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The best hotels in Bath for a luxurious and relaxing stay in the West Country

Emily Payne selects the seven best hotels in the buzzy and classy Somerset enclave of Bath

Emily Payne
Wednesday 06 April 2022 10:20 BST
Small but majestically formed, Bath is home to the UK's only natural hot springs
Small but majestically formed, Bath is home to the UK's only natural hot springs (istock)

Small but majestically formed, Bath is unfettered by Bristol’s swagger – this Roman city has its own vibe going on.

Yes, it’s home to mystical healing waters, the ghost of Jane Austen and awesome Georgian architecture; but look behind what you see on the postcards and you’ll find a thriving food and drink scene serving up Michelin-starred cuisine, craft beer taprooms and Saturday night supper clubs.

Meanwhile, its back streets are crammed with artists, makers, film directors and traders creating wondrous work, so it’s no wonder that this West Country wonder gets over six-million visitors every year.

If Bath has been on your bucket list for a while, there really is no better time to visit. There’s plenty of Bridgerton sights to see, not to mention the number of festivals on offer – this includes a celebration of classical music and the annual return of The Bath Festival which takes place every May.

Whatever your reasons for visiting there’s plenty of luxury hotels to stay at. From Georgian buildings to spa stays, there’s many places that will inspire and make you want to stay forever.

Best hotel for food: The Abbey

Neighbourhood: Central Bath

The arrival of Pierre Koffman and Marco Pierre White in late October make The Abbey the ideal destination for foodies (The Abbey)

The Abbey, occupying three 18th century townhouses and acquired by KE hotels earlier this year, has 65 gorgeous rooms including family and pooch friendly options. The ArtBar is perfect for cocktails, while the Abbey Hotel Kitchen offers a selection of dining options - including a Bridgerton-themed afternoon tea.

Best hotel for spa: The Gainsborough Bath Spa

Neighbourhood: Central Bath

The Gainsborough boasts the UK’s only natural thermal pools inside a hotel (The Gainsborough Bath Spa)

Those Romans were onto something when they threw off their togas and slid into the soothing warm waters of the Bath spa. At The Gainsborough you’ll find the UK’s only natural thermal pools inside a hotel. Treatments include scrubs, facials and massage. The glorious 99-roomed hotel, located in the centre of Bath, is shrouded in history, and an entire collection of Roman coins was found during its construction, which is now on display in reception.

Best hotel for cocktails: No.15 Great Pulteney

Neighbourhood: Central Bath

The Henrietta Junior Suite at No.15 Great Pulteney Street (Steve Russell Studios Ltd c/o No.15 Great Pulteney Street)

The cocktail menu is a deck of cards and don’t be surprised when your drink is served up in a lightbulb or accompanied by a raw prawn. You don’t get much more Bath than a converted Grade I Georgian townhouse, and No.15 captures the city’s fun, creative spirit too. The 36-room hotel, which opened in 2016, oozes quirk: hundreds of apothecary bottles line the walls of its restaurant, and the astonishing Lost Earring chandelier, created from thousands of lone earrings, that takes pride of place in the reception.

Best hotel for design: The Bird

Neighbourhood: Central Bath

Art enthusiasts will find plenty of locally made artwork at The Bird (The Bird)

Formerly The County Hotel Bath, The Bird is owned by Ian and Christa Taylor – also patrons of No.15 Great Pulteney Street. Named with the intention of being the place locals and visitors migrate to, the already swish hotel has had a lick of paint and looks very promising indeed. You’ll find oversized chandeliers, pale pink walls, a lively all-day bar/restaurant called Plate, and seasonal fixtures such as a wintery Alpine lodge. Like No.15, the aim is to fill the place with lots of eye-popping local art.

Best hotel experience: At the Chapel

Neighbourhood: Bruton

Find foodie heaven At The Chapel (At The Chapel)

Come and worship at the altar of fresh bread. Just south of Bath in the smart town of Bruton, this heavenly set of eight minimalist bedrooms around a bakery and restaurant has been created in a Grade II-Listed, 17th-century former chapel. Whatever your religion, the tranquility is tangible, and the smell of bread wafting from the bakery each morning makes it a carb-lover's nirvana. Wine is made by hand in the vineyard and winery, "with minimal intervention" and "maximum respect for nature and the environment". All the more reason to order another bottle.

Price: From £125 per night

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Best hotel for splashing out: The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa

Neighbourhood: Central Bath

The Sir Percy Blakeney suite at the The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa (The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa)

If you want history and glitz, the Royal Crescent is on Bath's most show-stopping street, location for many a BBC period drama. Housed in two impressive Grade I houses, the hotel offers tremendous views of the city and surrounding Cotswold hills. Each of the 45 suites and guest rooms tell a story of the famous guests who have stayed within these walls. Push the boat out with a Himalayan salt infused sauna, al fresco afternoon tea and bubbly at The Montagu Bar and Champagne Lounge.

Best hotel for rural bliss: The Pig near Bath

Neighbourhood: Hunstrete

Looking to get away from it all? Relax into rural life at The Pig near Bath (The Pig near Bath)

The Somerset outpost of the ever-expanding Pig empire, this incarnation takes residence in a ravishing, laid-back Georgian house, surrounded by its own deer park. Sticking to the garden-to-plate formula, you can expect exquisite food all sourced from within a 25-mile radius. Rooms are beautifully undone and feature ‘larders’ full of enticing things to peck at. Check into the two-storey Hide which comes with a wood-burning stove, large monsoon shower and freestanding bath, and where the 80-strong herd of fallow deer are liable to join you for your morning coffee.

Price: Doubles from £260 per night

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