The Gainsborough Bath Spa – a true sample of excellent hospitality, inclusive luxury, warmth sprinkled with humour, elegance and class (in a non-stuffy way).
It is not difficult to see how The Gainsborough Bath Spa, named after the famed portrait and landscape artist, Sir Thomas Gainsborough, is the only hotel in Bath included in the Leading Hotels of the World family of iconic and legendary hotels as well as receiving both the Condé Nast Traveler Awards (USA) for Best Hotel in the UK in 2017 and the AA Hotel of the Year, England 2017/2018.
Firstly, the hotel which opened in 2015 benefits from a prime location positioned right above the famous hot springs of the city of Bath making it the only hotel in the UK with exclusive access to natural thermal waters. Secondly, the hotel occupying two 18th century Grade II Listed historic buildings with distinguished Georgian and Victorian façades are not just beautiful on the outside. All rooms, common areas and rooms have been tastefully decorated by New York-based interior design studio, Champalimaud Design who has captured the rich history of the building coupled with a modern feel. And lastly, the service is outstanding throughout the hotel.
With this winning formula, the award-winning boutique hotel is a major success. However at The Gainsborough Bath Spa things don’t stop there, instead, they are pushed beyond the tangible deliveries and touch points, which puts it in the company of some of the world’s best hotels. What’s been created here, is an atmosphere which breathes inclusive luxury, warmth sprinkled with humour, elegance and class (in a non-stuffy way) which is, without fail, consistent across the entire hotel. The hotel’s commitment to inclusivity also includes the wheelchair accessible hotel rooms (all rooms apart from the Bath Spa Suites) and the staff is going well beyond to ensure each and every guest is feeling special and having a memorable experience.
Owned by YTL Hotels, The Gainsborough Bath Spa is the Malaysian hotel group’s first UK property and fits their emphasis on properties celebrating both art and design, as well as culinary and wellness experiences. Housed in a former hospital turned art school the luxurious 87-room and 12-suite boutique hotel opened its doors in 2015 after an extensive refurbishment during which time an impressive collection of Roman coins (around 120kgs) large enough considered to be a treasure, together with Roman mosaic were discovered. Honouring and showcasing the building’s rich history some of the coins are on display around the hotel and an exact replica of the mosaic can be found in the Spa Village Bath.
Bath Spa Suite
The Bath Spa Suite is spacious with the walls painted in beautiful soft blue and decorated with high-quality furniture, fabrics and cushions in natural earthy colours. The sitting area has a large flat screen TV, a complimentary mini-bar as well as a Nespresso machine. The bathroom features a large bathtub with a separate ‘Thermal Water’ tap for a private therapeutic soak. There is a separate power shower as well as amenities from Aromatherapy Associates. Every detail has been thought of such as the vintage Roberts brand radio on the bedside table, and Wordsworth’s poem “To Sleep” presented on the bed together with lavender eye masks at night.
Spa Village Bath
Perhaps the most unique feature of the hotel is the 1,300-square-meter Spa Village Bath which has the exclusive privilege of having direct access to the natural thermal waters through three therapeutic pools. This is, in fact, the only hotel in the UK where guests can ‘take the waters’ and soak in natural thermal water. The healing properties of the water (42 minerals to be exact) are said to reduce stress, relieve pain and promote sleep and as rumour has it, Jeremy Clarkson allegedly had one of the best sleeps of his life after soaking in the Spa. For the complete experience, the spa also features traditional and infrared saunas, a steam room and the Lavender Ice Alcove (an ice chamber). Body treatments, massages and facials are available in the separate treatment rooms with the Peppermint Facial working wonders on tired and dull skin leaving my face with a luminous glow. Each guest is also given a personalised aroma blend pouch with essential oil infused sea salt which is encouraged to inhale from throughout the circuit and can later be used in a private bath.
Dan Moon at The Gainsborough Restaurant
The hotel’s award-winning (three AA Rosettes) top-flight restaurant is spearheaded by Head Chef Dan Moon, is popular among hotel guests as well as walk-ins, being positioned as one of the most popular eateries in Bath, and especially busy during weekends. With large comfortable leather chairs and dimmed lights, the atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming. The 5-course tasting menu is an excellent choice to experience Chef Moon’s pioneering cooking techniques and theatrical presentation of modern British cuisine. Honouring the local British produce the flavoursome dishes are also a nod to the hotel group’s Asian heritage. The Creedy Carver duck, for example, is served two ways including the breast and the leg which is served in a spring roll. The sautéed scallops wish shellfish risotto is fantastic and so is the chicken liver parfait served with a grapefruit sorbet. Each dish is paired with selected wines from France, South Africa, Spain and Chile. A wonderful addition to the tasty dinner is the five-spice bread basket with a selection of herb-seasoned butters.
The breakfast is served daily in the main restaurant, and specialities include eggs Benedict, grilled kippers, buttermilk pancakes and avocado toast. In addition, there is a traditional breakfast buffet with fresh pastries, freshly squeezed juices and bread as well as yoghurts, fruit salads, warm dishes and a selection of charcuteries and cheeses.
As Hotel Manager Mr Brian Benson explains, “a guest might wear jeans and sneakers and work in the dot.com business making millions, times are changing. If someone can afford to pay for a room here, they deserve the best possible service. Some of our guests have saved up for a long time to come here and celebrate a special occasion and it’s important to us they are having a memorable time, everyone should be leaving The Gainsborough Bath Spa feeling like a rock star”. This refreshing ethos is evident in the service throughout the hotel and the non-stuffy approach to service is paying off as the staff is warm and friendly maintaining the perfect balance of professionalism and approachability.
Located in the heart of the city hotel guests are just minutes away from main attractions such as No.1 Royal Cresent, Becksford’s Tower, Bath Postal Museum, Roman Baths, Thermae Bath Spa and popular restaurants such as The Ivy Bath Brasserie and the newly opened The Botanist Bath.
Who is The Gainsborough Bath Spa for?
Catering to leisure travellers mainly, this beautiful hotel lends itself well to celebrate special occasions for families and couples of all ages. Apparently, it’s not too uncommon for guests to initially check in for a couple of nights only to end up extending their stay. This makes a lot of sense to me when it’s finally my turn to inevitably check-out. As I leave The Gainsborough Bath Spa, I can hear Mr Benson’s words ringing in my head, and as I walk out the main entrance, I smile as I’m thinking to myself – I truly feel like a rock star!
Beau St, Bath BA1 1QU, UK
For more information and reservations +44 1225 358888
Room rates start from £305 and guests booking directly will enjoy benefits including; 20% off any treatment booked in Spa Village and a complimentary bottle of champagne.
YTL Hotels offers a prestigious collection of award-winning resorts, hotels, boutique experiences across Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, China and Japan. For additional hotels and resorts visit www.ytlhotels.com for more information.