After we first met six years ago, Theresa became my partner in crime. Two friends bonded by a simple pleasures in life; food and fun! A fellow November baby Theresa and I don’t get to celebrate together every year as she lives a two hour train journey away in Bristol. But this year it was a big one and with one of my besties turning 30, I packed up my suitcase for a British staycation in Bristol. I headed down on the Friday night so Traze and I could get up to mischief with the plan of Mr S joining us the next day. Conveniently arriving at around the same time, we checked it cute boutique hotel, The Bristol Harbour Hotel.
I’d booked a Corner Suite for myself and Mr S and though I loved the bright prints, vibrant colours and free standing bath, I have to say it wasn’t strictly a suite. Thank you to those on Instagram stories that agreed with me that a suite should have two rooms or at the very least a separate seating area. Honestly, I slightly surprised myself as I always check the pictures on the website but when I double checked I realised how misleading the website was as it shows photos from their sister hotels in other locations that are ‘purely for guidance’. Conclusion being, I liked the room but don’t be misled by the website. The hotel is also approved by Mr & Mrs Smith, one of my favourite boutique hotel brands.
I have mentioned before that in-room amenities are important to me and whilst it lacked the size of suite it made up for it in amenities with a coffee machine, stocked fridge, gorgeous products from The White Company and even complimentary gin and sherry.
I didn’t take photos of the bathroom but the shower was huge with lots more goodies from White Company. Theresa had a deluxe room which was also on the small side but the beds were super comfy and we both had a great night sleep that night.
I had arranged for a birthday bottle of Laurent-Perrier Rose to be left in Theresa’s room so it was time to get the party started early for our night out.
Dinner was at the hotel’s restaurant, The Jetty, so as soon as we were ready we headed downstairs.
(FYI some of the pics were taken the next day for lighting). I absolutely loved the architecture of the hotel, it’s actually the former Lloyds and Midland bank HQ with the Jetty being located in what was a grand banking hall. The events space is the most impressive part of the hotel, also located in a former grand hall, it retains much of the original architecture and historical detail from renowned architect William Bruce Gingell who was inspired by Sansovino’s 16th century Library of St Mark in the Piazzatta at Venice.
Despite the historical background, The Jetty is still throughly modern with large cosy banquettes, a slick marble bar and colourful leather accents, it’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner so it’s super convenient for hotel guests.
The menu is seasonal and locally sourced with a emphasis on seafood. Theresa is as obsessed with food as I am and we both checked the menu several time before going to a restaurant to plan what to order. We’d already planned the tacos and unfortunately they fell a little short – we ordered all three options breaded shrimp with tomato relish, crab and avocado and shredded crispy duck – honestly I didn’t find the fish to be fresh enough though the duck was better.
However we really enjoyed the salt and pepper squid rings and the sea bream, salmon ginger and soy, scallop miso, tuna wasabi sashimi was good too.
Regular readers will know a fresh whole roasted fish is my favourite thing and the whole bream at The Jetty delivered both in terms of cooking and flavour.
Traze also really enjoyed her cornish mussels, garlic butter and parsley which was great with the generous bread basket.
After dinner we went for drinks at The Gold Bar also located in the hotel, it’s super stylish with decadent decor while also being relaxed and cosy. A few more glasses of bubbles were drunk (obvs) before heading up to get a good night’s sleep before the big day.
After breakfast at the Jetty we took a little look at the spa and swimming pool located in the former banking vaults – it still retains the original cash drop and safe door. At the HarSpa there are lots of luxurious spa treatments on offer as well as manicures, pedicures and facials. Without too much time to relax we headed into town to pick up some last minute bits for the party. The Bristol Harbour Hotel is right in the city centre so it’s easy to get around, the day past quickly with a little look around the Christmas markets, a blow dry in preparation for the party and Mr S arriving in the afternoon.
The party was fancy dress so Mr S and I donned our finery and met our friends Jess and Ben in the Gold Bar.
We kept it quick and simple with dinner at Pizza Express before heading to the party venue, Toto’s.
The whole thing was meticulously organised by Traze who was recently launched her own events company, Hummingbird Events. Of course, it was a late one and Mr S and I ended up missing breakfast. On the hunt for some good food we headed to Clifton village, known as Bristol’s most beautiful suburb. In an out of character moved I hadn’t booked us in for lunch anywhere and we were just finding everywhere fully booked.
We did stop for a cosy coffee before making the decision to go back to the city centre. Last time I’d visited Traze we’d gone to a restaurant called Glassboat so I called ahead and fortunately they had tables hurrah!
Glassboat does what it says on the tin. It’s a restaurant located on a boat in Bristol’s Harbour and has been there thirty years.
There’s an authentic feel as the lower deck has the original oak panels and portholes from the original barge.
Mr S had nabbed himself a sausage from one of the Christmas market stalls but I hadn’t eaten all day and we’d spent about two hours wondering around trying to find somewhere!
After toasting Theresa with another glass of champagne, I was grateful to tuck into an absolutely delicious starter of scallops in butter. While Mr S’s South coast lobster bisque with puff pastry was equally heart-warming.
We broke my blogger rules by ordering the same main course but we both fancied a hug in a bowl from a fish stew with red mullet, grilled squid, bream, mussels. You can’t beat a thick toasted piece of sourdough on the side either!
We also ordered a vegetarian main course as a dish to share, and we both very much enjoyed the artichoke a la barigoule with white wine, aioli, garlic, tomatoes, parsley.
From Glassboat it was only a short walk to The Bristol Harbour Hotel to collect our stuff and then a ten minute taxi back to Bristol Temple Meads. A fabulous weekend in the South West of England, seeing our wonderful friends, staying in a converted bank and lunch on a former boat!!
Another huge happy birthday to my dear friend Traze who never fails to make me laugh until I cry!!
Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa
55 Corn St
0117 203 4445