I love living my hectic life in London during week, but I also love to escape the city on a Saturday morning and drive past the emerald green fields and cottages of the English countryside! England is so beautiful and there is so much to discover, even if just on weekends. One of the best destinations for a weekend getaway is the beautiful city of Bath in Somerset. I went there in January for two relaxing days and a bit of pampering at The Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel.
Bath is the only destination in the UK to have the whole city designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO. It’s a beautiful place with thousands of golden-coloured Georgian buildings and many examples of the Palladian Architecture from the mid-17th century.
Bath is famously the only place in the UK where you can bathe in the thermal water that comes directly from the natural hot springs deep beneath the city.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel is set at the geographical heart of Bath, just a few minutes’ walk from the Roman Baths. It’s the perfect location to explore the city and its surrounds.
The hotel, named after the artist Sir Thomas Gainsborough, is part of the Leading Hotels of the World collection, a name which evokes luxury and high quality standards. It is also YTL‘s first hotel in the United Kingdom.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa occupies two Grade II Listed buildings with distinguished Georgian and Victorian façades; they were originally built in the 18th century and renovated last year. The hotel is a fine example of how old buildings can be renovated and refashioned into something new and lasting.
On the outside the hotel bears the familiar Bath Stone look of most buildings in the city; on the inside it is a modern and bright hotel decorated by Champalimaud Design. The furniture bears fine touches of style such as the marble floors, the cascading lamp in the stairwell, the artwork on the walls.
An airy lobby surmounted by an elegant and historic central stair greets visitors on arrival.
The main attraction at The Gainsborough is the 1,300-square-meter Spa Village, the only hotel spa in Bath with direct access to the city’s thermal waters. It features three therapeutic pools set within an atrium and flooded with natural light; two saunas; a steam room; a relaxation area upstairs and overlooking the main pool; private aquatic body therapies and classic treatments that focus on personalized aromatherapy.
Hotel guests have complimentary access to the Bath House facilities daily between 7am to 9am and 8pm to 10pm. I visited the spa on Saturday afternoon for 90′ Enhanced Classic Swedish Massage treatment; I also went back the next morning before 9am to use the steam room and pools. It was blissful! To ensure the ultimate relaxing experience, customers are asked to arrive at the Spa one hour before their treatment to choose their favourite Neal’s Yard essential oils and to take the invigorating “Bath House Circuit”.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa offers a wide range of rooms from Deluxe and Classic Room to the Junior Suite and Suite. All rooms have five star amenities from luxurious bedding to Asprey toiletries in the bathrooms; an iPod docking station, a flat screen HD television, Roberts radio with Bluetooth connectivity, complimentary WiFi and Nespresso coffee machines.
I was curious to see the full range of rooms, so I asked the hotel to give me a tour. My favourite was the Two-Bedroom Suite, spread across two levels and featuring a separate living space. It’s perfect for small groups and families and it comes with the added luxury of unlimited access to the spa’s facilities.
My husband and I stayed in a Junior Suite on the third floor with gorgeous views overlooking the city, a King-size bed and a separate lounge area.
I love it when hotels prepare your room for the night and leave a small treat like a chocolate truffle or a bottle of water. At The Gainsborough Bath Spa hotel, the housemaid came to our room before dinner time to leave water, Asprey lip balm and facial mist spray, and a sonnet.
The Canvas Room
Before dinner we had cocktails in The Canvas Room on the hotel’s ground floor, a beautiful room with mirrored walls and colourful vintage style furniture. In this room an indulgent Afternoon Tea is served every day.
Another bar in the hotel, The Gainsborough Bar, is the perfect place for a pre-dinner cocktail prepared by head barman Joel Saint John or an after dinner liqueur.
Johann Lafer at The Gainsborough
Our dinner at Johann Lafer restaurant at The Gainsborough was fantastic, from the selection of food, to the delicious Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, to the impeccable service.
For this restaurant YTL partnered with world-renowned chef, Johann Lafer, one of Germany’s most celebrated Michelin starred chefs and TV personalities.
Johann’s ‘Dining Without Borders’ gourmet philosophy is based on using fresh and locally sourced produce to create truly innovative dishes. The dishes take their inspiration from Johann’s highly-acclaimed cookbook, ‘Two Friends, One Cuisine’, co-written with Malaysian Chef Wai, the YTL Hotels Group Corporate Chef, which explores their diverse influences, ingredients and cooking techniques. [The Gainsborough website]
We were served a 5-course tasting menu created by Johann with The Gainsborough’s Head Chef Daniel Moon. I had one of the best Mushroom Risotto of my life that evening, and I don’t say this lightly!
The breakfast is served every morning in the dining room and it is superb. They offer English and Continental breakfast buffets and a chef takes your order for eggs. The scrambled eggs were creamy and delicious!
All in all I had a fabulous stay at The Gainsborough Bath Spa and I cannot wait to go back for longer to make the most of the hotel facilities and of course enjoy the spa a few more times.
If you are looking for a destination hotel for a relaxing and luxurious weekend outside of the big city, definitely book a room at The Gainsborough Bath Spa!
Disclaimer: I was a guest of The Gainsborough Bath Spa. All opinions are my own. Special thanks to the hotel staff for the incredible service offered to us throughout our stay.