Hotel Review: Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel, Sydney Rd in Bath
The city of Bath has a number of really good things going for it – a great range of shopping options, a pretty decent food and entertainment scene, rich architecture and history and some great spa hotels in which to base yourself.
One of these hotels is The MacDonald Bath Spa Hotel, which holds a rather grand position atop a gentle hill with seven acres of stunning grounds surrounding it. Grand is the only way to describe the five-star Regency hotel, which has 129 luxurious rooms, a 2AA Rosette-holding restaurant and a glorious spa. High ceilings, pillars, large windows and chandeliers run throughout, exuding elegance and tell a tale of the hotel’s rich history as a private house, boy’s school and nurse’s home, with life starting in 1835. One notable guest was Winston Churchill during the time it was requisitioned in 1939.
After a relaxing train journey from the depths of Devon to my second favourite English city (nothing beats London, I’m afraid!) courtesy of CrossCountry the other half, Nick, and I took a short taxi ride to the hotel and were wowed as we made our way up the driveway to the impressive building. Wide steps take you up to the entrance and the large lobby is sleek, elegant and oozes sophistication, as does the rest of the hotel.
Our room was on the first floor, overlooking a terrace and fountain, where Nick enjoyed a couple of beers in the sun, which leads out from the newly refurbished Colonnade and Rotunda Bars. Our room had a high ceiling, ornate coving, a chandelier and a tall window, which let a lot of light in. It was filled with two comfortable armchairs, dark wood furniture – a small table, desk and bedside table – and sumptuous, light, soft metallic fabrics with images of Bath’s architecture littering the walls. A double mirrored wardrobe containing the usual necessities such as a safe, mini bar, tea making essentials (there is also an espresso machine on the desk) links you with the bathroom, consisting of dark wood and white marble and plenty of mirrors.
We had both been booked in for a massage in the spa so, after we had settled ourselves in to our room, we made our way to the spa floor, which holds a gym, pool and seven treatment rooms. We shared a room, which was as calm-inducing as you can get, and I very much enjoyed a scalp massage. My tense shoulders and neck were eased as well and the scalp rub was delightfully soothing. Nick thoroughly enjoyed a tension-relieving back massage and afterwards we made our way to the relaxation room, which did just that. Comfortable leather armchairs and foot stalls adorned with cushions and blankets awaited us, along with magazines, hot and cold drinks and tinkly music. We made use of all that was on offer in this low lit haven before returning to our room to ready ourselves for dinner.
The award-winning restaurant, The Vellore, is headed up by Giles and is situated in the former ballroom. With tall ceilings, natural tones and low, relaxing music filtering throughout the room, it is easy to imagine an elegant dance taking place right here a hundred years ago. Brown, soft chairs make for a comfortable perch on which to enjoy your meal and smiley, knowledgable staff make the evening go smoothly.
For my first course I opted for one of my favourite combinations of the season – beetroot and goat’s cheese. On this plate there was a duo of marinated beetroot with a cheese mousse and avocado purée. The dish looked beautiful; bursting with colour and delicately presented. The warming beetroot and creamy full cheese flavours with delicate textures were lovely. There were smooth, creamy and crunchy textures and the addition of the earthy avocado purée tastes completed the well balanced plate of food.
Nick chose the home cured salmon with citrus dressing, pickled cucumber and radishes salad. Again, the dish looked colourful and fresh and Nick enjoyed the fragrant, refreshing dressing, crunchy cucumber and punchy radish complementing the smoky fish.
For our main course we both opted for the ‘Griddled rump of Scottish beef, roasted tomato and mushroom, hand cut chips and peppercorn sauce. The beef was a good quality piece of meat and was cooked to my desire, the chips were thick, fluffy inside and crispy on the outer and the sauce had a nice flavour. A salad garnish and the cooked vegetables also sat on the plate but didn’t bring anything special to the dish. The winning elements were the beef and chips for the both of us.
Nick was a little too full for dessert (there’s always a first) but I struggled on alone (it’s a tough job) and chose a baked chocolate mousse torte with caramelised banana and milk chocolate ice cream. The torte was velvety smooth and rich and the cooling ice cream was a welcome addition. The banana was a nice, tasty element, while a crunchy crumb and crispy tuille added some harder textures to the plate to end my meal.
A very comfortable night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast the next day in the same restaurant completed our stay and it was an added bonus that a top class visiting rugby side were sharing the hotel with us.
In a nutshell
The hotel offers the ultimate luxury stay with two large suites with a butler service as well as afternoon tea in the classically styled drawing room, some luxurious signature treatments in the spa and a would be a great venue for a big occasion. You can enjoy the best of a classic English city and return to your hotel to experience the best of what the city has to offer – luxury.
Address: Sydney Rd, Bath BA2 6NS / 0344 879 9106
How to get there
CrossCountry – As mentioned I enjoyed a trip to Bath on the train via Cross Country Trains, which services England, Wales and Scotland. Seated in first class I was treated to some hot breakfast items chosen from a menu, a cup of coffee and a relaxing, comfortable trip in a calming atmosphere with really friendly staff on hand to help whenever required.