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Review: The Abbey Hotel in Bath, a Marriott Tribute Portfolio property

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This is our review of The Abbey Hotel in Bath, which is part of Marriott’s Tribute Portfolio.

Marriott Bonvoy is currently running its ‘Week of Wonders‘ promotion to remind you of the joys of travel.

Head for Points is supporting ‘Week of Wonders’ with a number of special features including FIVE fantastic competitions which will launch next week.

Abbey Hotel Bath review

Today’s theme is ‘Wonders of Rejuvenation’. In need of a break after working flat out on the HfP website redesign for the last six months, I was delighted to accept an invitation to try out the the Abbey Hotel in Bath, A Tribute Portfolio Hotel.

The Abbey Hotel is a recent addition to Marriott, joining its Tribute Portfolio brand in July this year after a complete refurbishment.

There had been very little publicity about this – it came as a surprise to us in the HfP office when Marriott suggested it – so we were keen to take a look. It is the only Marriott property in Bath.

(This is a common theme with these unbranded properties. New hotels tend to get a lot of publicity during construction and opening, and of course have the chain’s signage outside. When existing hotels slot into these ‘soft’ brands, no-one knows about it.)

What is Tribute Portfolio?

It is worth taking a minute to explain what Tribute Portfolio actually is. Marriott inherited this “soft” brand when it merged with Starwood, who launched Tribute Portfolio in 2015.

Tribute Portfolio is a loose collection of independent, boutique hotels which have chosen to use Marriott’s marketing and booking system. Tribute Portfolio hotels are not restricted by brand standards and are more autonomous than “hard” Marriott brands. As Marriott says:

“Tribute Portfolio is a growing global family of characterful, independent hotels drawn together by their passion for captivating design and their drive to create vibrant social scenes for guests and locals alike.”

There are now 53 hotels as part of the collection, with more than half in the United States. Whilst Marriott classes both its Autograph Collection and Tribute Portfolio as premium brands, you can expect Tribute Portfolio hotels to sit slightly below Autograph Collection hotels such as The University Arms in Cambridge (reviewed here by Rob last month).

Review of The Abbey Hotel, Bath

Back to the review.

The Abbey Hotel is very well located, literally a stone’s throw from the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey (hence the name!). There are just 65 rooms which have recently been refurbished.

It is situated on the edge of the pedestrianised city centre and is easily accessible by road or train. The walk up from Bath Spa station only takes a matter of minutes.

Built in 1739, the hotel is spread across three Georgian town houses. I imagine no two rooms are the same given this is a conversion of a historic building which means you can expect a spread of unique rooms, corridors and staircases.

There are two check-in desks in the small lobby, currently kitted out with plexiglass screens:

Abbey Hotel Bath review

The Abbey Hotel makes a strong first impression with a huge variety of art that helps to soften the industrial chic style of the refurbishment. It is a real contrast to the exterior of the hotel and indeed the rest of the city.

Check in was a breeze and although I arrived at midday, I was told my room was ready, no doubt thanks to it being Tuesday night stay during coronavirus!

My Marriott Bonvoy Gold Elite status was recognised and I was told I could make use of the late checkout benefit.

My Gallery Family Room at the Abbey Hotel, Bath

Abbey Hotel Bath review

I was upgraded to the ‘Gallery Family Room’ which can accommodate up to four guests.

The room was quite spacious, featuring a king size bed as well as a sofa bed:

Abbey Hotel Bath review

The rich decoration of the room certainly makes a strong first impression and gives the hotel a lot of character, which I liked.

The TV at the foot of the bed is MASSIVE – almost as wide as the king size bed itself! It feels a lot bigger than it looks in this photo as you are close to the screen:

Abbey Hotel Bath review

There is another TV mounted on the wall above the sofa.

On the reverse side of the TV stand is a small desk:

Abbey Hotel Bath review

…. with a proper wheely chair, desk lamp and mirror. Behind this is another chair and luggage rack.

My room overlooked the front of the building with attractive views of the city:

Abbey Hotel Bath review

Despite being on a road, the room was totally silent.

Connectivity in the room is excellent, with dual USB and three pin plug sockets on either side of the bed as well as at the desk. You won’t be hunting for a place to plug in.

Storage options include an open rail with hangars as well as some mini cupboards complete with hairdryer, iron and ironing board and safe.

Abbey Hotel Bath review

You also have a fridge, kettle and nespresso machine:

Abbey Hotel Bath review

There are a lot of lamps in this room that add to the ambience rather than using the main overhead lights. All in all it is a spacious yet cosy room.

The bathroom

Abbey Hotel Bath review

The Abbey Hotel features a decently sized bathroom. This has also been refurbished, although to my eyes the bath tub has been retained, albeit with a new shower head and glass screen.

As you can see, the bathroom features a Thomas Crapper-style toilet which I thought tied in nicely with the rest of the historic character of the building and gives a very powerful flush!

Toiletries provided are in re-usable pump action bottles from Natural Spa Factory, a local Bath company.

Abbey Hotel Bath review

The Abbey Kitchen restaurant

For a hotel of its size, The Abbey Hotel has quite a sizeable dining room, socially distanced for now:

Abbey Hotel Bath review

Over the summer months the hotel has had quite a large terrace area outside, and there is also more casual seating around the ‘ArtBar’:

Abbey Hotel Bath review

The bar itself features a lovely suspended ‘chandelier’ made of hanging glasses and decanters. This was all far more modern (in a good way) than I was expecting from a hotel in Bath.

Abbey Hotel Bath review

Whilst the Abbey Hotel used to have a chef-lead restaurant called Koffmann and Mr White’s in collaboration with Pierre Koffmann and Marco Pierre White, it has now refocused on a more classic and less fussy menu. Take a look at the menu here.

The food offering is basic with a pubby mix of fish and chips, burgers, burritos and buddha bowls. An odd mix, but it should cater for all tastes. The good news is that the value for money is high based on what I ate and there are a number of vegetarian options.

In the end, I went for the Salt & Pepper Squid to start:

Abbey Hotel Bath review

…as well as the ‘Build your Own Burrito’:

Abbey Hotel Bath review

I also tried the Chocolate Brownie dessert:

Abbey Hotel Bath review

The quality of the food was good, so with a little bit of thought and refinement I think it could do quite well for itself. The hotel did say that the menu above is about to be replaced with a new Autumn menu.

The bar is very impressive. I was in the middle of a course of antibiotics (thanks to my wisdom teeth!) and had been warned to stay off alcohol or suffer horrifying consequences, so I requested a mocktail.

Despite not being on the menu, the bar staff came back with a number of options and I have to be honest and say I was very impressed.

Abbey Hotel Bath review

In the end I went for a Virgin Mojito which was virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.

Breakfast

Due to coronavirus restrictions, breakfast is being served in sittings with each slot 50 minutes long.

Abbey Hotel Bath review

This probably wasn’t strictly necessary on the morning I was there, as the breakfast/dining room was virtually empty but for myself and one other couple. I imagine it is quite different at weekends, however.

Thanks to coronavirus, breakfast is being offered as either a cooked-to-order meal, or you can pick up one of the ‘grab bags’ featuring a continental selection.

The options are a Full English (with veggie and vegan alternatives), mushroom and poached egg on sourdough toast or a bacon, sausage and egg roll.

I’m never one to say no to a Full English:

Abbey Hotel Bath review

The size of the portion is deceiving thanks to the gigantic plate, although it was just right in terms of size.

Conclusion

You may be unable or unwilling to fly abroad at the moment, but the UK has many great options if you want a relaxing domestic break.

Whilst the sun may have disappeared for the year, there is never a bad time for a city break in a place like Bath. The low level of tourists at the moment means that you can enjoy the city in a way that is rarely possible.

The Abbey Hotel in Bath has a lot going for it. It is well located, the refurbished rooms are lovely and the hotel has a distinct character and design which sets it apart from many of the tired hotels in Bath.

I want to give a particular mention to the hotel staff, who were universally friendly and always happy to help out.

As a Category 4 hotel, Marriott Bonvoy redemptions are available for between 20,000 and 30,000 points per night. This is good value given that weekend cash prices often exceed £200 per night. Weeknights are significantly cheaper out of season.

You can learn more about the Abbey Hotel on the Marriott website here. Thanks to the Bonvoy team for arranging my stay.

PS. For comparison, Rob recently reviewed the new Hotel Indigo in Bath, part of IHG Rewards.


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Comments (61)

  • Russell Gowers says:

    I might be a greedy sod but I’d be thumbing through the Trade Descriptions Act based on that being described as a “full” English! It looks like 2/3rds of an English at best…

    • Andrew says:

      It’s two black pudding, a sausage, and tomato short of “full English” as far as I’m concerned.

      That fried egg hasn’t been cooked properly either. Just tucking into my morning full English from the canteen (Friday treat). Here they almost “bathe” the fried egg in a relatively deep fat, not a trace of burning/overcooking of the egg.

      • Lady London says:

        I do love your bulletins from your cantern @Andrew.

        Even if the rest they do is horrible, most office canteens I’ve had can still do a greasy fry-up British breakfast that is edible.

        As to the lunches in your posts, thosr have often disappeared from canteens these days. So recounts of your exploits in your office canteen at lunch make me insanely jealous.

    • LB says:

      I agree. The hotel looks great but I can’t bear a crispy fried agg!

      • AJA says:

        I agree, that egg doesn’t look appetizing. And I am not a fan of baked beans either, give me a fried tomato instead. The hotel looks good though, haven’t been to Bath for a while either so am tempted to give this a go but don’t have any status with Marriot so probably wouldn’t get such a nice room.

        • Genghis says:

          Funny. For me a full English isn’t right without baked beans.

          • AJA says:

            🙂 I also can’t help thinking they put the beans in those little ramekins so that when they’re not touched they can recycle them to the next customer (I do hope they don’t actually do that but who would know?)

          • Rhys says:

            Baked beans are the glue that hold it all together!

  • Andrew Lee says:

    It’s a shame they scrapped the Koffmann and Mr White restaurant. Koffmann’s in London was my favourite restaurant. Was very upset when it was closed. It used to be in the
    Berkeley hotel.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Thing is I don’t think they have

      It might be temporary because of COVID

      https://www.mpwrestaurants.co.uk/our-brands/koffmann-and-mr-whites/bath is still around and says currently closed

      • Andrew Lee says:

        Oh that’s sort of good I guess. Sadly they don’t do the pistachio souffle which was so good.

        • DB2020 says:

          Oh, you brought back some fond memories of the pistachio soufflé. Whenever the team at Koffmann’s used to see me arrive, one of the first things that they would discuss with me was the champagne being served by the glass and the soufflé!

          • Andrew Lee says:

            Yeah, it was great. It was my first time to such a high-end restaurant, but was just so pleased with how nice they were. I was a bit afraid they’d be a bit snooty and unfriendly, but totally weren’t. The sommelier explained that it was perfectly fine to just come for the souffle. I also really miss their tuna tartar.

  • Kai says:

    Stayed in a Gallery room last weekend, and although I really liked the design the service, the room was problematic
    – tiny desk and basin
    – constant leak of water through the window (it was raining)
    – no soundproof (can hear people next door talking)
    – floor a bit creaky

    Will try out the Indigo next time!

  • Diydegsy says:

    Useful for others . I know other people on this website have booked the Marriott Langley hotel. Well I got a call from them yesterday to say my booking on the first weekend they are due to open has been cancelled as they are not opening then and don’t exactly know when they will. I can make another reservation but I have to pay the extra in points. I refused and said they should honour it as this is the 3rd time I have rebooked but they said it’s not them it’s Marriott telling them they have to do it. Any thoughts?

    • Anna says:

      A couple of people have had this now (we have a stay re-scheduled for New Year so may get contacted soon). I don’t know if they would just cancel the reservation if you just refused or didn’t have enough points. What I wouldn’t risk is completing the stay then being presented with a bill for £800 for 2 nights! Probably buried in the Ts and Cs somewhere.

      • Diydegsy says:

        Hi Anna I did tell them that no other hotel has done this to me over this past year including other Marriott reservations, all have been moved with no problem to different dates so why would Marriott be insisting that this particular hotel does it. It doesn’t make sense.

    • Mr. AC says:

      Rob, if you read this, given that you’re doing this special thing with Marriott this week… Would you talk to them about it? This is the 3rd HFPer (myself included) based on the comments that has run into this, would be nice if we could get a blurb from Marriott saying that the extra points won’t be taken / will be refunded.

      • Rob says:

        Langley wouldn’t move my own reservation and insisted on more points being taken.

        Thing is …. they don’t care. Marriott pays them the same regardless. It must be Marriott policy and potentially hard coded in the hotel IT system.

        • Jonathan says:

          Or, it’s not about the points & they actually just want you to cancel. Does a cancelled booking count towards the quota of redemption rooms they have to make available?

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Did you have it moved and the extra points actually taken? I would’ve done it and cancelled or called Marriott.

          Tbh I just cancelled mine as I had no idea when I’d go again after my Shuffle to July was cancelled. I still don’t get why they closed for the whole summer period it looks like they’ll open just as it’s all getting restricted again.

      • Lady London says:

        I dont think Marriott told them to do this at all.

        For one thing I’m pretty sure Marriot doesn’t legally have the right to specify a hotel selling price on any given night.

        I suppose Marriott could be trying to reduce points redemption liabilities on their books but Marriott has other ways they could do that.

        It’s occurred to me that as a newly built highly costly hotel, loan repayments may be due and unpaid and there could be a much more serious problem for the hotel behind this.

    • Harry T says:

      W Abu Dhabi are moving my stay I booked for the Formula One to 2021, as the 2020 grand prix is closed to spectators. No mention of paying the increased cost of points (I booked five nights before the category change). It’s poor form from an ostensibly luxury hotel – however, it could be Marriott causing a fuss.

  • Isabel Friedlander says:

    Only just joined Marriott Bonvoy on HFP offer. No knowing what I’d be offered at the Abbey as a new member. I’m planning a trip to Bath

  • Mark says:

    I stayed at The Abbey Hotel about four years ago which was the last time I travelled to Bath for pleasure rather than business. I second the review regarding the location, it’s about 5 mins walk from the train station which involves walking only along one street really, and it’s right next to the river, abbey, and the main shopping area.

    I’m glad to see the ArtBar has been retained! We enjoyed a few drinks there and the selection was absolutely excellent.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Agree the bar is very well stocked. It’s a very nice city centre hotel bar something my city is missing.

  • Michael C says:

    Even the unknown brown liquid in the cup looks sad!

  • Fred S says:

    Straw Poll: Indigo or Abbey for 1 night midweek in Nov?

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