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Home from home: Bristol’s new hotels

As the city welcomes three new hotels, we catch up with the interior designers and architects of Artist Residence, Moxy and Clayton Hotel, and discover how they turned their vision into reality…

Artist Residence Bristol
Located in the creative St Pauls community, just minutes from Bristol’s city centre, this Georgian townhouse and old boot factory is an eccentric home from home in the heart of the city.

Downstairs, you’ll find a light and airy library, a relaxed lounge bar, and the sprawling Boot Factory – an all-day neighbourhood café, bar and kitchen complete with a ping-pong table, photobooth, buzzing central bar and courtyard garden. It offers a relaxed atmosphere, a casual menu from brunch through to pizza and is a fun and friendly hub for both the local community and guests alike.

Bristol is the fifth boutique hotel to open in the Artist Residence series, following on from successes in Brighton, London, Oxfordshire and Penzance. We caught up with owners Justin and Charlotte Salisbury, who are at the forefront of the design process.

“My wife and I bought the former boot factory six years ago,” Justin tells us. “It was really important to us that Artist Residence Bristol had a very homely feel, that it didn’t feel like a hotel and was really part of the community. We have hand-picked every item and designed the space with low-key, down-to-earth interiors while retaining the character of the building and its best features.”

artistresidence.co.uk; 28 Portland Square, St Paul’s, Bristol BS2 8SA

Clayton Hotel Bristol
Mhairi Stenhouse, Interior Designer at Cunningham McLean

What was your vision for Clayton Hotel?
The history and architecture of the building is beautiful, and we really wanted to keep that alive when doing the interior design. We worked closely with the architects to achieve this. You will see from the entrance lobby and lower bar; we’ve kept a lot of the original features, which harmonise with ‘Clayton’s’ design concept. We always knew we were going to need to combine the old with the new and one space that conveys how this has been achieved is walking from the entrance lobby into the atrium. It’s something you must experience yourself.

Tell us about the design concept…
The building has a history with printworks, and we saw this as an obvious concept for the artwork and signage within the hotel. If you visit the lower bar, you will see a selection of bespoke artwork that shows original prints of the building mixed with quirky and modern elements. Another area involved the bedrooms and corridors. We looked at custom directional signage to help guests navigate their rooms. The signage takes its design direction from a printing press. These subtle nods work extremely well with the ‘Clayton’ design. It’s always nice to explain where the thought process comes from.

What’s your favourite stand-out feature of the hotel?
I love the lower bar. It sits just left of the main bar. It is located at the bottom of a small flight of stairs, and I feel it’s a space that guests would want to sit, unwind, and relax. That said, I also think it would work well for a small meeting or function, with the mix of furniture, it’s flexible.

Also, the meeting breakout space which is located at the bottom of the beautiful staircase is another favourite. Again, I feel it’s a space guests will want to sit and relax or work. We have designed a selection of curved booths that have a high-backed surround to create a private snug. Perfect for casual private meetings.

How do you hope guests will feel when they enter Clayton Hotel?
I would love the guests to feel special, welcomed and starstruck from when they enter the hotel to the journey to their bedroom. ‘Starstruck’ meaning the three-storey staircase that travels through the floors of the public areas. The hotel offers a range of areas where guests can unwind, relax, work, workout and of course socialise. ‘Clayton’ do this well.

claytonhotels.com; Broad Street, Bristol BS1 2EQ; cmp.org.uk

Moxy Bristol
Mark Halbmeijer, Interior Architect at Apto Architects

What was your vision for Moxy?
Bristol has an inspiring urban street art scene that matches perfectly with the core values of the Moxy brand. Moxy is stylish, but playful. The industrial chic interior design blends with the street art elements and reflects how the area around the hotel is transforming into a vibrant neighbourhood.

Tell us about the design concept…
Every aspect of the design has been considered and playfully executed, from checking in at the bar to relaxing in the social lounge to finding peace in the library. Moving up through the floors, guests will notice that their rooms match the industrial chic approach that greets them in the lobby.

What’s more, the Moxy team worked with Bristol-based social enterprise Bricks to inject a bold and ultra-local collection of vibrant pieces of public artwork. On entry to the lobby, fun-hunters are greeted with a commissioned piece of art evoking the famous St Pauls Carnival by painter and sculptor Bo Lanyon. It complements the numerous artworks on the walls, workstations and windows, which are by many celebrated local artists including Lawrence Hoo, Charles Golding, Lucas Antics and Dr Myles-Jay Linton. They incorporate recognisable features of the culturally rich local communities as well as famous Bristolian sayings and the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

What’s your favourite stand-out feature of the hotel and why?
The ambiance of the lobby is my favourite part of the hotel. It is designed to be a living room for the guests and is great space to hang out.

How do you hope guests will feel when they enter Moxy Bristol?
I hope guests will be excited for their stay at Moxy and eager to experience Bristol’s buzzing city life.

moxybristol.com; 55 Newfoundland Street, St Paul’s, Bristol BS2 9AP; apto.nl; hotelco51.com