It’s been a while since I last visited Bath, and with a free weekend looming and a burning desire to get out of town and do some exploring, I planned a short weekend break to revisit this ancient city. Impressive Georgian architecture, cobbled streets and lovely homeware boutiques aside, I also wanted to book in a few house viewings as the flats and houses in Bath are so grand and spacious compared to flats for the same price in London. I mean, you could get a Grade I listed city flat with 1,576 square feet, original features and tall ceilings for the price of a 700 square foot flat on the outskirts of London! Okay, so it might make the daily commute to work in London a little tricky, and yes I guess we don’t actually know anyone in Bath or have any family or friends nearby, but I really do love snooping around properties and people’s homes and getting an insight into how people live in other cities. And who knows. Maybe we’ll fall so in love with a house one day that we’d be willing to move! Conveniently, the property viewings were all right across the park from the hotel I had booked. Coincidence? Nope.
I had booked the pretty Villa at Henrietta Park as it’s dog-friendly, and although just moments from the very heart of historic Bath and all its shops and restaurants, this handsome five-star Victorian villa is ideally situated on a quiet residential street and nestled right opposite a leafy park – perfect for Flora.
Driving to Bath was only supposed to take a couple of hours at most, but we got stuck in painfully slow moving traffic and so it ended up taking three and a half hours! So by the time we got to the hotel we were in pretty foul moods. As soon as we pulled into the hotel’s driveway and car park and carried our bags inside, we were greeted by a very friendly and almost overly-helpful host who made all sorts of recommendations of things to do and see in Bath, whilst showing us around the hotel (there’s a dining room in which to take complimentary tea and cake during the day), and eventually taking us to our room. Finally, upon entering our room (no. 23), we sighed a big sigh of relief and plonked onto the bed and I saw the first hint of a smile on Jonathan’s face.
The room was tasteful, spacious and elegant, with comfy armchairs and a super comfy king-size Hypnos bed with feather-light goose down duvets and Egyptian cotton bed linen, lovely shutters (I want them for myself), fresh flowers that were so pretty they almost looked fake, a large television with Netflix access, a radio, a tea and coffee tray and rather pretty radiator cover (trust me to get excited about radiators).
They had even put out a separate bed for Flora – as well as a water bowl, food bowl and toy. It’s easy to see why the hotel has a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence!
We settled in and made ourselves some tea, feeling a lot more relaxed and human again. After freshening up in the large monochrome bathroom, we had a spring in our step as we headed out the hotel’s sister hotel, No. 15 Great Pulteney, for afternoon tea.
No. 15 Great Pulteney was just a short walk across the park from our hotel, on a beautiful grand road of handsome Georgian terraces– a perfect example of the typical architecture in Bath.
The hotel has very interesting interiors, with a tall Big Ben clock lamp, the receptionist desk inside a large dolls house, and lots of other quirky things dotted around.
The main chandelier is covered in ‘lost earrings’, and the glass tables in the restaurant showcase a huge collection of colourful jewellery.
The hotel is still fairly new and was a little short staffed when we arrived, so we took our time to have a little nose around.
Eventually when we found a member of staff we were shown to a little table by the window and were handed the tea menu.
The bar was made of perspex, and the surrounding wall had a weird but wonderful fish scale design, whilst above there was a large gold beam with uplighters softly illuminating the room.
The champagne afternoon tea arrived quite promptly, with very tall champagne flutes filled to the brim with delicious champagne, and two pots of Earl Grey tea.
The tiered cake stand was hung over our table from a tall stand with a hook, and it boasted an interesting selection of finger sandwiches, sweet treats and scones.
The sandwiches were refreshingly different – such as roast chicken with crispy fried chicken skin – and the scones were warm and came with clotted cream and berry jam. We were starving when we arrived but we struggled to finish it! Luckily Flora was under our table offering a helping hand and inhaling any crumbs that fell on the floor 😉
It was actually a lovely experience being able to go out for a glass of champagne and some afternoon tea and not have to feel guilty about leaving the dog at home.
When we couldn’t eat another morsel, we enjoyed a long walk through Bath’s cobbled streets, popping into the Brissi, India Jane and OKA stores, and coming across lots of pretty interior boutiques too, marvelling at the pretty sandstone architecture.
It was only when it started to rain that we headed back to warm up at the hotel. With full tummies and no dinner reservation or energy to go back out, we opted for a lazy night in.
A long soak in the bath later, and there was no way I was going outside!
We crawled onto the bed with an array of snacks and a couple Gin & Tonics (you can help yourself from the honesty bar), and fell asleep whilst watching Netflix and listening to the sound of the rain outside.
The next morning we made our way to the breakfast room, where a continental style breakfast had been laid out for anyone to help themselves to.
There were yoghurts with homemade berry compote, fruit juice, cereals, croissants, bread and spreads, whilst the menu offered things like buttermilk pancakes, porridge, free range eggs, smoked salmon and Full English.
We turned down the complimentary bucks fizz (it felt too early for alcohol, but was a nice touch), opting for tea, coffee and home made smoothies.
With a Visit Britain’s Breakfast Award, it would have been silly not to order something hot! Jonathan went for the Full English (flavoursome and filling without being greasy), and I opted for the potato pancakes with smoked salmon. Neither of us were disappointed.
We left the hotel feeling so totally relaxed and happy – the perfect time to go and view some properties 😉
Stays at Villa at Henrietta Park, Bath start from £149 per room per night based on two sharing on a B&B basis. To book https://www.villahenriettapark.co.uk; 01225 466329