“Oh! Who can ever be tired of Bath?” quotes author Jane Austen in her novel Northanger Abbey. Ever since Prince Bladud allegedly cured his leprosy in Bath’s healing springs in 863BCE, people have come to this city to take the water. From the Roman to the Georgian Era, it has been a sanctuary for holidaymakers looking for rest and recuperation.

Yet, it was the celebrated dandy Beau Nash that made Bath into the fashionable place it is today. In the 18th century, Bath was the place to see and be seen. Elite society waltzed to orchestras in The Pump Rooms, were carried in sedan chairs across Great Pulteney Street and flirted behind fans in Sydney Gardens.

Bath is rich in history, and this notion of pleasure-seeking still exists today. Here, you can become the ultimate flâneur, sauntering the honey-coloured, cobblestone streets from shop to café to spa. The iconic examples of Georgian architecture are exemplary, the independent boutiques and restaurants plentiful and, when night falls, elegant, atmospheric bars will allow you to relive a George Wickham-esque hedonism.

TO STAY

Eight

This intimate and independent hotel is situated right in the heart of Bath’s historical centre, only minutes away from Sally Lunn’s and Bath Abbey. The building dates back to the 1400s and is a charming mix of old-meets-new. True to its name, the hotel contains eight different rooms decorated in a simple yet elegant way – think: cool, muted tones, gilded Victorian portraits and green-tiled bathrooms. The star of the show is its restaurant, run by co-owner chef Fred Lavault and featuring eight small dishes that change with the seasons.

No. 15 Great Pulteney

This hotel’s facade may be classical, but inside it’s an Alice-in-Wonderland-like world of eccentric surprises. The 40 rooms are each shaken up with a creative twist, featuring murals, a mismatch of colourful furniture and dazzling chandeliers. Idiosyncratic touches such as a doll’s house and inventive cocktail menu make it both characterful and humorous. Although this hotel is about play, you can also enjoy some relaxation in an imaginative basement spa which features four treatment rooms.

Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa

Make like a royal as you enter this hotel’s grounds through a mile-long, sweeping drive ensconced in beech trees. This refined yet luxurious home-away-from-home is situated slightly out of Bath amid rolling hills and green pastures. Rooms are classically designed in a comfortable country-manor style. Enjoy fine dining in Michelin-starred Restaurant Hywel Jones before swimming off the various courses in the hotel pool. The highlight of the delightful, award-winning spa is an outside hydrotherapy pool. Guests can soak in the warm waters during sun or snow.

The Gainsborough Bath Spa

For two thousand years, Bath has endured as a leisure and wellness destination. The Gainsborough Bath Spa opened its doors in the 1800s, catering to a crowd craving rest and recuperation – a draw which still exists today. With its access to natural thermal waters, aquatic body therapies and various treatment rooms, this hotel is the perfect spot for relaxation. Retreat to subtly-decorated rooms filled with amenities such as luxurious bedding, blackout window coverings and flat-screen TVs for a deep night’s sleep that’ll have you feeling revived and ready for anything.

The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa

This hotel oozes refinement and sophistication – its elegant Georgian entrance off Bath’s most iconic street is deceiving. What appears as two townhouses opens out onto a one-acre garden with further buildings behind, including a spa. The lovely lawn is dotted with topiary balls and classic garden furnishings, and best enjoyed in the sun alongside the hotel’s dainty yet decadent afternoon tea. Sip Taittinger champagne and munch on delicately cut smoked-salmon sandwiches or scones smothered in cinnamon butter. Afterwards, withdraw to one of the 45 bedrooms with a full and satisfied stomach. Guests can choose between spacious suites, elegant but more affordable rooms or The Garden Villa, each decorated with old-world meets modern-day charm.

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