Hotel Review: The Queensberry Hotel in Bath, Somerset
The Queensberry Hotel – The luxury boutique hotel in Bath with personality, history and a blimming good restaurant. Luxury Lifestyle Magazine travel editor, Natasha Heard took her lucky partner along one January weekend, here’s what she thought…
Located a stone’s throw from the architecturally brilliant, The Circus, host to former homes of famous names including Nicholas Cage and Thomas Gainsborough, and Bath’s Assembly Rooms and Fashion Museum, the hotel is spread across four Georgian terrace buildings. After 40 years of combined experience, Laurence and Helen Beere created The Queensberry Hotel with a view to offering guests a stay likened to one in a ‘friend’s very smart spare bedroom’ rather than a typical hotel. Laurence says: “We’re fortunate to have a property, originally developed by an interesting individual, that lends itself so strongly to the slightly eccentric, but always luxurious vision we wanted to achieve.”
The aforementioned ‘interesting individual’ is the 8th Marquess of Queensberry, for whom the hotel was originally commissioned as a residential home in 1771. Or more so his son, the 9th Marquess, who founded a set of boxing rules to which the hotel’s house rules pay homage. A set of Queensberry Rules can be found in the bar and reinforces the quirky edge, with some highlights of mine being number 5: ‘Gentlemen whose trousers fail to reach the ankle may be discouraged from wearing white socks, at the discretion of the management’ and number 2: ‘No indoor horse-riding, audible obscenities or shouting into mobile phones at any time.’
The public areas are well kept, which includes the lounge, where you can enjoy a complimentary tea and coffee with a magazine while relaxing on a soft green sofa. The classic features are there such as a fireplace and high ceiling and the walls are painted brown. Hotel luxuries include a shoe shine service, concierge and valet parking.
We popped off to the Old Q Bar before dinner, which has two seating areas with sumptuous velvets, hard dark wood floors and British flag cushions and a rug. Created by Absolute Design, the quintessentially British bar is classically styled with contemporary accents with lime green painted alcoves against the fairly neutral pale grey walls and charcoal tub chairs. Eclectic cocktails and spirits with a story are served up alongside the award-winning wine list – awarded England’s Best Wine List in the AA Hospitality Awards 2014/2015.
One of 29 individually designed and furnished rooms, ours was spacious with three tall windows and a high, decorative ceiling, kept cosy by dark olive green walls. Long oatmeal curtains framed the windows (and matched the carpet), and the light was kept out by blinds. There was a black fire with white marble surround and above it sat a large wood-framed mirror. A glass table and charcoal grey rectangular sofa with fuchsia cushions and TV made up the lounge area, while dark wood tables, a dressing table and double wardrobe-come-cabinet retained a classic feel. A large Vi Spring bed, so comfortable we genuinely struggled to get out of it both days, had a brown/beige rose patterned headboard, while dark beige images of leaves in light frames sat on the walls. A modern bathroom with a similar colour theme held a large shower head over a bath, a big sink with a heated, lit mirror above.
The turn down service was good and the housekeeping between days was top-notch.
It was a very spacious, comfortable place that we could relax in. Not all furnishings in the room matched but I’m not sure that really mattered and there’s no tea or coffee in the room but there is plenty to help yourself to in the lounge downstairs.
A stay at The Queensberry Hotel wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the resident 3AA rosette awarded, The Olive Tree restaurant. Tucked in the basement and brimming with a relaxed atmosphere, contemporary design and a very high quality of food and wines, you will be spoiled for your visit. Nick and I were offered one tasting menu each (there are three – a signature, seasonal and vegetarian) and were thrilled by the creativeness of the food pairings, the delicious flavours from each dish and the excellent wine pairings too. Read my full dinner review here.
We also enjoyed breakfast here and I helped myself to coffee, cranberry juice, toast, crusty bread and Brie, a mini croissant and pain au raisin from the buffet and crispy, salty bacon with lovely French toast, which was cooked to order. It was a meat filled Full English breakfast for Nick, which I thought looked very tasty: he concurred. Other continental buffet items to choose from included yogurt and compotes, breads, pastries, cheeses, porridge, fruits and a daily smoothie, while hot items included a cheese omelette, smoked salmon with scramble egg or boiled eggs with soldiers.
There is so much to do in the city, with our Bath Pass in hand we took ourselves to the Roman Baths to learn the very interesting history of the healing waters, the walls surrounding it and the people who enjoyed it. Afterwards we hopped on the sightseeing bus tour for a guided tour of the city – it was freezing on the open top deck but very informative and enjoyable. While there I may also have taken advantage of the January sales and I have or may not have returned home with a designer handbag! The shopping is great, all the high street brands are there as well as some great boutiques, designer names and home furnishing shops, all in close proximity to each other. The Bath Pass also offer entry to the Jane Austen Centre, the Museum of East Asian Art, further afield, Fleet Air Arm Museum, Avon Valley Country Park and much more.
With so much in such close proximity in Bath, jumping on the train is a great option so that once there you can walk, taxi or hop on the sightseeing bus! Cross Country offers a regular service and first class is worth the extra with at seat service of complimentary snack and drinks as well as others to purchase while perched in a wide seat.
IN A NUTSHELL
I’m not sure if the hotel is quite as quirky as it wants to be but I think it wants to be more luxury than novelty, the balance of which was perfect for me. Nick and I had a lovely stay in our big, comfortable, well-serviced room, the staff were lovely and efficient and the highlight for the both of us was certainly dinner at The Olive Tree.
Address: 4-7 Russell St, Bath BA1 2QF
Phone: 01225 447928