Not much changes in Bath. It’s been one of England’s favorite holiday destinations for about two thousand years, and it’s well known for its architectural history, especially its famous Georgian crescents. But what’s old is new again; on the site of a 19th-century hospital, itself built atop a forgotten Roman-era bath, is the Gainsborough Bath Spa. After a very thorough (and architecturally sensitive) renovation, it’s by some distance the most luxurious lodging in town.
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In fact, you could easily convince yourself it’s been here in this form for a century or more. The style is classic, from the columns of the amber-tinted stone facade to the rooms, which are an elegant and colorful update on the period-appropriate Georgian and Victorian styles. In all ways besides the visual, however, it’s a totally modern luxury hotel, from the comforts in the guest rooms to the cuisine in the Gainsborough Restaurant.
The Gainsborough’s most notable feature, of course, is also its most location-specific. It’s the only hotel in town with its own geothermal spring, which means its spa offers the old-style thermal bath experience, with several pools of different temperatures alongside its eleven (!) treatment rooms for dry-land therapies. It’s not often a newcomer can so thoroughly encapsulate the historical essence of a place, but the Gainsborough seems destined to become more or less synonymous with Bath.