Few weekends could be better spent than strolling the beautiful Georgian streets of Bath.
Nestled among the rolling hills of Somerset, its sweeping crescents of pale honey stone, Roman Baths, narrow streets and large imposing squares have provided the backdrop to many a period drama, among them the 1995 and 2007 versions of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, 2004’s Vanity Fair and 2008’s The Duchess, not to mention the recent Netflix smash-hit Bridgerton.
Far from a living museum though, Bath’s endless streets of interesting independent shops and cafes, great restaurants and thriving bar scene make it a seriously vibey place to spend a weekend. And the Queensberry Hotel, ensconced in the thick of the action, is the perfect base from which to explore.
Where is it?
The hotel’s location couldn’t be better. Nestled on a quiet street in a residential area, the hotel is a seven minute cab from the train station and a mere five minutes walk from the famous Royal Crescent and 10 minutes to the World Heritage Site of the Roman Baths.
Originally the residential home of the 8th Marquess of Queensberry, the hotel is spread across four beautiful adjoining Georgian terrace houses, and once inside the layout is delightfully higgeldy-piggeldy.
Over the course of the last five years, the entire hotel has been refurbished by local interior designers Etons of Bath and Jane Clayton & Co to the tune of a £1 million, and everything feels incredibly fresh and immaculately clean.
The décor is colourful, contemporary and luxurious throughout, with interesting wallpapers and artwork from local artists a mainstay. A gentle eccentricity and informality is felt in the quirkier touches – for example in the stylish Old Q Bar, the hotel’s tongue in cheek Queensberry Rules are on display (“Anyone overheard attempting to sell timeshare properties in the bar may be asked to leave” and “The sign of a true gentleman, and a lady, is to know one’s limit” among the line-up).
It’s the service that really sets this place apart. On arrival the charming doorman-cum-valet parks your car and has your bags sent up to your room, where Classic FM is already playing on the radio and recent glossy magazines are piled up on the coffee table. There’s no minibar – instead there’s a 24-hour bar service where a smiling member of staff delivers dangerously good drinks to your door within minutes. (For those who like to help themselves, there’s Jing tea and a Nespresso machine available in the drawing room from 8am-8pm.)
Not only are the bar staff knowledgeable about niche spirits and wine, but the incredibly well informed and helpful concierge helped us make a series of perfect restaurant and bar bookings for the nights we ventured further afield (the Beckford Bottleshop is a must - book in advance here).
Food & Drink
Nestled under the hotel on the lower ground floor sits The Olive Tree restaurant, an elegant and surprisingly light and airy space which is the venue for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Head Chef Chris Cleghorn, a protégé of Heston Blumenthal, does seasonal and locally sourced British fare with flair – so much so that he earned Bath’s only Michelin star in 2018.
Before (and after) dinner hit up The Old Q Bar’s excellent cocktail list. The glamorous, blue-hued ground floor space is split over two levels and backs onto a pretty walled garden, which is also part of the restaurant, should you be looking to do lunch or dinner al fresco.
Each of the 29 rooms are individually decorated with their own tasteful art deco-inspired theme. Ceiling-height windows and dramatic Georgian fireplaces are made cosy and modern with colourful silk cushions, floor-sweeping sash curtains and modern metal-framed coffee tables. All the rooms have enveloping beds by Harrison Spinks, Panasonic televisions and White Company toiletries.
If you can afford it, the Deluxe doubles are worth the extra spend for their wonderful spaciousness. Anyone who finds stairs difficult should check they’re in a room on the lower floors, as there is no lift.
The hotel is ideally located for anyone sightseeing or shopping, and the restaurant makes it a must for foodies. The layout of the adjoining vertical townhouses makes it feel intimate and private (it’s easy not to see another guest), perfect for couples seeking seclusion.
With few facilities and limited communal spaces in which to run around, it’s perhaps not a place to spend a long time with young children.
Doubles from £195. For more information and to book see thequeensberry.co.uk