Solange Berchemin channels her inner Bridgerton as she stays at Bath’s Bailbrook House Hotel
Bridgerton, one of Netflix’s smash-hit period drama series, has breathed a new lease of life on the city of Bath. The city’s golden Georgian stones, the iconic famous buildings, the elegant gardens get the starring role in series 3, transporting visitors to an era of elegance and opulence.
Never more so than at the Bailbrook House Hotel, one of only two Grade II listed country house hotels in the city. This stately manor house is nestled in 20 private acres of countryside, just minutes outside the city centre by car. The historic mansion house has 13 feature rooms and suites and the Bailbrook Court offers 94 rooms in the modern wing. In 2012, Bailbrook House Hotel was bought and refurbished by the Hand-Picked Hotels group, a unique collection of award-winning country house hotels.
Back to 1817, when the mansion was Lady Isabella King’s lynchpin for her humanitarian initiative, ‘The Ladies Foundation’ that provided a safe haven for prostitutes and a place for women to be educated. Queen Charlotte, the wife of King George III visited the asylum and became its benefactor. If she were to return, she would undoubtedly appreciate the discrete and helpful personnel, the elegant Royal Lounges with their high ceilings and cornices, the dog-friendly accommodations and the health-conscious breakfast. I let you imagine what she’d make of the fast Wi-Fi, the rooms’ mini- fridges stocked with fresh milk for coffee and the TVs disguised as mirrors over the stand-alone copper baths.
In the main building, each of the 13 rooms is named after a prominent Georgian personality. I stayed in John Wood Suite, named after the 18th-century architect who designed Bath’s iconic landmarks such as The Circus. The 35 square metre room has panoramic views of the Avon Valley and of Bath, as well as dark wood furniture and a four-poster bed.
John Wood suite is a romantic bedroom with an archaic feel. The marble bathroom with a period fireplace has a double rain shower, a roll-top copper bath, a TV, a hairdryer, robes, slippers and own-brand toiletries. This historic location has been beautifully converted and is perfect for weddings and guests who want to immerse themselves in the elegant period charm of the hotel. On the other hand, the modern rooms in the more recent wing are ideal for conference stays.
I enjoyed my getaway immensely, but when I return it will be for a meal at the hotel restaurant.
Situated in the basement of the house, the intimate atmosphere of The Cloisters is complete with original golden stone archways. In my opinion, the magnificence of the manor comes into its own in its restaurant. The Cloisters has received a two AA Rosette award for culinary excellence. The menu is fairly priced. The produce are either locally foraged or supplied by UK producers.
Dinner was fit for a Queen, however, I have a grumble when I’m given licence to be outrageously self-indulgent, calories are the last thing I want to read about, it’s both unfair and off-putting. Of course, it’s the law, but there are discreet ways to apply it.
Having said this, Michael Ball, -no! not the singer- The Cloisters’ Head Chef and his team, create amazing modern flavour combinations. The attention to detail is evident in the little touches, marmite butter is unusual and daring, beetroot sourdough bread, red pepper sorbet and black garlic paste with miso are so out of the ordinary that I couldn’t help wondering what amazing dish will arrive next at our table. Asparagus custard, rabbit cannelloni or crab gnocchi? The dishes change regularly and are sure to delight any foodie.
I had hoped that the surprises and the magic would carry over to breakfast but by the next morning, we were back to more traditional and nutritious fare, with separate buffets set up for significant allergies.
A visit to Bailbrook House Hotel would undoubtedly soothe Queen Charlotte’s morosity and anxieties, how could it not? surrounded by staff who visibly enjoy looking after their guests, tranquil surroundings and vistas over Bath but the talk of the town should be the Cloisters restaurant for its inventiveness and delightful combination of flavours.
Tell me more about Bailbrook House Hotel
Bailbrook House Hotel, Eveleigh Ave, London Rd W, Bath BA1 7JD
T: 01225 855100