historic building facade

The Gainsborough Bath Spa occupies two Grade II Listed buildings in the heart of Bath

The Gainsborough Bath Spa is located in the heart of the historic city of Bath, but it’s no ordinary city hotel with access to natural thermal waters, extensive spa facilities and a calming atmosphere. LUX checks in for a midweek stay

Staycations have soared in popularity this summer and it’s likely to be a lasting trend not just for pandemic reasons, but for travellers seeking a more sustainable alternative to travel. For London residents especially, Bath is a no-brainer. One of the UK’s most beautiful and historic cities, it’s just over an hour by train from Paddington Station or an easy two and half hour drive, and if you’re staying at The Gainsborough Bath Spa you don’t even have to worry about parking. The valet is there to meet you at the bottom of the hotel’s steps and on check-out, the car’s ready and waiting, stocked with water bottles and a little tin of mints for the journey. It might not sound like much, but these are the kinds of thoughtful extras that contribute to a completely stress-free experience.

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The YTL group (to which The Gainsborough belongs) is known for its acute attention to detail. Added to the top-notch valet service, all the rooms, regardless of category, have complimentary mini-bars stocked with artisanal snacks and juices, and the bathrooms are filled with an abundance of good-sized Aromatherapy Associates toiletries and fitted with underfloor heating.

Luxury hotel bedroom

One of The Gainsborough’s courtyard rooms

The rooms are smart, modern and spacious, decorated in a soothing colour palette of duck-egg blue and gold with varying layouts. We stayed in a two bedroom suite, which takes the form of a maisonette with a double room and bathroom upstairs, and an additional double (or twin) room downstairs with a small sitting room. Both beds were exceptionally soft with piles of pillows, but the downstairs room was somewhat lacking in natural light whilst the rest of the suite benefited from towering ceilings and huge windows.

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spa interiors

bathing pool

Aromatherapy bar (above) and one of the thermal pools in the hotel’s spa village

The Gainsborough features the only hotel spa with access to the city’s natural thermal waters. Currently, visitors are required to pre-book one-hour bathing sessions to prevent overcrowding, but that still leaves plenty of time to dip into the different pools, sauna and steam rooms with breaks in-between for shots of thick, spiced hot chocolate (a favourite of the Romans). In terms of treatments, there’s usually a wide selection including various acqua therapies, but due to current Covid restrictions, the signature massage is the only offering, beginning with a foot bath in neroli water infused with rosemary and pine essences followed by a full body massage using calming lavender oils. Spa experiences begin with a mini workshop making scented salts using a selection of Aromatherapy oils, and end with a cup of pink Hibiscus tea on the terrace overlooking the baths.

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restaurant interiors

Dan Moon’s restaurant is currently only open for breakfast

Dan Moon’s restaurant, which usually serves elegant dishes made from seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, is only open for breakfast at the moment. In the afternoon, tea is served a chic mirrored lounge known as The Canvas Room and the bar is open in the evenings for cocktails.

It’s a hotel that prioritises its guests’ relaxation and privacy. Staff are warm and attentive, but generally leave you to wander freely, creating a pleasing sense of homeliness. It’s the kind of place you can imagine returning to year after year.

Rates start from £325 per night for a Deluxe Room including breakfast (approx. $400/ €350). Book your mid-week getaway: thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk

Please note: This review was carried out before the global lockdown. Valet parking is currently not available to guests.