Facing out onto pretty Queen Square, the Mercure Bath Francis is in an elegant Georgian building right in the heart of Bath, close to shops, bars and restaurants. It’s only a five-minute walk from the beautiful architecture of The Circus and the Royal Crescent.
The hotel is full of contrasting decor – older rooms have chintzy peach, yellow, red or green palettes and fussy bathrooms. Top floor attic rooms have a cottagey feel and are smaller with vivid black and white bathrooms and views out the front over Queen Square. My favourite are the newly refurbished rooms on the first floor (sold as ‘superior’ rooms), which have smart canvas artwork on the walls, flat-screen TVs, green bubble lamps, upgraded bathrooms decked out in chocolate brown and an earthy green colour scheme. Superiors come with complimentary water, mini-bars and CD players. All together there are 95 rooms, split into singles, twins/doubles (with zip-link beds), two mini suites and four four-poster bedrooms.
Long velvet curtains, mauve chairs and dark woods decorate the Square, the hotel’s restaurant, and it’s often the location of whispered business meetings and relaxed informal lunches. Next door the Wood Bar is more modern with clean cut lines, huge lampshades featuring prints of Bath, a wall of bottles and a massive photograph of the Royal Crescent on the ceiling. I love the name of the women’s toilet in the hallway– Ladies' Powder Room sounds so much more elegant.
Eating and drinking
Buffet breakfasts are served in the spacious dining room surrounded by a decorative ceiling and plenty of chandeliers. The Wood Bar has two- or three-course menu offers and is popular with the pre-theatre crowd, as the Theatre Royal is just around the corner. Food served there is imaginative British fare and uses local produce such as West Country cheeses. The Square serves Afternoon Teas, reasonably priced sandwiches and salads, plus good old-fashioned pub food like fish and chips or roasts, which are especially popular with American guests.
Not too stuffy - staff are friendly, approachable and seem to know the names of regular guests.
Who stays there
Mixture of two-thirds leisure and a third business, with lots of coach tours in the summer and retired people in the winter. The hotel is popular with Japanese and German tour groups. Check out the photographs in the hallway of all the famous actors that have stayed here over the years whilst performing at the theatre.
Look out for Mercure’s changing seasonal offers and different rates for room only or b&b packages. Parking costs £12 a day and WiFi costs from £4 per hour.
- Business Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Pets Allowed
- Room Service
- Culture vultures
- Mature travellers
- Celebrity spotting
- Design and architecture
Pros & Cons
- Excellent location
- Modern refurbished rooms
- Limited views from rooms at the back of the hotel
- Chintzy older rooms