The discreet entrance to this super-luxurious retreat, situated in the middle of Bath’s famous Royal Crescent, gives no clue as to the vast, beautiful gardens behind the hotel. From the moment we arrived, and the doormen took our luggage and parked our car (right outside), we received impeccable service. Despite the grandeur and formality of the surroundings, the friendly, attentive staff made us feel instantly at ease and went out of their way to make our three daughters, aged between one and ten, feel like princesses.
Best For: Honeymooners or anyone seeking a romantic getaway combined with top-notch spa facilities and award-winning food. Families are welcome but only guests over 12 can use the spa.
Things To Do: Take a gentle swim in the spa’s Relaxation Pool, complete with sauna, steam room and jacuzzi. Choose a personalised treatment from the extensive Spa & Bath House menu. We opted for a Back, Neck and Shoulder Massage (£60 for 30 minutes) which uses the Five Element theory from traditional Chinese medicine. After filling in a short questionnaire about our health, skin type and lifestyle, I was deemed to have ‘water’ as my dominant element, so the therapist chose oils accordingly. I finished with a File and Polish French pedicure (£30 for 30 minutes).
If you can bear to pull yourself away from the spa, save time to hit the shops, which are just a five-minute walk away. Bath is a shoppers’ paradise, boasting all the big names, from Joules to Cath Kidston. For show-stopping, first class food, head to the hotel’s 3 AA rosette award-winning Dower Restaurant.
Highlights: Splash out on the Tasting Menu for an unforgettable, six-course food journey (a highly imaginative vegetarian version is also available, £82 each). The Slow Cooked Everleigh Duck Egg served with toast, peas and wild asparagus was my favourite course, closely followed by the Roasted Five Spice Carrots, Smoked Tofu, Peanut Paste, Mooli Slaw, Curry Oil and Corriander. My companion’s meat and fish Tasting Menu was equally stunning, plus there’s an extensive children’s menu too.
Other Facilities: For something more casual, head to The Montagu Bar next-door to the restaurant, which offers all-day dining, not forgetting delicious afternoon teas too. When the weather’s good eat outside in the hotel’s relaxing grounds.
Improvements: Although it created a relaxing atmosphere, the lighting in the spa was so muted I needed to use my mobile phone’s torch to be able to read.
Costs: Rooms start from £330 per night (including breakfast). The two-bedroomed suite we stayed in starts at £1465 (including breakfast). www.royalcrescent.co.uk
Special Offers: See mid-week, two-night package including six-course tasting menu, afternoon tea, champagne and canapés, breakfast and unlimited spa use* from £385 per room, per night on www.royalcrescent.co.uk/offers/indulge-your-senses-diners-delight.
Travel info: The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, 16 Royal Crescent, Bath BA1 2LS is a two-hour drive from London. Trains from London Paddington to Bath take 1.5 hours, then the hotel is a 10-minute taxi ride from Bath Spa station.
*Full details on hotel website.