The best hotels in Bath and Somerset

Mhairi Mann

17 May 2022

Where to rest your head in the beautiful spa town of Bath and its surrounds, rich with historic architecture, grand pastoral spaces and a tempting array of pubs, bars and restaurants

17 May 2022 | Mhairi Mann

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egency buildings, spotless crescents, charming boutiques and the world-famous hot springs – Bath is a city that is made for ambling and unwinding. Its superlative luxury hotels offer sumptuous interiors and indulgent menus, from modern designer digs or Jane Austen-style splendour. Head further afield and you’ll find some of England’s finest sweeping estates and honey-toned Georgian manors houses, with cosseting spas, bucolic views and all manner of country pursuits. Beat the crowds and book one of these five-star slumbers for couples and families alike, whether you are seeking resplendent decor, fine cuisine, swimming pools, self-catering cabins or country rambles. Here are the best hotels in Bath and Somerset...

The Newt, Somerset

South African billionaire Koos Bekker opened The Newt in 2019 with his wife, designer Karen Roos. The dilapidated mansion-turned exalted contemporary hotel is surrounded by orchards, wildly romantic woodland and garden after garden, lined with apple trees. The hotel is so-called after the 2,000-odd newts that they had to safeguard during the extensive five-year building work.

Everything at The Newt is consciously designed, from the elegant interiors to the hotel’s farm-to-fork philosophy. Chef Ben Champkin is in the kitchen, drawing on local ingredients for his delightful menu of modern dishes. The Bekkers also own Babylonstoren, widely considered one of the most beautiful hotels and wine estates in South Africa. You can sample its wares at The Newt by the glass or bottle, alongside botanical cocktails and The Newt’s own Somerset cyder, made onsite in the cathedral-like cellar. There is also a serene spa with a blissful indoor-outdoor pool. The hotel is complemented by The Farmyard – a series of renovated 18th-century dairy barns with gorgeously rustic interiors.

From £255 per night; Hadspen, Bruton BA7 7NG

 

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Homewood, Bath

A popular choice for weddings, this privately-owned idyll is a fifteen-minute drive from Bath and majors in eclecticism. The historic country house is brought to life by contemporary artwork, vibrant textiles, antique clocks and mismatched furniture. Each of the 21 bedrooms is uniquely decorated, with garden views and rolltop baths.

Dine beneath clutches of cascading chandeliers in the hotel restaurant, Olio, which opens onto the outdoor terrace. A lively suntrap during the warmer months, its laidback menu of perfectly cooked and generously sized dishes impresses locals and holidaymakers alike. Guests can also book one of the intimate outdoor dining domes or standalone private spaces, which overlook the garden – 10 acres of manicured lawn leading to a private play park, where Homewood's littlest visitors can gleefully run free. Look out for life-sized grass-covered teddy bears and giraffes, nestled beneath the trees. Elsewhere, take a dip in the outdoor swimming pool, flanked by sleek sun loungers, or sink into the bubbling indoor jacuzzi. 

From £205 per night, pets welcome for an additional charge of £25 per night; Abbey Lane, Freshford, Bath BA2 7TB

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Babington House, Frome

Before Soho Farmhouse there was Babington House, set on a vast sweep of glorious English countryside in Somerset. Opened by the Soho House group in 1998, it is rightfully credited with modernising the country house hotel, transforming the concept from staid and stuffy into something hip and desirable. It forged the blueprint for the country-cool retreat, which has been replicated the world over. 

Today the hotel remains as popular as ever and operates at near-full capacity. Much like Soho Farmhouse, Babington is a private club and weekend hangout for creative urbanites, families and trendy locals. The expansive grounds boast cottages, cabins, a cricket pitch, tennis courts and swimming pools. If outdoor pursuits aren’t your thing, unwind in the Cowshed spa or hole up by a roaring fire in the library. Interiors are reflective of the Soho House brand, spliced with whimsical cottagecore prints. Expect plush velvet furnishings, pretty floral wallpaper and marble accents. 

From £250 per night, available for Soho House members to book (+£100 'friends of Soho' fee for non-members); Charity Lane, Frome BA11 3RW

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The Pig – Near Bath, Somerset

The Pig hotel group, owned by hotelier Robin Hudson, also champions a unique brand of louche unbuttoned luxury. It is set in a Grade II listed country house against a glowing backdrop of yellow rapeseed fields, located 25 minutes from both Bath and Bristol. Rustic interiors are furnished with pre-loved furniture and artful curios, which creates a laidback, homely vibe. The Pig focuses on food, merriment and indulgence. Its farm-to-table model plucks the majority of its produce from the walled kitchen garden, while eggs are fresh from the chicken coop. Unfussy seasonal dishes are served in a choice of spaces, including the light-filled restaurant and the outdoor under-canvas dining area. There are also several cosy lounge areas with roaring fires and a hotel bar accented by shelves of coloured glasses, primed for champagne, cocktails and mocktails. Look out for the fallow deer, who peacefully roam the grounds.

From £225 per night on a room-only basis (minimum two-night stay at weekends); Pensford, Bath BS39 4NS

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The Gainsborough, Bath

The Gainsborough unfolds across two converted Grade II-listed buildings, bang in the centre of Bath. Aside from its location, the hotel’s main draw is the Romanesque Spa Village, set beneath a colonnaded glass-roofed atrium. It is the only hotel in Bath that has direct access to the city’s famed natural thermal waters, which bubble up from below the building. Segue from swimming pool to steam room to sauna, or book an energising Elemis facial or body treatment. Designed by Alexandra Champalimaud, The Gainsborough has classically luxurious decor and bedrooms with soaring ceilings. Visit the smart hotel bar and restaurant for afternoon tea, early evening cocktails and a fine dining menu that draws on local produce, executed with theatrical flair.

From £290 on a room-only basis; Beau Street, Bath BA1 1QY

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Lucknam Park, Chippenham

A mile-long driveway flanked by beech trees and manicured gardens sets the tone for Lucknam Park – a Palladium mansion in 500 acres of sweeping, plummy parkland. Part of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux collection, Lucknam Park encapsulates historic British grandeur at its very finest. One for maximalists and fans of period drama, look out for ornate plasterwork ceilings, brocade wallpaper and plush fringed sofas. Oil paintings peep out from gold frames, while shelves are stuffed with antique books. Bedrooms are furnished with four-poster beds, draped curtains and marble ensuites, whilst dinner is served beneath cascading chandeliers in the former ballroom. Book a spoiling Espa treatment at the spa, followed by a dip in one of two swimming pools. The sound of horses trotting back to the onsite equestrian centre rivals the hum of luxury cars on the driveaway.

From £360; Chippenham SN14 8AZ

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The Royal Crescent, Bath

You may recognise the Royal Crescent from Bridgerton – the prestigious address is used as the opulent home of the Featherington family. The five-star Royal Crescent hotel occupies two Grade I listed townhouses on this affluent row. Its Georgian footprint interplays with contemporary menus and a five-star spa, encircling a beautiful, lavender-filled garden. It is worth visiting The Royal Crescent for its artwork alone; find an impressive roster of oil paintings, tapestries and illustrative cartoons, which lovingly pay tribute to the area’s esteemed history. This quintessentially English hideaway hums with cross-generational families and couples of all ages, sipping on Taittinger champagne and Somerset cider on the picturesque lawn or sampling hearty British fare in the Dower House restaurant.

From £360 per night; 16 Royal Crescent, Bath, BA1 2LS

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