Just off Hot Bath Street, you’ll find The Gainsborough. With its immaculate Grade-II listed exteriors dating from the 18th century, you’d think this exquisite hotel was one of Bath’s most longstanding.
A relative newcomer in reality, this Leading Hotel of the World is the first five-star the city has seen in 30 years and the only one to tap into Bath’s original thermal springs.
First impressions are everything and The Gainsborough has them down to a fine art. After 30 seconds in their elegant lobby and you’ll be getting Mandarin Oriental-style service vibes. There’s a distinct feeling of genuine hospitality here – authentic smiles all round and bespoke treatment all the way. That and a real sense of wellness that permeates the whole experience, starting of course in the hotel’s Spa Village.
The Gainsborough sits directly above Bath’s legendary thermal spring, making it the only hotel in the UK with a spa fed by naturally warm and mineral-rich spring water. In other words, you can skip the busy Thermae Bath Spa right across the street and “take the waters” in this far more sophisticated and tranquil setting. Stop by the Aroma Bar for a personalised pouch of fragrant salts on your way into the spa. It’s a cute accessory for the Bath House Circuit – complimentary for guests during specific early morning and evening slots – which includes three natural thermal pools set at different temperatures, a steam room, traditional and infrared saunas, a lavender crushed ice alcove, and calm relaxation areas. Down a shot or two of thick spiced hot chocolate during your bathing breaks to warm the soul and delight the taste buds – after all, what’s a spa day without a little indulgence?
The 99 rooms and suites at The Gainsborough – with their gloriously high Georgian ceilings and muted pallets of blues and greys – ooze a subtle style of modern luxury. Upon check-in, old-school radios pipe classical music into the spacious suites, an appropriate soundtrack to explore the marble bathrooms and giant wardrobes, and to flick through the innumerable wanderlust-themed coffee table books in the living room. Night-time brings a delightful turndown service of gourmet petit fours, lavender sprigs on pillows and Shakespearean sonnets – it’s the stuff of sweet dreams and dream sweetly you certainly shall at The Gainsborough. The two-poster beds are so incredibly comfy that only a delicious breakfast could possibly get you up.
Tasty breakfasts at The Gainsborough (not automatically included in the room rate) feature a-la-carte classics alongside a continental buffet. After a highly recommended dinner at Dan Moon at The Gainsborough Restaurant though, you might only be able to manage a pastry or two. The three AA Rosette-awarded restaurant, featured in the prestigious Tatler Restaurant Guide, serves up divine cuisine inspired in fresh, local and seasonal ingredients. Long, delectable evenings of foodie pleasure begin with bespoke gin cocktails at the intimate bar, and Dan Moon’s gorgeous six-course tasting menu will keep you busy munching until late. Believe us, this restaurant is well on its way to a Michelin star.
When To visit
In our books, any time is a good time for a spa retreat, but weekends in particular at The Gainsborough keep wellness in mind. Complimentary group classes such as Aquasana (water-based yoga) and Tai Chi are held on Friday through Monday. From February through November The Gainsborough is also hosting a Phenomenal Women speaker series, each delivered by one of the country’s most inspiring women with the aim of celebrating, supporting and networking. Alternatively for lovers of literature, visit in mid-September during the Jane Austen festival to join hundreds of people from around the globe in 18th Century costume in a ‘Grand Regency’ procession through the beautiful streets of Bath.