Mercure Bristol and National Chocolate week
“I have been asked if we want to go to Bristol for a chocolatey weekend as part of National Chocolate Week. It’s to stay at the Mercure and sample their “Chocolate Unwrapped” experience. It includes dinner, chocolate Martinis, overnight stay in the hotel, and a spa treatment each with a chocolate massage“
“Bristol? You would go to Aberdeen for that wouldn’t you?!”
“I would go to sodding Abu Dhabi for the night for that”.
Some things land in my inbox that just make me squeal out loud and this was certainly one of those. Not just an overnight stay in a hotel but also chocolate?! That is in the “died and gone to heaven” category of blog opportunities.
We have stayed at a Mercure before and whilst it was “perfectly adequate” we weren’t blown away by it. Unlike the Malmaison we had stayed in the weekend before. We arrived at the Mercure expecting it to be your average inner city hotel room.
And first impressions on arriving in the car park confirmed that though, I have to say. Back of the hotel, up some metal steps to a door with a buzzer to be let in. It is not the most exciting of entrances and as you arrive into a bland hotel corridor with a sign that says “Reception and toilets” you do feel a bit “Oh. This is not shaping up to be great”.
That thought process though quickly began to change as we approached reception and were greeted by a very smiley lady who asked if she could help us. As she checked us in she also enquired about our journey, could she make us a reservation for dinner and did we need directions anywhere in the city.
All done in minutes and we were given directions to our room.
Now this is really where my pre conceived ideas were blown away. The room was huge, had a separate entrance lobby and a lovely big bathroom with a double shower and a free standing Victorian bath.
The one thing we didn’t have however was tea bags. Big mistake. Do they not know what a tea bag I am?!! Quickly resolved though when we mentioned it to our waitress over dinner. She swiftly returned with a plate of teabags and a jug of fresh milk declaring “I hate UHT so thought you might like this”.
Nespresso machine was a nice touch, but I thought it a bit odd that a room for two had three pods. Pods? Are they pods? You know what I mean, the coffee filled things. Who gets the second one?
Dinner was good value, £17 for two courses. My steak wasn’t great if I am honest, but then I am a bit of a steak snob unfortunately. Mr B really enjoyed his chicken though. This being chocolate week we had a chocolatey dessert board for afters, lots of blocks of chocolate and a little polt of melted chocolate with fruit to dip which was really delicious.
Oh and um… we got a chocolate Martini each. Well umm in theory we got one each but as I was going to be writing this post it seemed only fair that I drank them both. You know, just to make sure they were both up to standard, you know?
I can safely say they were delicious.
Now what my steak lacked was more than made up for with breakfast. Now I love a hotel breakfast. Who doesn’t? And this one was quite possibly the best I have ever had. Not only where there the usual things like eggs, bacon, sausages, hash browns but also hot waffles, a cold meat platter, cheeses, pastries and pork pie. Yes. Pork pie. FOR BREAKFAST. I thought I had died and gone to heaven.
It was superb. Tea and toast on the table. Really smiley staff (even at 8am on a Saturday morning), good quality food, I couldn’t fault it. And believe me I really tried.
The last part of our chocolately weekend was the spa treatment. Now if I was going to be critical I would have to say that when I envisage a hotel spa I don’t think of it as a separate building across the car park. Mr B really wanted to just get up on Saturday morning and go to the spa but felt a bit awkward wandering outside in his dressing gown. It would have been much nicer if it was part of the hotel. That said, the spa was fabulous, and very accessible if you are in a wheelchair, and even had a lift inside too for those who find stairs tricky.
(oh and whilst I am grumbling, sorry, but I have to mention it. I think charging £12 for the hotel car park is a bit mean. Sorry but I have never paid for a hotel car park when I have been a guest, even at an inner city hotel).
Mr B actually thought I was joking when I told him we were having chocolate back massages. SO not his thing normally. But he seemed quite at home in the spa as we waited to shown to our “couples room” and asked to strip off and lie on the beds.
The massage was fabulous but it did seem a terrible waste of an emormous amount of chocolate (have you seen the surface area of my back? It must have needed at least half a kilo). Mr B said he felt like he was an giant Aero bar as we left.
All in all we had just the best weekend. A real giggle and such a treat at the end of a really full on couple of weeks. As a chocolate lover I was in heaven. As somebody who also likes good customer service it was a real treat to be on the receiving end of alot of it. From the minute we arrived to the minute we left we felt looked after.
And you can’t really ask for more than that of a hotel, can you?
Overnight stays at the Mercure Holland House Hotel and Spa are from just £79
We were guests of the hotel so our bill was paid for us. All thoughts and photos are our own.
Image of Bristol Cathedral courtesy of Shutterstock