Best Spas in Bath

As Bath looks set to resume its status as spa capital of Britain, with the opening of the new spa village at The Gainsborough, MAIA OLIVER looks at the places – ancient and modern – where you can ‘take the waters’ today…

Images: Courtesy featured hotels


In the words of Monty Python, “What did the Roman’s ever do for us?.” Well, they brought spas to a rather cold and gloomy England and one of the most iconic spa towns now looks set to recapture its crown as the spa capital of Britain with the autumn-opening of The Spa Village at the new Gainsborough Hotel. The historic English town of Bath probably has the most famous spa waters in the world and nearly a decade after the Thermae Bath Spa opened its doors a new spa is due to open where you can “take the waters”.


Saddle, spa and stay at Lucknam Park


A mile-long avenue of Beech and Lime trees welcomes guests to the historic country retreat of Lucknam Park Hotel and Spa. You can lose yourself in 500 acres of glorious parkland, explore on foot, take off with a bicycle and picnic, or discover the estate on horseback and indulge in their unique Saddle, Spa and Stay package. The highlight of this spa is its 20-metre indoor pool which has been designed with a glass roof allowing natural light to flow in while you swim – and I have to say there is nothing better – who wants to look at flickering lights hanging from a roof when you’re doing backstroke?


Spa Village Bath at The Gainsborough


Spa-goers are waiting with anticipation for the opening of Bath’s newest hotel. Spa Village Bath at The Gainsborough will exclusively offer the only natural thermal spa within a hotel in the United Kingdom when it opens later this year. Only a stroll from the historic Roman Baths, the spa lies behind a Georgian, Grade II listed façade and taps into the original spring waters renown for their healing properties.



Healing waters are the city's most celebrated asset and the spa village focuses on just that. Encompassing two levels, the 1,300 square metre spa will feature an apothecary, natural thermal water pools, ice chamber, sauna, steam room, movement studio, Fitness Centre, 11 treatment rooms, and therapeutic treatments inspired by the local thermal waters. The serene environment of the spa is bathed in natural light emanating from the four story glass atrium perched above the Bath House. Guests of The Gainsborough who desire a more immersive spa experience can stay in one of the two spa village guest rooms or the restorative spa suite. All three rooms include baths that fill with the thermal waters!




Saddle, spa and stay at Lucknam Park

Thermae Bath Spa


The spa is housed in several Georgian buildings and is given a modern twist with an imaginative glass frontage. The piece de resistance has to be the stunning rooftop pool warmed to a balmy 33.5C – which is a touch I think the Roman’s would have approved of!. As you wallow in these ancient waters you can enjoy views of the Cotswolds and the 21st century skyline which is especially dramatic at night if you book the popular Twilight Package.



If you can tear yourself away you can also enjoy the indoor Minerva Bath, with its whirlpool and jets, the Hot Bath surrounded by therapy rooms or the Cross Bath which can be booked for groups of up to 12 people plus more than 50 treatments to choose from. You can’t beat the all-inclusive price of £42 (or £80 for two people) which features a three-hour spa session, use of towel, robe and slippers, choice of one dish from the ‘Springs Menu’ and a glass of house wine, lager or juice in the restaurant. The Cross Bath is a separate building with its own open-air thermal bath and provides an alternative to the more extensive spa facilities in the New Royal Bath. Fed by its own natural spring, this beautiful building can be hired for private gatherings.



The Garden Spa at The Bath Priory


The Garden Spa at The Bath Priory in this quintessentially English and historic Georgian city advises when you make an appointment, to arrive 45 minutes early so you can fully enjoy the ''oasis of heat and water'' and relax and unwind before you start your spa journey. On arrival every detail is seen to, the elegant public rooms - the drawing room and the library are adorned with freshly-cut flowers. The attention to detail and efficiency of the team makes it easy to forget the stresses of the outside world.



Spending an hour or two using the spa’s facilities before and after a treatment is a must – rotating between a warm steam room which wouldn't be out of place in a traditional Hamman and inviting indoor blue swimming pool, fully equipped with pool loungers helps to open the pores and relax the muscles which means you get more out of your treatment. It also means the spa is better value because you get so much more for your money. The organic gardens, quiet relaxing setting and spacious treatment rooms make The Bath Priory and its Garden Spa an ideal luxury hotel spa for spa breaks, city spa weekends and wellness breaks.



The Spa at the Royal Crescent Hotel


A five star, Relais & Chateaux hotel located in the centre of the world famous Royal Crescent, with 45 bedrooms and suites, a private landscaped garden, award-winning restaurant and spa as well as a 1920’s Thames River launch for excursions on the waterways. The Royal Crescent Hotel is the most impressively located luxury spa hotel’s in the World Heritage City of Bath, occupying the two central buildings of the world's finest crescent. The Grade I listed buildings were designed by the famous Georgian Architect, John Wood the Younger and were first occupied in 1775. Beyond its magnificent façade lies a hotel renowned for its charm, elegance and superb service, and, the unexpected beauty of the beautiful one-acre, landscaped garden leading to the skilfully converted coach houses, which now accommodate the award-winning Dower House restaurant and The Spa at the Royal Crescent Hotel.



Focusing on the natural elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water, The Spa embraces both ancient and modern day spa culture. Set within the beautiful Georgian buildings that make up the Royal Crescent Hotel this little known gem is one of the city’s best kept secrets. With an extensive range of therapies using world renowned product ranges we are able to soothe mind, body and spirit. The contemporary style of The Spa was created from a converted coach house and stables, opening onto the beautiful gardens; a stunning setting for The Spa. Enjoy the wonderful relaxation pool heated to 35 degrees centigrade, cool and tepid plunge tubs, sauna and steam Karahafus, fully equipped gymnasium. Treatments range from soothing massages to full aromatherapy facials, and from fruit enzyme wraps to holistic foot and nail treatments.


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