As far as I know, there are no ley lines running under the Boutique Art House B&B in Bristol. And no portals to another dimension in the front garden.
So why I left this modest semi on a Sunday morning feeling, somehow, deeply changed is a mystery.
My first glimpse of the Boutique Art House gave no clue, whatsoever, of its transformative powers. There it was, just a neat Victorian semi on a busy Bristol road. The only slight curious thing: a pristine vintage Mercedes parked carefully in the drive with a garland of red and white flowers on its dashboard. I knew that the owner of the Boutique Art House, Sadie, was an artist – so on a moment’s reflection, it was an arty quirk that sort of made sense.
I arrived at The Boutique Art House in the evening keen to rest a heavy suitcase and aching feet – Bristol had given me a full day out. I rung the doorbell, the door opened and, on the other side of it, I saw a wooden hall sparkling buttercup-gold with the glow of fairy lights. With a hush and a smile, Sadie introduced herself and welcomed me inside.
It was exactly the sort of hall that made you drop your voice to a whisper in fear of waking sleeping children.
My room, The White Room, was at the very top of the house. Sadie unlocked the door with an old key attached to a delicately crumpled parcel tag.
As I stepped over the threshold, the snow-white interior rushed up and embraced me like a relative I hadn’t seen for years.
The bed – antique – and immaculately made up like a tundra. The bedstead: threaded with a shower of fairy lights, balancing as delicately as a midsummer night’s tiara. The heavy wooden floors: soft with sheepskins.
Two chairs, a vintage mirror, a Narnia wardrobe topped with cream vintage suitcases, and a small fireplace, painted white to fit in with the rest of the soothing decor.
On a shelf, in the corner of the room, next to a stack of tea cups, I spotted a slice of homemade Victoria Sponge. Carefully cling-filmed to stay fresh.
Underneath it, more brown parcel labels tied to mini jars: a selection of teas (herbal and normal), coffee, hot chocolate and even mini marshmallows for an indulgent topping.
On the shabby chic trunk at the end of the bed, a brown paper bag waited for me – its label read: ‘Guilty pleasures’ and inside were a selection of gossip and fashion magazines.
The room was decorated like a friend of mine – someone I’d trusted for years – had put every single item in there just to make me feel better; knowing that I needed to escape the chaos of my life. The touches weren’t just thoughtful, they were sincere and, dare I say it, put there with love.
After saying goodnight to Sadie, I kicked my shoes off and started running hot water into the Victorian slipper bath.
I uncapped another glass jar resting alongside the bath. It too had a crumpled paper label attached to it.
This one read: Bubbles.
Next morning took its time coming. The light slowly fell into the room; like it knew it was Sunday – or like the night had respectfully told it, ‘give her some peace, just for a bit longer’.
My sleep had been deeply restful. Relaxation is the watchword at The Boutique Art House: there are headphones to use if you wish to watch TV after ten, which could explain why I hadn’t heard a peep from a soul all night.
With the duck down duvet tucked firmly under my chin, I seriously contemplated never leaving the bed’s rose-smelling softness.
Luckily, breakfast on a Sunday is served slightly later at The Boutique Art House. Better still, if you want to, you can pay a bit extra for a Breakfast tray to be served to your room. As tempting as that sounded, going down to the kitchen to eat was equally joyful.
Like the rest of The Boutique Art House, the kitchen and breakfast-room flowed with warm feelings.
Colours came in the form of kitsch cushions, crocheted throws, and vintage china stacked in an antique dresser. Scents came honeyed and homely as Sadie sprinkled freshly baked pasties with icing sugar, then laid baguettes warm from the oven in front of me.
Alongside these breakfast treats came fresh fruit, jam and marmalade, granola and cereals, and fresh tea and cafetiere coffee – all presented beautifully on a farmhouse dining table.
Over breakfast, I sat around the table chatting to Sadie and a pretty Parisian girl, who was also Sadie’s guest. It struck me, as we talked, that this was how families used to breakfast in times gone by. Connecting with each other, listening to one another, learning from each other. Without TV. And without haste.
It was truly blissful. And I could’ve sat for most of that morning sipping coffee and crumbling pastries with my new friends.
The Boutique Art House B&B really does have a magic to it. Unlike any hotel or B&B I’ve stayed in before, this place made me feel genuinely cared for. The sort of cared for that you feel as a child when you wake up in your favourite aunt’s house. Nourishing. Unequivocal.
Maybe it was the thoughtfulness of the items in the room. Maybe it was the peace and tranquillity that pervaded every nook and cranny. Maybe it was the soothing whites of my room. Or maybe it was Sadie’s good-natured spirit that had seeped into the woodwork and painted walls.
Wherever the magic came from, it eased my fractious soul that weekend. And I drove away that Sunday morning anew.
The Boutique Art House and Magic Atelier B&B is located in Fishponds, Bristol, about 20 minutes from the city centre. There’s a bus stop right outside and parking on the road.
I enjoyed a one night stay at The Boutique Art House B&B courtesy of Sadie and Peter. This review is an honest reflection of my stay at the B&B and my opinion of it. Many thanks to The Boutique Art House for being so incredible, and a special thanks to Visit Bristol for arranging my stay in the city.
Have you ever stayed somewhere that left you
feeling like a completely different person?
Comment below and let me know – I always reply!