review // mercure holland house and spa :: bristol

Friday, 7 February 2014

last weekend i had the absolute honour of heading to bristol for the night, to check out and review the mercure holland house hotel and spa, and the hotel's spa reviver package. the trip itself was filled with disasters, but upon arriving at the hotel we were lavished with so much free stuff attention that it made all our other worries fade away...

we checked in (early!) to our (upgraded!) privilege room to drop our bags, and in no time had swathed ourselves in (complimentary!) fresh robes and slippers, casually (chaise!) lounged in our big and comfy room, all while sipping on (proper!) coffee from the (our very own!) nespresso machine.

it was lush! we don't get out much!






from the window we could see across to st. mary's church and not a lot else, which was a bit of a shame, but once we'd left the room we realised we were pretty centrally located to all of the 'stuff' we had wanted to check out around town. we'd forgone the opportunity of getting a cab to the hotel, instead opting to walk to 'take in the scenery' (it really was a lovely day!), and the walk from bristol central coach station, past cabot circus to the hotel itself was easily less than 20 minutes - including a coffee stop and some sightseeing along the way. pretty handy locale, i'd say!

the spa reviver package included some (complimentary!) spa treatments, which we'd booked in for later that day, and also a 3-course meal (!!!) from the a-la carte menu which we were highly anticipating (anything to have someone else cook for me for once!). we were hard pressed to even want to leave the toasty room, but figured we ought to actually do some sightseeing while we were there and not just spend the day watching sky1 and other sky related channels that had mainly football playing. begrudgingly we re-dressed (oi oi! ladsladslads!), and headed out to the chilly midday air...






thankfully there were a number of really close attractions and amenities for us to take in before our spa booking; behind the hotel on the harbour is brunel's ss great britain (which i'm told is rather the historical sight!), and a handful of candy coloured houseboats and day boats moored up along the easy-to-follow trail around the shore. the path also lead up to college square where there are dozens of new bars and restaurants that we definitely would have taken advantage off if we didn't already have dinner plans. it was all really modern, new, green and really clean. also in the middle of that was the planetarium, which looked to be loads of fun too (if you're into that sort of thing).

we wandered back later in the afternoon after exhausting our already-tired selves on wandering the locally cobbled streets, and prepared for our complimentary spa treatments. after we'd made our way out what was definitely the fire exit of the hotel, through the delivery car park and into the warm reception of the spa, we were offered hot drinks before being taken in a great glass elevator (not really) to the... couples parlour! we undressed (ladsladslads!) and prepared for our sure-to-be-amazing massages, and waited...



even through the massage i waited. i'd chosen a massage that claimed to be deep tissue, and even after being asked by my masseuse what i was after and replied 'firm', i was a bit disappointed to get basically a 'firm' tickle with enough aromatherapy oil to baste a turkey. don't get me wrong; it was a lovely massage, totally relaxing and pleasant, just not what i'd asked for or wanted. about half way through she asked if 'the pressure was alright' - besides replying with "what pressure?" (not really) i did what any good brit would do, and replied that it was "perfect". perfectly dull, but relaxing no less. 

and then boyfriend had the gall to complain that his was too hard. he's such a lightweight.


massage over, we headed back to the room to decompress, wash (so much oil!) and glam ourselves up for our dinner in the phoenix restaurant. our package included three courses from the expansive menu, so we quickly got to exploring our choices. being a bore, boyfriend settled on a starter of leek and potato soup, while i chose the more retro option; prawn and lobster cocktail with some sort of green chilli dip. both meals were out to us in under ten minutes, but the restaurant was empty; we were two of six people eating at 6:45 - everyone else appeared (and.. sounded) to be at the bar, getting loose after their long day of filming deal or no deal (no, not a lie). both meals, were sensational. the flavours were impeccable, the soup was perfection, and i wanted more of the cocktail before i'd even finished it. these were just the starters.

sadly though, the perfection and deliciousness did not roll over into the mains. boyfriend opted for the steak and ale pie with mustard mash, seasonal veg and rich gravy, while i'd (foolishly!) chosen the fish of the day; seared sea bass on a bed of lemony, creamy pearl barley that was all very... samey tasting. it all tasted... the same. the barley tasted like the sauce, the sauce tasted like the fish, the fish - actually, tasted pretty good. so there's a plus! reeling from my delicious starter, and hanging for the piece de resistance (dessert), i wolfed down the fish and pushed most of the barley around the plate. boyfriend's main was kick-ass though, and i totally regret not taking the delicious, safe option of pie.

when pie is an option, there is no other option. fool!



then there was desert. i'd gone the obvious route; white chocolate and gingerbread panna cotta with custard cream biscuit (salivating at the memory), and boyfriend, the lamest dessert on the menu; the trio of west-country ice creams. as a precursor to his likely let-down dish, i laughed in his face, gushing over how amazing mine sounded, and how very obvious his choice was. well. boy, was i wrong! mine was delicious, no doubt. creamy white chocolate panna cotta with spicy gingerbread *stuff* atop it, with a perfectly placed, handmade custard cream biscuit on the side. too good looking to eat (as if). but his ice creams? were sensational. his trio comprised of a scoop of white chocolate and vanilla bean (his least fave), oreo chocolate chip (second fave) and - wait for it, salted caramel - both of our faves. as should be done with all salted caramel dishes, i added an extra sprinkle of salt on my teeny tiny mouthful (all i was allowed)(how rude!), while he had his as is. he was totally gutted when he's eaten it all; the poor lamb was scraping the bottom of the plate for any traces of flavour, destroyed that there wasn't an option for seconds (we considered room service). we were stuffed though.

satisfied, we retired to our room to lay horizontal for the rest of the night, certain we would never eat again. oh, what about the complimentary buffet breakfast from 7am and late check out?

oh, go on then.

*many many many thanks to the lovely folk over at mercure holland house and spa who were kind enough to put us up for the night so we could see a little bit of bristol. i couldn't recommend their hotel more*

5 comments:

  1. I do love any hotel that offers a robe and slippers for use while I'm there. It always feels so luxurious. Looks like you had a lovely time.

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  2. Looks brilliant, I could do with somewhere like this :) xx

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  3. this does sound wonderful, I could really do with a night lounging in a robe :)

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  4. Gosh this looks like a lovely little stay, though I did laugh about your very British response to the masseuse's question! We all need to recharge our batteries from time to time, and I do like a good hotel, but haven't really explored the Mercure chain much - will have to bear it in mind next time I book a treat.
    P x

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  5. This sounds so nice, I quite fancy a weekend doing nothing but lazing around in a robe and eating - I would give the touristy stuff a miss!
    It is a shame you were a little disappointed with some little bits but it still sounds great! xx

    Leanne - A Slice of My Life

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thank you for your comment, you lovely thing you.