Affordable city-centre hotel – with cool urban glamping.
In a gated courtyard, leading off a skinny little lane, an Astroturf sofa and a wall of bespoke graffiti sets the tone. A tiny reception leads into a sociable lounge-diner furnished with leather sofas. The building is a utilitarian, post-war number with a flat roof – and am I seeing things or are those caravans up there?
What’s the story?
This was the second of three hotels in the boutique micro chain founded by Carla and Andrew Brooks (the others are in Bath and Edinburgh). The Bristol Brooks used to be a back-packers hostel, before they turned the place into a relaxed, affordable guesthouse, generally popular with youngish guests. And yes, there are five aluminium-clad ‘Rockets’ (Airstream-style caravans) sitting on the roof – an unusual urban take on glamping.
In the thick of Bristol’s ‘Old City’, St Nicholas market is literally on the doorstep. The Harbour, the Cathedral, M-Shed, Watershed, Arnolfini, bus stops, ferries – they are all within a five-minute walk.
The pillow test
The rooms tend to be on the small side but nicely done in painted tongue and groove panelling, flower-sprigged wallpapers and neat shower rooms lined with travertine tiles. On the beds (king, double or twin) you get good quality bed linens, goose-down duvets and soft pillows.
There is no restaurant as such but who cares? Bristol is one of the UK’s best food destinations and there is no shortage of restaurants. Three Brothers Burgers (on a boat), Pasta Ripiena, the Strawberry Thief …just around the corner.
The egg test
Breakfast is a highlight – in fact I’d even go as far as saying, it’s one of the best in town thanks to lots of lovely produce (eggs Florentine, mashed avocado on sourdough toast, bacon sarnies) cooked to order in an open-plan kitchen until 11am. Note: due to social-distancing requirements, breakfasts are currently delivered to your room in a picnic basket.
Can be very noisy at night, specially at weekends. No parking, though the hotel offers a reduced rate on a nearby NCP.
Good value, city centre guesthouse with five-star breakfast; perfect for a pit-stop on a night out on the town and convenient for city attractions, theatres and transport hubs.
The details. B&B in a double room from £70. Exchange Avenue, off St Nicholas Street, Bristol, BS1 1UB, brooksguesthousebristol.com.
See my review in Hotelegraph