Now that I have two small children under two, my decision-making process for what makes a great hotel include: somewhere family friendly (e.g. somewhere we won’t get dirty looks for daring to have children in public), ideally an on-site restaurant (to avoid having to search for a nearby restaurant) and preferably a pool to splash about it in and a spa or gym where I can have a bit of ‘me time’ (even if it’s five minutes). Quite pleasingly, the Aztec Hotel and Spa in Bristol ticks all of these boxes and then some.
While it’s not situated in the most idyllic location (it’s just off the motorway), what it lacks in first impressions (the outside of the hotel lacks ‘wow factor’), it makes up for with a wealth of great facilities all at your fingertips.
This 4-star hotel has a contemporary look / feel with comfort at the heart of the décor. The bar area has several seating areas that are perfect for hunkering down with a pint and the restaurant with it’s soaring beamed ceiling and artistic murals featuring seaside scenes, provide a nice nod to the local area.
The stylish and modern room options include: Signature Rooms, Signature Family Rooms (what we stayed in), Family Suites and Junior Suites.
Our room with its jazzy geometric print wallpaper in my favourite colour combo of mustard, grey and white, had a double bed, a small sofa (with a pull-out single sofa bed), a big screen TV, which was great for watching movies at night (and cartoons during the day for the kids), two large cupboards (fab for keeping your luggage out of sight) a small kitchen area with a fridge and tea/coffee making facilities, a small table with two chic mustard yellow velvet armchairs, and two large circular mirrors with sleek backlighting to add a bit of sophistication. The only thing we felt was missing from the room was a microwave, which is especially handy for families with small children, but we managed without.
Just a couple of ridiculously cute baby boys enjoying the comfy beds...
The modern décor continued in the bathroom, which had a vibrant geometric patterned backsplash in the shower, adding a pop of colour against the muted white and grey tiles and fixtures.
Little touches such as fresh milk (which you could serve yourself from a machine down the hall - a big hit with our milk-guzzling toddler) and freshly baked cookies upon arrival, were well received.
After a speedy check in, we donned our swimwear and headed to the pool, located inside the on-site spa. Refreshingly, there are designated pool usage times for both children and adults, which means everyone can enjoy the facilities without stress. For smaller children, there is a tiny dedicated splash pool (about six inches deep), which is great for babies and toddlers who want to join in the fun but aren’t confident enough to go for a dip in the main swimming pool. Both of our children love the water and had a whale of a time kicking and splashing to their heart’s content. For those who would prefer to kick back and unwind, allowing the heat to ease their cares away, there is a hot tub and sauna.
During my visit, I booked an express facial treatment (30 minutes long for those who don’t have time for a longer treatment) using products by renowned French skincare brand Caudalie, which left me feeling relaxed and revitalised. Other treatment options include manicures / pedicures, massages, wraps, scrubs and tanning. Each hotel room also comes with complimentary Caudalie toiletries, which we loved.
For those who like to work up a sweat when on holiday, they also have a fitness centre with proper Technogym equipment on site, which looked pretty impressive.
For dinner, the menu boasts a wealth of classic English dishes or guests can choose the Chef’s Table option, which features a selection of fish, shellfish and cold salads (available either as a starter or a main). We were seated at the top level of the restaurant next to the oversized natural stone fireplace, which was crackling away and casting a lovely warmth, encouraging us to settle in for the evening. Throughout the restaurant, there are lots of large, leather banquettes, which create plenty of seating for people to gather round, while encouraging conversation (and quite possibly wine) to flow
The atmosphere is very relaxed; children are more than welcome to dine here and the wait staff are laidback, even when dealing with two clearly frazzled parents (why we didn’t opt for room service is beyond me). We also liked the fun quote on the wall next to the chef’s table that said, ‘ages and glasses of wine should never be counted,” – my kind of people as I couldn’t agree more! During our meal we enjoyed a couple of glasses of Killerman’s Run by Kilikanoon, a gorgeous, and very drinkable Australian wine (number 128 on their wine list).
Starters included the roasted beetroot and mascarpone with celeriac salad, which was beautifully presented with gorgeous bright colours that popped on the plate, and a selection of items from the chef’s table, including prawns, a Scotch egg, salami, sundried tomatoes and a kale salad, to name a few. For mains, I opted for the risotto and my husband had a steak with fries, which was OK, but not a patch on the other dishes.
The Aztec Hotel and Spa is a great place for families visiting Bristol to reconnect and unwind. Thanks to the on-site spa and restaurant, those who don’t wish to leave the hotel can hole up and enjoy a bit of downtime.
The Miln Report - Luxury Family Travel
Having kids in tow during your travels doesn't mean you have to scrimp on style.