Zoe Walker checks into a buzz-worthy new establishment, housed in a former bank.


One of Bristol's newest luxury hotels which everyone in the city seems to be talking about, located in a Victorian Grade II Listed building that was formerly home to two banks. The location is central; don't let the name fool you into expecting sweeping harbour views.

Check-in experience: Smooth and friendly. This is a boutique hotel, so the lobby is small - and the one lift to the rooms is tiny. You'd struggle to get someone else in there with me, my suitcase and carry-on bag.

Room: A Deluxe Double room on level one, overlooking one of the heritage buildings opposite. There are 42 rooms all up, with lots of small, charming details - a photography book of Bristol lad Banksy's art project Dismaland, and decanters of complimentary gin and sherry.


The bed: Huge, high and comfortable, with piles of plush pillows and cushions.

The bathroom: There's a bath, giant walk-in shower and the usual hotel toiletries, with products from The White Company London.

Facilities: Opened in February, the spa is incredible - situated underground in the former bank vaults, it has low ceilings, perfectly moody lighting and a rabbit warren of rooms.

The spa, sauna and steam room are all worth a visit, although regrettably, I ran out of time to try the "mood-lit" pool.

Exercise facilities: They're there, but I didn't use them.

What's in the neighbourhood? You're in the heart of Bristol's Old City, with the brilliant St Nicholas Market just across the lane with a selection of tasty street food in the glass arcade - look for Pieminister, Sausage Station, Caribbean Wrap and the terribly named Brozen. On Saturday, there is a decent flea market on the street outside. And because you're in Bristol, there's a Banksy within 10 minutes' walk.

What's so good about this place? The 16th century building is gorgeous, and you feel as though you are really part of the city. Try to sneak a look into the hotel's event space, the grand Sansovino Hall (a former banking hall) with a dramatic skylight and painted ceiling. The central location is spot on too.

And the bad? The outside noise. I was woken at 3am most nights by bottles from a nearby bar being thrown into the recycling.


Food? A great room service menu from the hotel's restaurant The Jetty, with small plates (the spiced chicken pop-corn is worth a bite), mains (wild mushroom risotto with truffle sauce) and desserts (espresso martini sabayon). A 24-hour menu offers quick, snack-like dishes of sandwiches, curry, and cheese on toast. Breakfast is in The Jetty, a lovely space offering self-service and a la carte. Although some of the wait staff were...a little dim.

Drink? The Gold Bar is next door, another charming space within the hotel. Made up of intimate rooms, each area has an eclectic, luxe fit-out with printed wallpaper, quirky artwork, mismatched chairs and gold accents. The cocktail menu includes the bar's "flagship", the Foliis Aureis, made with Bacardi Gold, Carta Oro, mint leaves, coffee beans, and honey. They also serve free popcorn in a scallop shell.

Free Wi-Fi: Yes, of course.

Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa is at Bristol Harbour Hotel, 49/55 Corn Street, Bristol, England, United Kingdom. Phone: +44 844 811 1103.