Written by root. Posted in FEATURES


Published on July 01, 2016 with No Comments

This historical compact city of Bath just has a new neighbour.

Words Anis Ramli


As far as new neighbours go, The Gainsborough Bath Spa has certainly put the spotlight even further on the city of Bath. Known for its thermal waters, gentrified landscape and beautiful period buildings, The Gainsborough wasted no time in fitting itself with these themes – and more, giving the town a sexy new edge.

Foremost in its resume, The Gainsborough has full bragging rights to its own piping hot thermal waters. This alone has made the property an easy nominee for any West England bucket list. In fact, if you book into one of its Bath Spa Rooms, you will get in-room access to the centuries-old, mineral-enriched waters. Talk about wow factor.

That’s not to say other rooms aren’t worth a stay. Designed by award-winning Champalimaud Designs, all rooms and suites extol a picture of genteel English respectability. Space was further exaggerated with soaring ceilings and high windows. Minibars are complimentary, with 24-hour room service and a Nespresso machine to satiate emergency caffeine cravings. There is a contemporary mix to the interiors, yet subtle designs remind you of the period buildings it is housed in – which was once a hospital and then a college. On a chilly Summer afternoon (this is England, after all), the bathroom’s underfloor heating is heaven-sent.

All guests staying at The Gainsborough have complimentary access to the Bath House at their award-winning Spa Village. And truly, this is the star of the property. Set beneath a glass atrium, amid Romanesque columns and mosaics, guests are welcome into a bath circuit that takes them past two natural thermal pools of varying temperatures, traditional and infrared saunas, a steam room and an ice alcove. Guests cool down with endless supply of bottled water, but we especially like the hot chocolate machine, spiced up with cardamoms and other spices, drunk in tiny paper cups. The recipe is kept as close to as possible as when the Georgians drank it.

The thermal pools have various jets for massaging the body. You can swim in the pool, whose original 47°C waters have been reduced to body temperature, and still have a calming and luxurious experience. But, it’s the private aquatic therapy Freedom that takes the cake. A hypnotic combination of gentle dance, chiropractic and Thai massage all done in the water, it’s a unique treatment that uses the buoyancy of the water to stretch and make the body pliable like no other conventional treatment can. Combined with the warmth and gentle therapist’s maneuvering, you’ll come out of the session energised, de-stressed and ready to roll on the bed.

Beyond the spa, The Gainsborough is led by a brilliant team who are all warm and accommodating. The cosy and intimate Art Deco-style restaurant and lounge only seem to emphasise this ethos. The restaurant partners one of Germany’s Michelin-starred chef, Johann Lafer, who lends his name and culinary philosophy of Dining Without Borders to highlight locally-sourced products with the best of Asian flavours for an innovative menu. Dishes are sophisticated, to say the least, like Sauteed Sallops with Tiger King Prawns and Crab Ristto accompanied by Bok Choy Leaves or Poached Fillet of Halibut with Mustard Butter and Celeriac Veloute. But it is the service that is sublime, with staff attentive and ready to accommodate requests.

The Canvas Room next door is a perennial favourite to unwind after a day out shopping in the city. Quintessentially English in its charm and character, the lounge is great for curling up with a book or meet up with friends. The all-day dining menu includes wonderful mocktails, including a delectable Afternoon Tea set.

One cannot fault the location of The Gainsborough. Located right in Bath’s city centre, great shopping and the best of historic Bath greet you as soon as you step out the door. The hotel can arrange for a free tour of the city through Sulis Guides that gives you a good start to the city’s layout and its history. The main shopping street has all of our favourites, including Anthropologie, Space NK and Hobbs, plus plenty of cafes and chic eateries to round up your Bath stay.



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