The Georgian elite used to flock to Bath for the weekend. I’m definitely not high society stock, but who’s to say we can’t all indulge in a little luxury once in a while? Bath is a shopping, dining and cultural haven, filled with architectural gems, hotels that make you feel like royalty and sights that date back to the Romans. But with culture still thriving here, there are plenty of modern attractions too. I compare the classic with the contemporary, so you can cover every corner of this fascinating city.
City break in Bath | the grand Georgian city with a Bohemian heart
Classic countryside manors to modern city pads
The Georgians knew all about luxury, and my favourite hotels in Bath certainly know how to treat a guest.
Bringing the countryside to the city
Pamper yourself like a Georgian royal at the Macdonald Bath Spa. Driving up to this hotel feels as though you’re arriving at a country estate. It’s set slightly on the edge of Bath, but near enough for a wander through Sydney Gardens and into town. You’ll find high-class decor inside, with four-poster beds, plush damasks and silks in the old wing rooms, or chic muted tones and grey marble bathrooms in the newer rooms. The spa is the real draw here though, with an indoor to outdoor pool that is perfectly heated so you can enjoy it whatever the weather.
Macdonald Bath Spa
The Georgian townhouse
Blending Bath’s history with a bit of luxury, the Frances Hotel sprawls across seven Georgian townhouses in the heart of Bath. It stays true to its heritage with playful, neo-Regency decor, think bright furnishings and floors and statement wallpaper. Upstairs, the walls transform as you pass through each townhouse, with blue plaques to tell you about former residents. Bedrooms have statement pieces like ceiling murals of the old city, and bathroom murals of the nearby Roman Baths.
Francis Hotel Bath Hotel
The modern art marvel
It is set in one of Bath’s glorious Georgian townhouses but No 15 Great Pulteney is anything but ancient. This hotel is stuffed with modern art (I loved seeing pieces in the bedrooms from local artists) but there are also interesting artsy features across the hotel, from a chandelier made of dangly earrings to a mini doll’s house that hides your in-room tea service. Each room is uniquely decorated, mine had a table filled with curiosities ranging from old gin miniatures to ink bottles, but there are also modern comforts like a Dyson hairdryer and a Nespresso coffee machine.
No.15 Great Pulteney
The best spa in Bath
The Gainsborough is one of those treat yourself and you won’t regret it kind of places. It’s plush at every turn, with beautiful neo-Georgian rooms painted in calming shades of grey and blue. Upgraded rooms have huge tall windows and high ceilings, pillow menus, Roberts radios, complimentary beer and Nespresso coffee makers. But the real prize here is the Romanesque Spa Village, one of only two places in Bath where you can laze in the healing thermal spa waters. A mighty fine experience it is too, with a setting of grand Roman-style columns, a mosaic floor and glass rooftop.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa
Foodies flock to Bath
Bath is filled with beautiful buildings that make even the most basic restaurant look fancy. So I’ve tried and tested a few so you know where to head to.
Classic pints to classy wine bars
Traditional Bath boozers are great for a relaxed pint, or you can learn a thing or two about wine in some of the city’s cutting edge bars.
Soaking up the spa waters and soaking up the culture
Who knew you could swim on a rooftop in Bath in October?