The historic city of Bath draws tourists from all over the world, as a World Heritage Site and the home to the Roman Baths, Jane Austen Centre and Royal Crescent. In a city so popular it can be tough to find the right place to stay. If you want to be right in the centre you often have to forgo any sense of style or luxury. Fortunately The Francis Hotel Bath in a converted position on Queen Square puts you in the heart of the action whilst retaining charm, luxury and style. It would be hard to find a more quintessentially English hotel with as much history as The Francis Hotel. This Grade I listed building first became a hotel in 1884. Creator of some of the most prestigious buildings in bath John Wood the Elder designed it between 1728 and 1735 as a piece of classical architecture and seamlessly interconnected the townhouses which make up the 98 curated room hotel.
The Regency opulence is evident from the moment you arrive at the hotel, the main entrance right in the middle of Queen Square with many rooms overlooking it. Enter from their secret car park (a rare find in Bath!) via the back and it’s fascinating to see all the townhouses which makeup the hotel. Either way you quickly find local touches, from the vibrant blue Georgian glassware to the giant Princess style throne in the lobby. It’s a quirky, eclectic, soft and warm mix of design that inspires and amuses.
The mix of Regency and Modern is evident throughout, from the fun wallpaper which mixes Jane Austin esq silhouettes and Roman Bath architecture to the pop up paper theatre art work in our room. It’s clearly something the hotel take seriously as there was information in our room about each piece of art or collectible. It’s this attention to detail which shines throughout The Francis Hotel with local milk in the mini bar, and classical music playing in your room when you check in.
We were in The John Wood room, a large feature suite which contained beautiful soft furnishings and heritage colours, creaky historic floorboards (in the best possible way!) under the thick carpet with modern touches such as plenty of powerpoint and USB charging, thick dressing gowns, huge TVs and beautiful 100 Acres bath and body products. It’s the sort of room you say wow on entering, spacious, plus, comfortable and perfect for unwinding after a long day seeing the sights. But of course a bed is a bed, and a pillow is a pillow, but what makes a hotel is the staff. Every single person we encountered at The Francis Hotel seemed genuinely pleased to see us, happy to be able to help, offering local tips and advice, friendly chat and exuding with warmth. They put the H in hospitality making us feel at home every time we encountered someone.
Nestled off the main lobby is their gloriously bohemian Boho Marché restaurant and dining room. An Instagram delight of flowers, huge comfy sofa seats and even a horse statue. For those sunny days the open air terrace is the place to be, but during these colder months the cosy main space was where we enjoyed dinner and breakfast. A modern menu which is Marrakech meets Mediterranean with some hotel brasserie style favourites thrown in. We started with a super creamy Burrata with a herb infused avocado green salad and the smoked hummus, which was mouthwateringly good. My wife opted for their cheeseburger with truffle fries. Beautifully moist, medium rare and bursting with flavour. Exactly hitting the spot a good burger should. Plus the Confit Duck, a huge portion complete sous vide caramelized apples giving a sharpness to cut through the deliciously fatty duck legs. Although it was tough to not pick the Pork Belly Sando, Tagine or Crispy Duck Salad. You know a place is good when there’s items on the menu you want to come back and try again. In fact, we witnessed a couple going for the Sharing Board of Moroccan delights saying it was their second night in the hotel and their second night eating in the restaurant.
Come morning time the classic Full English delivers exactly what you want, especially if you’re visiting the UK from abroad. Quality sausages and bacon along with beans, eggs, mushrooms and tomatoes done to perfection. For a twist the house Breakfast Bowl gives an energising and fresh start to the day. The Francis Hotel couldn’t be in a better location and offers all the English Heritage you could ever want alongside modern and quirky touches that make you feel truly cared for as a guest all within easy reach of the historical city of Bath. Room rates at The Francis Hotel Bath start from £139.00 inclusive of breakfast and VAT. For more information visit www.francishotel.com. Francis Hotel Bath