Take The Waters

A luxurious retreat in Bath’s historic center reinterprets the bathhouses that have drawn wellness-seekers to this city since the days of the Roman Empire
Where Roman And Georgian Heritage Meet

Tucked away behind the stately Georgian and Victorian façades of the landmarked former Royal United Hospital and Bellott’s Hospital awaits a tranquil haven of relaxation. Spend an afternoon at the Gainsborough’s Spa Village and you’ll understand why the English aristocracy and literary luminaries like Jane Austen would travel to Bath to “take the waters.” While anyone can eye the ancient Roman Baths, the Gainsborough is the only hotel in the U.K. with direct access to the mineral-rich thermal waters renowned for their healing properties.

YTL Hotels enlisted New York-based designer Alexandra Champalimaud (the luminary known for bringing historic hotels into the 21st century) to create a modern interpretation of the city’s historic bathhouses featuring Doric columns, stone walls, and curved alcoves adorned with shimmering mosaics. A four-story skylight uniting the historic hospital to the hotel’s new wing allows plenty of natural light to illuminate the main pool, ensuring a warm atmosphere even on cold days. The waiting room where guests meet their massage therapist features a replica of a fourth century Roman mosaic found on-site.

At the aroma bar, a staff member consults with guests to determine their scent.
A replica of the original Roman mosaic floor found onsite decorates the relaxation area.
A skylight connecting the new wing to the historic building allows sunlight to bathe the main pool in a warm glow.
While anyone can eye the Roman Baths, the Gainsborough Bath Spa is the only hotel in the U.K. with direct access to the mineral-rich thermal waters renowned for their healing properties.
A Modern Bathhouse Experience

“It was an incredible honor and privilege for us to play a part in reviving the treasured waters of Bath with a sense of luxury and style at The Gainsborough,” said Melissa Mettler, spa consultant for YTL Hotels. “I am still taken aback when I think of Bath’s lavish and colorful history; conjuring up tales of Roman soldiers recuperating here after battle, or of fanciful Georgians ‘taking the waters’ in all their finery. We’ve endeavored to weave these historical threads through the fabric of our spa experience. I think that’s what makes Spa Village Bath so special.”

After checking in at the reception desk, your first stop is the aroma bar, where a staff member determines your scent through a series of questions, then gives you a small sachet of perfumed sea salt and a detoxifying beverage. Once you’ve deposited your belongings in the changing room, you’ll begin a self-guided circuit through the various pools and saunas, aided by a map with suggested soaking times.

Moving from one warm mineral-rich pool to the next, you might feel as if you have the place to yourself. The adults-only policy combined with efforts to reduce overlap between appointments ensures the bathhouse always remains blissfully tranquil. As you soak, a staff member might bring you a cool bottle of water or a taste of Georgian hot chocolate.

After you’ve completed a circuit, indulge in one of the renewing treatments, which range from peppermint facials that brighten your complexion to exfoliating body scrubs and pressure point massages. For a more active treatment, enlist the help of an aquatic specialist for a thermal pool session incorporating yoga, tai chi, and karate movements aimed at improving balance and flexibility.

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