Andy Wynn was invited to the grand opening of the new pergoda at DoubleTree by Hilton Bristol North. Here’s what he thinks of it…
A couple of years ago I heard that Hilton Bristol North, sat at the top of Bradley Stoke for many years and looking rather tired, had plans to invest several million pounds into a full refurbishment and rebrand. As the months progressed DoubleTree by Hilton Bristol North, as it became embarked on a refurbishment of rooms, the restaurant, the Redland Suite event space and even the parking areas.
In June 2017 I attended the, now fully refurbished, hotel for Stars of the Stokes awards and bore witness to the step up in service levels and food that had accompanied the physical changes. During the evening I got to chatting, as is my want, to James Montague, DoubleTree’s Sale Manager. Quite rightly James was proud to have been a part of the refurbishment, he waxed lyrical about the new service levels and the quality of the menu that the new Head Chef was delivering. There was one caveat though, James showed me the courtyard area. The courtyard that sits on the opposite side of the bar and reception area from the hotel’s main entrance.
This area had yet to be touched, it had not been included in the refurbishment plans because in essence, there was nothing wrong with it. It was a courtyard, a consequence of the architecture, surrounded by outward looking corridor windows scaling three floors that allowed natural light into these contemporary yet functional areas. The courtyard had door access into the bar/lounge area and so patrons could enjoy their Starbucks or their beer on a patio area with, if it were their thing a cigarette.
However, James explained, on that glittering evening, that in hindsight the team now felt that more could be made of this area. It was not now ‘fine’ as the rest of the hotel had moved on.
So, on a beautifully sunny mid-April Friday afternoon I was invited to the grand opening of this final, added on stage of the upgraded facilities at DoubleTree.
Whoever, at DoubleTree, is in charge of the weather did a marvellous job. So to, to be fair, did whoever came up with the concept of The Pergoda. No longer is it a purely functional space, a welcome relief to smokers who get fed up standing in car parks to indulge their habit. No longer is it an afterthought, a consequence of functionality. Now? Well now it is a feature, little oasis of light, on this day an oasis of baking sunshine.
A patio area, although I’m sure there’s a better word than patio for the hundreds of brick sized tiles in two shades of grey, is now covered by a pretty bulky and stripped back wooden frame with glazing and a number of overhead heaters to keep the AL Fresco diners not so meteorologically blessed warm and dry.
The grass area now holds a small selection of children’s outdoor toys and a further wooden archway in the middle, fed by a path from the main covered area.
This is now a lovely, relaxing and inviting environment, perfect on a day of warmth and sunshine to enjoy, as I did, a Pimms and a barbeque. Although, in cahoots with the patio, I’m not sure that the word ‘barbeque’ applies here. Yes, it was meat cooked on a thing called a barbeque, outside, on a nice day. However, this was steak, and venison sausages, and prawn kebabs, and mushrooms, not a thin burger with some soggy cheese in sight.
They tell me that one of the plans they have for The Pergoda is to host weddings, they have the license ready to go. Now, on a day like this Friday, in the middle of April, that would be a lovely setting for a wedding.
My one bit of advice, when you book it, find out what it costs to include the good person at DoulbeTree who is in charge of the weather, I’m not convinced that a wedding in the rain would have quite the same effect.