Bristol, United Kingdom

Bristol Harbour Hotel

Rates from (ex tax)$115.00

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP103.50), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

On the money

Setting

Characterful Corn Street

Bristol Harbour Hotel is a sound investment: the hotel is set in what was once the Lloyds and Midland bank HQ, in the characterful city centre. Banker-seducing lures here include some of the comfiest beds we’ve ever woken up in, a nifty spa in the vaults, an outpost of award-winning restaurant the Jetty (housed in the grand old former banking hall, natch), and cocktails that are worth every shiny cent. As if that wasn’t enough to have you reaching for your cheque book, the hotel also does delicious afternoon teas (clotted-cream a-go-go).

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A scented candle (redolent of sea air and fresh cotton, apparently), courtesy of Harbour Hotels

Facilities

Photos Bristol Harbour Hotel facilities

Need to know

Rooms

42, including five suites.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $115.00 (£86), excluding tax at 20 per cent.

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 21 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP86.25), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

More details

Rates usually exclude breakfast (£16.95 a person, daily, for a full English fry-up, plus Continental options).

Also

The man to thank for the Bristol Harbour Hotel’s handsome building is renowned 19th-century architect (and Bristolian) William Bruce Gingell, who was inspired by Sansovino’s 16th-century Venetian library.

At the hotel

Free WiFi throughout. In rooms: TV; desk; on-the-house sherry or gin in glass decanters; Nespresso coffee machines; minibar; bath products by the White Company.

Our favourite rooms

Reap the benefits of the building’s bountiful curves by opting for one of the Corner Suites, which have enough space for a mini-army of bankers, plus a freestanding bathtub, a super-king-size bed and a shower that’s as refreshingly drenching as a tropical rainstorm.

Poolside

You’ve probably never swum in a bank before, but now’s your chance: the spa has a lap pool and a hydrotherapy pool (plus a host of other treats).

Spa

Be rubbed, scrubbed, primped and preened in the Bristol Harbour Spa, set in the basement vaults (admire the original cash drop and safe door). The spa has a steam room, sauna, seven treatment rooms and a range of rituals featuring fragrant Espa unguents.

Packing tips

Itty-bitty swimwear for the soon-to-be-opened spa (yes, you too, Mr Smith).

Also

For a £2.50 tray-charge, have breakfast brought to you in bed. (No crumbs on the pillows, mind.)

Children

Little Smiths aged between three and 16 are welcome, but the hotel doesn’t come with family frills. The restaurant has a children’s menu and on-loan highchairs; staff will heat up milk. Extra beds (£20 a night) and cots (£15) can be added to rooms.

Food and Drink

Photos Bristol Harbour Hotel food and drink

Top Table

Stake out one of the big banquettes for privacy and people-watching.

Dress Code

Best of British, to match the menu. Brogues and brocade are a good start.

Hotel restaurant

Set in the former banking hall, the Jetty has civic grandeur by the vault-load: lofty ceilings, tall windows, hits of cobalt, glossy parquet floors, a marble-topped bar and bespoke banquette seating, for example. The menu is as assured as the styling, thanks to chef Alex Aitken, who also oversees crowd-pleasing Jetty outposts in Devon, Cornwall, Chichester and beyond. As is natural, given Bristol’s watery position, there’s plenty to please fish- and seafood-lovers: highlights include a trio of octopus – featuring carpaccio, grilled and slow-cooked occy – and stone bass served with a herb-crusted mini shellfish pie. Canter through courses by opting for the Catch Mini-Gastro set menu, which will woo you via five different dishes. Attention, cake-fiends: the Jetty’s afternoon teas are popular for a reason…

Hotel bar

Set to open in early 2017, the Gold Bar is bound to be a smart spot for accomplished cocktails (there will be 12 tipples to choose from, each with a name that riffs respectfully on the building’s banking heritage).

Last orders

Dinner is served until 10.30pm at the Jetty. At the Gold Bar, thirsts are slaked until 1am, Thursday–Saturday; 11pm, Sunday–Wednesday.

Room service

A slimmed-down version of Jetty’s menu can be ordered around the clock.

Location

Photos Bristol Harbour Hotel location
Address
Bristol Harbour Hotel
55 Corn St, Bristol
Bristol
BS1 1HT
Bristol
United Kingdom

Planes

Bristol Airport is nine miles away, offering direct flights from a bunch of European destinations (including Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Vienna and Zurich) and various spots around the UK (www.bristolairport.co.uk). The hotel doesn’t offer transfers, but you can easily catch a taxi from the airport.

Trains

Bristol Temple Meads station is a 10-minute drive from Bristol Harbour Hotel. Londoners can hop to Bristol on a direct train from Paddington within two hours; there are also speedy connections to Cardiff, Manchester, Birmingham and other UK hubs (www.gwr.com).

Automobiles

If you’re coming by car, set your Sat Nav for ‘BS1 1HT’ and be prepared to pay for public parking. There are two car parks close by; Nelson Street is usually £21 for 24 hours, but the hotel can arrange 25 per cent off.

Worth getting out of bed for

Stroll around Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, admiring the collections – which include some Banksy’s, natch. It would be rude not to acknowledge Bristol’s iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge: learn about its history on a free guided tour. If the idea of a giant shopping emporium with hundreds of brands makes your pulse quicken, flex your plastic at Cabot Circus, which also houses restaurants, bars and a cinema. Prefer the idea of rummaging for vintage treasure in independent boutiques? Pick up old-new threads from Loot, near Bristol Coach station, which has an impressive stash of menswear, womenswear, retro Nikes, accessories and more; add to your record collection at Rise Music on Queen’s Road or add to your library at Dreadnought (+44 (0)117 329 3176) on St George's Road. If you’re here in August, remember to look up at the skies: the city hosts Europe’s largest meeting of hot-air-balloon enthusiasts. Go for a stroll around peaceful Queen Square, admiring the elegant Regency architecture and immaculate lawns.

Local restaurants

The Ox on Corn Street serves some of Bristol’s best steak; its fragrant Sunday roasts, imaginative sides and playful sweet treats are nothing to sneer at, either. Expect comfort food, done to best-of-British perfection. Steak sauces include charred chilli romesco and green peppercorn; you can also drench your cut in garlic, chorizo or anchovy butter. Admire active types notching up laps while you sit back and relax at Lido Restaurant, Spa & Pool, sandwiched prettily between gracious Georgian terraces (+44 (0)1179 339533). In addition to the unusual mealtime views, Lido serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with afternoon tea and tapas in between. Not to be confused with the spa brand of the same name, Cowshed is a carnivore’s dream: the on-site butcher prepares juicy steaks and more at this laid-back restaurant on Whiteladies Road; the knowledgeable staff are more than happy to chat with fellow meat lovers (+44 (0)1179 933550).

Local bars

Milk thistle is reputed to be good for your liver; Milk Thistle on Colston Avenue might not be. This stylish little cocktail bar – sister to prohibition-style Hyde & Co – has walls as dark as squid ink and an impressive selection of house libations, alongside the classics. Try the Pioneer – Bruichladdich whisky, lemon juice, cocoa liqueur, fennel cordial and egg white – or one of the seasonal concoctions. Get your swank on at Red Light, a swish Union Street speakeasy with a payphone entrance (you’ll see), table service and dim-to-the-point-of-disrobing lighting.

Reviews

Photos Bristol Harbour Hotel reviews
Laura Snapes

Anonymous review

I arrive in Bristol in the middle of a heatwave – the kind of temperatures that make us feeble Brits lose our minds and fight in the streets. When I get out of a taxi outside the Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa late one Sunday evening, there’s a bit of a set-to kicking off outside a bar down the road. The hotel is an old converted bank set right in the centre of the city – a charming and convenient location, but one that makes me wonder just how relaxing this short break will be.

One step through the hotel’s front doors, and my fears are allayed. With its cool white interior, the bijou lobby already feels reassuringly soothing, an impression that intensifies as the concierge accompanies me to my room. It’s silent up here, even though, as I discover from climbing onto the cosy window seat and peering through the shutters, my room faces the street where I was standing two minutes earlier. It’s not the only impressive feat of engineering in my superior double room. It’s compact with space given over to the right things. A subtly curved dresser increases the walking room, and beautifully frames the room’s centrepiece: the biggest bed I’ve ever seen. It could comfortably fit three, but tonight I have it all to myself.

Everything is pristine, elegant, calm, with a heady freshness. After washing up in the spacious bathroom, I settle under the seasonally appropriate duvet with a small nightcap. Although there’s a traditional minibar hidden in one of the fitted wardrobes, there are also two complimentary pitchers full of gin and sherry on a table by the bed. This unexpected generosity is also potentially lethal, but remembering the hardcore walking tour I’ve planned for tomorrow, I limit myself to one and fall asleep easily (thanks to the effective yet mercifully silent air conditioning).

For my money, Bristol is the best city in the UK. Its distinct boroughs offer something for everyone: there’s mainstream shopping in Cabot Circus, and independent havens spanning Park Street. Bijou Clifton Village teems with boutiques and fancy eateries, while just a 15-minute walk away, Gloucester Road and Stokes Croft offer bohemian art, food and clubs. While I’m angling to try the Harbour Hotel’s breakfast, I can also name about eight brunch spots that I also want to visit during my stay – earthy Katie and Kim’s, where almost everything comes with their addictive tarragon pesto, the Primrose in Clifton, Papadeli’s on Whiteladies, not to mention the stalls in St Nicholas’ Market, which faces the hotel. In the end I settle for a local institution, the Park Street branch of the Boston Tea Party, which has six outlets in the city.

Bristol sings in the sun and invites all-day wandering, from the sparkling harbour to the verdant Downs. My mission is a little dingier – investigating the city’s spectacular array of second-hand record shops. My finds justify the dusty fingers and tickly nose, and dinner and wine with a friend at Clifton’s Bosco Pizzeria feels well-earned. As I climb into bed later, I’m already in mourning for my last night in its crisp, vast embrace. I’d sleep in until check-out if it weren’t for my early morning spa appointment.

To eat pre- or post-massage? I’m sure there’s sound advice on the subject, but impatience gets the better of me on Tuesday morning, and I bolt to the dining room – aka the Jetty – an hour before my treatment. It’s stunning. Clean and glassy, with the romantic warmth of a Mediterranean coastal salon. The deep blue window panels and booths offer an immersive touch. Breakfast is served in blue and white Cornishware by attentive staff. Conscious of not wanting to lay on the massage table with a full belly, I sadly eschew the kippers and avocado and opt for the continental, which is full of innovative twists: decadent homemade granola, prunes stewed in Earl Grey, sweet mini pastries.

I wish I could eke out breakfast, but I want to squeeze in a dip in the pool before my massage. I had been wondering where they were keeping this spa – next to the Jetty is a vast, beautiful function room – until I’m led below ground. The space is wowing: a warren of discrete and intriguing rooms off a cool grey corridor. After a peek into the steam room and sauna, I head straight for the water. The arched ceiling is low, the lights dim and flickering, and there’s nobody else around. The water in the compact pool feels silky and smells great, and there’s just about enough room to do lengths – plus, the powerful jets offer a good opportunity for resistance swimming. After tumbling around for a while, I decide to get into the relaxation mindset via a spell in the luxurious Jacuzzi, which would doubtless fit eight people, though I have it to myself.

I’m thankful that the masseuse comes to retrieve me otherwise I’d be here all day. She leads me down another corridor, past an apt David Hockney print (and a gym that I half feel guilty for ignoring) and into the therapy room. The massage is sublime – just as brutal as I’d requested – so much so that I struggle to stay awake so I can enjoy it in at least a semi-conscious state. Once time’s up, the therapist leads me to a relaxation room, where I string out my final minutes at the hotel before I have to dash back upstairs and stuff my suitcase. Outside, the heatwave pounds on, and a sweaty two-hour train ride back to London awaits, but the Harbour Hotel’s spell feels like a protective forcefield.

 

The Guestbook

Whenever you book a stay at a Smith Hotel with us, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in Bristol Harbour Hotel’s Guestbook below.

We loved

The central location and comfortable, well-equipped room.

Don’t expect

A quiet nights sleep and good WiFi.

Rating

Stayed on 9 Nov 2017

We loved

Gold Bar.

Rating

Stayed on 28 Oct 2017

We loved

The staff were very helpful and couldn't have been more accommodating. The room was very tasteful and the bed was great – huge, lovely bedlinen, so comfortable.

Rating

Stayed on 14 Oct 2017

We loved

The very comfortable beds and having breakfast sitting in gigantic chairs. The Ox restaurant – one minute walk from hotel, very good steaks; The Rummer hotel's restaurant – very good for tasting menus, two minutes walk from the hotel.

Don’t expect

A car park. 

Rating

Stayed on 6 Oct 2017

We loved

Everything! Beautiful rooms and a stunning hotel.

Rating

Stayed on 4 Oct 2017

We loved

The room was very comfortable, especially the bed.

Rating

Stayed on 4 Oct 2017

We loved

Everything.

Don’t expect

A smoke free terrace – there were smokers a few feet away from us when we were breakfasting and having drinks on the terrace. In 2017 I was surprised that this is considered OK.

Rating

Stayed on 25 Aug 2017

We loved

A great central Bristol location. Comfortable bedrooms with big, comfortable beds and great showers. The Jetty restaurant was also right up our street – excellent, well cooked food. The Ox restaurant just down the road is really nice – cool cocktails and great steaks. Bristol harbour is a short walk away and has any number of atmospheric bars and casual dining places, as well as an atmospheric, indy cinema (The Watershed).

Don’t expect

Parking (it's not easy to pull up outside the hotel and the nearest NCP is a few minutes' walk away). Our bedroom, while comfortable, was a little on the small side (but not ridiculously so). Getting upstairs with luggage wasn't that easy – the lift is absolutely tiny!

Rating

Stayed on 20 Jul 2017

We loved

Bar decor. Breakfast was nice. Good location for exploring Bristol.

Don’t expect

A nice view – our room overlooked old pipes. The room was not as nice as I had hoped/expected but clean and spacious enough.

Rating

Stayed on 26 May 2017

We loved

The beautiful building and interior design. The bedrooms are fabulous! The staff and the spa.

Don’t expect

Peace and quiet.

Rating

Stayed on 5 May 2017

We loved

The huge, high beds and out-there interiors.

Don’t expect

The restaurant service and food

Rating

Stayed on 29 Apr 2017

We loved

The building and the decor.

Rating

Stayed on 28 Apr 2017

We loved

The spa area. Like a secluded little cave!

Don’t expect

A quiet dinner with house music playing.

Rating

Stayed on 13 Apr 2017

We loved

Lovely, decadent touches in the room. Gorgeous high bed, fluffy robes, fabulous food and relaxing little spa. St Nicholas Markets are opposite the hotel, and well worth a Saturday browsing session.

Don’t expect

A quiet night if you go on a Friday/Saturday. The location is perfect – a great part of old town and in the middle of the bustle, so weekends aren't quiet and there's no silence until about 4am.

Rating

Stayed on 1 Apr 2017

We loved

The room, sofa etc.

Don’t expect

Central bristol to be quiet!

Rating

Stayed on 1 Apr 2017

We loved

The new Spa in the hotel was lovely - new and quirky being in the vaults of an old bank! All very Zen! Visit the SS Great Britain down at the harbour area. Also if you love foodie places, Adelina's Yard a must - tasting menu with wine absolutely fabulous - plenty of good eating places in Bristol.

Don’t expect

Peace and quiet. Central location means the outside noise of thumping music and people going home early in the morning - means disturbed sleep! Better double glazing needed!

Rating

Stayed on 14 Mar 2017

We loved

Very comfortable, large beds. Nice bathrooms.

Don’t expect

A lobby in which to relax or meet friends.

Rating

Stayed on 4 Mar 2017

We loved

The attention to detail, comfortable beds, sherry in decanter and the staff were very helpful in meeting our requirements. Jetty Restaurant is wonderful, not fast service but high quality food.

Don’t expect

Car parking – it's a five minute walk up a hill.

Rating

Stayed on 15 Feb 2017

We loved

The décor of the rooms - unique and quirky. The huuuuge bed! We ate at Paco Tapas - incredible Spanish cuisine.

Don’t expect

Quiet weekend nights - Bristol is a party city and the nights are loud.

Rating

Stayed on 15 Feb 2017

We loved

The extremely large, comfy bed and the bath in the room!!!! We loved being upgraded to a junior suite with bath on our arrival at the hotel. It made our stay extra special. Loved the complimentary gin and sherry and the free gift of a beautiful candle! The restaurant was lovely and the food delicious. We had a fabulous weekend.

Rating

Stayed on 28 Jan 2017

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