The Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel
The Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel is a 99-bedroom hotel spread across two classic Georgian Bath stone buildings, in the heart of the city’s tastefully designed shopping area. The Gainsborough’s just a 5-minute walk from Bath Spa train station, just 2 hours from London Paddington. Anyone coming by car can take advantage of valet parking at The Gainsborough, at an additional cost. And, although the hotel’s perfectly located right in the city centre, you would never know it as it feels a million miles away from the shopping buzz. And, it’s across the street from sister spa, Bath’s celebrated Thermae Bath Spa, with its own stunning rooftop pool.
The hotel is 5-star smart, simple contemporary in style, and offers top-notch service. It attracts an international clientele, but rates can be lower than you’d expect for a hotel of this calibre, especially given that use of the spa is free to hotel guests, albeit at restricted times.
The Gainsborough Hotel’s Spa Village, has one large main hydrotherapy pool, with bubbly benches and swan pipe waterfalls. It’s a lovely place to relax, in a tall, glass-roofed atrium, filled with natural light. There are 2 smaller pools, in separate rooms next to the main one, also fed by the natural thermal waters. Plus, sauna, steam room and ice alcove. Guests are invited to do a ‘spa circuit’, alternating between pools and heat experiences to boost circulation. Chilled fresh face cloths and water are available from the fridge in the shower area, a nice touch. And, there’s an additional treat in the form of traditional Georgian-style spicy hot chocolate, prepared by the Hotel’s chef – thick and delicious.
The Romanesque spa is open to all hotel guests over the age of 16. The Gainsborough doesn’t currently offer spa days, which helps the spa retain an exclusive and serene feel. When we visited, we were able to book 1-hour slots in the spa at the time of our choice.
Currently (spring 2023) guests who don’t have a treatment booked have access to the spa between 8-10am and 7-9 pm. We felt that an hour was about the right amount of time to enjoy the pools and heat experiences, but our Spavellous spies tell us the spa can get quite busy now, especially between 8 and 9am.
To visit the spa outside the allocated hours if you’re staying at the hotel, you’ll need to either book a treatment in one of The Spa Village’s 9 treatment rooms, or pay an additional £70 for full day access to the spa.
The Spa offers a variety of massages and other full body treatments plus two best-selling Elemis facials.
Massage fans can choose from the stress-reducing Aromatherapy Massage, Re-Energising Bamboo Massage, a soothing Thermal Candle Massage or the Gainsborough Signature Massage, which combines Swedish massage with fragrant essential oil mists and infused lavender towels.
The Freestyle Deep Tissue Massage and Back to Vitality personalised treatments are great for anyone looking to relieve tension and promote flexibility and circulation, with the latter including a revitalising facial too.
We also love the sound of the Roman Renewal, including a scrub, body massage and rose facial. When in Rome…(or at least a Roman-style hotel spa..)
On the facial front, there are two popular Elemis treatments to choose from: the cleansing and nourishing Pro Glow Renewal Facial, and the popular, hydration-oriented Elemis Pro Glow Smooth Facial, both promising immediate results.
Finally, for something a little different, the spa offers Aqua Sana classes in the main pool offering guided yoga, karate and tai chi.
Beds are supremely comfortable with high thread count sheets and deep, quality mattresses, which, combined with the quietness of the hotel, pretty much guarantees a great night’s sleep. We also loved the turn-down service with a Liberty print lavender pillow for a quintessential touch.
The 99 bedrooms range from Executive and Deluxe rooms to spacious family suites, including some designed for people with impaired mobility. If you want to be near the spa, ask for a room in the Bellots building. Spa robes are provided in the bedrooms, and guests can make their way from room to the spa in their robe.
Décor is understated but smart, fusing Georgian colour palettes and Toile de Jouy accents with modern ‘must-haves’ like a Nespresso machine and complimentary beer and soft drinks fridge.
Marble bathrooms are well-lit with warm underfloor heating. And the rolltop baths in the 3 Bath Spa rooms have tubs plumbed directly into the natural thermal water supply, so you can ‘take the waters’ without leaving the comfort of your room.
wining & dining
The Gainsborough’s own restaurant is currently closed at lunchtimes and in the evening, but there are lots of lovely places to eat nearby. The hotel restaurant is however open for breakfast, and it’s a decent one with a good choice, including vegetarian options.
There are so many great places to eat in Bath, you’re really spoilt for choice. We enjoyed a posh pizza at Bosco in stylish Milsom Place on the first night, then returned to try Bandook Indian kitchen the following evening, quaffing a couple of cocktails at The Botanist and The Ivy en route. We also rate The Elder, where we had one of the best meal’s we’ve ever had. And, according to a local Spavellous foodie, The Olive tree and Chez Dominique are also worth a visit. As are lively Beckford Bottleshop and popular Vietnamese restaurant, Noya’s Kitchen, which is just a couple of minutes’ walk from The Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel.
why so spavellous?
If you want to enjoy this special spa at its tranquil best, it’s worth booking one of their top-class treatments to gain access to the main spa area outside the allocated hours, and treatments are among the best.
Take time to visit the Thermae Bath Spa across the street – also fed by the natural thermal waters, but with a very different look, feel and experience. Thermae is open to day guests only, and can be very busy, but it’s worth it for the stunning views from the rooftop pool. See our review of Thermae Bath Spa.
There are so many things to do and see in Bath. We enjoyed a lovely canal-side walk to the George Inn, a couple of miles away in Bathampton. And took in the Hockney exhibition at the Holborn Museum, with a walk around pretty Sydney Gardens. Picturesque Pulteney Bridge and Great Pulteney Street are must-visits for anyone who appreciates Georgian architecture. As is, of course, the Royal Crescent, with its namesake hotel having its own award-winning Bath House spa.
‘The spa’s great. We went during the allocated hours (8-10am and 7-9pm). It was never too busy and the spa staff were very helpful and friendly. The free hot chocolate’s a sweet touch!’
‘My massage was fit for an Emperor! I’ll definitely be back.’
‘The night-time turndown service was extra special.’
‘LOVED our stay in beautiful Bath but we weren’t convinced by the £38 ‘valet parking’ at the hotel.’