Mr R, wonderful that he is, and the love of my life, doesn’t really do great romantic gestures, so when he asked me to keep last weekend free, I had visions of a night away so that we could go to a classical concert or, and this worried me, he had decided it was time I watched a cricket match!
My fears were unfounded. In fact, my darling husband had arranged a fabulously romantic getaway to celebrate our third anniversary by booking the same room in the gorgeous townhouse in Bristol where we had spent our wedding weekend. As far as romantic gestures go, this had to be the best!
Number 38 in Bristol is a fabulous townhouse in a beautifully refurbished Georgian building that offers luxury accommodation in smart Clifton overlooking the wide leafy expanses of The Downs. Number 38 isn’t a hotel as such as it doesn’t have a restaurant, but it’s much more than what I would consider a bed and breakfast. The moment you step through the front door (you need to press the intercom to get in) you know that you are somewhere very special indeed! The stylish interior is beautifully decorated, from the painted panelled walls (Farrow and Ball colours of course) to the wonderful mix of old and contemporary art that adorn the walls. The road outside may be busy, but inside it’s an oasis of calm and comfort. There are two reception rooms on the ground floor, a terrace at the back and ten bedrooms in total.
On arrival, we were warmly greeted and taken into the lounge to check in.There’s no front desk at Number 38. You really don’t feel like you are in a hotel, but instead you are a guest that’s come for a stay in someones rather lovely home. We were given complimentary passes to The Lido and after explaining that we had stayed there when we got married and had now returned to celebrate our anniversary, we were also given a bottle of champagne on the house. How fab is that! Nothing seems to be too much trouble here. However, after 8pm, your hosts go off duty until the following morning. Any problems though and there’s an out of hours number to contact. Strangely though, as well as there being no one on the premises after 8pm, the reception rooms are shut off too. This wasn’t an issue to us, but some guests might like a lounge to sit in after an evening out rather than being confined to their rooms!
Being an old building, and designed as a house, there are no lifts, The stairs are steep and narrow. Trying to climb down them in a wedding dress and heels three years ago was a slow and tricky ordeal!
We were staying again in one of the two loft suites on the second floor. our room stretched from front to back of the building. At the front was a huge bay window overlooking The Downs, and at the back was a view taking in much of Bristol and beyond. I could quite easily sit at that window for hours picking out landmarks. Our room was painted deep blue with the biggest sleigh bed imaginable upholstered in velvet of the same hue as the walls. A patriotic Roberts radio is tuned in to soothing music and there are perfect bedtime reading lights on antique chests acting as bedside tables. Rather than having air conditioning, ceiling fans prevent the rooms from getting too warm. The piece de resistance has to be the huge zinc bath. Definitely big enough for two! We didn’t make use of it, but if I had, I’ve a feeling I would have needed a step-ladder to get in! The loo and shower are hidden away in what I thought were cupboards. Robes, slippers, REN products, lots of magazines, WI-FI, a huge TV and a well stocked mini bar added to the experience. I do think though that a nice touch would be a coffee machine complete with pods instead of the sachets of instant coffee.
Breakfast at Number 38 is amazing. A central table is laden with pastries, fresh fruit compote, cereal, yogurt and fresh fruit juice. We had the orange juice and it was definitely of the freshly squeezed variety. I decided on the full English. Everything was beautifully cooked and of excellent quality. Mr R opted for scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, which apparently was totally delicious. Service was friendly and efficient. Maybe a little too efficient at times. Everything was whisked away the moment a plate or bowl was finished with! I loved listening to the vintage Noel Coward playing softly in the background and watching the world go by out of the big bay window. A perfect way to start a leisurely Sunday morning. If you don’t feel like feeling sociable you can order breakfast to be served in your room, although how they manage a tray up those stairs is beyond me!
We spent our weekend ambling down to The Harbourside taking in the shops on the way, and visiting Bristol Zoo, which is a ten minute walk from Number38. We could have walked across The Downs to Brunel’s magnificent suspension bridge, or explored lovely Clifton Village with its boutiques and places to eat and drink. To be honest, Bristol has so much to offer that a weekend isn’t nearly long enough. Being a Bristolian I naturally believe that the city has everything and more. It really is the most beautiful and diverse city, steeped in history and culture.
Number 38 is very special to us and we hope to return time, time again. It’s not cheap, rooms start at £110 a night, but do go if you are looking for fabulously stylish accommodation, impeccable service focusing on your every comfort, a great location and a delicious breakfast. You really won’t be disappointed!