When looking for a weekend city break – the first thing you need to know is that you will be spoilt and indulged from the moment you set foot in the hotel; Hotel du Vin in Bristol certainly does not disappoint.
Set in the heart of Bristol, the cosy lighting from the bistro and the bar could be seen from the small parking area. We were fortunate to get a spot directly outside, although other residents were in the nearby NCP car park.
We went through a small courtyard before being greeted at an almost non-existent reception area, which somehow did not fit in with the first impression of a cosy yet elegant hotel. However, the warm welcome we received from the staff made up for the somewhat minimalist reception.
Walking through the bar to the lift which was hidden in a small cupboard seemed rather odd, but quite eccentric in a way. Each room has its own name, wine related and we guessed we were in for a treat. Sure enough, as the receptionist opened the door we were met with a vast, loft style room with deep mahogany side tables and an enormous bed that must surely have been a good seven foot square with fabulous large, feather down pillows and a scattering of cushions just to really give it that extra `wow factor.`
Being a female – I knew the bathroom would sumptuous and somewhere I could spend a long time getting ready for dinner – and it truly was remarkable. The Victorian bath had an obscure glass back wall which doubled as the splash wall for a cavernous black mosaic tiled walk-in monsoon shower; I knew that I was in the perfect place for my indulgent weekend city break. Even the bathroom products were sumptuous and extra large – marvellous!
Before slipping into a deep, bubbly bath it was time to check out what was on offer in the form of great wines and food and plan the evening`s repast. For those who don`t know, Hotel du Vin has a fantastic range of wines and hosts delicious wine tasting evenings across the group throughout the year.
I sampled a crisp dry Chardonnay and the nibbles that were provided whet the appetite for supper that evening. Whilst the bar area is a thoroughfare from the reception to the rooms and restaurant it is still a wonderfully relaxing area – with a number of large sofas that you can simply sink into with plenty of newspapers and magazines on hand. For those who enjoy people watching and soaking up the atmosphere, the interior decor and huge wall paintings would keep you entertained for hours.
The dining room at Hotel du Vin in Bristol is full of bistro memorabilia which adds real character to the place and you really feel that you are in a European bistro. The menu offered quite an average choice, although it did not seem to inspire as much as I had hoped. I started with the tiger prawns which were beautifully presented, followed by leg of duck with braised red cabbage which was delicious. My husband chose the house burger which came with hand cut chips – this was disappointing in that the chips were rather over fried, however, the presentation of the dish on a wooden chopping board with the chips presented in a goblet was eye catching.
Throughout the evening the staff were very attentive – and seem to glide around the place with great ease. The lady serving behind the bar, was a consummate professional and went out of her way to ensure we always had what we needed.
Breakfast the following morning was wonderful and the continental breakfast bar had a wonderful array of fresh fruits, yoghurts and cereals. For those with a larger appetite, there was an extensive range of cooked breakfasts from eggs Benedict, kippers and smoked salmon with scramble eggs, through to the Hotel du Vin `Full English`. If I am honest I chose the cooked breakfast with poached eggs which was delicious. The bacon had been smoked in the traditional style and the eggs were poached to perfection.
On the way out to check out we were in the lift with Nick Knowles – we hadn`t seen him during our people watching mooch the evening before – must go back again soon!
Hotel du Vin is a great hotel to get away from it all, the staff were great, the rooms were exceptional and it didn`t take long to relax and unwind. We are real foodies and this was the one area where we slightly disappointed, however maybe we had just been too spoilt by the whole ambience and service; this didn`t detract from a magical weekend, thanks Hotel du Vin!
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