We hear a great deal about recycling these days - du Vin recycles attractive but sometimes un-loved buildings to restore real gems in the best tradition of British understated style.
Compliment that with all that is best in the French bistro ethos, bars that reach out to please, and you have a setting that provides an inspirational background for people to meet, do business, get married, provide a base for golf or fishing, somewhere you can call your own for a private celebration, a spa or - most engagingly - a wine school that breaks the mould.
In Bristol, du Vin has taken on a collection of Grade II listed warehouses, formerly known as the Sugar House, dating from the 1770s. These are conveniently near the Bristol waterfront and lend themselves well for conversion into a luxury boutique hotel with 40 bedrooms, including several stunning double-height loft suites. The du Vin magic has worked again, and it’s not all smoke and mirrors either.
The stylish bedrooms all have handsprung mattresses, fine Egyptian linen, deep baths and power showers, and high speed wireless internet is available in all rooms. There are plenty of reading opportunities as well in their extensive library.
du Vin hotels are renowned for their bistros and here at Bristol the menu is rooted in classic European cuisine with a contemporary edge. Head chef, Marcus Lang sets a policy of local, finest and freshest, cooked simply, priced sensibly. Starters, chosen from about ten dishes could include braised pigs’ cheeks with swede purée and black pudding; squid, chorizo and crayfish salad, or French ham with rocket, Parmesan and figs.
There is no sparing of the fish here and you could choose from fillets of red mullet, pan-fried fillet of halibut, pan-fried sea bass or poached smoke haddock. The rump of lamb with pommes dauphinoise and pea purée makes a pleasing cut. For a real treat however, look amongst the simple classics and order the eponymous fish pie, a luscious moist production with plenty of body, well finished with a cheese topping. In season give yourself a reward with roast partridge served with pommes pailles and bread pudding.
Whilst one might argue that the whole point of being in a du Vin is to snuggle up to the wine list, this list is designed to march with the food and can only be described as superb. With a team of sommeliers, headed here by Stefan Gorda, there is no room for anything but the best. Service is telepathic in the best possible sense.
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for full information and rates. Hotel du Vin, with fourteen options throughout Britain, awaits your call.