Hotel review: The Grand Thistle, Bristol

Date Posted: 27/05/2015

Sarah Holt stayed at the Grand Thistle in Bristol to see how it measured up for group visits.

The Grand Thistle in Bristol is more than a little easy on the eye. The building’s roots can be traced back to Victorian times and its architecture still reflects the refinement of that time. The 19th century was a boom time for building in Bristol. This was the era that Brunel built both the SS Great Britain and Clifton Suspension Bridge. So a stay here sets groups off on the right foot for delving into the city’s rich history and sights.

Getting to the hotel is pretty straight forward. The car park here is part of a multi-storey, so it’s not appropriate for coaches or mini buses, however, there is an official coach drop-off point a six-minute walk away, which has room for two coaches at a time.

Inside, the hotel fast-forwards as far as design is concerned, from Victorian to contemporary. You’re more likely to find a leather sofa here than a salon suite. However, the hints as to the hotel’s location and history are not lost in the translation from past to present design. Black and white photo canvasses of Bristol’s icons hang on the walls of both the communal areas and the bedrooms as welcome reminders of exactly where you are.

There are 182 rooms at the hotel, including a number of singles and family rooms. Group offers are available throughout the year and change according to the season. 

On the location front, The Grand Thistle has got it just right. It’s just a ten-minute walk from the theatre district and another minute or two to the Harbourside area. However, it’s not in the bull’s eye of Bristol’s night life, so the late night sounds of the city are distant enough for you to have a good night’s sleep when you stay here.

Although there are literally hundreds of cafes, bars and restaurants within footsteps of the hotel, The Grand Thistle has group-friendly eating and drinking facilities that’ll take the hassle out of organising a meal out en masse.

The modern Tyrells Restaurant and Bistro has room for 75 people and is open for breakfast and dinner. Early-bird pre-theatre meals can be catered for from 5.30pm, and afternoon tea is also an option.

Marlow’s Bar, meanwhile, has room for 80 people at a time, and serves cocktails, cellar wines and soft drinks until midnight.

Finally, The Grand Thistle has a health and leisure club next door, where group members weary from sightseeing can take a dip in the pool, unwind in the Jacuzzi and book in for a body treatment, massage or facial before heading back out exploring again.

To find out more about The Grand Thistle Bristol visit

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