Royal Crescent Hotel Vs. Gainsborough Bath, which hotel is best? Both properties are luxury 5-star hotels. Both have wonderful rooms and settings steeped in history, and both have excellent spas and bars. In all honestly, both are great, but they are very different, and below we highlight which you want to choose. Why you might prefer Royal Crescent Hotel Vs. Gainsborough Bath.
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1. Best Location: Royal Crescent Hotel Vs. Gainsborough Bath
The Royal Crescent Hotel is located in the most sought-after location in Bath. Set in the center of the infamous and stunning Royal Crescent, this hotel is a chic city retreat looking over the historic city of Bath. The main hotel is based in one of the Georgian residences that make up the Royal Crescent, identified by the doormen standing outside.
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The Gainsborough Bath Spa, by contrast, 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 center.
While the Gainsborough Bath Spa offers a more central and lively location, for us, you can’t beat being on top of that iconic hill on the Royal Crescent. Also, if you are driving a premium car, your car will most likely be parked on the Crescent rather than in an NCP car park which is less stressful if you worry about possible scratches and bashes that might be incurred in a busy car park.
The Royal Crescent Hotel feels more exclusive as mainly residents and locals use it because it is slightly off the beaten path. In the evenings, the Gainsborough can get very busy because passing trade is more likely due to its location.
3. Best Spa
The Gainsborough Bath Spa has the best Spa because it is large and based around an old Roman Spa Pool. The Royal Crescent also has a lovely Spa, but it is not nearly as impressive.
4. Best Garden
The Royal Crescent has a magnificent garden that is wonderful to laze in. The Gainsborough doesn’t have a garden.
5. Best Style
Both the Royal Crescent Hotel and the Gainsborough Bath are stylish. The Royal Crescent feels more authentically Georgian, both in the rooms and communal areas.
6. Best Restaurant
The Gainsborough 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 at the Gainsborough 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.
The fine dining restaurant at the Royal Crescent is decorated in sophisticated greys and provides a 6-course tasting menu, but we prefer the food at the Gainsborough. The restaurant at the Royal Crescent is less lively, a little cold with overactive air conditioning, and the food is not as tasty as the farm-to-table fare at the Gainsborough.
The breakfast is brilliant at both hotels. The menu at the Royal Crescent is varied, offering “Traditional English” along with all sorts of other egg and waffle dishes. I went for smoked salmon and poached egg, but there was a plethora of choices.
The buffet at the Royal Crescent is particularly good with mouthwatering yogurt and honey, bowls of fruit as well as poached pairs, bircher muesli, an impressive array of fresh pastries, mini muffins, and a selection of cereals. To top it all, a decent cup of coffee is served, which is not something to be taken for granted even at the best five-star establishments.
7. Best Bar
The bar at the Gainsborough, 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 a great place to drink the night away. However, this bar can get very busy, almost too busy.
Muted music, dimmed lighting, lovely canapés (mainly nuts), and attentive staff all contribute to the inviting atmosphere at the Royal Crescent. The pace is slower and more sophisticated here. The staff are excellent. For us, the Royal Crescent bar has the edge, but only just.
In the summer, you can enjoy drinks alfresco at the Royal Crescent, too, which makes the Crescent our top choice.
8. Best Rooms
The rooms at the Gainsborough are immaculate with a rich deep blue color 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 contemporary furnishings and carpets.
The magic of the Royal Crescent hotel is, in part, the wonderful rooms. They embrace Georgian features and look and feel much more historic. For a historic ambiance and a peaceful night’s sleep, choose the Royal Crescent. For a modern take on Georgian, try the Gainsborough. Just watch out for the noisy rooms.
Both the Royal Crescent Hotel and the Gainsborough Bath Spa are fantastic hotels. I would happily stay in either. All the rooms are great at the Royal Crescent, whereas some are noisy at the Gainsborough Bath Spa. That said, I personally prefer the more modern feel of the rooms at the Gainsborough. The restaurant and Spa have the edge at the Gainsborough Bath Spa, but at the Royal Crescent Hotel, the gardens are amazing and not to be missed. The genuine historic features at the Royal Crescent cannot be beaten if you are into your history. Your choice between these two hotel gems depends on what you are looking for, but for me overall, the Royal Crescent wins.
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