While walking distance from the city centre and directly opposite the main city centre rail station, the downside of the location is that the hotel faces a major road which is very noisy with both regular traffic and fairly frequent emergency vehicles.
This hotel didn't start life as a Holiday Inn Express (the car park keypad bears the Accor group name) and so some of the normal attributes that you associate with the brand are missing. For example the bathrooms are not at all like the HIE bathroom - mine had damaged floor tiles and a curiously large shower - as though it really had aspirations to have a bath but had been converted. The lighting is poor - not helped in my room by the missing lampshade for the wall lamp (at head hight, hence no lamp shade, no doubt). For example - if you wanted the desk lamp then you also had to have the room lobby light and the main light in the room on. Why? The TVs have smallish screens but plenty of channels. The beds are clean, firm and comfortable. The furniture is functional.
The car park at £6 per night is reasonable but a tad difficult to use. You need to park first outside the back of the hotel (which really does look like something from a gangster movie and could be sooo much nicer) then guess which door gives access to the reception. If you guessed right you then need to wait for someone to come through or use the pushbutton to gain access - there must be a lot of crime here to need this level of security. Then reception will give you a number. Go back to the car and drive to the garage and use the number to get the door to open. Keep the number with you as you'll also need it to get pedestrian access out of the garage (ditto remark on crime) but note this is NOT the same as the way you drove in - you need to go up to the next level to get out as a pedestrian. Just make sure you unload your bags before you drive to the garage as it's tricky to get in and out as a pedestrian with luggage.
My room had double glazed units and then another glazed layer on top of that so it's difficult to see what else HI can do to reduce traffic noise in the rooms. I was on level 3 facing the road and it may be better higher up or facing away from the road.
The room had a very effective electric wall heater and a/c for the summer months. No toileteries in the bathroom beyond the wall dispenser units.
There was an ice machine just off the lobby next to snack and drinks dispensers and there is a Tesco express about 5 mins away by foot. The hotel also has its own bar.
Breakfast was pretty ghastly. I'm not quite sure how the orange juice is made, but it tastes one step down from UHT juice - perhaps it comes in concentrated tins or powder but you probably will not be going back for a second glass. The so-called 'cooked' breakfast combines cardboard tasting sausages with scrambled egg - that tastes like its been made from egg powder rather than eggs. The coffee is almost undrinkable. So HI save a few quid on ingredients but its not a good experience for the traveller. Conversely the cereals and danish pastries were excellent.
I wouldn't choose to stay here again and I think HI should really review this place to ensure that it doesn't tarnish the brand. It's cheap as chips (my room was only £65 on a flexible basis) but there is better value accommodation in the area and if I didn't know better I would think twice about staying at HIE having stayed here.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Holiday Inn Express Bristol City Centre offers good value, modern hotel accommodation in the heart of Bristol. Located directly opposite Temple Meads Train Station, our modern hotel offers rates including breakfast and free Wi-Fi. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Holiday Inn Express Bristol City Centre Hotel Bristol
- Holiday Inn Bristol
- Bristol Holiday Inn