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Royal Hotel 3.0

Bath, Somerset, England

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Victorian hotel designed by Brunel
  • Across the street from the main train station
  • Five minutes' walk to the Roman Baths and other sights
  • Rooms include quality bedding, flat-screen TVs, iPod docking stations, and free tea and coffee
  • Parisian-style brasserie serving excellent steaks
  • On-site parking (though limited spaces)
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout

Cons

  • Room decor a bit dowdy
  • Signs of wear and tear
  • Area can get noisy
  • Fee for parking

Bottom Line

The 31-room Royal Hotel, a mid-range property designed by a famous architect overlooking Bath's main railway station, first opened in 1846. While not the quietest of areas, the city's main attractions are within easy walking distance, and the hotel is especially convenient for those arriving by train. Rooms, decorated in a traditional style, feel a little old-fashioned and tired in places, though include such modern amenities as flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and iPod docking stations. There's also a brasserie on-site. All in all, the Royal packs plenty of creature comforts -- along with a few creaking floorboards and a temperamental elevator -- and it's hard to beat for convenience. Travelers looking for more updated rooms could try the Harington's City Hotel, though rates tend to be more expensive.

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Scene

Brunel-designed, Victorian hotel with railway heritage

The Royal was originally built to coincide with the arrival of the railway in the mid 19th century -- it's original name was the Royal Station Hotel -- and its first floor had direct access to the train platforms. Designed by renowned English engineer and architect Brunel, its doors opened in 1846 and despite numerous changes in ownership, it has retained much of its original Victorian charm. Last renovated in 2008, interiors are still attractive in light, fresh tones with a modern reception desk and various period-style touches. Proximity to both bus and train stations means it's not the most peaceful of hotels, and its age shows in the old, temperamental elevator with its uneven landings, and in more than a few squeaky floorboards. 

Location

Opposite the main train station, within walking distance of the Roman Baths

The hotel overlooks a junction in front of the main Bath Spa train station, which connects to London in about an hour and a half. It's located south of Bath's picturesque Georgian city center, and it's within a 10-minute walk of most of its attractions, including the Thermae Spa and Roman Baths, which is about five minutes away. There's also plenty in the way of bars and restaurants in the surrounding area, and the bus station and the city's shopping malls are within easy walking distance. Its location makes it particularly easy to reach from the A36 exit, which is around the corner from the hotel. 

Rooms

Traditional or dowdy decor -- depending on taste -- and impressive in-room amenities

The hotel has 31 rooms, all of which are decorated in classic, traditional styling with patterned fabrics, framed Victorian etchings, and generally exude old-fashioned ambience -- some have striking canopied four-poster beds -- although rooms can look a little tired. All rooms include iPod docks, free high-speed Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs with digital channels, and DVD players (a free movie library is also available). There are a few luxury touches, such as merino wool blankets and plump goose-down pillows, and high-end tea- and coffee-making facilities, including a French press. Bathrobes and cotton slippers come with Four-Poster and Superior Rooms. Bathrooms are clean and well-maintained with high-quality pump-dispensed toiletries -- most have walk-in showers though some have tubs. 

Features

Parisian brasserie-style restaurant with a forte in steaks

The hotel's dining is particularly good, with a nicely renovated, Parisian-style brasserie, which specializes in steaks. Breakfast includes hot and cold items, and it's served daily and included in the room rate; half-board plans that include dinner are also available. The 1846 bar commemorates the year the hotel opened with memorabilia from that time, and serves not only drinks but pastries and cream teas. Limited parking is available for a fee, and must be booked in advance.

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Address

Manvers Street, Bath BA1 1JP, United Kingdom

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