British Travel Journal
There are two unsurpassed reasons to stay at The Gainsborough Bath Spa. Firstly, location, location, location… you just can't beat the hotel's locale – you're smack dab in the centre of Bath, just a few minutes' walk from all the action; bars, restaurants, museums, shops, attractions and more.
Secondly, there's its incredible spa and the opportunity to soak in Britain's only naturally warm waters in much more privacy than across the road at Thermae Bath Spa. The Spa Village as its known, might not have breathtaking views of the city from an openair rooftop pool, however, the mostly beige four-storey glass atrium is also a pretty spectacular sight, with natural light giving an open-air feeling. The experience perfectly echoes that of the Romans; with pools and rooms of varying temperatures and humidities, the atmosphere is peaceful and the music soothing. It's invigorating; sliding into a swimming pool of 35°C waters, just as Jane Austen once did in the Roman Baths from a passage beneath the Pump Rooms.
Along with the usual massage beds and jets, there's an ice alcove and an elegant relaxation terrace. Treatments (with ELEMIS products) of a high standard are brilliantly delivered. Plus, there's the opportunity to enjoy the natural thermal waters entirely privately, either by booking a treatment in a VIP Suite or by staying in one of the hotel's exclusive spa rooms.
Elsewhere in the pristine 99-bedroom hotel you will find yet more marble and columns, and staff who seem to stand as proud as the grandiose pillars on the exterior. The Georgian masterpiece is an example of Bath's stage-set-worthy architecture at its very best, dating back to the 1820s. The hotel was formerly built as a hospital and, more recently, a college. Reception is a scene of calm precision, with none of the usual hassle. Supremely efficient valet-parking is the norm.
Well-staffed and managed, the hotel succeeds in maintaining an elegant and glamorous ambience without being overly stuffy. The decor and lighting is modern, but restrained, and dining at the Gainsborough is, like everything else, classy and sophisticated but managing to remain light and somehow informal. Afternoon tea is served in the intimate Canvas Room, breakfast and dinner is in the Socialize restaurant, which serves British cuisine, and where there is original artwork (by college students) and an impressive wine wall. Locally sourced produce is combined with divine flavours to produce innovative dishes. Pre-dinner cocktails are whipped up in the chic Gainsborough Bar overlooking Spa Village.
Nightly rates at The Gainsborough Bath
Spa start from £290 on a room-only basis. thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk