Tried & Tested

Hotel check: The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa, Bath

8 May 2015 by Michelle Harbi
BACKGROUND Built in the 18th century and a hotel since 1971, Relais and Châteaux member the Royal Crescent completed a full refurbishment last year following a change in ownership. WHAT’S IT LIKE? This historic luxury hotel is a great base for any visit to Bath. Comprising houses 15 and 16 of the Grade I Listed Royal Crescent, plus five converted coach houses and half a hectare of well-tended gardens, the five-star property has 45 rooms and suites, a spa and an AA three-rosette restaurant. First impressions are first class. On pulling up outside, you are met by valets who take care of parking your car, deal with your luggage and welcome you in warmly. Ahead is the concierge and, beyond, reception; to the left the drawing room and, next to it, the library, both elegant, high-ceilinged spaces with open fires and comfortable seating for relaxing with a paper or having afternoon tea. Tea can also be taken in the attractive gardens to the rear of the property, a lovely place to sit in fine weather. Concierge outside the Royal Crescent Hotel Concierge outside the Royal Crescent Hotel The property is full of carefully preserved period features, such as the original winding staircase of House 15, and elaborate plasterwork. Public spaces feature grand old portraits and marble busts as well as some specially commissioned works by sculptor Margaret Lovell. Service throughout is excellent. WHERE IS IT? In a prime position at the centre of the Royal Crescent, Bath’s most illustrious address, and a short walk from the city’s attractions. ROOM FACILITIES The 45 rooms (including 18 suites) are split across the main building and coach houses. Owing to the nature of the buildings, the rooms are all shapes and sizes – the townhouse ones featuring higher ceilings – but they start from about 27 sqm. Most overlook either the Crescent and its vast lawn at the front, or the gardens. Entry-level Classic rooms are located in the coach houses and have residential views. Each room is individually designed – those in the main building are classic in feel, rich in period character, while the coach-house room I viewed felt more contemporary, with a grey colour scheme. Bathrooms also vary in size, with some lower-category rooms featuring a shower only. Standard services and facilities include free wifi, flatscreen TVs, docking stations, air conditioning, robes and slippers, complimentary bottled water, tea and coffee (Nespresso machines in suites) and Floris bathroom amenities. My second-floor Deluxe suite (named after Royal Crescent architect John Wood) had a lovely view of the Crescent lawn and was spacious, homely and bright, with sash windows that opened. It had a colour scheme of mainly pale blue and taupe, a big marble fireplace, four-poster bed, sitting area and plush soft furnishings. It was a peaceful space to spend time in. The marble bathroom was quite small, with a shower over a bath but not much shelf space. Royal Crescent Deluxe Suite Royal Crescent Deluxe Suite RESTAURANTS AND BARS Situated in one of the coach houses is fine-dining restaurant the Dower House. Seating 60 diners and led by executive head chef David Campbell, its seasonal menu offers “modern takes on classic dishes”. We had a really impressive meal here – my starter of beetroot-cured organic salmon with beetroot salad, smoked roe and lime was exquisitely presented and delicately flavoured, while my main, sea bass, was beautifully cooked and served with a cleverly deconstructed cauliflower cheese. The friendly and knowledgeable sommelier picked a good wine to accompany our meal, which was finished off nicely by a zingy mandarin cheesecake and ginger crumb. A good breakfast is served here too. Across from the restaurant is the Montagu bar – quiet when I was there; there are plans to turn it into more of a social hub shortly. BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES The lower-ground Sheridan room and the Sir Percy Blakeney suite both accommodate 40 delegates theatre-style. The Library holds 12 for meetings or private dining. The hotel also accommodates up to 150 people for receptions, while gatherings can be staged on the Crescent lawn. The whole property can also be taken on an exclusive-use basis. Chauffeur transfers, private tours and teambuilding activities can be arranged. LEISURE FACILITIES Partnered with Espa, the Spa and Bath House has a 12-metre heated relaxation pool, sauna, steam room, Hammam and six treatment rooms – I had a great body wrap. There is also a gym with Technogym equipment. There are plans to add a spa garden with sun loungers shortly. The Bath House Spa The Bath House Spa VERDICT The Royal Crescent’s refurbishment has added modern luxury to this historic property. Superb service, an excellent restaurant and lovely indoor and outdoor spaces to linger in make it a wonderful spot for a Bath break or corporate incentive trip. FACT FILE
  • PRICE Internet rates for an overnight stay in June started from £225 for a Classic room
  • CONTACT The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa, 16 Royal Crescent, Bath; tel +44 (0)1225 823 333;
Michelle Harbi
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