Diners do not have to stay at the hotel to enjoy the food here, but if you can, I would thoroughly recommend booking one of their 100 rooms. Created by award-winning Champalimaud Design, the rooms and suites at the hotel are custom furnished, subtly referencing period details (in its former life the hotel was a hospital), but with a contemporary take. Our suite was kitted out with high-quality furnishings, the most comfortable of beds, a pillow menu and a complimentary mini-bar with soft drinks, beer, and fancy chocolate.
The bathroom was well stocked with Aromatherapy Associates toiletries and was warm and cosy. If you really want to indulge, book yourself into either the Gainsborough or Bath Spa suites which have thermal water running through their taps.
Without such a luxury in my room, I got my thermal water fix by heading downstairs to the spa the following morning before breakfast. According to legend, the natural thermal springs were first discovered by Prince Bladud in around 863BC, who was cured of his skin disease after bathing in the waters. The waters and the associated Georgian architecture are key reasons for Bath being designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
The spring waters contain over 42 different minerals, the most concentrated being sulphate, calcium and chloride. The word ‘spa’ is related to the Latin phrase ‘salus per aquam’ or ‘health through healing water’. I couldn’t think of a better way to start the day in the serene environment of the spa, bathed in natural light emanating from the glass atrium. But it did. I also stumbled across a hot chocolate fountain – the concoction with a hint of chilli and other spices was drunk by Romans who thought it was healing for the soul.
Those wishing to extend their spa experience can head across the road to the Thermae Bath Spa – the hotel’s sister public spa and wellness centre and enjoy swimming in the thermal pool on the rooftop. It was raining on the day I used it and I actually enjoyed it more than I would have done on a sunnier day.
Bath is one of the most affluent and iconic cities, rich with Georgian architecture, and is surrounded by a fabulous landscape. It’s no wonder that it’s so popular with regional and international tourists alike. The combination of the city, spa, hotel and dining options means couples and groups will all find something to enjoy. And with The Gainsborough Bath Spa being situated in a prime location, it’s a good place to start.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa – Where and How?
Rooms at YTL Hotels’ Gainsborough Bath Spa start from £290 per night. Entry to the Thermae Bath Spa starts at £36 (£40 at weekends). A two-hour session includes access to the Rooftop Pool Minerva Bath, Wellness Suite and restaurant. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit www.thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk.