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Hotel du Vin & Bistro
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Reviews (1,346)
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Reviewed 23 November 2009

The Hotel is well located and the Grade II Listed building has a character, however we really got the impression that it needs an overhaul, a clean and some interest from the staff and management. The rooms are OK, the bar area and restaurant have a nice warm feeling only let down by the standard of food and service. We had an early booking for a 6pm dinner on a Sunday and we were the only people in the restaurant when we ordered. We looked down the (overpriced) wine list and chose a wine showing a vintage of 2006. When the bottle came there was no sign of a vintage anywhere on the bottle. The starters were very disappointing with a cold crab and artichoke dish that had come straight out of the fridge and was very cold, very over seasoned with dill and generally of a poor standard, the other starter was a pigs cheek dish with black pudding that was so overcooked it was burnt and rock hard with a tasteless sauce. The bread on the menu said a selection of rustic breads and was actually four slices of French stick and some bread sticks. The butter was some sort of easy spread product that tasted synthetic. The mains were a HDV Burger that was rock solid and overcooked, tasteless and I suspect reheated. The chips had been cooked in old fat and tasted accordingly bad. After trying to eat a couple of mouthfuls we moved the whole plate to the other side of the table, where it sat for at least 15mins despite about five staff hanging around the front of the restaurant chatting. My partners dish was partridge and this was overcooked and dry. No one was interested and they tried telling us that they had to cook food longer for health and safty reasons, I even got a "sorry we are not allowed to cook it to your taste!" The lady next to us had made it clear that she had a yeast allergy so they brought her soup with croutons on the top! This was probably the worst meal and service that I have ever experienced and it spoiled our evening. We hardly ate anything and it still cost us £68 for dinner even after taking off some money for our problems. If you stay then eat somewhere else. They should not be able to get away with it.

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank R500
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 November 2009

Have stayed here twice now, both times in the Veuve Clicquot room which is "best in the house" they say. It is great split level room with bags of space but with no view from the windows really, which is not necessarily a bad thing given the quality of architecture to look at in central Bristol! The first time I stayed the 'special deal price' was around £150 but this time it was £360 for the night. For that money you must have pretty much a perfect room and setting which this isn't - good but not perfect. I will never understand how hotels price their rooms - seems to be a black art.
You can easily drive past the hotel and miss it as it is set back from the road and is partly a converted old warehouse or something. Entry is through a pretty courtyard and the reception is easy enough to find. There is only parking for half a dozen cars outside the front and if you don't get in there you have to park in the NCP across the road. A quick tip - if you are lucky and ask nicely they may let you park in their little delivery area to the left of the entrance if there is a space. Worth asking.
There is a great lounge and bar with big squidgy armchairs and low tables where it is very easy to relax for a longer than you were planning. The restaurant is off to the right of the bar and is excellent - way above what you would normally expect to get from a hotel restaurant and therefore saves you having to find somewhere else to eat in Bristol.
The staff are a bit hit and miss - excellent in the restaurant but a bit offhand elsewhere. Nothing too bad and you just need to roll with it. If you were in a hurry or a bad mood they could drive you a bit mad though.
Overall a pretty good hotel and the Hotel du Vin chain can be relied upon to provide good rooms and food. I just wish the room rates were more consistent.

  • Stayed: November 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank JeffBarnes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 October 2009

Stayed at this HDV last night... first impressions were good- a sensitively restored sugar house, pleasant inner courtyard, sweeping stair case. Unfortunately the service is really lacking... the receptionist started checking us in only to be interrupted by a colleague asking her about a date wedding booking, and they spoke about that for a minute or so leaving us standing like lemons. The exchange seemed completely unnecessary as it turned that the member of staff asking the question was the sister of the best man so you would have assumed she knew the date of the wedding!

Eventually got checked in, and went to our room (wasn't shown like some HDV). Rang the reception as we had been given a double rather than twin that was clearly stated on our booking. Said they would call back after speaking to the manager... waited five minutes and no reply. Called again, also pointing out the window was broken and the aircon wasn't working- both issues as room very hot. Lady sounded frustrated with us and said someone would be up. Eventually a friendly chap turned up and introduced himself as duty manager. I asked for a change of room and he said that most rooms had broken windows- sash cords had snapped and it was a grade 2 listed building and fixing them was proving troublesome etc and that the heating system was on a winter setting so it could only blow out hot air. Expressed dissatisfaction, which prompted the offer of a free drink at the bar- at least some compensation. The duty manager did a great job making up twin beds and putting a fan in our room... I wasn't surprised he did this task himself as most of his staff seemed incapable of doing anything- in parallel to the room fiasco we had previously asked the reception to push our bistro reservation back to 8.30 twice without success and ended up calling them ourselves to do it!

Because of all of this hassle, didn't get to have a shower before dinner- annoying. Had dinner at 8.30 which was ok, not up to HDV's usual standards but ok. Food arrived before wine order taken, lamb was meant to come with roasted root veg but these turned out to just be carrots, that kind of thing.

Eventually got to have a shower after dinner- on the plus side the shower in the bathroom was great, and the room had cooled bit with the fan and us wedging the window open with a HDV photo frame which happened to be lying on the bedside table... maybe for such a purpose!

Before going to bed wanted to check my emails on laptop and internet won't connect. Decided not to bother to phone reception given lack of service to date and try again in the morning. I slept ok but my dad slept poorly- way too hot, not helped by scalding towel rail and tiny window, and the significant road noise from having window open- tip if you do stay here get a room overlooking inner courtyard, not front of hotel.

The following morning the lift is broken- starting to get the feeling nothing really works in this hotel! Went to reception to enquire about wireless and after calling their ISP they confirm it is broken. But don't do anything about it.

Breakfast pretty good. Check out went smoothly thankfully. The only compensation for all of this grief was the low price- just 48 quid b&b with a sunday night 'passport' deal where the room gets discounted by your age- and as my dad is 70 got 70% off. But if I had paid anywhere near rack rate I would have been really ticked off and demanding a word with the manager.

I've been to most of the HDVs (the Cheltenham one in particular is excellent) but this one really lets the side down. Our experience was so way off the HDV experience trumpted in their literature it was laughable. Such a shame as the hotel has the potential to be great- the billiards room and lounge are stunning and the rooms reasonable. All it needs is some TLC, some common sense and some serious training of staff. Hope they read this and take the feedback constructively.

Stayed: October 2009, travelled with friends
3  Thank Jay78uk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 October 2009

Oh dear! You could damn this hotel by saying it's all fur coat and no knickers. But that would be ungenerous. The staff were all excellent, friendly, helpful, and the receptionist I dealt with was the best I have ever come across. Anywhere.
But there are problems.
1:They fully admit sat nav systems don't find their establishment. That's disaster because the one way system in the area was designed by somebody with a grudge against the rubic cube. For some reason the postcode does not register on most satnav systems so you must rely in the reception desk acting as flight controllers to guide you in.
2: When you get there you discover that they have virtually no parking facilities and that they expect you to park in a nearby stacker car park. In my case that was not on. Foreign number plates and a car loaded with just the sort of things that people like to "borrow" not to say a couple of laptops, a week's clothes and various other valuables from cameras to binoculars. No way we were going to unload the car for one night's stay. Having made the position clear by saying I would not check in but cancel and pay the price suddenly a locked car park was found in part of the hotel. Wonderful but only space for three cars. So don't get you hopes up.
3: Our room was large but not a lot worked well. Lighting is sparse and difficult to operate - bedside lights switched off at the plug. TV so far away from the bed that I wished I had the binoculars safely locked away in the car. Sexy bathroom complete with monsoon shower. Pity it seemed it had never been serviced. First the mixer valve needed extremely precise adjustment - -otherwise freeze or fry - and then the shower head was somewhat askew and shot water down and up and looked best not touched in case it fell off.
4: Food is very ordinary and really only saved by the excellent and friendly service. It is too expensive and is formulaic in the extreme. Certainly it does not encourage you to try the top end of the wine list. But then neither does McDonalds though of course they make no pretence.
5: Finally, no porter available, the lift was creaky in a scary way and on leaving the room the following morning the door handle came off in my hand and though replaced fell again as I closed the door.
Altogether a Fawlty Towers experience.
On the plus side it's a quick run from M32 to M4 so you can shake the dust of Bristol off quickly.
It is truly hard to believe that this chain of hotels have been awarded the Guardian/Observer Best Hotel Group award. The group website does not say when this happened but I doubt it covers this year as the experience we had in a sister establishement makes this one look like the four stars it is not. and I could not bear to write about it.
Simp[ly put in our view this is a chain to be avoided.

  • Stayed: October 2009, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank DoublinPair
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 October 2009

Bristol Hotel du Vin iaa lovely hotel that could so easily elevate itself from very good with niggles to absolutely great. Some of that is down to room details and some, for me, to service.

On arrival, we were told there was no parking remaining, and reminded about the nearby NCP. We had looked out for it as we drove to the hotel but hadn't spotted it, despite it being "right opposite" so asked for a map. The one-way system at this location is confusing to say the least. The receptionist waved vaguely out towards the front of the hotel, said they didn't have a map, then found a map of the whole of Bristol city centre, at a scale which didn't show sufficient detail to point out the hotel, car park and route and just waved her hand vaguely in the direction of the front of the hotel. We found it and it's certainly nearby but a little more help would not have gone amiss. Also galling to notice that, when a celebrity and his girlfriend arrived a little while later, two spaces were miraculously available in the hotel's underground parking area.

Service on the front desk was OK but certainly not particularly warm and didn't match the polished welcomes one usually receives at top class hotels.

Another source of confusion was in the room names/ numbers. The rooms are all given names (of drinks) which are displayed on both room doors and keys. At no point was it mentioned that they also have numbers. Which made it a little confusing when some staff would ask for room number for billing purposes.

We had opted for a studio suite and the room was suitably spacious. However, given the immense amount of space, we found the layout of some of the furniture less than ideal. It would not have been difficult to position the TV such that it could easily be swivelled to be watched from either the bed or the seating area. The wardrobes were positioned right behind the bathroom door, which was awkward, and there was no ceiling (or other) light nearby, making it difficult to see inside.

Lighting was an issue generally - there wasn't enough of it. And the bedside lamps were not sufficiently bright nor adequately positioned to be used as reading lights. Maybe other Hotel Du Vin visitors don't like to read newspapers in bed, but I do!

Likewise, layout hadn't been thought through in the bathroom. The single towel rail was a vast distance from the entrance to the shower and the bathtub. The addition of a couple of extra towel rails by shower entrance and tub would be a huge help. There was insufficient shelf space for one's own toiletries in the bathroom. A tiny, wobbly table was provided.

Toiletries had not been replaced after previous guests, but housekeeping did bring up some for us when we requested these at the same time as extra towels.

As others, we weren't keen on the clear door to the bathroom. Privacy wasn't an issue - the toilet and tub can't be seen from the door anyway, in this huge bathroom. But we commonly leave the bathroom light on when staying in unfamiliar rooms, and this was not possible as the light spilled through too strongly. Maybe a door blind and/or some nightlights/ sockets. Yes I'm picking here but there was enough little picky things for them to add up and become more than a single niggle!

The "generous" robes were tiny. I am a big girl but husband is fairly average size - too small for him too. Get some proper LARGE robes, for goodness sake. Small people can still use robes that are too large. Not so the other way around!

Somehow the room just lacked the design punch and awe factor I'd expected for the price.

Breakfast wasn't included but we did take it the second morning. Perfectly nice, decent selection. And helpful service.

Bar/ restaurant service also very friendly and helpful - much warmer than some of the reception staff - not they they were sullen or unhelpful but one or two need to learn to smile, even it's a fake one!!

Would I stay here again? Probably not, unless there was a hefty discount on the current prices or an improvement in the design and details.

  • Stayed: September 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank kavey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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