The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, Bath review | spa hotel, Somerset
Elegant spa hotel with pretty gardens on Bath’s historic terrace
The Quick Read: The elegant Royal Crescent Hotel is set across two Grade 1* listed Georgian townhouses at the centre of Bath’s landmark 18th century terrace of 30 vanilla-stone-coloured houses. It started life as a guesthouse in 1950, and is now a five star Relais & Chateaux luxury spa hotel with delectable courtyard gardens, The Bath House spa and a gourmet restaurant. It has a soothingly quiet atmosphere, yet is just a step away from Bath’s museums, parks, boutiques and tea rooms. Perfect for a weekend treat or spontaneous midweek break.
Who it’s best for: Couples or friends looking to relax on a visit to Bath. Children are also welcome though under 12s cannot use the pool.
What you can do: Hang out in the courtyard gardens, the drawing room and library or your lavish suite, go shopping or sight seeing, and use the small but perfectly formed Bath House Spa. This has a ‘Relaxation Pool’ heated to 31.5 degrees where you can do a few gentle lengths, a small Vitality Pool with massage jets, a Himalayan Salt Infused Sauna and a Blossom Steam Inhalation Room with eucalyptus and menthol. You can choose from a wide range of treatments using locally produced brand Bath Spa Skincare and the more familiar ESPA. After your treatment, there are a few loungers outside the treatment rooms or by the relaxing pool or if the weather’s being kind you can take tea and read your book in the pretty Taittinger Spa Garden, which has a couple of tables, a couple of loungers and a lovely rock garden filled with flowers and herbs on which to feast your eyes.
Where you stay: In one of 45 individually decorated and newly renovated period rooms and suites named after Bath’s most memorable individuals including Jane Austen (who wrote so brilliantly about Bath’s twittering social scene). The suites especially have gorgeously decorated ceilings, oodles of space and light, inspirationally good fabrics and Floris products in the ensuite bathrooms. We stayed in the large and lovely Ralph Allen (named after a local entrepreneur) which had pretty views over the gardens and where my daughter loved having her own little room with a wooden sleigh-shaped bed.
How was it for us: My first visit to The Royal Crescent was when it was owned by the now defunct Von Essen group – now, a good few years on, it’s acquired a whole lot more soul and far better service under the Topland Group owners who bought the hotel in 2012. My family and I escaped from reality here for a night and a day with hot baths, good wine, gourmet chocolates, ambles around the flower-filled gardens, a lavish dinner and time together. Our favourite couple of hours was breakfasting off porridge, deliciously cooked eggs and good coffee and hot chocolate in the garden in the sunshine.
I also enjoyed some pampering time in the spa, where I had a gentle swim, a sauna and a dip in the vitality pool before having a more than decent one hour and 15 minute deep tissue massage with Kayleigh, who despite being slight of form did a thorough job on my tight muscles and kindly massaged ESPA’s delicious Pink Hair and Scalp Mud into my scalp and hair too before I fell into a blissful sleep. After, I loved taking my Ronnefeldt tea in the garden in my robe, and could quite happily have stayed there all afternoon…
What we took home: A rather cute teddy bear – every child get’s one – and a sense of peace.
Would we go back: Absolutely.
Food watch: Suitably gourmet, as you would expect, and eaten either on the lawns, in your room or in the AA 3 Rosette Dower House Restaurant, where Head Chef David Campbell and his team use locally sourced ingredients as much as possible to create classic dishes with a contemporary twist. Our favourites were a starter of Tea Cured Organic Salmon with Avocado Wasabi, Japanese Radish and Oyster Yoghurt Soup and a main of Roast Halibut, Salt Cod Potato, Jerusalem Artichoke, Cucumber, Charcoal Emulsion and Hazelnut Vinaigrette. A vegetarian and separate children’s menu is available, and there’s also an attractive, wooden floored Montagu Bar and Champagne Lounge (named after Bath’s blue stocking literary hostess Elizabeth Montagu).
What’s lowly: As it’s part of the spa, under 12 year olds can’t use the pool at all. The restaurant lacked atmosphere and a view compared to the rest of the hotel, though we’re told a redesign is part of future plans.
Insider tip: You don’t have to stay at the hotel to use the spa – half day and full day retreats are available midweek from £140 for 2 hours spa use, 1 hour’s treatment and a light lunch or afternoon tea.
Costs: Rooms at The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa start from £265 per night for a double on a B&B basis and includes unlimited use of the spa.
Value for Money: As with any luxury spa hotel, costs soon add up.
Reviewed by Caroline Sylger Jones
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