This is part 2 of my review of The Gainsborough Bath Spa hotel. Part 1, which covers the The Gainsborough Bath Spa’s rooms and public areas, can be found here.
The Spa Village complex at The Gainsborough is the real reason to come here. There are three pools (two plunge pools and one large one) fed by the hot mineralised Bath spa waters. There is a sauna, a steam room, an ice area and multiple treatment rooms.
This brings us to the key problem I had. You cannot use the spa facilities or the pools, as a hotel guest, except between 7am to 9am and 8pm to 10pm. The only exception to this is if you book a spa treatment.
This doesn’t cut it with me. The hotel is not cheap, to put it mildly, but when you stay here you are effectively blocked from the key selling point of the property for most of the day unless you pay more. This didn’t feel right. The pool was also very empty – once totally empty – every time I walked past it to get to my room, so it is not a ‘supply and demand’ issue, at least not in November.
On the positive side, the pool complex looks astonishing. This is the view from above which I saw every time I left or entered the hotel (click to enlarge):
Here is one of the smaller plunge pools (each pool is a different temperature):
This is the area behind the main pool where the various sauna, steam and ice rooms are located:
One quirk is free hot chocolate, which was apparently a high status relaxation drink in Bath during the 17th century:
This shot shows you how the pool has been dropped into the centre of the existing historical buildings on the site:
I did not have any spa treatments but I did try the pools. It wasn’t as odd as I was expecting, which in some ways was a disappointment. The water has a light smell to it but you hardly notice. It is warm, but it is cooled from the 43 degrees at which it pops out of the earth. I may have struggled to know that it wasn’t normal oxygenated pool water if I hadn’t been told.
You can see more of the spa complex in our The Gainsborough Bath Spa video:
There is obviously nothing else like The Gainsborough in the UKwhich makes it a tricky one to summarise.
Let’s start here – I would go back, with my wife, in a flash. No problem. As an overall package – taking into account the quality of the rooms (if not their size), the quality of the spa facilities (if not the opening hours), the lovely staff, the attractive public spaces and the location directly in the centre of a beautiful city – you can’t go wrong.
It isn’t cheap, however. Even for a midweek night in January you are looking at £250 for a pre-paid room with breakfast, and the rates head upwards from there. For that sort of money you might want all-day spa access or a proper Super King bed and double sinks.
Overall, though, it works and you would enjoy your short break here – especially as you will arrive pre-warned of the hotel limitations!