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The Gainsborough Bath Spa 5.0

Bath, Somerset, England

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Review Summary

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  • Luxurious hotel in historic building complex in the heart of Bath
  • Sophisticated decor pairs Georgian style with contemporary details and amenities
  • Elegantly decorated rooms with Nespresso coffeemakers and free minibars
  • Rooms include iPod docks and vintage-inspired Roberts radios with Bluetooth
  • Grand pool with ancient thermal waters, set in columned atrium
  • Full-service spa with saunas, steam room, and 11 treatment rooms
  • 24-hour fitness center with modern cardio and weight-lifting equipment
  • Outstanding fine dining restaurant with coffered ceilings and seasonal dishes
  • Cocktail lounge serves light fare and afternoon tea
  • Classy Gainsborough Bar is open until late
  • Concierge, valet parking, and 24-hour room service 
  • Free Wi-Fi throughout


  • Free access to the spa only during limited hours
  • Breakfast not included in room rate
  • Fee for valet parking

Bottom Line

The Gainsborough Bath Spa sets the standard for five-pearl luxury. The sophisticated hotel is set in a historic building in the heart of Bath, and its crowning glory is the spa, which features an elegant atrium pool that draws water from Bath's ancient thermal springs. The spa also has saunas, steam rooms, relaxation areas, 11 treatment rooms, and a fitness center. The hotel's fine-dining restaurant is well-reviewed, and there's also a cocktail lounge, posh bar, and 24-hour room service. The hotel's 99 rooms and suites pair Georgian style with contemporary details and high-end amenities like Nespresso coffeemakers, Roberts radios, iPod docks, and free minibars. Competition in the area includes The Ayrlington, a more intimate guest house-style property that tends to be less expensive, but it lacks the amenities of The Gainsborough. 

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Historic hotel with sophisticated luxury style

The Gainsborough Bath Spa is situated among a collection of elegant Georgian and Victorian buildings dating back to the 1800s. Originally, they comprised a hospital, then later a college until a 2011 refurbishment transformed the property once again, this time into a high-end hotel. Immaculately clean and designed down to the smallest detail, the hotel pairs traditional period style with contemporary details and luxurious amenities for an elegantly refined look. The lobby pairs black marble floors with white columns and gray-and-white paneled walls, while a tony lounge area features coffered ceilings and upholstered armchairs in rich velvety blue, beige, and black. The restaurant is another standout, with parquet floors, leathery chairs, blue paneled walls, and a black marble fireplace. Located in the heart of Bath and with a posh on-site spa, this hotel is host to the sorts of leisure guests and tourists who can afford the price tag, including couples and families. 


Exceptional location in the heart of historic Bath

The Gainsborough Bath Spa is ideally located in the heart of Bath, in walking distance to almost all major attractions. Within a three-minute walk guests will find Westgate, a main street with shopping, drinking, and eating establishments, as well as the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey. The Southgate Shopping Centre is also a three-minute walk and the Pulteney Bridges, which arches over the River Avon, is a six-minute walk. Sights slightly farther out, like Royal Victoria Park and the Holburne Museum, are still walkable in about 15 minutes. The city's train station, where Londoners can depart at Paddington Station and arrive in Bath in 90 minutes, is a six-minute walk away. Bristol Airport is about an hour away via public transit or 40 minutes by car. 


Sophisticated rooms pair Georgian style with contemporary details and luxurious amenities

The Gainsborough's rooms and suites are spacious and immaculately clean with sophisticated, contemporary style that takes cues from traditional Georgian decor. Walls are a muted blue with fresh white trim, ceilings, and accents. Black period-inspired furniture features brassy hardware and accents, while upholstered chairs are finished with refined nailhead trim or button tufting. High ceilings and huge windows offer a sense of space and light, plus many rooms have excellent views of Bath. Bathrooms, which are roomy even in entry-level rooms, feature black vanities, beige marbled tiling, heated floors, and muted yellow accents. Most have combination showers and tubs. 

Amenities are high-end and modern, and all rooms have in-room climate control. Electronics includes flat-screen televisions with Sky Sports TV, cordless phones, free Wi-Fi, iPod docking stations, and vintage-inspired Roberts radios with Bluetooth. All rooms have Nespresso coffeemakers, electric kettles, and minibars stocked with free drinks and snacks like beer, soda, and bottled water. Wardrobes come with lots of storage space, plus electronic safes, magnifying mirrors, laundry bags, hairdryers, and slippers. Bathrooms have robes and high-end Asprey individual toiletries. 

Entry-level rooms measure about 280 square feet, while the spacious Gainsborough Suite clocks in at 570 square feet. Suites might add extras like separate lounge areas, two-poster beds and/or sofa beds, and roll-top tubs -- a few rooms even add a third tap to the tub, which delivers Bath's famous thermal water. 


Luxury amenities include fine-dining restaurant and spa with ancient thermal waters

The Gainsborough has all the amenities guests would expect from a five-pearl establishment and the exceptional service to match. A main draw to this property -- and, indeed, Bath itself -- are the ancient thermal waters, which guests have access to in a columned atrium at the heart of the hotel's spa. The regal spa also has two other, smaller thermal pools, plus two saunas, a steam room, an ice room, a hair salon, lounge areas (where guests sometimes enjoy a cup of hot chocolate), changing rooms, and 11 elegant treatment rooms, including a couple's room and a room with a personal thermal tub. 

One downside among all of this luxury: Hotel guests only have free access to the spa during limited morning and evening hours. Daytime access comes with an extra fee or the purchase of a spa treatment. (A few of the upper-level suites also include full access.) The fitness area is available 24-hours -- it's a bit sparse decor-wise, but it's well-equipped with a range of cardio and weight-lifting equipment, including modern cardio machines with individual screens and free weights. 

The hotel's dining establishments include Johann Lafer's, an elegant, reservations-only, fine-dining restaurant which serves seasonal dishes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner to hotel guests and Bath tourists alike. There's also the classy Gainsborough Bar, opened from evening until late night, and the Canvas Room, a cocktail lounge where light fare, drinks, and afternoon tea is served. Guests rave about the food -- but it can be pricey. Room service is available 24 hours.

The hotel also has meeting an event facilities, an elegant lounge, and free Wi-Fi throughout. There's a concierge, valet parking (for an extra fee), and a 24-hour front desk. Staff provide outstanding service -- preemptive, thoughtful, efficient. For those traveling with children there are cribs, children's menus, and babysitting can be arranged.

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Beau Street, Bath BA1 1QY, United Kingdom

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