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Bunhill: Bath keeps its secrets

SPARE a thought for the finance ministers of the European Community, assembled in Bath for this weekend's Ecofin meeting. They will be working hard, no doubt, but our own much-loved Chancellor has ensured that they will at least deliberate in comfort.

The money men are staying at the Royal Crescent Hotel, one of the most beautifully situated city hotels in the country, and part of the Queens Moat chain. Following a day of tough negotiations, the ministers will be able to wash away all the stress in the spa-water pools that come with the higher-priced suites.

Beyond that we can say little more, for the hotel staff were tight-lipped about what else would be available for the ministers' comfort. 'We can't tell you anything,' a spokesman said.

But we can reveal that the sumptious hotel is very expensive and - as we found out - very discreet.

The luxurious suites that the ministers are no doubt occupying will be setting taxpayers back between pounds 265 and pounds 350 each a night.

The hotel is decorated in the period style of the Georgian building it is, and has a number of outhouses dotted around some lush gardens. These include a dower house where George IV stayed when he was Prince Regent.

But it must be the only hotel in the world that won't discuss its charms.

(Photograph omitted)