathery chairs. Not surprisingly, the guest rooms also excel in comfort and style. Roll-top baths and powerful drench showers in ensuite bathrooms, plus hand sprung mattresses covered in fine Egyptian linen, add to the comfort of staying here. If you’re with your special other, why not go the distance and book one of the two stunning Signature suites.
Bistro du Vin is a clear standout in the area with its elegant setting and delicious food. Open for breakfast and dinner, and the bistro is a popular spot with locals too. The hotel’s bar is another inviting space with its vast selection of wines, alcoholic drinks, and coffee. It’s also a good place to grab a quick bite.
Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa
Once the home of two former banks, the Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa has been restored to one of the best hotels in Bristol city centre. Housed in a grand Victorian Grade II-listed building, the hotel exudes style and luxury. It’s a tranquil haven in the heart of the city. Most of the city’s attractions are within walking distance from here. However, if you’d rather explore the city on the back of a bike, the hotel can arrange bike hire.
Large windows allow plenty of natural light into the rooms, making them bright and welcoming. While the rooms are not huge, they’re big on comfort with a good range of modern amenities. The suites are clear standouts with some of the best views. They feature luxury free-standing baths (some within the rooms), lavish furnishings, and a host of other specials.
The charm of staying here is the Bristol HarSpa, hidden away in the old bank vaults. It features a heated swimming pool, a hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam room, and fitness suite. You can also choose from a wide range of ESPA treatments. With so much on offer at the hotel, it’s no surprise that the hotel has some of the best dining options in town.
At the Harbour Kitchen, you can dig into delectable seafood or dry-aged steaks and indulgent desserts; if you’d rather have a pre-dinner drink, head to The Gold Bar with its eclectic cocktails, craft beers, and wines. Afternoon Tea is another delightful affair at the restaurant where you get to indulge your tastebuds. Pretty pastries, delectable cakes, homemade scones, and tasty finger sandwiches will more than satisfy you.
One of Bristol’s best-kept secrets is Berwick Lodge, with its tranquil setting and stunning surroundings. It’s one of the best hotels in Bristol that provides a convenient getaway. The privately-owned country manor house is close to M5 and a short drive from the city. It may not be the ideal location for someone looking for the best hotels in Bristol city centre, but it’s quite amazing if you don’t mind the drive.
Lovingly restored by the owners, the red and brick mansion reflects its past glory. Open fires, oak paneling, big bay windows, and stained glass add to the allure of the space. The 14 individually designed rooms all carry the names of Anatolian civilizations. The rooms are a treat for the eyes and the soul with their gorgeous furnishings. Think chandeliers, four-poster beds, fireplaces, and oversized furniture. It’s not just the rooms but the bathrooms too that are clear winners.
Luxury flows over into the hotel’s Hattusa restaurant with its white table linen, a wine sommelier, and fine dining. There’s no formal dress code at this 2AA Rosette restaurant, but you’ll definitely want to look your best, given your surroundings. Tantalize your tastebuds with the delectable food on offer, or take a sip of some of the best wines from around the world in this dining space. You can also stop by for wonderful Afternoon Tea.
Recommended Restaurants / Bars in Bristol:
- Rosemarino – The best place to get a good brunch is at this award-winning restaurant in Clifton. With several awards under their belt, this is a great place to start your gastronomic explorations. It’s open six days a week for breakfast, brunch and lunch.
- Souk Kitchen – If your tastebuds hanker after delicious Mediterranean food this is the place to head to. Located in Southville just opposite the popular Tobacco Factory Theatre, the place is always bustling with activity.
- Pub hopping and sightseeing – Enjoy some excellent locally produced beers or gin with a local as your guide to some of Bristol’s best independent pubs, bars, tap rooms and cafes.
Recommended Activities in Bristol:
- Blackbeard to Banksy Guided Walking Tour – Discover Bristol’s history and art on this two hour guided walking tour. Besides ancient castles and churches you’ll also get a chance to admire Bristol’s famous street art by one of its most famous residents – Banksy.
- Bristol Zoo – If you’re staying in Clifton, why not check out the Bristol Zoo. The kids will undoubtedly have a wonderful time there with all the animals plus the zoo’s adventure ropes course.
- Clifton Suspension Bridge – One of Bristol’s most recognizable landmarks, the bridge has been in use since 1864. It may not be among the highest bridges in the world but it draws thousands of visitors every year.