The health giving qualities of Bath springs were first noticed by the Romans who built public spa baths in the centre of the town. Bath continues to attract visitors for health and well-being breaks and is the ideal tonic for a weekend break.
One of the attractions of Bath is that it looks completely different from other towns in England. The architecture is Georgian and the elegant houses that line Bath’s streets look like they are out of a fairytale. Palatial houses made from the local, golden-coloured, Bath Stone, look out upon regal squares and crescents and the many pretty parks are the perfect place to relax on a warm afternoon. The centrepiece of the town, beyond the numerous historic and modern bathhouses, is the river which cascades down the centre of the valley.
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Gainsborough Bath Spa, part of Leading Hotels of the World, is hidden up a tiny street just steps from the main shopping street. It could not be more centrally located, and if you drive up, the valet will whisk your car away and find you a parking space, so that you don’t have to navigate the maze of one-way streets in the centre to find a parking space.
Style & Character
Gainsborough Bath Spa sits in a Grade-II listed building and offers Britain’s only private hot-spring-fed hotel spa The spa pools sit under a glass roofed atrium surrounded by Romanesque pillars and ornate archways. It forms the centrepiece of the impressive Spa Village at this hotel.
The rest of the hotel is made up of three buildings which have been joined and U around the spa pool. 99 rooms embrace a grand and majestic staircase which winds up behind the foyer and there is a boutique bar and an excellent and popular restaurant in which to enjoy the latest local produce.
Service & Facilities
The impressive Spa Village is arranged around three thermal pools. There is also a sauna, a steam room and 11 treatment rooms. Guests are encouraged to take the “Bath House Circuit” before their treatment, spending around an hour soaking in the three pools of varying temperatures, and then rubbing themselves with crushed lavender ice before having a sauna.
If this sounds a bit hardcore (I have to admit I did not indulge in this plan), there are plenty of warm relaxation decks under the glass roof where you can read a paper after soaking in the warm spa waters.
It is worth noting that if you have kids, they are not allowed to use the pool if they are under 16. There isn’t even an hour allocated for kids, which is a shame as the pool area is outstanding and I would like to have shared a dip with my son.
I did indulge in a magnesium wrap and it was one of the best wellness massages I have ever had. My therapist was knowledgeable about the treatment; did you know that around 80% of the population is deficient in magnesium? If you suffer from unexplained fatigue or weakness, abnormal heart rhythms or eye twitches and muscle spasms, this treatment is worth considering. Because magnesium is best absorbed through the skin, this treatment is an effective way to replenish deficient levels, enabling body tissues to relax and pores take in the vital minerals from the products.
I can genuinely say that I felt significantly revitalised after the treatment and was left wondering just how deficient I had been before.
There is also a modern fitness room with plenty of machines.
The rooms at the Gainsborough are immaculate with a rich deep blue colour scheme, superbly comfortable beds, Nespresso machines and a generous complimentary minibar (with crisps, popcorn, flapjacks, Coca-Cola, water and Peroni beer).
The bathrooms are modern and also immaculate with Asprey toiletries.
Outward facing rooms have beautiful views down upon the Bath streets, but if you are a light sleeper, you may want to request the utterly quiet inward facing rooms with less of a view. All rooms have been beautifully refurbished with original high ceilings but a contemporary furnishings and carpets.
Food & Drink
The bar, like many parts of the hotel, has views down upon the spa pool. It is boutique in size and has a buzzy atmosphere with charismatic bar staff (your glass will never be left empty) and muted lighting. It is the perfect place to drink the night away.
The restaurant is excellent with innovative cuisine created by Head Chef Dan Moon and served in a stylish dining room. An enormous wine cabinet divides the room into two sections and if you are a cold morsel like me, ask for the table behind the cabinet as you get blasted with warm air every 30 minutes or so here.
Breakfast is also superb with an array of fresh breads, cereals, fresh fruit and fruit salad, a noteworthily excellent bircher muesli and an a la carte menu with hot dishes served to the table.
We review a lot of hotels on Luxury Travel Diary. In England, particularly outside of London, many of the hotels we review fall short in some way, be it a tatty finish, average food or lacking in that “je ne sais quoi”. The Gainsborough Bath Spa ticks all the boxes. From the impressive marble-clad foyer to the immaculate rooms, from the exceptional spa to the utterly charming staff. This is a truly luxurious hotel and we loved it.
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