Based in the historic spa town of Bath; The Gainsborough Hotel & Spa opened three years ago in July. It is a former, Hospital, an admiral Head quarters in World War II and most recently an art college. Occupying a classical central building from the 1820s, the 99 bedroom hotel (three of the rooms actually have the naturally warm Thermae direct to their bathrooms) combines its Georgian character with muted tones of soft greys and beige marble accented with an almost art deco via smoked glass and fretwork accents.
The hallways display modern artworks as a respectful nod to its previous occupiers with fresh flowers on consoles in elegant tall vases. From the moment you step into the lobby to the time you leave the service is faultless. Matthew, the gentleman who greeted us, gave us a historical overview as he showed us to our room. The staff are knowledgeable, engaging and warm; a true reflection in my opinion of the Hotel Manager Brian and his pride in the team, which elevate your stay whatever the occasion.
Our room had a grey blue colour scheme, teamed with glossy black furniture that provides a neutral backdrop for the pretty pastoral scenes draped over the bedheads. The extra long curtains frame the windows that overlook the creamy yellow bath stone houses and shops, creating a warm glow as we sat on our beds sipping champagne planning the afternoon ahead.
We padded through the marble corridor to the lift that took us direct to the spa in our fluffy white robes and slippers. Our afternoon started in the Spa Village, treatments begin with a cleansing combination of fermented fruit juices at the aroma bar that tasted like a cloudy fizzy apple juice, whilst the therapist created a bespoke blend of oils for us, as we chose combinations that would reflect the outcome of what we would like, ie relaxed or energised.
After a full body massage with the bespoke oils created for me, which was rather a refreshing change as someone who attempts to follow an olympic lifting program; it was thorough and loosened some rather tight muscles. After treatments we spent some time in the spa. Crowned by a glass roof atrium, there are three thermal pools, an infra red sauna, traditional sauna, steam room and ice room.
Memorable touches included the cardamom spiced hot chocolate and the fact that you can only sometimes have access to the thermal pools if you have booked a treatment means it preserves a sense of calm; on this occasion we were the only two people in there. Bliss.
What is so appealing and is part of the experience from the minute you step into the hotel, sit on the edge of your bed, walk through the halls, is the fact that the hotel appeals to your senses. There is a wonderful warm spicy aroma that lingers throughout, it is like a comforting addition to the calm and warmth in the building.
The bespoke feel continued to pre-dinner drinks in the Bar. We sipped on gin based cocktails created by the barman after chatting about our likes and dislikes.
Brian the General Manager kindly spent some time with us and we chatted about everything from the ethos of the company to the award winning 3 AA rosette restaurant headed by Dan Moon using contemporary locally sourced food which we were about to eat.
The six memorable courses of the tasting menu were presented perfectly by Veronica and the wines that complimented each plate were introduced by Atilla. This is clearly his passion as he explains the pairing of the food to the wine and the balance throughout. We started supper at 7pm, three hours later; sleepy and content after beautiful food we retired to our stunning room with a pillow menu and lavender spray to aid our sleep under crisp white cotton covers.
Waking to blue skies the following morning we skipped the gym, which is however, very well equipped with technogym equipment, in favour of a hearty breakfast. Breakfast was a choice of buffet or the menu (or both), a large selection of freshly squeezed juices added to the pastries, croissants and smoked salmon. We ordered a full english and avocado on toast with eggs, both cooked to perfection.
On our departure, the staff carried our bags to the car and as they waved to us as we left, we both agreed that we could have spent at least a week more there . . .
The Gainsborough Bath Spa