A slice of California in the West Country: The Inspector reviews Mollie’s Motel and Diner in Bristol


The Inspector travels to Bristol and stays in the latest Soho House Mollie’s motel, concluding that with more planned ‘Premier Inn and Travelodge will have to raise their game’

  • Mollie’s Motel & Diner, just off the M5 south of Bristol, is a ‘clever’ concept, says the Inspector 
  • The Inspector’s guest room – one of 123 – is furnished in a Scandi vibe with wood panelling and wooden floors
  • He visits the diner and says the menu is ‘fairly priced’ and ‘staff rush about with a proper sense of purpose’ 
  • Remember, the Inspector pays his way… and tells it like it is 

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There’s a Premier Inn almost opposite Mollie’s Motel & Diner, just off the M5 south of Bristol. Both offer cheap, clean rooms but that’s where the similarities end.

Mollie’s is an offshoot of Soho House, the trendy members’ club with outlets all over the world — but you absolutely don’t have to be a member to stay here.

It’s the sort of place (like the first Mollie’s, which opened three years ago on the A420 between Oxford and Swindon) that makes you think: why didn’t someone do this years ago?

The Inspector stops off for a night at Mollie’s Motel & Diner, pictured, just off the M5 south of Bristol

The motel, which features 123 rooms in two wings, is an offshoot of the trendy members’ club Soho House

The motel, which features 123 rooms in two wings, is an offshoot of the trendy members’ club Soho House 

There are 123 rooms in two wings, with a grassy courtyard between them where guests staying the night can have drinks. The full-scale American diner is in a separate building.

We turn up at the retro-chic lobby-cum-bar to check in — and like the idea of asking for a room key and a large gin and tonic all at the same time. 

We request a room as far away from the motorway as possible and, while having our drinks, I get a text message saying that our room is ready and our bags have been taken up there.

Above is the retro-chic lobby-cum-bar. The Inspector likes the idea of 'asking for a room key and a large gin and tonic all at the same time'

Above is the retro-chic lobby-cum-bar. The Inspector likes the idea of ‘asking for a room key and a large gin and tonic all at the same time’

While having a drink in the lobby (pictured), the Inspector gets a text message saying that his room is ready and his bags have been taken up there

While having a drink in the lobby (pictured), the Inspector gets a text message saying that his room is ready and his bags have been taken up there

Above is one of the guest rooms, complete with fluted wood panelling. Doubles are priced from £90

Above is one of the guest rooms, complete with fluted wood panelling. Doubles are priced from £90

Pictured is a bunk room at the motel. Guests can avail of Cowshed toiletries in the shower room

Pictured is a bunk room at the motel. Guests can avail of Cowshed toiletries in the shower room 

The room has a Scandi vibe, with fluted wood panelling, wooden floor, comfortable armchair and the sort of bed linen to which Soho House members have become accustomed. 

The basin is in the hallway, opposite the shower room, which is kitted out with Cowshed toiletries. There’s a Dyson hairdryer and a hair straightener, and you can link your phone to the TV to watch Netflix et al.

Two quibbles: there are no individual switches for the bedside lamps and the anti-theft hangers look out of place.

The Inspector finds that the full-scale American diner, pictured, is 'heaving' when he visits and has a 'brilliant menu, fairly priced'

The Inspector finds that the full-scale American diner, pictured, is ‘heaving’ when he visits and has a ‘brilliant menu, fairly priced’

'Staff rush about with a proper sense of purpose' at the diner. Pictured is a burger served at the eatery

French toast from the diner's breakfast menu

‘Staff rush about with a proper sense of purpose’ at the diner. Pictured left is a burger served at the eatery.  On the right is French toast from the diner’s breakfast menu

The diner is heaving and it’s a brilliant menu, fairly priced. ‘My name’s Dean and I’ll be looking after you this evening,’ says Dean. And he does. We could be in California. We order three starters: nachos with tomato salsa, guacamole, cheese sauce and sour cream; ‘Mollie’s mozzarella sticks’ fried in batter; and Caesar salad.

We follow those up with a burger and a half rack of ribs. Staff rush about with a proper sense of purpose. They’re all in black T-shirts with slogans: Chop Chop; Chef de Party; Cut the Mustard. There’s even more of a buzz at breakfast.

Mollie’s is clever. The plan is to roll out more. The likes of Premier Inn and Travelodge will have to raise their game.

TRAVEL FACTS

Mollie’s Motel & Diner, A4018, Cribbs Causeway, Bristol, BS10 7TL. Doubles are priced from £90. For more information call 0117 3747740 or visit mollies.com.

Rating:

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