I was very lucky to win an award at work which gave me 3 nights stay at locations around the world or anywhere in the UK. As I have 2 small children, I opted for a 'staycation' and went for Bristol. I was given the 4* Marriott Hotel in the City Centre and was delighted. It was easy to find and, although it isn't a 'pretty' building, it has a great central location of being near a big shopping centre. It was also opposite a park and next to car park. A busy main road ran right next to the hotel though which was still quite busy during the evening and night.
*~*~*~*~*~*~* Check-in *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
Immediately on arrival at 5pm, we went through the automatic rotating door at the front of the hotel and were in the elegant foyer. We were approached instantly and asked if we needed a hand with our bags. My children had a Trunki each and then we only had one other suitcase so we declined but it was lovely to be offered. He made conversation with my children whilst we waited to see someone at reception. He was very polite and courteous and made a real effort with my children ~ they had had a long journey and I think they loved the attention and talking about the hotel whilst they had to wait. He is a real asset to the hotel and a great first impression.
We had to wait about 8 minutes to see someone who then turned out to be a trainee. She spoke English but it was quite forced in a sense so some things were difficult to understand. Initially, she said we had only paid for one nights dinner which I politely said wasn't the case. She then did some more tapping on her computer and carried on with issuing key cards. (I was then none the wiser as to if she had made a mistake or what had happened.) I also had to ask about the car park as I had parked in the multi-storey next to the hotel. She kept saying to hold on to the ticket and they would validate it to make the cost cheaper. Again, I'm someone that needs a proper explanation of the order to do things as I didn't know if that meant they needed the ticket before I paid or after. Very confusing and we just left that for the time being as could sense she didn't really know for sure.
(Just for the record ~ you can parked in Broadmeads for over 24 hours and then the amount is just added onto the ticket until you check out. The check-out clerk will then take the ticket, pay off the amount from your credit card with the discounted rate and give you the ticket back. You then check that the ticket is showing NIL to pay at one of the pay stations, then you have 15 minutes to exit the car park.)
She also asked if we wanted to pre-authorise my credit card incase we needed anything extra during our stay like, I assume, room service. We decided to do this and it was only later on checking my credit card authorisations that she had actually done the authorisation twice for £100 each time. Not impressed with that at all but both transactions have now disappeared on my card so it doesn't take too long for it to be returned if not used at all.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* The room *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
We had a room on the 5th floor with 2 double beds and also one of the few rooms that had a balcony. It was situated overlooking the park but of course, the busy main road was between.
Everything looked smart and as you would expect with a hotel such as the Marriott. My children loved looking around and finding what was in their room. Inside the wardrobe, (with large,mirrored sliding doors) you'll find a trouser press, hair dryer, iron and ironing board. There are also some hangers and the usual bags for laundry if you needed to use that service. There is also a small safe in there too. Next to that is a little alcove with tea and coffee making facilities. A choice of a couple of teas, coffees, variety of sugars and some milk were found near the small, yet adequate, kettle. Also, some little flapjack or shortbread biscuits would be left here too. This was replenished daily.
The bathroom was very small with a shower over the bath. It was clean though and hand large mirrors over the sink. There were also the usual complimentary toiletries of shampoo, soaps, bubble bath, shower cap and body lotion. The only issue with the bathroom was the water system as it was quite loud when flushing the toilet for example and then the noise would continue for a few minutes afterwards. We could hear the next room so they obviously could hear ours too.
There is air conditioning in the room but it is quite noisy and seems out-dated.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Cleanliness *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
My daughter was very impressed that when she got into her bed to 'test' it, there was a note from the maid to say if we needed anything else doing, to let her know. My daughter then left her notes to say it was all 'fabulous'. A surprise encounter in the corridor one day left my children amazed as the lady that had been looking after our room recognised my children and said thank you for the notes ~ she even remembered their names. They were overjoyed with that!
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~* Breakfast *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
We only managed to get to have breakfast once during our stay. It ends at 10am and with a 3 year old, I didn't want to upset many guests just in case he messed around.
It is a buffet style breakfast offering. There was on offer a full range of goodies! A variety of different cereals were available in huge bowls with then choices of various milk to have on it. There were then a selection of fruit juices to help yourself to as well as tea and coffee initially served at your table.
I helped myself to a selection of fresh fruit, (various melons, kiwi and oranges) and yoghurt and loved it.
There is hot counter where you can have herby sausages, crispy bacon, scrambled and fried eggs as well as friend tomatoes and mushrooms. There is also someone on hand to make you omelettes if you want as well.
Very impressed with breakfast and you could easily 'fill up' on it and not need a lunch.
Dinner in the restaurant starts at 6pm so we were always the first ones there. (Again,the fear of upsetting other diners) On the first night, both my children attached themselves to the waiters and I loved that with every night that we went they would recognise them and talk to them as diners in their own right. For it being a predominantly adult hotel, their service towards children was exceptional. For example, the first night we asked if we they would remove the wine glasses and water glasses from the table, (small hands and glass are not a good combination), which they did. The next night they removed them immediately without asking. It really is the small things that show that they care for their guests circumstances.
Portion sizes were huge ~ even the children's menu I would have struggled with I feel. It is very heavily flavoured with herbs and spices I personally felt although obviously when it comes to food it always down to your own preference. There is salt and pepper on the table if you need it too. Presentation is always sublime although the wait is often around the half an hour mark to account for this. Food was always hot and nothing ever needed to be sent back for any reason. I'm not used to 'fine dining' so struggled with finding things on the menu that I would like ~ I stuck with the Marriott burger and fish and chips. The children's menu was vast though and they loved it. BEWARE ~ garlic bread is extremely garlic-y. At least you'll be safe from vampires for the rest of your stay.
*~*~*~*~*~*~*~ Other things *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
The hotel does have a swimming pool and other leisure facilities but we never visited this so can't comment on how good/bad it may be. The one thing I can say though is that people getting to this have to walk along a corridor next to the restaurant so when we were eating at 6pm people were still going backwards and forwards in their gym gear and conversations and noise from them made eating less comfortable. Also, nearly everyone walking past would look through the glass wall ~ I now know what it is like to be a goldfish!
There is no FREE wi-fi in your rooms but I found out that you could pay extra to have it if you wished. I wasn't informed of this at check-in though. There is free wi-fi access on the Terrace level although I never used it. I found this to be quite a disappointment in a 4* hotel as I would have thought that Internet access was kind of a 'given' in this era.
*~*~*~*~*~*~* Check-out *~*~*~*~*~*~*
Again, we had a trainee to check us out but she was polite and knew exactly what to do. She helped with the car parking issue I had earlier in the week and asked if we had had a good stay. All very efficient and took less than 5 minutes.
I stayed at the Marriott a few weeks ago on a reunion with friends in Bristol. I would not normally stay at Marriott hotels as they are usually way out of my price range but after a very good deal online we booked a room for two nights.
The room was brilliant and the location of the hotel is excellant, the only downside is the car parking. The room comes with all the standard features tea/coffee, iron and ironing board, toiletries and trouser press. My room didn't have a breathtaking view but it was nice enough view of the Old Town part of town. The decorations and furnishings were all of very good quality and the bed was one of the most comfortable i have ever slept on. The hotel is right next door to Cabot Circus and the city centre, you couldn't get any closer if you are interested in shopping.
The only downside is that the car parking is in a rather dingy NCP car park next door. Whilst you do get a discount on parking when you book a room, at £11 quid a day i found it a bit pricey and didn't feel my car was particularly safe.
I lived in Bristol for 5 years, and worked a stone throw away from this hotel. From the outside it doesn't look very much at all and I always thought it wouldn't be the greatest choice to stay in. A few years on and I get the call for from a mate saying we were going to Bristol for a stag do and staying here. My heart sunk. However I have to say after my experience I would thoroughly recommend it!
Why? Well quite frankly value for money, and customer service which was outstanding. The hotel for those that don't know is basically at the end of the M32, the motorway which joins Bristol to the M4. It is smack bang in the city centre, on the edge of Broadmead (the shopping area) and a ten minute stroll from the water front. Parking is in the NCP next door, and whilst not included in the room rate it's not very much at all, and you do get a discount for being a hotel customer.
Now as stag do's go this was a well behaved effort, so look beyond that and take us as your "normal" hotel customer. The staff were incredibly friendly, from the joke cracking bar man who served us countless beer in the bar, through to the check in girl who did a swift and pleasant job with a smile. The breakfast staff were great and added a couple of small extra touches that made you think you were receiving good customer service. I would actually go as far to say these were the most welcoming staff I have encountered in a hotel!
Along those lines, breakfast was good. The room are your bog standard 3 star efforts, but were clean, quiet and did a very solid job.
It's not the flashiest hotel in the world, but we didn't pay very much and it was perfect for a central city break hotel. If you want to stay in Bristol, and don't want to break the bank I would recommend this hotel for value for money. I was really surprised and impressed!
As ever, Dooyoo appears to be playing up. PLease, therefore, excuse the capitalization errors in the first few paragraphs! For the uninitiated, there's such a thing as "Cockney Rhyming slang" - somewhat unique, I guess, to the UK - and particularly to the East End of London. Examples include: "Apples and pairs" = Stairs; "Trouble and strife" = Wife. Bonus question - what does "Bristol City" (or a pair of them) evoke? Think carefully! Answers on a postcard, please - although I have to say that, with the huge numbers of young girls walking around in skirts resembling belts, my attention was drawn away from their "Bristols"! Yep - I've been to Bristol. Hardly a holiday location, but despite my protestations to my beloved to the contrary, it's actually quite a cosmopolitan place to visit. The scene of race riots (in the St Paul's region) several years ago, this refreshingly multi-cultural University City doesn't present a particularly welcoming face as you approach it on the M32. Get installed, however, and there's actually an awful lot to offer. Great shopping, loads of tempting places to eat, and a superb waterside café culture make this, in fact, one hell of a city to visit. This is Brunel's city and there's his awesome Clifton Suspension Bridge if you've got the nerve (and the hardly extortionate 30p toll!) to drive over it. There's also his SS Great Britain - the world's first ever liner - waiting to be visited. I really didn't think it - but actually, it's all there. And there's a really superb zoo - which baby Josh absolutely adored! We had a lot of fun and were glad that we went. Why, though, did we go? We were booked in for two nights at the Bath Hilton (about 15 miles away) for our wedding anniversary. I thought it might be a good idea to cut the journey up a bit and started playing about with "Priceline". They?re ab
solute fiends! You select a location (in this case, Bristol). You select a quality level (in this case, four star). You give your credit card details. You make a ridiculous bid (in this case, £40). You wait to be committed to a random hotel of their choice. Three minutes later, I was informed that my ridiculous offer was accepted. We were off to the Marriott Bristol City Centre. Bristol has two Marriotts. One is better than the other. This is probably the poor relation, but I can tell you that it certainly isn't at all bad. If you want to know more, read on by all means! Arriving in Bristol mid-afternoon on the M32 motorway, we hung a left and there was the hotel. Very easily spotted, this 10 storey building was not particularly attractive from the outside. After a few circuits of the adjacent roundabout, we finally found the correct turning and were soon in the car park next to the hotel. Minutes later, we were in reception. The staff were very friendly and after a short queue, I was being attended to by Rebekah. Check-in was very slow, and must have taken about 10 minutes, even though I wasn't really counting. A guy was sent up to our room to check that it was ready. One of the lifts was out of order and this held things up even more. Eventually, anyway, we were given the green light and we headed off to our room on the third floor. It was an extraordinarily hot day and our room was very efficiently - if also very noisily - air-conditioned. Typically L-shaped, with the very well-appointed bathroom (with a fantastic 5-position massage power shower) leading off from the right hand side of the entry lobby, we had a comfortable bedroom with plenty of storage space, comfortable seating, colour TV with information systems and a huge and very comfortable bed. When I say "huge", by the way, I mean that when bed-time came, Amanda and I could lie on opposite sides of the bed with me being totally unable to reach her B
ristols. And I've got fairly long arms! It must, anyway, have been at least seven feet wide. The cot, which we'd ordered for Josh was in situ on arrival - and that's most unusual. We normally have to 'phone housekeeping to get it delivered, even if we've ordered it in advance. I was very impressed. There was a balcony, but an awful view. I didn't care; I'd asked for a smoking room and, as ever, had been thwarted in that respect. I forgot the heat as I ventured out of the air-conditioned bliss into the muggy heat outdoors to enjoy a cigarette and listen to the oft-repeated sirens of passing police cars. And there were many! They continued long into the night. Although the hotel restaurant looked very inviting, we didn't eat in the hotel - there are so many alternatives in this city - but we did venture downstairs for a drink in the "Terrace Bar". This has a really superb ambience. The drinks were reasonably priced. The evening staff were professional and very friendly, although the girl who was running the bar in the afternoon was surly, bored and, I'm afraid, a very good excuse to make you explore what the city had to offer instead. That was, honestly, the only downside to the hotel. We returned to our room. There's plenty of reading material if, like me, you prefer staying up late. There were three 'phone directories, a "Gideon Bible", a Mormon Bible. Oh - and an "I did it my way" kind of thing by J W Marriott Jnr. It sent me to sleep in that big, comfortable bed, knowing that Marriott don't have any employees but, instead, employ "Associates". You live and learn! The "associates" we encountered were, at all times, friendly and helpful - apart from the sultry afternoon barmaid - who is probably not actually a barmaid - more a "Refreshment Delivery Associate". And a crap one, at that! The room, anyway, was very comfortable and we
enjoyed our stay in the city. To cap it all, it so happened that the city of Bristol was hosting its annual International Balloon Fiesta that weekend. Millions of people, and hundreds of hot air balloons. Baby Josh absolutely loved it. So did we. I'm sure you will, too! Andrew