WEDDING planning can be stressful, as I'm sure many of you are aware.

The guest list, the venue, the food, not to mention the suits and dresses you have to buy and the speeches you have to prepare.

My partner and I decided we needed time away from the planning, organising and stresses of everyday life and needed time to relax.

Where would cater that sort of experience? The Aztec Hotel and Spa.

A very easy trip down the M6 and the M5 (toll free) from the North West and you arrive at this four-star hotel and spa in Almondsbury, a couple of miles from Bristol city centre.

There was lots of room to park in their 240-space car park, which charges a discounted £3 per night for overnight guests and free at weekends.

We were shown to our very stylish signature family room, which boasted a large television, a king-sized bed, a sofa bed with room for up to two little ones, and enough floor space to accommodate the lot.

We also had tea and coffee making facilities, fresh milk provided in a mini fridge, free wi-fi and a choice of a bath or a shower.

The hotel boasts a large spa facility, which includes a swimming pool, sauna, steam room and hot tub.

The range of treatments including face, body, taster sessions, tanning and nails.

The treatment packages range from a 55-minute two-taster treatments and full use of the spa facilities at £90, - or if you fancy a real indulgence - a full three-and-a-half-hour of signature face and body massages, lunch, a pedicure and a nail tidy and vanish at £195.

For extra special treats, you can book a one or two night break, which includes treatments, a three course dinner and coffee and breakfast each morning, these start at £133.

On the afternoon there was a lot of families with young children in the pool - however they were well behaved and did not disrupt the relaxing atmosphere.

The fitness suit boasts state-of-the-art equipment with lots of treadmills, cross trainers, bikes, resistance machines and rowers.

There are also smith machines, a selection of kettlebells, dumbbells, and other free weights.

It was not as heavily kitted out as a regular gym, but fitness fanatics would they could keep to their programme relatively easily during their stay.

Hotel guests are also welcome to attend the gym's fitness classes, which include pilates, aqua aerobics, spinning sessions, belly dancing, legs bums and tums classes as well as yoga.

Despite the thoroughly impressive facilities, my partner and I believed this hotel fully excelled on the food front.

The menu, which includes brunch, lounge, main, dessert, Sunday lunch and afternoon tea, was well thought out and appealing to many.

We both decided to go for the red pepper soup to start, with came with a light, tasty slice of bread and chef's garnish.

It had a great rounded taste, it was not too watery and the portion size did not mean we were full before our main course.

Other starter options included roasted pear with baby beetroot and walnut, cured duck with granola, quince and beetroot, mackerel ceviche and tempura prawns.

At £5 each the soup was cheapest starter on the menu.

There was a fantastic choice of main courses ranging from seasonal fish, crispy pork belly, pan fried tiger prawn or roasted celeriac risotto.

Steak fans would also be pleased, with ribeye and onglet cuts making the grade, priced at £28 and £25 respectively.

We both decided to chose from the 'home comforts' section - a fantastic handmade beef burger with a glazed bun, smoked jalapeno mayonnaise and Cornish sea-salted fries - priced at £14.95.

For an extra £1.55 I added smoked bacon and cheese and I was completely satisfied with my choice.

The burger was light and juicy yet packed a full meaty flavour and was fully complimented by the jalapeno mayonnaise - which I would recommend entirely.

The bacon and cheese finished the main off perfectly and the fries were crunchy and moreish.

For dessert, I had a delightful cheese board which featured a small pot of honey, and a slice of homemade walnut bread, while my partner had three scoops of ice cream, vanilla, chocolate brownie and caramel.

The cheeseboard, although not large, did not need to be as I was pleasantly full from my main course and any more would have only gone to waste.

We also shared a bottle of rose which cost just under £30, bottles cheaper and more expensive were available.

After a peaceful, quiet night's sleep, we were able to feed up for the journey home on a mouth-watering all you can eat breakfast buffet, which featured all the bells and whistles including English breakfast essentials, pastries, cereals and breads.

Overall this hotel offers a great place to escape the everyday stresses of life without the need to book a big, expensive holiday away.

Yes you can buy cheaper starters and desserts at other hotels, but we thought the burgers were well priced for their quality and overall the food was sensational.

It also caters for weddings, meetings and other events, as well as having Christmas party offers and gift vouchers.

It is also minutes from the fantastic city of Bristol - which has some picturesque views, a good shopping scene and lots of bars and restaurants.


Room price: Range from £75 to £110.

Spa treatments: Start at £7.50 and can go up to £106 depending on the treatment

Spa breaks: Start from £133pp

Location: Aztec Hotel & Spa, Aztec West, Almondsbury, Bristol, BS32 4TS, just off junction 15 of the M5.

How to book a room/spa treatment: Visit or call 01454 201090, email