The concept of budget motels has never quite caught on in Britain. If you do find one it will be dreary and soulless and very probably extra noisy due to its proximity to the roadside, until now that is. Mollie’s has broken the mould, designed by the team behind the upmarket boutique hotels like Somerset’s Babington House, and Soho House in London, the only difference is that this is affordable and family friendly whilst being at the cutting edge of design and technology. We didn’t quite know what to expect and were bowled over from the moment we stepped into the light and airy reception, were checked in fast and digitally, with just time to admire a rather pretty garden beyond with tall ferns gently waving surrounding smart tables and chairs with umbrellas which looked very inviting.
Everything is natural wood (the outside looks very much like an American barn), clean and wholesome and the rooms are reached by wide corridors across several floors. Bearing in mind this is a budget hotel; our room was £59.00 for the night at a non-refundable price, the fixtures and fittings are amazing. A large rain forest shower tiled in subtle grey marble with luxury Cowshed toiletries, commodious thick and fluffy bath towels, snowy white Egyptian cotton bed linen, a really good sized double bed and the biggest surprise, as well as a hair dryer, ceramic hair straighteners are provided. If you have an overflow of wedding guests this is definitely the place to put them up, as together with the excellent floor length mirror (absent in so many hotel rooms) this is just the place for them to get ready in luxury and comfort. The rooms are panelled in light wood, there’s space for a handy table and two chairs, USB points, free WiFi, air conditioning, a large flatscreen TV on the wall that can be controlled by your mobile phone and a small alcove wardrobe.
Much thought has gone into the rooms which come in all categories with different pricing bands – connecting rooms for families, bunk rooms – I longed to have one of these but my husband said the last time he slept in a bunk was on a Youth Hostelling trip which he never forgot and not in a good way so he wasn’t about to repeat the experience – and just plain doubles and twins. There is free tea and coffee available in the lounge which you can take back up to your room, and when we visited breakfast wasn’t available due to the ongoing problems created by the pandemic but again free orange juice, a selection of fruit, jams and croissants was available in the lounge.
We freshened up with a quick blast under the rain forest shower so invigorating after a busy day and then made our way down to the diner. The diner is typical of those you see in American sitcoms where Chip and Scooter go for a soda after school in the hope of seeing the local pom-pom waving cheerleading team doing their practice outside. It’s long, light, and snazzy, the open kitchen runs the entire length of one side and on the other doors open out onto a terrace with tables. Neat details like red tomato-shaped ketchup holders are on the tables, points to recharge your phone (which certainly wouldn’t have been there in Chip and Scooter’s day), Formica tables and blue banquette seating complete the picture for an informal and fun experience.
You can build you own supper with bites, salads, plates, sides and sandwiches, everything comes with a choice of fries, sweet potato fries, or coleslaw, and the burgers can be served on a gluten-free bun or lettuce wrap. To start we shared sweetcorn and vegetable fritters, together with Mollie’s hot wings with blue cheese and celery, plus a glass of draught lager, courtesy of the Bristol Beer Factory. The sweetcorn fritters were great dipped into the accompanying spicy mayo, and the hot wings had just the right amount of hot spice to be calmed by the blue cheese sauce, and I must say that the portions were very generous. We had cutlery, but it was a sticky fingers job and all the more enjoyable for it.
Our burgers came, the double cheeseburger totteringly sandwiched between a soft bun draped with melting cheese and flanked by a juicy gherkin. They were served on trays in keeping with the ‘diner’ experience, complete with a portion of thin and crispy fries. The chicken burger was made with breast of chicken, flattened, battered and cooked to sizzling perfection, and it was a close run competition as to which was the best, the beef patties or the chicken; on balance the beef won out.
We took ourselves back to our room which despite the busy Cribbs Causeway road outside was a well of peaceful calm, the stout doubling glazing shutting out intrusion so that we spent a most restful night and awoke refreshed for the following day. Which is exactly what you want from a one-night stop hotel.