The Gainsborough Bath Spa – Bath’s iconic luxury hotel with a Romanesque spa.
Housed inside a grand 1820s former hospital building in the heart of historic Bath, The Gainsborough pays tribute to the original Roman settlement – from the marble bathrooms with underfloor heating and a Roman coin collection unearthed during excavation works to the hotel’s best feature – a becolumned spa offering soaks in the same thermal waters that once attracted the Romans to this part of Britain. The neo-Georgian rooms are understated yet sumptuous, there is excellent fine and casual dining on-site, and the service is top-notch.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa – Location
- Address: Beau St.
- Area: Narrow, quiet street right in the historic heart of Bath, with the famous Thermae Bath Spa across the street and easy pedestrian access to the main shopping thoroughfare. Just a few minutes’ walk to all the major attractions, including the Roman Baths, Jane Austen Centre, and Bath Abbey. Central Bath is very compact and walkable, and northern Bath and the Royal Crescent are a 5-minute walk away.
- How To Get There: Take one of the frequent trains from London Paddington to Bath Spa station (1.5 hours) and then walk for 6 minutes (0.3 mile), or take a taxi.
- Handy To: Roman Baths, Bath Abbey, Thermae Bath Spa.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa – The Basics
- Ages: While many of the guests tend to be couples or travelers on a city break, families with children are welcome.
- View: Rooms look out over the quiet Beau Street.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: No private pools/jacuzzis.
- Laundry: In-room laundry service.
- Parking: Valet parking at a nearby site costs £38 per day.
- Extras: Turn-down service, personalized tours of the city organized by the concierge, complimentary Spa Village access for guests during set hours. Complimentary massage per room for Sunday-Thursday stays if you book direct with the hotel.
- When To Book: Reserve 2-3 months in advance for the summer high season (May to September) as well as much of December (Christmas market) and the Christmas/New Year period.
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: +44 1225 358 888
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk
The Gainsborough Bath Spa – Amenities
- Pool: The Spa Village has 3 thermal pools under a glass-roofed atrium, open from 7 am to 10 pm.
- Spa: The award-winning Spa Village is the best hotel spa in Bath and one of only two spas in town with access to thermal waters (the other being Thermae Bath Spa). Besides a range of massages and Asian-influenced therapies, there are traditional and infrared saunas and a steam room. Hotel guests get complimentary access to the Spa Village from 7-9 am and 8-10 pm; those with pre-booked treatments get unlimited access. No children under 16.
- Fitness Center: The well-equipped fitness center is open round the clock.
- For Disabled Guests: Several rooms are adapted for disabled guests and all public areas (including the Spa Village) are wheelchair accessible.
- For Families: Baby cots available; sofa beds in the suites accommodate older children, there are board games and DVDs for kids, babysitting services can be arranged at an extra cost, and while there’s no dedicated children’s menu at the restaurant, child-friendly dishes can be prepared on request. Family pool hours are from 7 am to 9 am.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa – Food and Drink
- Restaurants: Dan Moon at The Gainsbourough (7-10 am, 12-2.30 pm & 6-9.30 pm) serves creative Modern British fare, from set 3-course lunches and pre-theater menus to 5 and 7-course tasting menus in the evening. Contemporary decor, original artwork, and generous portions. Reservations essential for lunch and dinner ($$$) • The Canvas Room (10 am-11 pm) is all-day dining, casual bistro fare. Between 3 and 5.30 pm, guests and non-guests alike come here for traditional and champagne afternoon tea ($$).
- Lounge/Bar: The Gainsborough Bar has a superb selection of champagnes, wines, local ales, and artisan gins, and the bartenders mix innovative cocktails tailored to the customers’ tastes. Open from noon to midnight.
- Breakfast: Not complimentary unless you book direct. A full continental spread, plus hot dishes cooked to order, costs £30. Served at the restaurant from 7-10 am on weekdays and 7-10.30 am on weekends.
- Room Service: Available around the clock from Dan Moon at the Gainsborough.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa – Rooms
- Room Types: Deluxe • Double • Classic Double/Twin • Courtyard Double • Bath Spa Double • Junior Suite • Suite • Two-bedroom Suite • Gainsborough Suite • Bath Spa Suite • Townhouse
- Smoking Rooms: The Gainsborough Bath Spa is 100% smoke-free.
- Best Room: The tastefully appointed Bath Spa suite comes with a spacious sitting area, unlimited Spa Village access, a roll-top bathtub fed by thermal waters, and amenities such as a Roberts radio and a Nespresso coffee maker.
- For Families: No family rooms per se, but families with children can be accommodated in the suites.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa – Local Transport
- Walking: Thermae Bath Spa is just around the corner, the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey are a couple of minutes’ walk away, the Jane Austen Centre and the Victoria Art Gallery are about a 6-minute stroll. Easily walkable to the Bath Assembly Rooms, Royal Crescent, Circus, and the Herschel Museum of Astronomy. Numerous bars, restaurants, and boutiques in the surrounding streets.
- Taxis, Uber: Taxis and Uber charge around £5 from the train station to the hotel. Central Bath is very walkable and you can easily reach all the main attractions on foot.
The Gainsborough Bath Spa – What’s Nearby?
Recommended Nearby Tours
- Mayor’s Honorary Guides – Superb free walking tours (no tips or gratuities accepted) run by certified city guides passionate about its history. Meet outside the Roman Baths at 10.30 am and 2 pm Sunday to Friday and 10.30 am only on Saturday. 1-minute walk (100m).
- Bizarre Bath Tours – These “hysterical rather than historical” walking tours are a fun-filled way to spend an evening and give you an irreverent overview of the city. They depart at 8 pm nightly from The Huntsman on North Parade. 3-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Mad Max Tours – Award-winning small group day trips to popular locations outside Bath, such as Stonehenge, the Cotswolds villages, plus Glastonbury, Wells, and Cheddar Gorge. Departures from the Abbey Hotel on North Parade. 4-minute walk (0.2 mile).
Best Nearby Restaurants
- Noya’s Kitchen – Friendly, informal supper club and lunchtime restaurant that specializes in home-style Vietnamese cooking. Bookings recommended. 2-minute walk (0.1 mile).
- Pump Room Restaurant – Attached to the Roman Baths, this elegant Georgian dining room serves light lunches and proper afternoon teas, complete with cakes and dainty little sandwiches. 3-minute walk (0.1 mile).
- Acorn – Award-winning vegan restaurant. Choose from a 5 or 7-course tasting menu, opt for a menu of small plate classics, or go for a set 3-course lunch menu. Book ahead. 3-minute walk (0.1 mile).
- The Oven – Artisanal pizzeria specializing in authentic Neapolitan pizza. Their signature pizza is topped with cotto ham, ‘nduja, fig jam, and creamed walnuts. Popular with families. 3-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Giggling Squid – Contemporary Thai restaurant where the recipes are based on dishes that the chef grew up with, such as slow-cooked lamb massaman curry, spicy seafood pad cha stir-fry, and green curry with chicken. Thai tapas available throughout the day. 4-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Olé Tapas – Tiny tapas bar with wonderfully authentic dishes – from platters of cold cuts and Spanish cheeses with quince paste, to the paprika-dusted Galician-style octopus. Plenty of Spanish wines by the glass, too. 5-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Clayton’s Kitchen – With tables in the delightful outdoor passage, Clayton’s wouldn’t look out of place in Paris. The Modern British dishes are fresh, seasonal, and beautifully presented. Lunch is a bargain and there’s an eclectic wine list. 9-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Menu Gordon Jones – Cured salmon with Cornish spring roll and roasted suckling pig loin with artichokes are just two dishes that might appear on the surprise multi-course tasting menu of Scottish chef Gordon Jones. Smart casual dress code, indie soundtrack in the background. Advance reservations. 17-minute walk (0.7 mile).
Best Nearby Cafes and Tea Shops
- Mokoko Coffee – Carefully selected coffees sourced from as far afield as Rwanda, Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, and Tanzania, and prepared in numerous ways. Also tarts, croissants, and muffins made from scratch. 2-minute walk (0.1 mile).
- Hands Georgian Tearooms – Traditional tearooms going strong since 1852, with hearty breakfasts (full English, eggs benedict), Clotted Cream Tea (tea with homemade scones, clotted cream, and jam) and High Tea (tea, scones, cakes, and sandwiches) served by waitresses in period costumes. 2-minute walk (0.1 mile).
- Sally Lunn’s – Locally revered tea shop serving classic afternoon tea, complete with tiny cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Alternatively, go for a Bath cream tea, which includes half of Sally’s famous toasted bunns, with cinnamon butter and with clotted cream on the side. 3-minute walk (0.2 mile).
Best Nearby Bars and Pubs
- The Hideout – Whiskies from around the world are the specialty at this snug sub-basement bar hidden beneath a medieval stone arch, from Glennfidich single malts to Japanese whisky blends. Have it on the rocks, as part of a cocktail or a Crab Smasher shooter. 3-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Dark Horse – Sultry basement bar with subdued lighting, intimate nooks, and Bath’s best cocktails, with seasonal ingredients made in-house, and many original creations. Go for a Sea of Storms or a classic pina colada. Book ahead for weekends. 4-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Canary Gin Bar – A must-visit for fans of all things juniper-based, the cozy, subtly-lit Canary stocks over 230 types of gin. Apart from killer G&Ts, there’s a long list of gin-based cocktails and occasional masterclasses. 4-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- The Raven – This congenial place is best for chats over a pint of ale, including their very own Raven Gold. There are also excellent pies to choose from, from classic meat to goat’s cheese and sweet potato. 5-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- The Salamander – Classic local pub known for its house beers, such as the Wild Hare Pale Ale and the amber Gem. Good pub food is served upstairs. 5-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Corkage – This cozy wine bar, lined with legions of wine bottles, has an excellent selection of tipples from all over the world, though it’s particularly strong on French, Italian, and Spanish wines. This central branch also does a full menu of bistro dishes. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- BeerCraft of Bath – Just off Pulteney Bridge, this lively craft beer bar with four rotating beers on tap doubles as a bottle shop that stocks over 500 bottled brews from all over Europe and further afield. 7-minute walk (0.3 mile).
Nearby Shopping and Cool Shops
- HMV – The high street branch of the chain music store that’s been around since 1921. Excellent selection of CDs (most genres), as well as mainstream movies on DVD. 1-minute walk (80m).
- Roman Baths Shop – Terrific gift shop with Roman and Bath-themed souvenirs, from Asterix books in Latin and books on the history of Roman Britain to small batch spirits by Bath Botanical gin and hand-foraged preserves by Heavenly Hedgerows. 1-minute walk (100m).
- Bath Aqua Glass – This central branch directly opposite the Roman Baths entrance sells colorful wares from Bath’s famous glass-blowing workshop. 3-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Clandar – All about British textiles, Clandar specializes in designing and making its own range of British tweed clothing, with the tweed sourced from historic British tweed mills. Scottish cashmere and British woollens also sold here. 3-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Independent Spirit of Bath – Besides specializing in single malt whiskies from Scotland and elsewhere, artisan gins, and the best of British craft beer, this shop also organizes whisky tastings and gin and cocktail masterclasses. 4-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Penhaligon’s – Bath branch of the illustrious British house of fragrances, started by a Cornish barber in London some 150 years ago. Also stocks high-end bath and body products. 5-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- Castle Fine Art – This branch of the gallery showcases paintings, sculptures, sketches, and more by 60 contemporary British artists, from London cityscapes by Paul Kenton to cartoons of Marvel superheroes by Nigel Humphries. 5-minute walk (0.2 mile).
- The Antique Map Shop – On Pulteney Bridge, this specialist shop is particularly strong on antique maps of Great Britain and its various regions. The oldest map here dates back to the 15th century. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- DuoBoots – Calf-length, knee-length, and over-the-knee boots for ladies designed and sold here. Designs range from timeless classics to on-trend footwear. 7-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- House of Fraser – With marble columns and an impressive façade, House of Fraser is the oldest department store in the UK, beautifully restored to its 1820’s splendor. Formerly known as Jolly’s. Inside, you’ll find fine homewares and luxury brands such as Chanel and Armani. 7-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Topping & Company – Browse one of UK’s best independent bookshops, complete with rolling library ladders. The bookshop attracts year-round signings by authors and plays an important part in the annual Bath Literary Festival. 9-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- Thermae Bath Spa – While it’s not possible to bathe in the Roman baths, you can enjoy the same mineral-rich waters as the Romans did 2,000 years ago at this state-of-the-art spa. Soak in the basement pool and hot tub, treat yourself to massages and facials, or head up to the open-air rooftop pool. 1-minute walk (50m).
- Roman Baths – Known to the Romans as Aquae Sulis, this largely intact Roman baths complex dates back to 70AD and is fed by mineral-rich hot springs. Visitor highlights include the Great Bath, the temple courtyard, and the on-site museum with its wealth of mosaics, Roman coins, and statuary. 1-minute walk (100m).
- Bath Abbey Tower – For breathtaking views of Bath’s rooftops and the surrounding countryside, take a tour of the Abbey Tower. See the bell ringing chamber and a hidden room with the Abbey clock mechanism before scaling the spiral staircase all the way to the top. 3-minute walk (0.1 mile).
- Victoria Art Gallery – Bath’s second most visited museum displays works from over 2,000 artists inside a stately 19th-century building. These range from portraits painted by renowned artists such as Thomas Gainsborough and Johann Zoffany to city landscapes by the likes of Walter Sickert and John Nash, and amateur works by up-and-coming local painters. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Jane Austen Centre – Museum dedicated to Bath’s famous former resident. British novelist Jane Austen lived in Bath from 1801 to 1806 and set two of her novels here: Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, based on her observations of Regency society. There are hands-on exhibits, snippets from Austen’s letters, and guides dressed as characters from her novels. 7-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Herschel Museum of Astronomy – Astronomy buffs shouldn’t miss a visit to the house-museum of William Herschel, a German musician with a passion for the stars. In 1781, he discovered Uranus from the garden of this very home, using a telescope that he himself had built. 7-minute walk (0.4 mile).
- The Circus – Comprising 3 terraces, each divided into 11 mansions, and curved around a circular green space, the Circus was inspired by Rome’s Colosseum and built in 1768 to the specifications of architect John Wood the Elder. Past residents have included painter Thomas Gainsborough, actor Nicolas Cage, and Clive of India. 11-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- Fashion Museum & Assembly Rooms – Marvel at the gowns, dresses, breeches, gloves, and wigs from fashion trends from the 17th to late 20th centuries, and don’t miss the special exhibit devoted to the fashions of the Royal Family. In the same building, the Assembly Rooms with their frescoed ceilings and original chandeliers used to host the 18th-century equivalent of the Kardashians and Paris Hiltons. 12-minute walk (0.5 mile).
- No. 1 Royal Crescent – Designed by architect John Wood the Younger and built in the 1770s, this sweeping crescent of 30 four-story mansions overlooks an idyllic park. You can visit the restored Georgian mansion with original furnishings at No. 1: four-poster beds and wig-stretchers in the bedrooms, plus an elegant dining set in the grand dining room. 13-minute walk (0.6 mile).
Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores
- Waitrose – Central branch of the high-end supermarket. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).
- Bath Guildhall Market – This covered market is the oldest shopping venue in the city. Twenty stalls and shops sell regional cheeses, leather goods, traditional British sweets, design-led jewelry, specialty teas and coffees, and second-hand books. There’s also an espresso bar and a café serving all-day English breakfasts and sandwiches. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).