“An elegant B&B in buzzing Bristol, with vivid artwork and panoramic city views”
The 10 bedrooms are all equally elegant. Shades of pigeon-grey and mizzle lift the wood-panelled walls, carpets are stylish sisal, and distressed leather trunks, battered wooden boxes and industrial-chic tables hark back to a Bristol of times gone by.
The most luxurious rooms are the 2 Loft Suites on the top floor, which run the depth of the house, enjoying open views of the Downs to the north and the city to the south. They have enormous copper bathtubs, hidden waterfall showers and super-kingsize sleigh beds. We stayed in the East Loft Suite on our first visit and loved the soothing décor and natural light. By contrast, the West Loft Suite, which we stayed in during 2016, is painted dramatic petrol blue, creating a real refuge; we loved relaxing in here, having lazy baths and gazing out at the views.
Also spacious with tubs and separate showers are the Luxury Double Rooms. If you can, book Room 3 - its freestanding bath is perfectly placed for enjoying the view. Room 7’s basement window lacks aesthetic appeal, but its bathroom does offer rooftop views.
Available as doubles or twins, the Superior House Rooms are ideal for friends sharing or children over 12. Both have showers; in Room 5 you get a bathtub-with-a-view, too. The smaller House Rooms are located on the lower ground floor, closest to the noise of the terrace, but they're beautifully presented, with walk-in showers in their ensuites (a couple have tubs, too).
Bathrooms in all rooms are stocked with waffle robes, snow-white towels and REN products, while bedrooms have comfy goose-down duvets and woollen blankets from Feather & Black. Each room also has a flatscreen satellite TV, WiFi, tea- and coffee-making facilities and a retro Roberts radio.
The Number Thirty Eight team excels at breakfast. Continental delights, including granola, pastries, fruit, yoghurts and stewed fruit compote, are all laid out in the elegant reception rooms. You can also select from various cooked options: the Full English will keep traditionalists happy, while garlic mushrooms with poached eggs on toast will tempt vegetarians. For me, the scrambled eggs with smoked salmon and chives were perfect.
Available until 8pm are coffees, cream teas, wines and cocktails, best enjoyed in front of the fire or on the terrace as the sun sinks behind the rooftops. And in your room you’ll find a minibar stocked with drinks and nibbles to satisfy any impromptu cravings - Tyrells Crisps, Green & Black’s chocolates, locally produced apple juice and various tipples (we liked the Chateau Lavanau Merlot).
Adam decided not to offer any other meals at Number Thirty Eight, choosing instead to encourage guests to explore Clifton’s fabulous range of eateries. A welcome pack in each room provides plenty of suggestions, and staff will happily book tables for you. A couple of minutes’ walk away on Whiteladies Road is The Spiny Lobster, which serves super-fresh seafood. Further down the hill, The Ox offers tender locally sourced steaks, while Bravas on Cotham Hill has great tapas and an authentic, Spanish atmosphere. After dinner, wind your way back via the dark and decadent Hausbar (book a table in advance), only moments from Number Thirty Eight and perfect for late-night cocktails.
Clifton also has plenty of spots for lunch. Head down Whiteladies Road for artisan treats at Papadeli. Or make a beeline for upmarket Clifton Village (20 minutes’ walk), where you’ll find everything from Indian feasts to ethically sourced eats and eclectic afternoon teas.