We love going on short breaks. When it’s just the 2 of us, any more than a few days away would probably get a bit tedious, and we rarely go on holidays for a full week. So I’m always looking for new places to take N. While I love to take him to coastal places, when you’re not sure what the weather will be like, a city break works well for families. There’s plenty to do indoors as well as the ability to drive out to get into the countryside. This time we decided on Bath.
Bath is only around 1 1/2 hours drive from us, and I’d planned to stay as central as possible so we could walk in and have somewhere to leave the car rather than paying extortionate city parking prices. Unfortunately the hotel I choose (from what was left – I’d not realised it was the Royal Bath and West Show on the week we were going away), ended up a lot further out than I thought when I booked.
The Bailbrook House Hotel is just under 2 miles away from the centre. There are other hotels in the centre, but they don’t have onsite parking, or you have to pay over £20 a day and park elsewhere. Not great when you have children to cope with as well as luggage.
Bailbrook House Hotel turned out to be a good choice in the end so the distance wasn’t a big turn off.
Being further out of the city means there’s more space and plenty of green areas around the hotel. Like much of Bath, it’s up a steep road to the hotel, so either you need to be very fit if you’re leaving the car behind for your days out, or you rely on taxis to get back up the hill.
The outdoor space by the lounge bar is really green and lovely to sit in and relax. We did have a nosy round, and N just had to roll down the slope too.
The Bailbrook House Hotel
Bailbrook House was designed by well known local architect John Eveleigh. Work started in 1790, but was completed around Jane Austen’s residence in Bath, in the early 19th Century. At this stage, guests of the lavish owner included Prime Minister William Pitt the younger before the house was claimed by The Crown for reparation. This before being sold and used as a home for The Ladies Association, then changing to a private nursing home, training factilities and ending up as the hotel and conference facilities it is now.
We were staying in the main manor house. There’s also a newer building which is where you have weekday breakfast (if you stay in the manor house you can eat breakfast in the weekend in the Cloisters restaurant for no extra charge). It’s a beautiful old building, and N was pleased that the floors are even – he moaned in the last hotel we stayed in.
The rooms in the manor house are named after local luminaries from Georgian times. We had the Thomas Gainsborough room – cue teaching N who Gainsborough is, and apt that on a visit to Number 1 Royal Crescent they had a Gainsborough painting on loan from the National Portrait gallery. It was a beautiful large room with a massve kingsize bed. I was pleased to see they’d included a single pull out bed for N even though we’d not booked one. We decided to leave it in the room, although when it came to it, he decided he was going to sleep in the big bed with me anyway.
The room had all mod cons – big wardrobe with ironing board, bath robes and slippers, and proper coat hangers you can remove. A decent enough hair dryer, blue ray and media centre for streaming your own downloads through, a large tv, and coffee pod machine. I lved that there were plenty of plug sockets – good when you take chargers for phone, camera, laptop, and tablet, and we still had spare sockets around the room. The wifi was fast (compared to home it was superspeedy but that’s not saying much). There was also tea and coffee making things and a mini fridge with free water in.
We needed the air conditioning and it was effective – I hate a warm room, and it was very warm in the night once the air con switched itself off. The windows open slightly which I love too. It’s nice to get proper air through a hotel room.
There was a desk/dresser and chair and well as a small reading table and comfortable arm chairs. I could have sat in those all day.
N was just excited by all extra cushions on the bed. Den building made easy!
The turn down service before bedtime is lovely – they leave a sleep quote bookmark each day. It’s the little things that make a difference.
All I really care about is a good shower, but the ensuite is pretty special. It’s huge, with plenty of towels. N’s highlight is the tv in the bath. Usually when we go away he’ll do anything to avoid having a shower, but the first night he was in the bath with no asking.
The shower head is large although I’d prefer it stronger. It took me until the next day to work out how to get the temperature hot enough. There’s complimentary toiletries as needed.
As it was a bit drizzly during our stay, it was a bit of a faff going outside to get to the restaurant in the new part of the hotel for breakfast. We could have chosen to have our breakfast in our room, but we’d much rather get the buffet ourselves.
Breakfast is long – from 7-10am. We arrived at 7.30 the first day to find 2 coachloads of people eating up to leave early so it was a bit crowded. The rest of our time was quieter at a similar time.
The breakfast is as normal in hotels – hot full english breakfast you serve yourself, plus continental breakfast options – pastries, muffins, fruit, cereals etc.
We didn’t eat in the hotel – there’s the Cloisters restaurant, and there’s also a bar where the food menu looked reasonably priced for hotel prices.
Once I’d got over the long walk into the city, I realised that there were plenty of options. Just walk down the hill to the main road and you’ve got the bus stop into town with buses every 10 minutes. It is a killer to walk back up the hill to the hotel on the return leg so we did get a taxi back a couple of times. Taxis cost us £7.20 and £8.40 the times we used them.
One thing though, the buses are expensive (unless you get the random Faresaver bus in – just don’t leave a coat on it like N did!). You can get a slightly cheaper fare by using your mobile phone, and not all buses take card payment. But it’s less hassle than finding parking.
Because we were staying 3 nights, the hotel told us we could use the boat to go into Bath. We didn’t make use of this, but it’s an alternative to consider if you don’t mind a bit further walk down the road to catch it.
We enjoyed our stay at Bailbrook House hotel. It’s not cheap (if you stay in the manor house), but we did get a discount over the standard room rate by using bookings.com. It’s a good base for exploring Bath if you insist on having a car park in the hotel grounds. With Bailbrook part of the Handpicked Hotels group, I’ll be looking out for more of these in future.
Have you ever been to Bath? Where did you stay?
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