The Gainsborough Bath Spa made Conde Nast Traveller’s Best New Hotels in the World list in 2016 for many good reasons, and bathing like a 21st Century Roman is just one of them
I am in one of the relaxation pools at the Spa Village of The Gainsborough Bath Spa, repeatedly pressing the button that brings a torrent of water thundering onto my shoulders and head. It’s like every amazing neck massage I have ever had in my lifetime all rolled into one. I could stay here forever.
When I eventually do leave the spa, somewhat wrinkled, about three hours later, I feel well and truly shattered. It’s quite the experience following the Bath House Circuit – a ritualised self-guided tour of the thermal baths, akin to the great Roman tradition. En route you can indulge in a Tatami Room, a Fountain Room, traditional and infrared saunas, steam room and – the most intriguing of the lot – an ice alcove.
But there’s one element of The Gainsborough Bath Spa that really makes it stand out – having the unique privilege of being the only hotel in the UK to host a natural thermal spa benefitting from Bath’s mineral-rich waters.
Originally built in the 1800s as a hospital, the hotel, rechristened in honor of the artist Sir Thomas Gainsborough, who once lived nearby, occupies two Grade II listed buildings with distinguished Georgian and Victorian façades. Designer Alexandra Champalimaud was tasked with making the place over, and its new interiors reflect the honey-colored limestone of the World Heritage Site of Bath.
High ceilings, tall windows, two poster beds and hints of Gainsborough scene make for sumptuous suites, and you can also book a Bath Spa Room, where the bathrooms are plumbed directly into the warm springs so that you can run a private bath filled with thermal water.
Book a Bath Spa Room, where the bathrooms are plumbed directly into the warm springs so that you can run a private bath filled with thermal water
From the moment you enter the opulent lobby, the service you receive is exemplary. From tips on what to see in this beautiful city – although you’d be hard pushed to drag yourself away from The Gainsborough Bath Spa – and help booking a table at one of Bath’s finest restaurants, nothing is too much trouble. It’s so impressive that it made Conde Nast Traveller’s Best New Hotels in the World Hot List in 2016.
On our first night, we started with cocktails in The Gainsborough Bar, before dinner in the restaurant overseen by acclaimed chef Johann Lafer. Known for his ‘dining without borders’ approach, this was Asian cooking of the highest order.
YTL Hotels’ first UK outpost, this five-star experience is arguably the icing on the Bath cake. It’s essentially the 21st century version of how the Romans lived – and I loved every minute of it.
Prices at The Gainsborough Bath Spa start from £275 for a Deluxe Double room