Newest Review: ... tidily and tastefully decorated and is typical of an American chain. However we were struck how nice it was to check into a Marriott -... more
The Marriott Bristol City Centre
Hotels in Bristol in general
Member Name: sarajackson
Hotels in Bristol in general
Date: 05/09/02, updated on 05/09/02 (398 review reads)
Advantages: Light and airy rooms and public spaces, Good cocktails, Convenient Location
Disadvantages: Exterior image, Good restaurant does not open on Sunday, Not individual - Typical Marriott
We stayed at the Marriott City Centre last summer, as part of a two week tour of the South of England. I find choosing an English Hotel a rather depressing process, as your stay very often turns into a massive gamble, however impressive the hotel appears and how careful you are to choose a well respected chain or hotel. So when we toured Hampshire, Devon, Cornwall and Somerset, our holiday was punctuated by the highs (De Vere Southampton and Seafood Restaurant Rooms in Padstow)and lows (particularly the Copthorne Plymouth) of English hotels. We chose all hotels carefully, but by the time we checked into the Marriott in Bristol, we had become rather jaded, after a couple of our stops being spoilt by bad service (Fawlty Towers style on one occasion) or just plain British apathy. We couldn't be sure the Marriott would not be another disappointment.
The hotel itself is plain from the outside, a large concrete block, punctuated by the small balconies on various floors. The hotel has a roof car park, and a rather grotty car park style lift takes you down to ground floor just at the side of the hotel. The lobby is large and bright with a staircase leading up to the restaurant and bar floor. It doesn't fit into any particular category, having neither a plush or particularly modern feel. It just appears tidily and tastefully decorated and is typical of an American chain. However we were struck how nice it was to check into a Marriott - at least we knew what we should expect. Sometimes playing safe is the only way to go.
We were checked in quickly and efficiently and took the lift to find our room. The corridors were wide and airy, and a pleasant change from some claustrophobic, narrow corridors English hotels often seem to suffer from. Our room, on one of the higher floors, was large and contained all the necessary gadgets and amenities you need - hairdryer, iron and board, ice bucket (rare in English hotels) etc. Typical to Marriott and some othe
r chains, the minibar is just that, and automatically charges you for drinks removed from it, even if you just pick them up and put them back. I like to have a minibar to use as a fridge, just so we can chill our own items such as sandwiches for the next day, so the inability to do this is always a bit annoying. The room had pale neutral wall coverings and curtains, with burgundy patterned carpets and pink and burgundy floral bedspreads. The room contained a desk (but with no mirror to act as a dressing table) a small table in honey coloured wood and an armchair covered in large checked fabric. The furnishings were quite acceptable, but not particularly well thought out as far as co-ordination is concerned. There were plenty of lights, including a desk light, bedside lamps and a free standing lamp. It appeared we had been upgraded as our room had a small balcony, which maybe was a bit bleak and was too small to be able to really sit out on, but it was still nice in the morning to be able to look out over the city and we were lucky enough to see loads of hot air balloons drift across the Bristol skyline. Some of the amenities in the room appeared a little dated, such as the inefficient air conditioning unit, and that most unused of hotel items, the Trouser Press!
The hotel has two restaurants - one for fine dining, which unfortunately was closed on the Sunday we wanted to dine, and also a more informal brasserie type restaurant. We first sampled the cocktails in the bar, making the most of this also rare benefit for hotels here in the UK. The service was friendly and efficient and the cocktails very good and reasonably priced. It is not unusual to pay £10 just at an average UK Hilton for a standard Martini, so the price of around half this was pretty good. We then had a meal in the brasserie, of typical casual fare - Tagliatelle Carbonara etc. The service was quick and although you could not pretend this was a place for a romantic meal, it fulfilled the nee
d for something between a pub meal and a more expensive restaurant.
The hotel is not right in the centre of Bristol, but is only a few minutes walk to the shops, cathedral and the river. Castle Park is a nice place to eat a picnic lunch and everything you would want is not far away.
In short, I can't pretend our stay at this Marriott was the most memorable or unique of experiences, and it wouldn't make it anywhere near being one of my top ten hotels. Funnily enough it probably would make it into my top ten of British hotels - make of that what you will!! It efficiently delivered everything you expected it to, with no shocks, surprises or disappointments. The rate of less than £80 per room including breakfast was also quite reasonable. Bristol is a lovely city and we enjoyed our stay enough to make us go back this year. We always said we would have no problem staying at the Marriott again. Common with a lot of pleasantly above average hotels though, in the end we have decided to try somewhere different!! With new hotels popping up all over the place, sometimes good enough just isn't good enough to keep your custom!
(Hindsight is a wonderful thing, and the grass looked greener, but my review of the Brigstowe which we chose instead, proves it always isn't!!)