A few weeks ago, I was lucky to be invited for a sneak preview tour of the new and soon to be opened Artist Residence Hotel in Bristol. Much anticipated, the hotel sits on a corner plot in Portland Square in central Bristol, not far from the bustling Stokes Croft and handy shopping at Cabot Circus.
The hotel is transforming the once derelict boot factory building, and changing the face of Portland Square to a destination of utter coolness. Portland Square is a Grade I listed square in the St Paul’s area of Bristol. It was laid out in the early 18th century as one of Bristol’s first suburbs. Built upon a flat area of ground its central focus of St. Paul’s Church, which now houses Circomedia, a contemporary circus and performing theatre group.
I’ve visited Portland Square for years, it was always a bit run down and grungy, so I couldn’t wait to see how the building was transformed. I so wanted a good old nose, as after staying at their Oxford and London hotels, I knew it would be something special.
Let me show you around….
The building, still very much a work in progress, with builder tools, raw plaster and wires hanging out of the walls – we were instructed to wear a hard hat and watch where we walked. The tour started in the bar area, were there were artist mock-ups of what the finished space will be like. A large bar area open to the public, with a restaurant area off to the side. A small courtyard garden, dripping with plants, and a lounge area for the hotel residence to chill in.
The old boot factory building wraps around a corner plot which allows for large windows along two sides, with light flooding into the space (eventually, once the protective hoarding comes down).
First stop on the tour was downstairs to the basement. A large, beautiful space with original parquet flooring, and arched windows letting light in from the street above. The basement will be used for events and private hire functions. I instantly had my Sisterhood hat on, and thought what a wonderful place to hold a supper. I can see it now!
Back upstairs we walked past the lift and up to the first floor, to the bedrooms. OH MY GOD! The team at AR really know how to pull off that boutique / rustic / upcycled look so well. Furniture being stripped back, roughed up a little, bathrooms built into the corner of the room for an ensuite, but without taking away the gravity of the space.
Gorgeously dressed with interesting local artwork, brightly coloured cushions and painted furniture. The rooms are place you want to relax and spend time in. Not just rooms to sleep in…. but a place to linger and pretend you live there. An instagrammers dream alright!
I fell in love with one of the suites, undressed apart from a pea green bath, with views over the Square and trees. It made me want to rip out my house and change everything! I will bathe in that bath one day, I’ll make sure of it!
The hotel is due to open in October 2019, it’s nearly finished in parts, the rooms are all but done – just the lounge areas and garden to complete.
I CANNOT wait for it to be open. I hope to be lounging in the bar on a weekly basis. Working from one of the tables, and eating the delicious food. See you there?
For more information on Artist Residence Bristol, and any of their other hotels (London, Oxfordshire, Brighton and Penzance) – then head to their website. You can read my reviews of London and Oxford too.