Features

6 Bath and Bristol hotels to eat, sleep and repeat

by Jess Carter

15 January 2019

Should I stay or should I go now? Hotel restaurants don’t always have the best rep, but here are some that we reckon buck the trend, and are worth checking out whether you’re staying over or not...

1. The Gainsborough Bath Spa

Smack bang in the heart of the city, this pretty sizable Bath hotel – which contains 99 guest rooms and suites – is Georgian in architecture but modern in style, having opened in 2015.

Dan Moon heads up culinary proceedings, and he means business too, creating refined and meticulously prepared dishes for a range of fine dining menus.

As well as the a la carte and six-course tasting option, there’s a great-value set lunch menu, which two can dine from for the price of one (that’s more money left to spend on that room, or maybe in the spa, then). Perhaps start with the parsnip velouté with spiced pear chutney, goat’s curd and walnut, and follow up with poached cod with lobster bisque and crab risotto.

2. Combe Grove

You can’t ignore the views at this Grade II listed, 18th-century manor house, set just outside of Bath. It’s perched on a hill, affording it sweeping views out onto the lush grounds and Limpley Stoke Valley.

The food in the restaurant is informed by the changing bounty of ethical ingredients the South West has to offer, with fish being line-caught of the coast of Cornwall, and fruit and veg coming from trusted regional suppliers.

The aim is for each dish to be big on flavour and nutrition, whether that’s the pickled beetroot and kale salad with whipped goat’s cheese, walnuts and beetroot balsamic, or the slowroast porchetta with tabbouleh and herb vinaigrette. If you can’t make it home after all that, there are nine rooms and suites in the main house, each with its own individual style, and a further 31 in the Garden Lodge.

3. Hotel Du Vin, Bristol City Centre

This handsome hotel, made up of ancient sugar warehouses, is all about old-school style with a modern edge. On the menu at the bistro-style restaurant, for example, is the likes of coq au vin and duck shepherd’s pie, where gravy-doused leg meat is topped with potato.

In the evening, candles are lit in the restaurant – where polished glassware sits on dark wood tables, framed art hangs on every wall, and round pillars support the high ceilings – to make for a cosy, elegant atmosphere.

There are 40 rooms, should you wish to make use of one after your feed, ranging from standard fare all the way up to large loft suites, like Harveys, which is open plan and has French windows leading onto a private roof terrace. Fancy, no?

4. Bristol Harbour Hotel

Set in the former financial district of the Old City, this hotel ishoused in two restored banks. Its restaurant, The Jetty (located in the original banking hall and sporting lots of marble and brass), specialises in seafood. These star ingredients are served in forms that range from battered fish and chips to oysters, cockle popcorn to whole market fish, with the new a la carte and express menus having just launched.

The hotel itself has 42 bedrooms and suites, where guests will find complimentary sherry and gin to sip while they take a soak in a roll top bath, which most of the guest rooms have. You know, make yourself at home, and all that.

5. The Bath Priory

Standing among acres of expertly preened gardens, this historic hotel does a great impression of one that’s not, in fact, located right near an ever-bustling city centre. It has a proper country manor feel, with sitting rooms furnished with comfy sofas and framed artwork, and a terrace overlooking the lawn. Food is classical French in style, but prepared with modern finesse by head chef Michael Nizzero (formerly of the three-Michelin-starred Waterside Inn and The Ritz) and his team.

Menus change daily, and list the likes of butternut squash terrine with goat’s curd and hazelnut to start and braised pork belly with salt-baked swede and Bath Ale sauce for mains. There are 33 classically styled guest rooms and suites here, for those wanting to make a night of it.

6. The Queensberry

You may well have heard that this hotel’s Olive Tree Restaurant was awarded its first Michelin star in October, thanks to the creativity and attention to detail of its long-standing head chef Chris Cleghorn.

Lunchtime three-course set menus give way in the evening to five- and seven-course tasting menus (although you can pick and choose dishes to have a la carte style, if you wish). They feature the likes of smoked eel with celeriac, apple and lovage, and grouse with Jerusalem artichoke, kale, elderberries and bitter chocolate.

In terms of accommodation, there are 29 rooms, perhaps the most impressive being the Four Poster Suite – named after its huge, sevenfoot- wide bed.

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