What’s the score?
Lie back, relax and float around in warm water. The UK’s first and only hotel with access to healing thermal baths is located, of all places, in Bath city centre. This is pretty exclusive stuff – the mineral-rich water is only available to Gainsborough Bath Spa guests, meaning you get a full-on luxurious stay and a massive bath virtually all to yourself.
The hotel was built in the 1800s and occupies two Georgian buildings, so if you’re into period properties and features you’ll get your fill here. Bedrooms come with huge bay windows, big, tall beds and ceilings so high I couldn’t even see the top. Maybe. Opt for a spa suite and your bath will have three taps – hot, cold and mineral water.
Visit the Bath House and you’ll be taken on a bathing journey reminiscent of the ones taken by the city’s residents in Roman times. Three pools are filled with water that’s around 40°C, and you move between them on a circuit that will also see you sweating it out in the sauna and steam room (before you start you’ll be asked to smell a range of essential oils which will be packed up into a little salt pouch to take with you into the rooms). The Bath House is huge and flooded with natural light, with restored mosaics and pillars inspired by the historic Roman ruins nearby. The hotel group’s roots lie in Malaysia, so if you’re in for a treatment then try the traditional Malaysian therapy – a spiced oil blend will be distributed over your body in a deep, kneading massage that’ll have you staggering out of your treatment room (in a very good way).
The big sights of Bath are on the doorstep – pop into the ruins of the Roman baths, which is definitely worth a look. For a beer and some hearty, traditional food, head to the Raven pub, with its locally brewed beer and pie-only menu.
Address: Beau St, Bath, BA1 1QY; Price From £285 room only; Getting there: Bath is reached from London Paddington in 1h30, from £12; Info:thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk