Historic Bath, England, Gets a New Roman Spa You'll Want to Visit

August 2015

Last month, famed interior designer Alexandra Champalimaud—designer of the Bahamas' super-chic and laid-back Island House Hotel—opened the first and only hotel that grants guests the chance to access Bath, England’s famed natural thermal waters in its Romanesque spa.

Set in the center of the ancient Roman city on Beau Street, the 99-room Gainsborough Bath Spa is steps from the city’s shopping and restaurant districts, and stands directly opposite the UNESCO Heritage Site Thermae Bath Spa. It's also a five minute walk from the Bath Spa train station, making it a 90 minute train journey from London, door to door.

And the building!

During the early redevelopment stages of the former United Hospital (in the 19th century) and the Bath College of Art & Design (until 2005), archaeological excavations uncovered 17,000 ancient coins, a selection of which are on display in the hotel’s reception. The rest of the Georgian building was redone by Champalimaud (below) and her team in modern Georgian style, with a restaurant helmed by Johann Lafer, one of Germany's most celebrated chefs and TV personalities.

But let's be honest: the point of coming here is to experience the modern-day Roman Bath Circuit in actual natural thermal waters. Called the Spa Village Bath, the hotel's destination spa has its own water reserve that is kept at 47 degrees centigrade and packed full of natural minerals. Take a one-hour self-guided tour through the pools just like the ancients did, moving from saunas to a steam room, an ice alcove, and relaxation rooms. Three thermal pools take up a large chunk in the heart of the spa, set beneath a glass atrium held aloft by ionic columns.

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