Following my first ever marathon in Paris my sister whisked me away to Bath for a couple of days of R&R. Could there be a better place than Gainsborough? Hmm… I’m not sure. I visited shortly after they opened their doors and all I can say is wow – they have done an epic job.
Interested? Top 10 | Tips for running your first marathon
It’s right in the centre of bath – prime location. But honestly, you’ll never leave the hotel walls!
There are 99 rooms and suites across four storeys, some with thermal water taps and private courtyards, others with the panoramic views of the city. Even the standard rooms offer luxury, but it is not this that distinguishes them. It is the smaller, boutique detail: the champagne for those celebrating an anniversary or just running a marathon, the lavender sprigs left on the bed alongside — best of all — a dose of daily sonnets.
The restaurant, which is laid out in two wings, is run by German chef Johann Lafer whose “dining without borders” philosophy sees him combine locally-sourced foods with Asian flavours, hence a delicious roast rack of Wiltshire lamb with Szechuan pepper crust, celeriac and blood orange. Desserts are equally exotic and there’s an eclectic wine list. Breakfast is superb with Bavarian white sausage and pretzels on the menu.
The small, contemporary bar is another winner with head barman Joel Saint John specialising in a range of cocktails ranging from Bath gin to smoked Bourbon and pure milk vodka.
The name gives this one away – but the star of the show here really is the spa.
Our sensory journey began at the Aroma bar, where given a series of aromatherapy oils by Neal’s Yard Remedies to sniff and choose from, our bespoke aroma pouches were made up. Would we intuitively choose the essential essences our bodies and mood instinctively need? We were then each handed a little sachet of scented Cornish natural salt which we were encouraged to inhale throughout our day. The answer, it seems, was yes. Our noses led us to the essences that lifted our mood and spirits.
This spa truly is a sybarite’s dream. Float your troubles away in one of the small, warm baths filled with Bath’s natural thermal waters or make like a Roman emporer in the large pool under the glass atrium. Sit as long as you can in a steam room, followed by a cold shower – there’s also a less intense infra-red sauna. We had plenty of space and peace and quiet as there are only a handful of people using the spa at any given time. We enjoyed the cool of the ice alcove where a lion’s head in the wall patiently continuously erupts ice cubes from its mouth.
While we were wallowing in the large pool a tray was brought to us bearing bottles of chilled water, scented cold hand towels and two shots of Georgian style hot chocolate with just a hint of a kick of chilli – delicious and made to an 18th century recipe. It’s a nice touch, referencing Bath’s 18th century bathing rituals along with those of Roman times and the 21st century.
One of the nice touches of the spa is there are no nagging signs telling you not to do this or that.
The front of house team were incredibly pleasant and beyond helpful (mints and bottled water handed to us by the valet for our journey home).
The Habit Hunter x