No matter which direction you arrive from, the drive into Bath is one of the most spectacular of any city in England—and, indeed, far beyond this green and pleasant land. Nestled within a north Somerset valley, every road crests and falls to reveal the sprawling, honey-colored Georgian terraces that are the city’s architectural signature: whether elegantly curved in a half-moon around the Royal Crescent, or with their parapets subtly zig-zagging downwards along a vertiginous hill. When you’ve arrived in Bath, you know that you’ve arrived.
Sometime around 40 AD, the ancient Roman military also arrived, descending into the very same valley and decided to christen it Aquae Sulis. (In plain English, the waters of Sulis; Sulis being an unlikely hybrid of Celtic and Roman goddesses specific to Bath, who ensured the flow of the city’s hot springs and consecrated their healing properties.) Two or three decades later, the natural springs had been harnessed to serve a full-blown Roman thermae, or bathing complex. But with the collapse of the Roman empire in the 5th century AD and their subsequent withdrawal from Britain, the baths fell into ruins, only being rediscovered and restored during the frenzied period of archeological interest of the Victorian era.
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Finally, then, to the spa, which continues the property’s spirit of eclectic charm. Before entering one of the six subterranean treatment rooms, you’ll find yourself seated in an atmospheric, low-lit library room that bears an intentional resemblance to a historic apothecary—then, you’ll find yourself treated to one of the signature massages or rituals that make full use of local flora, from rosehip to wild peppermint, with all of the products used formulated and blended in Britain. (They’ll even give you a miniature bottle of the signature scent you choose to take back to your room and continue the ritual during your evening bathtime.) And if you want to go all out? There’s a signature couple’s treatment available in the “copper room,” which features an enormous copper tub filled with magnesium-rich salts to truly wind down. Happily ensconced there, you’d never know the heart of the city is mere steps away.
Amenities: Restaurant, bar, spa and wellness center, private parking, pet friendly amenities
Address: 13-15 Great Pulteney Street, Bath, BA2 4BS, United Kingdom