One of England’s most evocative cities, an architectural masterpiece that captures a golden era of refinement, Bath is an unmissable destination.
The Royal Crescent is probably the world’s most famous Georgian terrace, a sublime piece of living history. As one draws up outside you can’t help but feel excited anticipation. Maybe I’ve enjoyed one too many TV period dramas, but there’s something undeniably magical about the elegance of the Georgian era.
Yet as soon as you step inside The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa, walking upon the 250-year-old flagstone floor of the lobby, you are part of this story. Yet this is no museum, there’s a refreshing, sophisticated, contemporary flair in the interior design that perfectly harmonises with the classic architecture.
The uniformed concierge has already taken my luggage, and the valet is parking my car by the time I take a seat in the drawing room ready to check in. The space is vibrant with vases of fresh flowers and decorated with contemporary art. In fact, throughout the hotel and gardens are displayed contemporary works of art. Concierge are happy to share information for a self-guided tour.
Front desk greet me and swiftly handle the check in paperwork. General Manager Lorraine Jarvie has built a friendly and helpful team that makes you feel at home.
My dreamy stay starts here – living like a modern-day Bridgerton!
There are lifts serving the guest rooms, but there’s something rather special about climbing the grand staircase, catching glimpses of the acre or more of landscape gardens through the large sash windows, admiring the portraits in the walls, and generally getting immersed in the Georgian vibe.
Accommodation – historic suites
I’m staying in the John Wood Suite, one of the luxury Master Suites. This one is named after John Wood the Younger, the architect of the crescent of 30 extraordinary homes, that was begun in 1767 and completed by 1775.
My name is printed in an extravagant serif font on a small card displayed on the door. This suite will be my rather magnificent home whilst staying in Bath.
England certainly celebrates its rich history and as I walk into the suite, it embraces me with Georgian splendour yet with all the space, light, and elegance one expects of contemporary luxury, with interior designer Jane Clayton.
Large sash windows look out over the garden and park and since the hotel is right in the centre of the terrace you can enjoy the sublime curve of the terrace to the right and left.
There’s a four-poster bed, antique furniture and classic sofa and chairs. Yet the style is bright, modern, and welcoming. Each of the restored guest rooms and suites has used paint colours and fabrics that echo Georgian period tones, yet with a clever mix of modern lamps, accessories and detailing the overall look and feel is very much 21st-century luxe.
Each room and suite includes breakfast for guests that book directly with the property and you can expect all the usual 5-star amenities like slippers, bathrobes & upscale toiletries.
For the ultimate in luxury and privacy there is also a spectacular Garden Villa, offering a private residence with a walled garden, all within the hotel grounds.
Complimentary room service is available in my suite for hot drinks so of course I order s lot of English tea. It doesn’t take me long to feel at home. I flop onto the plush bed and look out to the city’s skyline.
Gardens & Spa
Curiosity eventually cures my desire for a siesta, and I go out to discover the property. Beyond the main house with its library, a tranquil spot to read, play a game of chess or have a drink, and the stylish drawing room, lie the gardens.
Over the decades The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa has acquired neighbours’ gardens, giving the property a large outside space that leads to the original coach houses. These are home to the Spa & Bath House, the Montagu’s Mews restaurant and terrace, and some extraordinarily elegant meeting spaces for private events and weddings. Above are charming rooms and suites that look out over the gardens.
The nearby spa is an elegant affair too, housed in a period building that has been completely remodelled into a contemporary sanctuary for health and wellbeing. The 12-metre heated pool is the place to begin your journey of relaxation. There’s a Himalayan salt sauna, a vitality pool and treatment rooms too. The spa has its own walled garden for relaxing and enjoying the sounds, scents, and sights of English nature.
The landmark 5* Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa in Bath has partnered with The Amethyst Trust, creating a specially adapted treatment menu of TEMPLESPA treatments that are suitable for guests who are medically frail, recovering from illness or are suffering or recovering from immune compromising diseases such as cancer.
Gastronomy – Montagu’s Mews
Montagu’s Mews is an all-day foodie heaven. This elegant restaurant with terraces is open for breakfast, lunch, a quintessential Afternoon Tea and Dinner.
On its shaded terrace, I enjoyed breakfast – the a la carte Full English is superb. Expect smoked back bacon, pork sausage, large flat mushrooms, Stornoway black pudding, hogs pudding and eggs prepared as you wish.
I enjoyed dinner too! The terrace is heated and provides a charming, romantic setting for dining under the stars, or for a cosy intimate feel, the beautifully crafted interiors of the recently refurbished restaurant are a delight. Anthony Rizzo, originally from France, is the F&B Services manager and he takes pleasure in helping you navigate the menu.
Start the evening with a seasonal cocktail, like the woody and indulgent ‘Suze Day’ with Champagne, Suze and Peychaud bitters.
Head Chef Martin Blake and his team create tempting dishes with local produce. Dinner starts with roasted quail, caramelised shallot or maybe a Waldorf salad with chicory marmalade, poached pear, and candied walnuts.
The 3AA Rosette dining continues with main dishes of local lamb, pork, and fish – I devoured a ribeye with Café de Paris butter.
I suggest you don’t miss the cheese plate, a celebration of local artisans, a selection that deliciously confirms why many of England’s cheese makers are award-winners.
Bath is a city that demands exploration.
To get an even better understanding of how it was to live here in the 18th century, visit the museum, ‘No. 1 Royal Crescent’, the first house on the terrace. This property has been decorated and furnished just as it might have been during the period 1776-1796. The rooms feature historic furniture, pictures and objects that reveal what life was like for Bath’s fashionable residents – both upstairs and downstairs. You may recognise the outside from scenes in the TV series Bridgerton.
Within a few minutes’ walk from the hotel, you’ll find yourself at the epicentre of this historical landmark destination, including the majestic Abbey, and the Roman Baths. Bath has charm in abundance and is chockful of quaint upscale boutique, and around 500 cafés, traditional pubs, and interesting restaurants. It’s the quintissential English city break destinations and I could imagine a better place to experience the beauty of this city than from the privileged perspective of the 5-star Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa. I found the city’s tourism website at Visit Bath to be very useful when preparing for my visit.
The 5* Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa has also created a number of unique experiences and packages for guests including a luxury hot air balloon flight, Afternoon tea, accommodation, breakfast the next morning.
For a comprehensive insight into the city, consult The Luxury Editor Eat Do Sleep Bath guide here.