Where to stay in Bath

A boutique townhouse and a private spa in the city of Jane Austen.

The Queensberry

What's so special

Visitors to Bath have much to thank the Georgians for, writes Ruth Jackson. Not only did they build a beautiful city, with architectural gems such as the Royal Crescent, but many of the elegant townhouses they built have become today's boutique hotels. One of the best is the Queensberry.

How they rate it

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It's a perfect hotel for a romantic break. It doesn't take itself too seriously the Queensberry rules' include "no stilts, pogosticks, space-hoppers, flaming torches or whips at the bar" yet it delivers high-quality accommodation and service amid the relaxed atmosphere. The deep purples and reds of the public areas, the quirky decorative touches, and the huge beds make this a haven for grown-ups.

The menu

The Olive Tree restaurant boasts three AA-rosettes and is widely seen as Bath's best restaurant. It's easy to see why. The wine cellar is vast and the staff attentive and knowledgeable. Most importantly, from the creamy cauliflower soup amuse bouche to the rich roast duck, the food tastes great.

The cost

Rates start from £118 a night for a double, room only. For more information, visit www.thequeensberry.co.uk, or call 01225-447928.

The Bath Priory


What's so special

If you are looking for a bit of space and greenery, but don't want to be too far away from the sights of Bath, then book into The Bath Priory. Set behind a high wall, this early 19th-century building is a short stroll away from the tourist attractions, but has a country hotel feel to it.

How they rate it

"In a city where the boutique hotel rules the roost, The Bath Priory is an unashamedly traditional place," says Adrian Tierney-Jones in Sunday Times Travel. "Sofas are deeply plush, ancient oil paintings keep watch, and sedate garden pursuits include lawn croquet."

Meanwhile, the 27 "fuss-free bedrooms" have writing desks where better to start writing that long promised novel than in Jane Austen's city? It is also one of the only hotels in Bath to boast a private spa, so if you don't want to mingle with Joe Public at the Bath Thermae Spa in town (see below), try one of the fantastic treatments on offer in-house.

The menu

A "gastronomic love affair has been passionately nurtured" in the Priory's "luminous" dining room by head chef Sam Moody. Dishes include ravioli of salt longhorn beef, or Cornish hake and saffron noodles.

The cost

Doubles from £210, with breakfast. See www.thebathpriory.co.uk, or call 01225-331922.

Take the waters in Bath


The inhabitants of Bath have been enjoying the thermal waters of the city for more than 2,000 years. Today, you can submerge yourself in style at Bath Thermae Spa, which opened six years ago.

The best thing about this spa apart from the water is its price. The thermal waters belong to the people of Bath, so the spa is managed by the council. This makes it one of the only places in Britain where you can go for cut-price, high-class spa treatments.

Put aside any of your preconceived notions of council-run facilities: there are no suspiciously green foot baths or cracked tiles here.The building has won architectural awards and is as good as many top-price facilities.

For £26, you can spend two hours enjoying the two thermal pools (one ofwhich is on the roof), which both have various jets and bubbly bits to ease your aches and pains. You can also relax in any of the four steam rooms. If you fancy a spa treatment, these start from £39 for a facial, head massage, or body polish. Or for a real treat, try the 50-minute Watsu treatment, where you are massaged and stretched in a private thermal pool, all for just £62.

Having spent a day here I'm planning on making it an annual trip. Find out more at www.thermaebathspa.com, or call 0844-888 0844. A word of advice it's well worth booking a treatment in advance, so that you can skip the queues to get in.