A weekend in and around Bristol: a local’s guide on where to stay

Justine Cross, travel blogger and Bristol local, shares her top picks of the best hotels in Bristol; from spa hotel to countryside retreat, we have your ideal weekend away covered!

As a travel blogger living in Bristol, I was really excited when trivago asked me to recommend my favourite hotels for a weekend getaway to the city. Bristol is one of the most diverse, vibrant and colourful places I’ve come across, and having travelled all over the world, that’s saying something!

So if you are planning a trip to my home town, here is my pick of the top five hotels to make planning it a breeze. Each one offers something different for your trip, but all have one thing in common: they’re perfectly situated and personally tried and tested to help you experience the best of what Bristol has to offer.

Hotels for a relaxing stay near Bristol’s harbourside


A big focal point of Bristol is its bustling harbour and waterfront. During the summer, fun and free events like the Harbourside Festival take place, offering live music, vast arrays of street food, games and other demonstrations. That said, other seasons are still a great chance to visit the harbourside as a walk along the waterfront is (as expected) incredibly relaxing year-round.

This hotel has a generous check-out time of 12pm – perfect for taking your time on a lazy Sunday morning, and the beds come with duck down duvets, which in my opinion is the epitome in comfort and relaxation! They even have a romantic couple’s package in case your relaxing weekend break will be spent with your other half, this includes a bottle of champagne, chocolate-dipped fruits, breakfast for two and an even later check-out time. Personally, I have my eyes set on this ready for our next anniversary!

When in this part of Bristol, you should definitely check out Brunel’s SS Great Britain. You can easily spend a few hours here learning more about the ship’s journeys across the world and exploring the cabins, kitchens and upper deck.

The harbour also offers some great options for food and drink. ZaZa Bazaar right on the waterfront offers an eclectic mixture of cuisines from around the world, styled as an all-you-can-eat buffet. They even have a pudding island! Also, you must have some drinks aboard the ‘Under the Stars’ boat – when sitting on the top deck, with the stars glinting down on you, drinks in hand, you can easily think you’ve been transported to some luxury city far away!

The Bristol

Top rated
9.0 Excellent (2270 reviews)

An affordable hotel stay in the centre of Bristol


If you’re looking for a simple break in Bristol and one of the best hotels in Bristol’s centre, then the Holiday Inn located near to the Bearpit roundabout is a great place to start. As you’d expected from a Holiday Inn the bedrooms are simple yet offer you everything you’d want from an affordable city base; guaranteed comfort!

This is where I stayed when I first moved to Bristol. It was in a great location for seeing this part of the city and the beds are super comfy! Plus, I had fun trying out their gym equipment in between apartment hunting and sightseeing.

Hip neighbourhood, Stokes Croft, is also right on this hotel’s doorstep, providing you with the opportunity to check out the best of the local street art (including some original Banksy pieces). Also, a wander up further towards Gloucester Road takes you to lots of independent shops that are perfect for discovering new and local treasures.

If you’re staying at the Holiday Inn on a Saturday night and fancy some nightlife, then you should head over to the Full Moon Backpacker Hostel and Attic Bar nearby. They have a great beer garden, complete with shisha bar, and are only a couple of minutes’ walk from the hotel!

Holiday Inn Bristol City Centre, An Ihg Hotel

Top rated
8.5 Excellent (2015 reviews)

A luxury 4-star hotel experience in Clifton


When thinking about luxury hotels in Bristol, Clifton is one of the first districts to spring to mind. Most properties here are Georgian in style; grand and picturesque!

And the Berkeley Suites in the elegant Berkeley Crescent are all of this and more. The suites themselves offer a complete kitchenette and open-plan living space, making them perfect for a longer weekend.

Each suite is also individually decorated, which means if you were to come here more than once, it would feel different each time. And as can be expected, the decor is of the highest quality. Berkeley Suites have well and truly been added to my own bucket list – maybe as a birthday treat?

A classy 4-star hotel experience like this should definitely be combined with some pampering at Clifton Lido, which offers swimming, massages and fine dining; as well as some much needed retail therapy in Clifton Village, Clifton’s answer to independent, boutique-style shopping.

It should also go without saying that a visit to Clifton should also include taking in the city and views of the gorge from infamous Clifton Suspension Bridge. If you’re a nature-lover, my recommendation would be to walk in nearby Leigh Woods, which is not only a great walking spot, but also offers some unique views of the bridge.

Berkeley Suites

8.4 Very good (124 reviews)

A luxury spa hotel in Bristol’s City Centre


To complete this roundup of the best Bristol hotels, I’m saving one of the best until last. The Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa is one of the most stunning spa hotels in the city, set within the old part of the city centre.

As you can expect from a building set within this part of Bristol, it’s a period property and actually used to be a bank! The former bank vaults now house a spa, complete with indoor pool, hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steam room and modern gym.

In my opinion, this hotel makes for the perfect sightseeing base and the additional bonus of the in-house spa will make for a luxurious, unforgettable stay.

Whilst staying here, be sure to check out nearby Cabot Circus for both high-street and designer shopping, as well as a walk (or sit) in Castle Park, which offers yet more views of Bristol’s River Avon.

For food, look no further than St Nicholas’s Market (St Nick’s) to the locals, which offers street food like you’ve never tasted before. The Harbour Hotel is located just across from the market, so you can be straight back in your room to rest off the food coma after sampling as many stalls as possible.

And if you’re looking to complete your luxurious stay within Bristol’s old city, be sure to investigate the Christmas Steps, which are about a 15-minute walk away from the hotel. Come here at night and you can see the street lit up with beautiful fairy lights, and by day, you’ll find some really unique shops.

Bristol Harbour

Top rated
8.6 Excellent (1449 reviews)

Justine Cross is a business blogger and travel writer, who manages female travel blog, Wanderer of the World. When not busy writing, you’ll find her exploring the UK with her puppy and fiancé, scouting out delicious desserts, picture-perfect spots in nature and embarking on new and fun activities!