Published on Thursday, February 9, 2017
Graham McKenzie checks into The Gainsborough Bath Spa for some thermal pampering.
Built in the 1800s, the hotel is spread over two Grade II Listed buildings - one with a Georgian facade and the other Victorian - in the heart of Bath, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hotel has access to the city's natural thermal, mineral-rich waters. If you come by train, which we did, it's a pleasant 10-minute walk through Georgian crescents.
I should have known it was going to be good because, before I even got there, they offered to have a concierge member meet me at the railway station to carry my bag to the hotel. I was staying one night, I travel lightly, so I declined the offer, but it was a very promising start. Once in the hotel my bag was taken from me and by the time I had checked in, been given the specifics of my thermal spa session for later that day, the restaurant reservation for dinner, and shown the bar, there was the bag in my extremely well-appointed suite on the second floor. A spacious bathroom was augmented by a huge bed, a sitting room, two very large televisions (with sky sports), plus a welcoming bottle of champagne with chocolates and strawberries. I was rather overwhelmed but not so much that I did not check on the internet and yes ... superfast and free, naturally.
Wining and dining
It was time for a drink in the bar in preparation for dinner. Well, one drink became two and the head barman, having taken note of my wants and desires, mixed a fabulous gin avec tonic with a Fifty Pounds gin plus an adornment of grapefruit rather than lemon. Fabulous, although I don't think the gin was £50 a shot. Having studied the menus during the bar session I ordered white onion soup followed by loin of pork with black pudding and then a bit of theatre with a melting chocolate bombe for pud all accompanied by a rather exceptional bottle of Vinho Verde. With all of that on board a restless night beckoned but, no, I slept exceptionally thus preparing me ideally for a breakfast of fruit, toast, bucks fizz and freshly grilled kippers.
The huge bed, selection of pillows and heavy duty curtains to keep out both light and noise meant comfort, snugness and dreams. Needless to say, by the time we had returned from dinner, the chocolates had been replenished, bed turned down, lights on a dimmed but not dark position and faint classical music coming from the in-room digital sound system
Given its location and its name, the offer of various spa and wellness services is key to this hotel's success. The afternoon was taken up by dipping in and out of increasingly warm spring water baths, cooling down with ice on the skin and repeating the process until it was my turn for a 90-minute magnesium wrap massage session. It was tip top and I was relaxed as a marshmallow in a mug of hot chocolate.
This is without doubt a high-class hotel and one of the rare occasions when the very second you walk in the front door you know you are in for a five-star stay.
I could have stayed another night and was sad to leave, but it is expensive. Special offers do come up and they are probably the best way of enjoying this property.
If you are looking for a luxury pampering, perhaps with a visit to the theatre or any other other attractions that Bath offers, then this is the place for you.
Room-only rates start from just over £200 in low season.
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