Where is it?
Where is it?
On Great Pulteney Street, one of Bath's best addresses during the city's heyday in the late 18th century. Just minutes from the sights, this elegant boulevard still provides an excellent base.
What's it like?
A Grade II-listed Georgian mansion in mellow-yellow Bath stone, it has recently undergone a £1m refurbishment, with fewer but bigger bedrooms. Enter under the watchful eye of one of several dukes whose portraits hang alongside prints of coats-of-arms and architects' drawings of country piles.
Yet to create one, having been open for less than a month. The only communal space is a sitting area in reception. Carefully strewn magazines reveal the clientele the hotel hopes to attract Country Landowner, BMW Magazine, Tatler ... but it's not a place to relax in, more one where you'd wait for your bill to be prepared.
Pleasant and helpful, but with the slightly stiff edge you would expect from a select hotel.
Each bedroom is named after a duke: we stayed in the Norfolk suite, a grand room now divided into four sitting room, bedroom, bathroom, lobby. Décor is tasteful chintz: intertwining blooms climb the walls and curtains, with antique furnishings and ceramics. Sensory pleasures include crisp Italian cotton sheets, giant bathrobes and royal smellies from Penhaligons. Doubles from £195, suites from £225 per room per night.
In the cosily proportioned restaurant, Martin Blunos at Fitzroys, the problem of diners' privacy is solved by the use of screens. These provided good cover when I fell asleep briefly while waiting for dessert after all, time was getting on, our starter having taken 70 minutes to arrive. Mr Blunos has two Michelin stars and this latest venture offers a brasserie-style menu. My starter of scallops baked in the shell with fennel was supreme, the perfect little opaque discs melting in my mouth. A delicate pan-fried fillet of gilthead bream was complemented by the lightest cider sabayon, while my partner's chargrilled beef fillet was a bit stingy, although he raved about the horseradish mashed potatoes. Prices are reasonable for the standard: £4-£5 for starters, £13-£18 for main courses.
Thirty- to fiftysomethings and perhaps not quite as many Barbour jackets and Hermès scarves as you might expect.
Things to do
The Roman Baths and Pump Room, John Wood the Younger's Royal Crescent and numerous museums, parks and gardens. Also, this month Bath marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's arrival in the city with special events.
Duke's Hotel, Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2 4DN (tel: 01225 463512, www.dukesbath. co.uk).