For years I have driven past The Bath Priory without realising it’s even there – only a discreet sign points you into the gravel driveway. The hotel is on the western side of the city and is a 10-minute walk from Royal Victoria Park – it’s a further 10 minutes to the shopping streets of central Bath.
Despite being so close to the city, The Bath Priory feels like a country house hotel. The Gothic style 17th-century house has 27 bedrooms and four suites; each individually designed in a classic English style. Rooms are decorated with large floral prints in jade green, Christmas reds and sunny yellows – beds feature ruched material at the head and the walls are adorned with large framed paintings. All are named after flowers and if you want a view of the beautiful gardens, opt for the four-poster Carnation room or the Heather and Lilac rooms if you fancy a small balcony and marble bathroom to go with the view. Rooms at the front overlook the courtyard, which is quiet but used for parking.
I didn't want to get up from the plump ruby red sofas in the library, which is stuffed with old books and huge gilt framed portraits. The elegant drawing room is really special – it’s decorated with a chandelier and traditional artwork, which makes it feel more like an Earl’s living room than a hotel lounge. Outside there are four acres of garden to explore, with Italian water features, lawns and a Victorian kitchen garden that is used by the restaurant - I had to fight the urge to pick one of the low hanging pears that swung above the herb garden.
Eating and drinking
Famous for its food, The Bath Priory has an award-winning restaurant that’s overseen by Michelin starred chef Michael Caines MBE and uses locally-sourced produce (some from the kitchen garden). See my review of [node:172183] on my restaurants page for more information.
I felt calm as soon as I walked into the appropriately named Garden Spa – it’s sunny and airy with splashes of earthy greens and browns. Inside there’s a pool, gym, sauna and steam pod, as well as four spacious treatment rooms where you can have spa treatments. Try the LI-TYA products; they’re based on ingredients used by aboriginal Australians. I was pleased to stumble upon the outdoor pool hidden in the gardens on a sunny day – luckily it’s heated for use on chillier days as well.
As you’d expect in a four-star hotel, staff are polite and a little on the formal side, but there’s not a hint of stuffiness. Low-key but attentive is the order of the day.
Who stays there
It’s popular with the leisure crowd looking for a special weekend away. British couples flock here for the romantic gardens and spa. It’s also a hit with overseas visitors – Americans love the traditional style drawing room and the traditional English decor.
Prices include newspapers, breakfast, use of the Garden Spa and parking.
- Business Centre
- Fitness Centre
- High-Speed Internet
- Room Service
- Swimming Pool
- Escaping the crowds
- Special occasions
Pros & Cons
- Beautiful gardens and spa
- Fantastic food
- Not central
- Decor is a little old-fashioned