22 December 2010 by Luke McCormick
Luxury UK break - historic Bath
Luke McCormick checks into Bath’s historic Royal Crescent Hotel, a Von Essen flagship property.
Billed as an ‘historic masterpiece from an age of elegance’, the Royal Crescent lives up to its reputation as an unrivalled luxury hotel at the heart of one of the great set pieces of European architecture - Bath’s Royal Crescent.
Occupying two central Grade I listed Georgian buildings within the crescent, this delightfully discreet hotel opens out behind the famous landmark to occupy several former coach houses, now separated by a leafy and secluded interior garden courtyard, perfect for breakfast or a splendid afternoon tea.
From the fine entrance hall, black and white chequered floor and ceremonial halberds, the Royal Crescent offers an opportunity to experience a style of gracious living from an age when Bath was at the forefront of the civilised world.
Throughout the hotel fine period furnishings, textiles and paintings display the greatest care for authentic detail. Each bedroom has been restored to its original splendour, with carpets, furnishings, colours and fabrics all as they would have been in the 18th century.
These include an exceptional collection of paintings from 18th century masters and the satirist, Thomas Rowlandson. Among the contemporary portraits on display are those of Lord Nelson, Charles Dickens, William Pitt and the actress Sarah Siddons.
The hotel was once the home of The Grand Old Duke of York, son of George III, as well as Baroness Emmuska Orczy, author of ‘The Scarlet Pimpernel’ and today attracts many distinguished guests, including crown princes and celebrities.
I was lucky enough to stay in the Lord Nelson Suite, a sumptuously appointed split space with a balcony overlooking the gardens.
The Hotel’s Dower House restaurant is one of Bath’s best-kept secrets, serving a contemporary British menu, which draws on influences from the Mediterranean and Far East to create fine gourmet cuisine. During my visit I was served exceptional Ruinart Champagne, ’la plus ancienne maison de Champagne’, before enjoying a private tasting menu.
The Bath House is consistently voted among the UK’s top spas, focusing on the natural elements of earth, air, fire, water and offering an extensive range of traditional, progressive and bespoke therapies.
Converted from the former coach house and stables, the spa opens onto the hotel’s beautiful gardens, a stunning location to enjoy the hot relaxation pool, cool and tepid plunge tubs, sauna and steam Karahafus.
As one of the largest spa operators in the UK, no other collection can rival Von Essen spa for their impressive facilities, signature treatments, product range and stunning settings and locations.
Other Von Essen properties to unveil the latest additions to the Von Essen spa collection include The Greenway, Wooley Grange and Homewood Park, with new spas planned for Cliveden House, Callow Hall and Thornbury Castle.