Where to stay: No.15 Great Pulteney, Bath
At No.15 Great Pulteney, we faced the uncommon dilemma of being in the perfect location for exploring the city but finding ourselves so happily ensconced in comfort that we didn’t want to leave. This is a gloriously individual hotel – in tune with its luxurious location on the widest and most imposing street in Bath, but in a way that’s stylish and not a bit stuffy.
No.15 has 40 rooms, including several suites, which have been designed by the hotel owners and interior-design talents local to Bath. Every room has a unique collection of pieces painstakingly curated from graduate art shows to antique fairs, which contribute hugely to the hotel’s quirky charm. The decor is punchy and inventive (lampshades made from a hoard of vintage earrings, anyone?), and kept us exploring no matter where we were – from the azure abundance of chemist's bottles in Cafe 15 to the tropical wallpaper and opulent chandelier in the ladies’ powder room. Everything is intended to delight the eye.
Nothing has been overlooked in the suites – from the sumptuous, sink-into beds to the tub where we rested our (actually not-so-weary) feet in heady Bamford bubbles. Enormous HD televisions with Sky Cinema and Sports cater for those wanting a movie night rather than a night on the tiles, but if going out is on the cards, the Dyson hairdryers will have your hair dried to perfection in no time. The chef prepares delicious snacks daily that we snaffled along with a complimentary San Pellegrino from the fully stocked guest fridge.
The spa elevated our stay at No.15: the combination of the cedar-wood hot tub, Swedish sauna and steam-room is the ultimate upgrade on the original Roman bath experience, and a must-try in the home of most famous hot springs in the UK. Therapists, like all the staff, were knowledgeable, charming and interested, and treatments (using products from Ila and Natura Bissé) were invigorating.
Cafe 15 is the in-house restaurant where the dishes are as imaginative as the decor – we enjoyed starters of fresh Devon crab enlivened with kohlrabi, and an inspired tonka-bean panna cotta as well as local cheeses for dessert.
Following our meal, it was hard to resist a drink in Bar 15; with its extensive cocktail and spirits list, any variation of gin and tonic was possible, mixed with care and attention to detail by the warm and welcoming bartenders. There’s an air of naughtiness and suggestibility that makse that second (and third) cocktail inevitable.
Wandering the historic streets is a must – to reach the city centre, you need to cross Pulteney Bridge, where the violent waters beneath are rumoured to be featured in Les Misérables. There are some excellent independent interiors boutiques, such as Hay, which will certainly inspire your next project, as well as fabulous spots for lunch and dinner – we enjoyed the variety of different pizza bases at Dough (hemp and turmeric, among others) and a surprisingly indulgent vegan supper at the Acorn Kitchen, which offers three courses with wine pairing. A visit to the Roman baths of Aquae Sulis (the Roman name for the city) is worthwhile to appreciate the weight of history that has shaped modern Bath.
15 Great Pulteney Street, Bath (01225 807015; no15greatpulteney.co.uk).