The sophisticated historic hotels and charming manors in and around the Somerset spa town of Bath are as quintessentially British as roast dinners, spots of tea, and the BBC. Read on for our favorite boutique hotels in Bath, England.
Right in the heart of Bath, this sophisticated 99-room hotel sets the five-pearl, gold-star standard for luxury, design, and service. Throughout the hotel, traditional period and contemporary style are paired, creating an elegantly refined look. Amenities in the rooms are high-end and modern, like vintage-inspired Roberts radios with Bluetooth. Suites have extras like separate lounge areas and roll-top tubs -- a few even have taps that deliver Bath's famous thermal water. And all guests can access the legendary water at Gainsborough's posh spa, which has a water circuit of thermal pools, plus two saunas, a steam room, an ice room, and a hair salon. As if the exquisite style and spa weren't enough, the hotel's dining and drinking establishments -- a reservations-only fine-dining restaurant, a classy bar, and a cozy cocktail lounge -- seal Gainsborough's standing as our top boutique hotel pick in Bath.
Aristocracy used to roams the halls of this luxurious and refined property; today it's not uncommon to see celebrities -- from Hollywood starlets to heads of state -- milling about. Since the hotel is historically protected, its 45 rooms are all different in terms of size and structure, but all have understated, sophisticated decor that blends Georgian style and modern details (Gainsborough's rooms are a bit chicer). The gorgeous high-end spa, built into separate carriage houses, is a highlight: it has dipping pools, hot tubs, steam room, and sauna, and a serene ambience provided by bamboo pillars, stone floors, and walls with high arched windows. The Spa & Bath House is almost on par with Gainborough's spa; it doesn't flow in Bath's ancient waters, but its sylvan setting is more peaceful. The hotel's renowned restaurant offers patio seating, and there's also a posh full afternoon tea service available, served overlooking the gardens in warmer months and in the drawing rooms in winter.
Located on a quiet country road just north of Bath, this lovely country-estate-turned-boutique-hotel is sits on four acres and houses a Michelin-starred restaurant along with a posh spa. Each of the 33 rooms and suites has its own character, but all have a classic British feel with cushy bedding and antique accents. Though all rooms are pleasant, for the quietest and best experience, request one overlooking the splendid gardens. The hotel's own kitchen garden is the biggest supplier for the Bath Priory Restaurant, which serves fine European cuisine focusing on fresh local ingredients. A second, more casual on-site restaurant and room service are both available. For drinks, the Bath Priory Bar serves interesting cocktails and fine wines from the hotel's cellar. The spa here is fabulous, though it's a few notches below the ones at Gainsborough and Royal Crescent. For some, the more intimate size of The Bath Priory might make for a better boutique experience than at the top two hotels on this list; for others, the slightly superior rooms and spas at the Gainsborough and Royal Crescent will give them the edge.
Get ready to time-travel back to 19th-century England. This exquisite bed-and-breakfast is built into what was once the country home of the Duke of Wellington, and is filled with period details, like a grandfather clock, gilded mirrors, and antique china on the walls. The classic charm in the 12 rooms is supported by modern-day amenities like flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, and luxe toiletries. The ambience throughout is warm and intimate, with personal attention given to make sure guests feel at home. There’s a drawing room/lounge with a grand piano and an honor bar where you can grab your own cocktail or aperitif and enjoy a view of the gardens and countryside in the evening. Apsley's lack of a full restaurant and spa isn't surprising considering its small size, but these missing amenities do move it down the list.
This Georgian-style country house hotel overlooks Limpley Stoke Valley -- and its own 10 acres of lush, award-winning gardens. The 21 quaint and elegant rooms are all different, but all look out onto Homewood Park's quintessential English gardens through large windows. Each comes with a flat-screen TV, coffee- and tea-making facilities, and bathrobes. (Some of the furnishings look worn or dated, and not in an antique way.) Homewood Park's deluxe spa offers an indoor hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steamroom, and Elemis treatments, and there is also a heated outdoor pool with sun loungers. The on-site restaurant, The Tides, has a chic dining room with views of the garden and an alfresco terrace. Formal afternoon tea service is popular with guests and locals. Room service is also available, though hours are limited.
The 11-room Paradise House is the very picture of English country house hospitality: a fire is usually blazing in its high-ceilinged lounge; a high-quality free breakfast served in a charming dining room; and perennial beds, mature trees, and private tables are tucked throughout the lovely walled garden. The grand but homey rooms feature flat-screen TVs, electric kettles, and views of the garden or the city, which is about a 10-minute walk away. Though there's full restaurant, bar, or spa, this small, sweet bed-and-breakfast gets high marks for its inviting common areas and rooms, flower-filled gardens, and peaceful atmosphere.
The 98-room Francis Hotel Bath is brimming with character, particularly in its distinct rooms -- some with quirky decor that you wouldn't expect to find in a Bath hotel, where style tends to stay within the realm of Georgian heritage. Note that rooms can vary in size (even within the same price point), but all come with walk-in showers, C.O. Bigelow toiletries, and fluffy bathrobes. The hotel's central location across from Queen's Square is convenient for exploring Bath on foot, but its dreamy, comfortable lounge and elegant French-inspired brasserie (from which room service is available) might entice guests to linger.
Like Francis Hotel Bath, Queensberry Hotel occupies historic buildings but exudes a modern flair. The warm and cozy lobby features several couches nestled around a fireplace, perfect spots for cup of coffee or tea (free throughout most of the day). The lovely outdoor courtyard and gardens are other popular hangouts, with plenty of patio furniture and couches available for relaxation among interesting stonework. Here, the 29 rooms swap the traditional English look of so many Bath hotel rooms for a streamlined, modern one. They have modern amenities like flat-screen TVs free Wi-Fi, spacious marble bathrooms, and fluffy robes, plus room service is available. The on-site restaurant and intimate bar offer a terrific selection of drinks and nosh options. All in all, this is one of Bath’s most urbane hotels.
Halcyon's stylish hotel rooms and seven fully furnished apartments, built into two Georgian townhouse complexes, are definitely hipper than accommodations found at most of the Old World properties in the area. Some of the rooms are small and there’s no air-conditioning, but they all have free Wi-Fi, large flat-screen TVs, and spacious bathrooms. Circo, the on-site bar, is one of the trendiest hot spots in the city, with cocktails, light food, and a party atmosphere on the weekends. Halcyon's downtown location is extremely convenient to area attractions: It's a few minutes by foot to the Roman Baths, Thermae Bath Spa, and Bath Abbey.
Located a three-minute walk from Bath Abbey and easy walking distance to other major attractions, the charming and modern Abbey Hotel makes an excellent base for exploration. But its hip bar and restaurant, 24-hour room service, attractive terrace, rotating contemporary art collection, and seasonal pop-up "apres-ski cabin" make for enticing on-site attractions. The 60 rooms have bright and cheerful decor and some period details, though their dated bathrooms could stand an update -- they're currently several degrees below Queensberry's marble bathrooms and Halcyon's spacious ones.
This charming 14-room boutique hotel is quiet due to its more residential location on the outskirts of Bath. The building's 19th-century history is very much reflected in the hotel's traditional English decor. Each room is themed around a famous British writer, with a teddy bear mascot to match. The seven acres of gardens surrounding the property are gorgeous, and there’s a footpath that leads to town. (It's a hike, but a lovely one.) There’s no restaurant, pool, or business center -- not unexpected at this type of small, quaint property. That being said, there is free Wi-Fi and free parking, and the staff serves a delicious daily continental breakfast and can mix you a drink to enjoy on the terrace.
One part bed-and-breakfast, one part boutique hotel, Brooks Guesthouse is just a four-minute walk from Victoria Park and a 10-minute walk from the heart of Bath. The property feels like a private residence, and its 22 individually decorated rooms range in size and style, though most pair vintage and modern pieces with boutiquey accents and shimmering damask or floral wallpaper (the effect is more modern than what you'll find at Tasburgh, though that boutique's gardens and service give it an edge). Rooms include flat-screen TVs, coffee/tea service, iPod docks, and free Wi-Fi. Breakfast is the hotel's standout feature -- it's delicious, with daily cooked-to-order options, plus it's served in a charming breakfast room.
Harington's City Hotel is a 13-room boutique property set on a charming cobblestone street in the center of Bath. While the building dates back centuries, individually styled rooms look modern and playful, and include luxury touches such as Egyptian cotton sheets and large fluffy towels. Continental or full English breakfasts are included in the rate, and the hot tub is a nice bonus (sadly, there's a fee), but note that there's no elevator. As with most of Bath's hotels, rates here aren't low, and Harington's lacks many common features, but the attractive and distinct rooms merit a mention here, plus the location is super convenient for exploring the city's sights.
Set within a walled garden in a historic Victorian building, The Ayrlington is an upscale bed-and-breakfast about a 10-minute walk from the heart of Bath. The intimate property's 18 rooms vary vastly, but the truly unique themed rooms bring this property into boutique territory, and some of the upgraded rooms can be quite spectacular with vintage wood furniture, four-poster beds, fireplaces, velvety headboards, and other special features. All rooms include coffee/tea service, Bose sound systems, and free Wi-Fi -- but the property lacks some modern amenities like an elevator and AC (though portable units are sometimes used). There are lots of sitting areas in the large garden and lawn, a homey lounge with a fireplace (often in use) and a small bar, and a breakfast room. Breakfast is included in the room rate and most guests agree that it's excellent -- cooked fresh every morning with the full-English spread available.