“A flamboyant, curio-filled boutique hotel in the heart of Bath, with cocktail bar, great little spa, cafe-restaurant and 40 designer-crafted rooms”
In the buzzing bar, 36 cocktails - from classic to crazy - are printed on playing cards: a round of rummy to decide your poison? Downstairs, the all-day café is lined with old glass apothecary bottles labelled Tartaric Acid or Tincture of Iodine (mercifully, our eggs Florentine showed no traces of either). Upstairs, extending Tardis-like over 6 floors and 3 merged townhouses, are 40 bedrooms and suites. All are different; some with an artist's bold imprint, others with a deliberately faded aura of Georgian grandeur. In the vaulted basement - the final piece of this colourful jigsaw - is a brilliant little spa, with hot tub and sauna in oversized barrels, and 4 equally quirky treatment rooms. A delightfully zany oddity in the heart of handsome, historic Bath.
- Smiley young staff keep the mood light and the fantasy intact
- A guest 'larder' offers free soft drinks, snacks and ice cream - a nice touch
- Beds are supremely comfy, with downy duvets and Hypnos mattresses - you'll dream deeply
- Some rooms have free-standing bathtubs for sociable soaking
- We enjoyed having a spa in the building - much classier than queuing up for the public Thermae Spa, and great massages too
- Top-floor Artists' Rooms are compact (but fine for 1-2 nights)
- On busy dates, the larger rooms can get pricey
- Parking is limited, as you'd expect in Bath
- The Insta-friendly styling won't be everyone's cup of tea; some have called it gimmicky, but we found it generally witty and uplifting
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Boutique Hotel
- Restaurant (closed Mon) and bar
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Beach Nearby
- Off-street Parking
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
The 40 eclectically designed rooms vary from 'cosy' top-floor boltholes to sumptuous suites with high ceilings, free-standing bathtubs and tall windows over Great Pulteney Street. Where you pick on the scale will depend on budget and availability, as well as your taste in styling.
We liked the restrained elegance of the Henrietta Suites, with their khaki palette, cut-glass chandeliers and playful stencils; patches of deliberately unplastered wall "tell the building's story". A touch grander are the Pulteney Suites, with bold artworks and extra sitting area (whose sofa can be made up as a bed). Playful plexiglass furniture - some of it displaying collections of sparkling jewellery or figurines - comes from designer Martin Hulbert, ex Dorchester. And in the huge, garden-level Hideout, half the space is a private marble mini-spa, with 3-foot-deep hot tub and a glassed-in steam room.
At the other end of the scale, Cosy Doubles boast colourful murals by emerging local artists, to add pizzazz to these low-ceilinged top-floor rooms. There's a shuttered window looking over the rooftops, a shower cubicle in the bathroom and a few clothes hooks - fine for a couple on a 1- or 2-night break. In between come the Deluxe Doubles, 5 of them in a separate coach house across the rear courtyard. Some have in-room bathtubs (if you're travelling with a less-than-intimate friend, take note), or mood lighting in a hue of your choice (a little gimmicky); others get striking patterned wallpapers by Rossiters of Bath, or marbled bathrooms, or copper basins.
All rooms have a pillow menu, superb Hypnos mattress (generally kingsize), toasty duck-down duvets, and Dyson hairdryers, as well as Sky TV and superfast WiFi.
- Central heating
- Coffee / tea making
- Satellite TV
A generous continental breakfast, with additional cooked options, is served in the hotel's café-restaurant, at compact tables overlooked by walls of coloured glass apothecary bottles. The effect is striking (and a little alarming, when sitting face to face with a Tartaric Acid label), but we're happy to report that both service and food are friendly and healthy. Superior touches include silver cutlery, loose leaf teas, Bircher muesli, Bonne Maman jams in white ramekins, plus a bottle of bubbly if you can't wait till happy hour.
For lunch and dinner, Bath abounds with brilliant eateries - over 30 within 15 minutes' walk. Staff recommendations include Sotto Sotto (Italian), Cau (for steak), Porter (upscale British), The Mint Room (veggie) and Acorn (veggie). If you're feeling lazy, or arriving late, you could do a lot worse than book a table at the hotel's Café 15, which serves an all-day menu of 'honest, vibrant seasonal dishes'. We sampled soft and creamy scallops, wild mushroom soup, ribeye steak and a rack of lamb - all fine, with some minor lapses which should be rectified with the arrival of a new chef (we will be checking it out soon, so watch this space!).
- Coffee / tea making
- Restaurants nearby
- You're in the heart of Bath's handsome Georgian centre, surrounded by stately mansions, grand curving arcades, soaring churches (including the fan-vaulted Gothic Abbey), and the Roman Baths which gave the city its name
- The city also excels for retail therapy: we love the bohemian outlets of Walcot St (try the Fine Cheese Co and Avenida homewares), the Victoriana of the Guildhall Market, and the brilliantly bespoke bookshop, Topping & Company
- Just along Great Pulteney St is the superb Holburne Museum: small but packed with eclectic portraits, maiolica, sculptures, silver and china, plus a cafe and leafy gardens outside
- Do sample the hotel's excellent spa: our 60-minute body and neck massage was expertly delivered; or you can just book a hot tub and sauna session. Alternatively, the city's Thermae Spa offers multiple steam rooms and a rooftop pool, but can get crowded
Children of all ages are welcome, though this is more of a grown-up retreat. The lift is handy for parents with a pushchair.
Family friendly accommodation:
Larger Deluxe rooms and suites have a sofa which can pull out into a narrow double bed. All Deluxe rooms and larger can fit a cot.
- Baby cots
- High chair
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking