Courtesy The Gainsborough

In the historic city of Bath, the newly opened Gainsborough Bath Spa is uniting the area's historic heritage with modern style and contemporary service.

Emily Mathieson
July 06, 2015

The historic city of Bath, in England’s West Country, is better known for its genteel pursuits and heritage architecture than for its pioneering engineering and modern style. But a new hotel, opened mere days ago, is hoping to unite the two within the listed limestone walls of a former hospital and design college.

The Gainsborough (named after the famous painter) is the first U.K. hotel from the YTL group, famed in Asia for resorts such as Pangkor Laut and Tanjong Jara. The Gainsborough is located in the heart of the city and, as befits the 18th-century architecture, will have 99 elegant rooms with courtyard and city views, as well as a contemporary fine dining fusion restaurant and Georgian-style drawing rooms.

Despite these high-class features, guests will probably beeline for the Spa Village, the only hotel spa in the U.K. to have its own thermal water source. Here, “taking the waters” is given a luxury spin in three pools, along with an ice chamber, and treatment rooms where healing waters are used therapeutically (alongside Neal’s Yard products).

Treatments include Magnesium Wraps, Malay Massage, and Campur-Campur. For the moment, the unique facilities are for hotel guests only (though memberships will be available), allowing for an indulgent experience that recalls the Roman bathing rituals of yesteryear in the most comfortable of 21st-century settings (doubles from $444).

Emily Mathieson is on the U.K. beat for Travel + Leisure. Based in London, you can follow her at @emilymtraveled.

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