|Gainsborough Bath Spa Suite|
by Fred Mawer, The Daily Telegraph, April 26, 2016
An insider's guide to the top places to stay in Bath city centre, including the best for Georgian architecture, pampering spas and brilliant breakfasts, in locations near to the Royal Crescent, Victoria Park and the Thermae Bath Spa.
The Royal Crescent
This luxury hotel spreads over two townhouses in the centre of Bath's showpiece Georgian crescent. Curvaceous staircases overseen by classical busts, lounges with chandeliers and oil paintings, and extravagant suites with elaborate stuccoed ceilings set the elegant tone. Behind lies the hotel's lovely, hidden acre of garden, with mature trees and shrubs, and wooden tables and chairs on lawns used for eating and drinking in fine weather. Four further Georgian buildings at the back of the garden house the spa, a stylish bar and the pretty Dower House Restaurant. It has the best possible location in Bath. The crescent is residential and very peaceful, with no passing traffic. It overlooks lawns and one end of Victoria Park, Bath's main green lung.
Read the full review: The Royal Crescent, Bath
The essential Georgian character of The Royal Crescent Hotel is largely unchanged.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa
The Gainsborough is the only hotel in Britain to have access to natural thermal waters. Named after the artist Thomas Gainsborough, who lived in Bath, the Grade-II listed building dates from the 18th century and is a stunningly imagined addition to the city. It's right in the heart of town, a short walk from the station. Care has been taken to build on the hotel’s Georgian characteristics by introducing a sensitive blend of the traditional and the contemporary. Roman columns and a glass roof dominate the compact and exquisite Spa Village, which comprises three thermal pools, sauna, steam room and 11 treatment rooms offering a range of massages and Asian influenced therapies.
Read the full review: The Gainsborough Bath Spa, Bath
The Gainsborough Bath Spa sits right in the heart of the town and has access to Bath's thermal waters.
Harington’s City Hotel
The hotel is on Queen Street, a picturesque cobbled lane with next-to-no traffic and lots of inviting places to drink, eat and shop yards away. The classic Georgian features of the hotel are livened up with whimsical period and modern furnishings. In the quaint lounge and bar expect pot plants, oil paintings and candelabra. The 13 bedrooms are individually decorated in fun styles. Most strikingly, one wall of each room has boldly-patterned wallpaper (butterflies, birds and scenes from the theatre). Breakfast, served in an attractive two-part dining room (one side of which has picture windows on to the street), is really excellent.
Read the full review: Harington’s City Hotel
The classic Georgian features of the Harington's City Hotel are livened up with whimsical period and modern furnishings.
The Abbey Hotel occupies three Georgian terraced houses overlooking an open, triangular area close to the rear of Bath Abbey. Until recently, the Abbey was a Best Western hotel, but it now has a bold, individual look. Owners Ian and Christa Taylor have spent the past few years re-designing their hotel from top to toe. They are keen art collectors, and eye-catching paintings – many of them modern – fill the aptly-named ArtBar, the restaurant and corridor. The 60 rooms are good-looking (think large, vibrantly-coloured bedheads), have comfy beds, and come equipped not only with high-quality radios and TVs but also iPads.
Read the full review: The Abbey Hotel
The Abbey Hotel occupies three Georgian terraced houses overlooking an open, triangular area close to the rear of Bath Abbey. Three Abbey Green
The cobbled square – Abbey Green – is shaded by a giant plane tree and surrounded by handsome Georgian buildings. You could not be more central: the Roman Baths and the abbey are yards away, Sally Lunn’s (a famous tea shop) is just round the corner, and you are perfectly placed for the shops. It's an upmarket, but not posh, family-run b&b, with lots of interesting, period Georgian features (fireplaces appear in some bathrooms, for example). Expect bags of character and comfort in the 10 bedrooms, in the form of king-size beds, antiques and smart, well-functioning modern bathrooms. In the most characterful – the Lord Nelson – you’ll find a giant four-poster bed, a gas fire and three windows overlooking the square.
Read the full review: Three Abbey Green
Three Abbey Green is an upmarket, but not posh, family-run b&b, with lots of interesting, period Georgian features.
The Queensberry Hotel
The Queensberry’s location is excellent: the hotel is spread over four interconnected Georgian townhouses on a quiet, residential street, just north of the centre up from the Assembly Rooms. While Bath’s other luxury hotels are ultra traditional, The Queensberry – its first owner was the eighth Marquess of Queensberry – is, despite its 18th-century surroundings, thoroughly modern in look. It has a likeable jauntiness: for example, the Old Q Bar is decorated with a Union Jack rug and British bulldogs on cushions, and it has its very own version of the Queensberry Rules ("anyone overheard attempting to sell timeshare properties in the bar may be asked to leave").
Read the full review: The Queensberry
Despite its 18th-century surroundings, The Queensberry is thoroughly modern in look.
Francis Hotel Bath
Spread over seven Georgian townhouses in Queen Square, Francis Hotel is right in the city centre, a short stroll from the main shopping streets, the Roman Baths and Thermae Bath Spa. It offers a contemporary take on Regency style: a modern chandelier is offset by an old grandfather clock in the lobby, and two-tone button-back armchairs sit amid peacock-patterned wallpaper in the bar/lounge. As you pass between townhouses in the corridors upstairs, the wallpaper changes and blue plaques on the walls indicate distinguished past residents who once lived here. There are 98 rooms, decorated in quirky neo-Regency style.
Read the full review: Francis Hotel Bath
Francis Hotel offers a contemporary take on Regency style.
This b&b occupies a handsome, double-fronted townhouse on a wide, curving, residential street of Georgian houses in central Bath. Great Pulteney Street, one of Bath's architectural set-pieces, is 50 yards away. The listed, four-storey house was built in the 1780s. The owner, Peter Sherwin, is an art collector, and eye-catching old and modern paintings are dotted all over the building. With its arched windows, brass chandelier, Persian rug and cornicing, the reception room, which doubles as the lounge, sets the the house's chic tone. The 19 individual, en-suite bedrooms have an attractive but unfussy style: think shutters on sash windows, rugs on wooden floors, and a mix of antique and good-quality reproduction furniture.
Read the full review: Henrietta House
Henrietta House, a listed, four-storey building, was built in the 1780s.
SACO Bath - St James's Parade
SACO Bath is hidden away in a Georgian terrace in the city centre, and offers easy access to the station and the Thermae Bath Spa. The studios and apartments, some of which have their own pedimented blue front door directly on to the street, are decorated in inoffensive Ikea-style furnishings. For all room types, the accommodation is impressively spacious and the facilities outstanding. Self-catering is the name of the game here, however on arrival you are provided with a generous welcome pack which includes tea and coffee, some cereal, a pint of milk, a local flapjack and butter biscuits.
Read the full review: SACO Bath
The studios and apartments of SACO Bath are hidden away in a Georgian terrace in the city centre.
Premier Inn Bath City Centre
The Premier Inn Bath City Centre is in strolling distance of the Thermae Bath Spa and the Roman Baths, and the train station is around seven minutes on foot. The style is pretty decent, given its budget hotel status. The ground floor is taken up with an open-plan bar/restaurant area, split into various smaller sections and alcoves. As the hotel is a new build, all looks modern. In the rooms, expect dark wood furnishings, some hanging and storage space, tea/coffee facilities, a hairdryer, a choice of hard and soft pillows, and a well-functioning bathroom. Breakfasts are good and plentiful.
Read the full review: Premier Inn Bath City Centre
The style is pretty decent, given its budget hotel status.
The best hotels in Bath View all
- The Royal Crescent Bath, Somerset, EnglandTelegraph expert rating 8
This luxury hotel spreads over two townhouses in the centre of Bath's showpiece Georgian crescent, with a lovely garden and further buildings to the rear. A costly revamp in 2014 has created a memorable place to stay that successfully combines 18th-century heritage with 21st-century indulgences. Read expert review
Rates provided by Booking.com
- The Gainsborough Bath Spa Bath, Somerset, EnglandTelegraph expert rating9
The first five-star hotel in Bath in 30 years, the Gainsborough is also the only one in Britain to have access to natural thermal waters. Named after the artist Thomas Gainsborough, who lived in Bath, the Grade-II listed building dates from the 18th century and is a stunningly imagined addition to the city. Read expert review
Rates provided by Booking.com
- The Bath Priory Bath, Somerset, EnglandTelegraph expert rating 8
The Bath Priory delivers the refined atmosphere and all the trappings of an upmarket country-house hotel, yet within walking distance of the city centre. It also features charming interiors, excellent dining, and easy access to Royal Victoria Park and the city centre. Read expert review
Rates provided by Booking.com
This article was written by Fred Mawer from The Daily Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.