Lesley Gillilan explores some of the more unusual places to stay in the city, from arty loft apartments to a luxury boat hostel...
Image - Paintworks Apartments
In Bristol’s Creative Quarter, behind the red brick walls of what used to be - as the name suggests - a paint works, each of these five New-York style loft apartments offers a cool open-plan living space with a distinctive design theme. Choose from the mega spacious White Loft, the Scandi Loft (nice bit of Danish furniture), the River Loft (roof garden and a hint of Zen), the riverside Brick Loft and The Loft (loving the Beastie Boys mural). Each luxurious space is furnished with colourful contemporary furniture, original art and a huge flat-screen telly.
Image - The Banksy-inspired street art room at Mercure Holland House
As part of Mercure-Accor’s My Room project, members of staff were given a budget and a free rein to dress a room in any style. So, Laura came up with a painterly Street Art Room (graffiti above the bed and hints of Banksy), James batted for a manly Cricket Room and Veronica engineered a Brunel Room (Isambard Kingdom Brunel would no doubt approve). Mystic Sanctuary (tarot cards and palm readings) and sunny Sardinia rooms also feature in this Redliffe hotel and spa.
Image - Rockets on the roof at Brooks Guesthouse
This is glamping city style. On the rooftop of this boutique guest house, a small collection of gleaming ‘Rockets’ – similar to the classic American Airstream caravan – sit in an astroturf garden, four storeys above St Nick’s Market. Each shiny metal-clad Rocket-on the-Roof has a double bed, eco-heating, a micro bathroom, disco-colour LED mood lights and views of the spires and rooftops of Bristol’s Old City.
Image - Kyle Blue boat hostel
A floating hostel in Bristol’s Floating Harbour, the Kyle Blue breaks the mould in budget accommodation with deluxe cabins, a well-equipped kitchen and dreamy views across the water from a comfy communal lounge. The converted Dutch barge offers private and shared cabins (from singles to seven-berth dorms), all ship-shape and Bristol fashion (think nautical blues, stripes and portholes).
Image - The twinkly White Room at the Curious Cabinet
Welcome to the home of artist Sadie Spikes, a wonderland of pre-loved treasures and vintage finds artfully arranged in the rooms of her Victorian house in Fishponds. Three comfy guest rooms are furnished with wall-to-wall vintage: antique beds, old leather suitcases, junk-shop lamps and all those cabinets of curious curios which gives the place its name. Add fairy lights, wi-fi, feathery duvets, an outdoor hot-tub, pots of tea and home-made cake (served on vintage plates, obviously).
Image - Time for tea at the Chaplain's Lodge
In the grounds of one of the National Trust’s most beautiful properties, stay in a magical Victorian estate cottage. The three-bedroom Chaplain’s House, was built in the 1890s in the Gothic Revival style, for Tyntesfield’s own chaplain (the family church is next to the mansion). The two-bedroom Chaplain’s Lodge was built as a gate-keepers lodge in the 1840s, and later became a home for the family butler. The quaint Summerhouse Cottage is the perfect retreat for two.
Image - The enormous bed in the Tower Room at Thornbury Castle
Okay, so it didn’t turn out too well for the young Queen, but this magnificent Tudor castle once played the love-nest for Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. And the places oozes history, atmosphere and original features – like the dungeon dining room and a suit of armour in the panelled hall. The 16th century castle comes with vineyards, Tudor gardens and 28 splendid bedchambers. And the beds are truly king-size: the 10-footer in the Tower Room is said to be the widest in Britain.
Image - The Verve Clicquot room at Hotel du Vin
In this converted 18th century sugar warehouse, every room is named after a wine or a vineyard – the ultimate being the glamorous Verve Clicquot room. With a king-size bed, velvety, earthy décor, a loungey lounge and a pair of side-by-side roll-top tubs in an indulgent bathroom, the split-level city suite has got honeymoon written all over it.
Image - The Lodge at Bristol Zoo Gardens
Go wild with a zoo break at the safari-themed Lodge. Tucked away inside the 180-year-old Zoo Gardens, The Lodge offers overnight stays in a luxurious accommodation for up to four people, a terrace with a zoo view, a four-course meal prepared by your own private chef, exclusive after-hours tours and animal feeding experiences. Breakfast with the gorillas? Why not?
Image - The Greenhouse B&B with its bright red bike mural
Owner Fran Jones is a passionate advocate of all things Green and every detail of her homely Greenbank-Road B&B is organic, fairtrade and environment-friendly. Rooms feature eco showers (there are solar panels on the roof), carpet made from recycled plastic bottles and Faith in Nature bathroom goodies. Bike storage is provided. (Spot the bike mural propped against the wall outside - Fran says many visitors confuse it with the real thing - and keep your eyes peeled for more trompe l’oiel, to be painted by a local artist soon.)