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Bath

Checking in to The Gainsborough Bath and Spa

800 537 Hamish Kilburn

Editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn checks in to the only hotel in Bath that taps into the natural thermal springs of the city, designed by the one and only Alexandra Champalimaud…

“First and foremost, the location is what really sets this project apart,” says Alexandra Champalimaud who, to me, looks far too composed and relaxed for two reasons as we meet for breakfast. For starters, although her soft English accent would suggest otherwise, Champalimaud is actually based in the loud, sleepless city of New York. And secondly, we are catching up at the same time of London Design Festival, when more than 450,000 designers, architects and creatives from around the globe descend onto the capital to catch the latest trends, discussions and product launches. Never before has the analogy of a duck above water been so apt than in this situation right now, and it’s inspiring to watch. “Bath is an actual treasure, a world UNESCO World Heritage Site, and frankly I think it’s one of the most magical places in the UK,” she says passionately as we begin to talk about The Gainsborough Bath and Spa, the five-star hotel that stole both of our hearts.

A few weeks before, I was checking in to the hotel for the first time. The precious interiors and renowned spa that are housed within The Gainsborough Bath and Spa are on a need to know basis. Tucked away from the rest of the town, yet very central in its address, the hotel among the locals is known for its luxury edge over the rest of the hotels in the area.

Just a two-hour drive from London’s thick smoke (and even quicker on the train), the feeling of tranquilly is immediately apparent upon arrival. “I can always tell if a guest is from London,” said Brian Benson, the hotel’s general manager as I arrived through the doors and into the large, open lobby. “Our guests from London always arrive in a hurry and look stressed. What I love about my job, and this hotel, is that guests always leave calmer than when they arrived.”

The lobby at The Gainsborough

Image caption: The lobby at The Gainsborough

Like many buildings in the hilly town of Bath, the hotel was once a Georgian-era hospital. The British painter Thomas Gainsborough had spent time there, which inspired the name. “The building itself looks grand, but it’s actually quite cosy,” says Champalimaud. “There’s an intimacy there that’s unmatched by other hotels in the area. The building is also Grade II listed; visitors will find that there are a lot of original details throughout the hotel.”

“Champalimaud and her team have created several dramatic scenes within the hotel’s public areas.”

The hotel’s look and feel is – like its staff – inviting, warm and naturally comfortable to be around. Deliberate attention to detail has been given to ensure that the modern hotel gives an appropriate nod to its storied past, with several references of traditional items evident in the public areas. Such as the Turin Portantina Seden Chair, which once in the 17th Century was used to carry royalty and now sits at the bottom of the main staircase in the lobby, creating a lasting first impression. The artefact is one of around 50 known to exist of its shape.

-The Gainsborough Restaurant

Image caption: -The Gainsborough restaurant

Champalimaud and her team have created several dramatic scenes within the hotel’s public areas. “We realised that we didn’t want to detract from the building’s historical charm, but simply enhance it,” says Champalimaud. “Whenever possible, we highlighted some of the hotel’s original features by employing design details that were reflective of the Roman and Georgian history of the city. Overall, the design is transitional – weaving in the classic English cosiness with a contemporary point of view.” One of these moments is the dynamically obscure chandelier that hangs in between the large main staircase. Another example of drama is quite literally written on the walls. Several pieces of contemporary art around the hotel, at first, look impressive and well placed. However, when learning that the artists are in fact local art students, the walls all of sudden have a different dimension. “What do you think it is,” said the waiter as I stood in front of a large abstract art piece which was full of dashes and colour. Tilting my head, I saw it. The piece of art, again imagined and created by local student artists was a contemporary representation of the restaurant we were actually stood in.

The Canvas Room at The Gainsborough

Image caption: The Canvas Room at The Gainsborough

On the lower level, the hotel’s main unique selling point is another classy reference to the town’s infamous past. The spa, which I have read about – and have wanted to experience – since it opened, is incomparable. It’s truly world-class, a feeling that has recently been shared by Condé Nast Traveller readers who have just voted it the second-best spa in the UK. That may well be because it is the only hotel spa in the city that actually taps into the natural thermal springs, meaning that the several therapy pools are all organically heated. “The spa is a dream,” says Champalimaud. “Located near one of the town’s thermal reserves the spa pool inside of the hotel contains the sought after precious healing waters that made Bath so famous.”

suite

Image caption: The Gainsborough

Although much of the attention at the hotel in the press is focused on the spa, the guestrooms and suites are equally as striking and impressive. Dressed to feel appropriately residential, with a colour palatte of duck egg blue, white and soft browns. My suite (room number 310) was defined as a junior suite, complete with a large living area, modest bathroom and a large bedroom. “Georgian design references are very much present in the guestrooms,” explained Champalimaud. “We wanted the rooms to feel comfortable, yet rich, so we focused on creating delicate layers with the tones, textures, and furnishings within them. The colours are contemporary and alluring while maintaining an air of subtlety – conjuring a sense of quiet. A number of the guestrooms have high ceilings that we accentuated with long curtains trimmed with a Roman inspired border, which complements the ornately patterned carpet. The furniture is all contemporary with a classic familiarity.”

guestroom

Image credit: The Gainsborough

Despite the design project running relatively smoothly, as with all grade II listed structures, unexpected delays in the design process were almost inevitable. “Since we were working with a Grade II structure, we had to be patient with the construction phase of the project,” explained Champalimaud. “The building had to be excavated as ancient artifacts were found while they were breaking ground – which was unexpected. From an interiors perspective, the hotel’s listing made us very mindful of maintaining the building’s original integrity with every design decision we made.”

Since experiencing the hotel in all its finery, The Gainsborough Bath and Spa has entered a special place in my heart – which is the same, it seems, for among many of its visitors who walk through its calming entrance. A little more than 100 miles from the centre of London, it is a South west gem, and certainly gives five-star hotels in the captital a run for their money. I checked out of The Gainsborough Bath and Spa and left with a much lower heart rate from when I arrived and a new-found appreciation for Georgian heritage buildings that shelter stunning hotels spas. The answer, perhaps, is in the waters.

 

 

 

Luxurious spa at The Gainsborough

The Gainsborough Bath Spa voted UK’s second best spa

800 516 Hamish Kilburn

The announcement came at the the Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards 2018…

YTL Hotels has announced that The Gainsborough Bath Spa has been awarded three prestigious placings in the 21st Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards. The five-star Bath hotel, YTL Hotels’ first to open in the UK, placed second in Top UK Hotel Spas, placed ninth in Top UK Holiday Hotels and included in The World’s Top 100.

The annual Readers’ Travel Awards ranks the best hotels, resorts, cities, islands, airlines and cruise lines in the world. The longest running of its kind, the Awards are one of the most prestigious recognitions of excellence in the travel industry and are commonly known as “the best of the best of travel”. With millions of reader submissions and tens of thousands of comments this year, The Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards allows travellers to submit hotel and resort ratings, which are subsequently compiled into a list of winners.

With interiors by Alexandra Champalimaud, the 99-key hotel is ideally located in the renowned city of Bath, which placed fourth in Top UK Cities. This delightful hotel is just minutes away from the city’s attractions, shopping and restaurant districts. As well as the award-winning Spa Village Bath, the hotel features Dan Moon at The Gainsborough Restaurant, which has received three AA Rosettes and featured in the Tatler Restaurant Guide in the past year.

The only member of The Leading Hotels of the World in the South West England, this holistic landmark is one of YTL Hotels’ most significant openings to date. Today, The Gainsborough Bath Spa stands as YTL Hotels’ first Classic Hotel in Europe, as well as the sole hotel in the UK to have exclusive access to Bath’s natural thermal mineral waters.

Editor of Hotel Designs Hamish Kilburn recently checked in to The Gainsborough to review its interiors. Review coming soon.

Kaldewei steel enamel: material for an eternal bathroom

800 566 Hamish Kilburn

Bathroom specialist and Hotel Designs Recommended Supplier Kaldewei explains the benefits of Kaldewei steel enamel…

Designers around the world have always been fascinated by the unique symbiosis produced by two natural materials. Bathroom specialist Kaldewei fuses robust steel and exquisite glass together to create superior Kaldewei steel enamel. Bringing 100 years of experience to bear, the company today produces premium bathroom solutions made of a single material to a consistently high standard of quality that are appreciated all over the world.

Kaldewei controls the entire value chain for its shower surfaces, washbasins and bathtubs – from selecting the raw materials, manufacturing the enamel and forming the steel to finishing with superior Kaldewei enamel. Today Kaldewei is still the only bathroom manufacturer to produce enamel in its own furnace. The formula was developed at Kaldewei’s laboratory and has been consistently refined over the decades. Raw materials from six continents are used and the result is a compelling compound that even after years of use looks just as good as when it was first made.

 The properties of steel enamel can be individually enhanced with surface treatments such as an optional anti-slip finish

Kaldewei steel enamel: fascinating, persuasive and long-lasting

What is it that makes Kaldewei steel enamel so unique? One reason is the secret formula that has been developed by Kaldewei over generations. A high-tech material that is perfect for modern bathroom design has been created over the course of the decades. The distinctive properties of steel and enamel – combined in superior Kaldewei steel enamel – have proved compelling for partners and clients all over the world. Thanks to the glass-hard surface, bathroom solutions made of Kaldewei steel enamel are ultra hygienic and easy to clean. This surface cannot be harmed by mechanical or chemical impact such as that caused by cosmetics and detergents. The exceptionally long warranty period of 30 years clearly demonstrates the robustness and longevity of Kaldewei bathroom solutions and underlines their special quality. The properties of steel enamel can be individually enhanced with surface treatments such as an optional anti-slip finish. It is not only builders and customers who rely on Kaldewei bathroom solutions: architects and hoteliers too greatly appreciate the properties and advantages of Kaldewei steel enamel.

Committed to sustainability

With growing environmental awareness, sustainability is becoming an increasingly topical issue. Kaldewei bathroom solutions made of steel enamel are winners in this area too because they can be fully recycled. This allows builders and architects to plan in an ecologically oriented way. Kaldewei steel enamel was recognised with a “Green Good Design Award” in 2017 – one of the most prestigious sustainability accolades in the world.

The responsible use of resources, environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes and bathroom solutions that can be recycled at the end of their lives have all been part of Kaldewei’s corporate philosophy for generations. The company is further demonstrating its commitment in this area by partnering with the environmental conservation organisation, the WWF.

Kaldewei are one of our recommended suppliers. To keep up to date with their news, click here. And, if you are interested in becoming one of our recommended suppliers, click here.

Apex Hotels - Bath property now open

Apex Hotels’ £35m Bath hotel opens for business

759 492 Daniel Fountain

The latest addition to the Apex Hotels portfolio, in the city of Bath, has opened its doors to guests.

The launch of the £35 million Apex City of Bath Hotel marks a significant milestone for the group, as it takes the company’s portfolio to 10 hotels across the UK, and represents its first opening in England outside of London.

With 177 bedrooms, the property is the city’s largest in terms of number of bedrooms, and is Bath’s only purpose-built city centre conference facility for up to 400 delegates.

It also features a restaurant, bar, gymnasium and pool – and sits at the heart of the city, minutes from Bath’s major tourist attractions including the famous Roman Baths.

The Bath opening follows a highly successful financial year for the company which saw an 11.8 per cent rise in underlying profits before tax, up from £9.2m to £10.3m in 2016.

Angela Vickers, Chief Executive Officer, Apex Hotels said: “The opening of Apex City of Bath Hotel marks a major milestone for the business, and is the result of years of hard work by the entire team, and in particular the local team on the ground, ably led by General Manager Tim O’Sullivan.

Tim O’Sullivan, General Manager, Apex City of Bath Hotel said: “We are absolutely thrilled to open the doors to our stunning new hotel and the team is poised to give our guests – from locals who have seen the hotel built from the ground up, to those from further afield – the warmer welcome that Apex hotels are renowned for.

The opening of Apex City of Bath Hotel comes as work continues on a £1.5 million revamp of Apex City of London Hotel, including the development of a new restaurant – The Lampery – and a spa facility in partnership with PURE Spa & Beauty.

Refurbishment plans are also in the pipeline for Apex Grassmarket Hotel in Edinburgh and Apex City Quay Hotel & Spa in Dundee, with £6 million being invested in a 20-bedroom extension and wine bar and cellar at Apex Temple Court in London.

www.apexhotels.co.uk

The team at Apex City of Bath Hotel is celebrating yet another milestone as the grand opening of the new £35 million property approaches.

Apex City of Bath Hotel celebrates milestone moment, big reveal

1000 497 Daniel Fountain

The team at Apex City of Bath Hotel is celebrating yet another milestone as the grand opening of the new £35 million property approaches.

Contractors have removed the final piece of scaffolding around the hotel’s façade, revealing the building – constructed using Bath stone – in all its glory.

Just over 1,000 tonnes of Base Bed Stone, sourced from Stoke Mill Mine just outside Bath, was used in the hotel’s construction.

The removal gives locals and visitors to the historic city the first full glimpse of the 177-bed property, which will be Bath’s largest hotel.

Tim O’Sullivan, General Manager of Apex City of Bath Hotel, said: “Construction on the hotel began just under two years ago, so the scaffolding coming down marks a significant milestone on our journey towards opening to the public.

“We’re entering the final countdown, and it’s fantastic to finally see the façade – which is covered with more than two-thousand square feet of Bath stone – in its full glory. We’re looking forward to welcoming locals and visitors inside to see what lies in store once we’re officially opened.”

Opening in August, the four-star Apex City of Bath Hotel will boast 177 bedrooms, restaurant, bar, gymnasium and pool alongside Bath’s only city centre conference facility for up to 400 guests. The hotel is ideally located within easy reach of tourist destinations, and just five minutes’ walk from the world famous Roman Baths.

City of Bath Apex Hotel

Apex expansion continues as new £35m Bath hotel prepares for launch

1000 632 Daniel Fountain

A new £35 million venture for Apex Hotels Limited is set to boost the company’s portfolio this summer as the doors open on its newest hotel, in the city of Bath.

The completion of The Apex City of Bath Hotel project is a significant milestone for the Group marking the first opening in England outside of London and expanding the portfolio to ten hotels across the UK.

The 177 bed property, opening to the public on 1 August 2017, will bring 130 new jobs to the area and will also see the creation of Bath’s only purpose-built city centre conference facility for up to 400 guests.

Angela Vickers

Apex Hotels Limited, which has properties spanning Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and London, continues to go from strength to strength under the leadership of CEO Angela Vickers.

The Bath opening follows a highly successful financial year for the company which saw an 11.8 per cent rise in underlying profits before tax, up from £9.2m to £10.3m in 2016. Angela Vickers, Chief Executive Officer, Apex Hotels Limited said: “This is a significant milestone for the business and one that we have been working towards for some time.

The Apex City of Bath Hotel will be our first opening in England outside of London and is set to be the historic city’s largest hotel in terms of conference and events spaces and number of bedrooms. This is an attractive proposition for businesses looking for new locations to host conference and events and the hotel is already taking bookings from international brands keen to get in early.

“We have in place a very strong senior management team who are committed to putting this venue on the map and offering a guest experience that is second to none.”
In the last 12 months, Apex Hotels Limited, have made significant investments in the portfolio including a 30-bedroom extension to Apex City of London with further refurbishment plans scheduled for Edinburgh Grassmarket and Dundee hotels.

“Our portfolio is stronger than ever as our presence in key cities grows year on year. Now the finishing touches are being put to Apex City of Bath Hotel, we can move our attention to new opportunities that will continue to strengthen the Apex brand,” Angela added.

The four-star Apex City of Bath Hotel will open on 1 August 2017 and will feature 177 bedrooms, restaurant, bar, gymnasium and pool alongside a city centre conference facility for up to 400 guests. The hotel is ideally located within easy reach of tourist destinations with the world famous Roman Baths situated just 200 metres away.

Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel

Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel reveals £150k refurbishment

700 493 Daniel Fountain

A five-star hotel in Bath Spa has unveiled the new-look of its luxury suites, following a £150k refurbishment.

Five-star Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel has revealed the results of its £150,000 refurbishment. Three new suites have been added to its offering, which come with a butler service on hand to deliver champagne and canapés each evening and fill the bath ready for when guests return to the room.

Each of the furnished suites – The Grange Presidential, The Cavendish, and The Belgrave Executive – has a panoramic view over Bath, a four-poster bed, complimentary mini bar and a bathroom with a cast iron roll top bath.

Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel

The hotel’s spa has its own heated hydrotherapy room, plus treatment and relaxation rooms. Alongside this, the hotel is home to the 2-AA Rosette restaurant Vellore, and Colonnade and Rotunda bars.

Jonathan Dawson, regional managing director of Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel said: “This £150,000 investment in our stunning new suites really elevates the hotel. The new suites offer something for everyone – be it a sensual soak in a roll top bath or a luxurious night’s sleep in a four poster bed, these rooms are the perfect place for a little luxury.”

Hotel Indigo Bath

Permission granted for Hotel Indigo Bath construction

1000 631 Daniel Fountain

Permission has been granted to the St James’ Hotel Group to begin construction work on the new 117-room Hotel Indigo Bath.

Operating under a franchise agreement in conjunction with InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), the hotel will also feature a restaurant, bar and gym and is scheduled to open at the end of 2017. The boutique hotel is being formed from two existing hotels, Pratt’s Hotel and The Halcyon, and a former nightclub located in a number of Grade I listed Georgian buildings on South Parade in the heart of Bath.

Anna Corkill, IHG’s Development Director for the UK, said: “We are thrilled with Hotel Indigo’s performance. We are confident that the Hotel Indigo Bath will become a brand-defining Hotel Indigo property for the South West region, reinforcing our presence in the UK boutique market.

“It’s a perfect site and we’re looking forward to working with St James’s Hotel Group to welcome even more visitors to Bath in 2017 and beyond.”

The hotel is being designed by Architect CT with construction by Phelan Construction Ltd. Its design will reflect the surrounding neighbourhood, while the restaurant and bar will tap into Indigo’s new locally crafted food and beverage philosophy, launched last year. Pratt’s Hotel was a part of a portfolio of Forestdale hotels acquired by St James’s Hotel Group in 2014.

The Halcyon was previously privately owned and acquired by St James’s Hotel Group last year.