Sabi Phagura snapped up the chance to stay at Francis Hotel Bath – MGallery in the famous Somerset city.
Spread over seven interconnecting original eighteenth-century Georgian townhouses, the Francis Hotel Bath boasts 98 bedrooms and is situated in Queen Square – one of the most important architectural spaces in this historic city.
It’s a prime location from where you can take a stroll to the shops, the Roman Baths and Thermae Bath Spa. The Francis Hotel Bath was first opened by Emily Francis, a leading entrepreneurial lady of her time. A lot of the building was damaged by bombs in the Second World War – not that you could tell from the restoration work since.
Today, the Francis Hotel is part of Sofitel’s MGallery Collection, but you would never know it was part of a chain. Taking their cue from the Regency period, the interiors and furniture include an old grandfather clock to welcome you in the lobby area while the bar and lounges boast brightly coloured wallpaper, patterned carpet, velvet sofas, oversized armchairs and glittering chandeliers.
Upstairs I took great joy in passing between townhouses in the corridors, marvelling at the changing wallpaper and discovering blue plaques on the walls revealing the identity of residents who once lived there.
My room for the night was where John Wood the Elder, the famous Bath architect and creator of Queen Square, resided. The room was ideally positioned towards the centre of the building and overlooked his square. Each one of the rooms at the Francis Hotel has been individually designed with some having a four-poster bed coupled with views over the city.
I love a four-poster bed and, while my room didn’t have one, I don’t think I would have swapped it with any other. The room is ultra-spacious with an incredibly large bed, a velvet three-seater sofa at the foot of it to lounge in, an area marked as the bureau and one of the biggest TV screens I’ve ever seen in a hotel room mounted on the wall. It also had a separate en-suite has a double shower complete with goodies from The White Company.
In line with Covid-19 hygiene and prevention measures, some items such as the coffee machine have been removed from the rooms, but can be made available upon request. A ‘protection kit’ consisting of a medical face mask, hand sanitiser, and wet-wipe by the bedside was reassuring.
The safety measures continue throughout the hotel with a one-way system in place. Tables and chairs both in the in-house restaurant and No.10 Bar are well spaced out to honour social distancing, yet they still offer a cosy retreat which you would expect from an establishment like this.
The No. 10 bar is a relaxing and welcoming area where guests can enjoy local ales, thirst-quenching cocktails, including the classic and signature Gin Austen cocktails, and food.
The Francis Hotel kitchen can whizz up dishes that can be eaten in the spacious lounge and bar areas. Expect sharing platters and salads created from local produce. And if you’re currently working from home, it’s not a bad place to get your laptop out.
My guest Susie, and I thoroughly enjoyed our well-executed food at the ground floor restaurant. The food is fresh, beautifully presented and very filling. We struggled to finish a pudding between us – and that is saying something when you have a naturally sweet tooth. Breakfast is also served from the hotel’s in-house restaurant which boasts an attractive, open-plan space with boarded flooring.
There’s no longer a buffet-style breakfast, but staff are only too pleased to bring you dishes prepared or cooked to order. Scrambled eggs and smoked salmon on toast was just the fuel I needed to go exploring in the city.
We may not be able to travel abroad, but what we do have on our doorstep more than makes up for it. Staycations like this one are definitely the way forward.
Francis Hotel Bath – MGallery – Where and How?
Francis Hotel Bath – MGallery is located at Queen Square, Bath BA1 2HH, United Kingdom. Depending on the season, a feature room like the one we stayed in, can cost anything between £200 to £400 per night. For more information on the hotel, and for reservations, call 01225 424105 or visit www.francishotel.com.
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