Roger St. Pierre experiences The Royal Crescent Hotel & Spa in a beautiful British spa townClose to 90,000 people call the World Heritage City of Bath their home and each year they welcome more than a million overnighting visitors, whilst a further 3.8m come for a day’s outing.
With two universities, a thriving artistic community and an enticing checklist of museums, theatres, sporting and cultural venues, plus world-class shopping and a wealth of superb architecture, carved from the locally sourced honey-coloured sandstone, this Wessex wonder sits on the banks of the delightful River Avon.
Set on a hill just a 10-minute stroll from the city centre, the wide sweep of the monumental Royal Crescent commands a magnificent view across the steep-sided wooded valley, lined with a wealth of elegant Georgian houses.
The central portion of the Crescent’s stunning Georgian terrace now functions as a multi-awards-winning 5-star hotel. Playing host to the rich and famous, to royalty, all manner of celebrities and to the occasional itinerant travel journalist, this elegant venue is the address of choice for upmarket visitors to this renowned spa town – arguably one of the most beautiful in all Europe.
Intricate plasterwork, ornate fireplaces and, in some of the suites, luxuriant four-poster beds, combined with Wi-Fi, upmarket toiletries, big screen TVs and ever attentive service. The public areas reflect the same attention to detail. Located on the lower ground floor, the beautifully presented Sheridan Room looks out on its own exquisite little courtyard, perfect for refreshment breaks on warm summer days, whilst The Library is a magnificent room in Georgian townhouse style, where 12 guests can meet or dine privately – a perfect setting for small private business meetings.
There are also chic lounges in which to relax, while many a deal has been sealed in the hotel’s secluded private gardens. The welcoming bar specialises in a wide selection of cocktails. In the outstanding AA 3-Rosette award-winning Dower House Restaurant fine dining rules with an enticing slant on modern British cuisine, in a room with a truly romantic ambience.
Organisers should take time to run through the extensive wine list. There are some real gems to be found in its justifiably well-thumbed pages and a helpful sommelier is on hand to give expert advice on perfect wine and food pairings.
Soft blue and gold fabrics intertwine along the room’s feature walls of hand-stitched silk wallpaper, while natural daylight streams in through the French windows to highlight beautifully presented breakfasts, lunches and afternoon teas. Candle-light-effect table lights create the perfect mood for a relaxed and sophisticated evening dining experience.
Group itinerary opportunities in Bath include the amazing Roman Baths, the Pump Room, the Abbey, the indoor market, the shop-bedecked remarkable Poulteney Bridge, built in 1774 to connect Bath to the new suburb of Bathwick, plus the nation’s largest collection of Georgian buildings.
World-class shopping and dining-out experiences plus a wealth of first rate entertainment, from concerts, art festivals and fashion shows to theatre, night clubs, bars and proper pubs all help to make this beautiful city an outstanding MICE destination.