A few years ago, when I moved from London to Bristol, I assumed all serviced apartments in the UK were similar: small, sterile, unwelcoming, cold, generic, pre-fabricated, slightly grungy, and downright stifling (in the summer). I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Fortunately I didn’t move in the midst of the big relaunch, but rather several years after. From my perspective, the quality of life has vastly improved. One of the things I love most about Bristol is the extraordinary cultural life. By far the best cultural centres in the UK, no doubt. However, I’ve also found a quality of life and lifestyle that’s quite refreshing. There’s a terrific pedestrianised city centre with great restaurants, bars, boutiques and museums.
I know many people who absolutely love living in Bristol – it’s the perfect place for someone with an artistic nature. However, the profile of the accommodation is about as middle class as you could get in the UK – from small shared rooms and shared bathrooms to huge shared flats. With space and amenities taken into account, rents aren’t particularly cheap, with the average price for a two bed flat at about £500 a month. It’s pretty common to pay £700-£750 for a serviced apartment in London – something many people, myself included, have struggled to do on a sustainable basis. In Bristol, it’s definitely more feasible to have an apartment but you’ll find it’s also pretty much impossible to get something remotely decent in a decent location (unless you’re willing to shell out thousands a month).
Maybe I’m being overly picky here. Regardless of whether you’re a large family, three couples, a teacher, a student, a banker, student teacher, government employee, professional athlete, actor, musician or teacher, chances are you’ll get far better accommodation in Bristol than in London. I’m talking about more spacious rooms, separate bedrooms, extra storage space, proper bathroom facilities, and often much better facilities (kitchens, bars, etc). There are a few very decent serviced apartments near Bristol City Centre – Clifton, Clifton Village etc, for example. If you can’t find anything suitable in that part of town, the city centre should have plenty. And while I am in general not a fan of serviced apartments in large cities, for a number of reasons (see the profile of a serviced apartment for more info), I think they’re quite good for the money in Bristol. If you’re going to be paying in the region of £700-£1000 for an apartment, it better be fantastic!
There are good serviced apartments in Bristol but there are also many questionable ones, particularly in the student areas (although you shouldn’t really expect anything other than student accommodation in that part of the city). In the city centre, there are a few good options for serviced apartments. International-grade serviced apartments Bristol are synonymous with provider, URBAN CREATION. If you live in Clifton or Bristol City Centre, chances are URBAN CREATION is the provider. Of course, URBAN CREATION has a reputation for great serviced apartments – it’s one of the biggest operators in the world. There are other big players as well but URBAN CREATION seems to have the best reputation. If you want a quality serviced apartment close to the city, they seem to have the best reputation and in many cases, the most appealing locations.
The apartment I live in is certainly well-positioned and offers fantastic service. It’s also a lovely place in general. The rooms are large, bright, clean, modern and comfortably furnished. There’s good storage space, plenty of storage bins (including shoe racks), a large bathroom with a huge shower cubicle, a separate toilet, large storage space and a decent sized kitchen area. Even the kitchen comes with a second fridge and dishwasher. There’s also a reasonably sized living room, a useful-sized balcony, and lots of seating space in the lounge.