With foreign travel akin to a spin of Russian Roulette in the quarantine stakes, a mini break in the UK is a welcome opportunity to getaway and explore hitherto undiscovered British hot spots. Myself, partner and my Dad packed light and headed off to the West Country and to Bath, widely considered to be Britain’s most beautiful small city and famed for the archaeological wonder from which it takes its name, the Thermae Bath spa.
Where to stay
On arrival we headed to the sweeping curve of Henrietta Road and to our pit stop for the long weekend the charming Roseate Villa, a luxury boutique hotel with a stunning view of the tree-filled, Henrietta Park. From the minute we stepped through the door we felt like we’d found a home from home. Now it’s important to mention here that the COVID precautions in place, whilst stringently observed, did not impact nor dampen the atmosphere of our stay, we felt safe but really looked after, and that’s the essence of the Roseate Villa – the friendly, personalised care and attention with which the staff look after you. Unobtrusive but there if you need them. If you have any reservations about getting away during this time this really does puts you at ease. The rooms are exquisitely furnished, comfortable and afford beautiful views of the park and hotel garden, my Father was so comfy it was hard to prise him out of his room in the afternoon!
I loved the subtle and personalised touches that the staff brought to our stay, for example I’m vegan, often a very real challenge when you are staying in hotels, but sitting next to the homemade shortbread by the kettle in our room were also homemade vegan biscuits and there was plant milk in the fridge which was an extremely thoughtful touch and great news for anyone with food allergies. Breakfast was ordered the night before and delivered to your table, with fruit and juices in clever little sealed jars sitting alongside well stacked plates of cooked breakfast. It looked great but above all it meant that everything was personalised and safe. It was also delicious and all either home made on site (all the bread was freshly baked at the hotel and the preserves made there too) or it was locally sourced.
The hotel is renowned for its afternoon teas (and extensive cocktail menu) so it would have been rude not to partake. Seated on the front lawn we enjoyed our fill of homemade sandwiches, cake and teas – and yes there was a bespoke vegan tea too. Anything we couldn’t eat (and there was plenty) was packaged up in recyclable boxes for later. An after dinner cocktail (or two) finished off our day perfectly.
Where to visit
Surrounded by breath-taking, rolling countryside it’s hard to know where to start when heading out to explore Bath, we began with a stroll into town (under ten minutes from the hotel) and to the pretty Parade Gardens in the centre. With views of the River Avon and the famous Pulteney bridge and weir, this beautiful park boasts a Victorian bandstand, pet cemetery and amongst others, a quirky statue of Bladud and his pigs. It’s a breath of fresh air in the city centre and a stone’s throw from The Colonnades and Bath Abbey – also must visits. To really immerse ourselves in the history of the city we jumped on a local bus tour, hopping off to take in the splendour of The Royal Crescent and to visit the Jane Austen museum. Shopping is most definitely a lure with the best of the best larger and smaller independent stores inhabiting the high street and don’t miss the local markets where local crafts are on offer.
Where to eat
The Roseate Villas helpfully recommended a couple of restaurants for us to pre-book prior to arrival and our favourite was without doubt, the Bathwick Boatman, which is nestled by one of the prettiest outreaches of the River Avon. An old rowing clubhouse, now home to an unpretentious restaurant offering a simple, rustic menu made with the best local produce. The food was incredible and the service friendly and attentive. If the weather permits try to book a place on the outside terrace with views of the river. You won’t regret it.
Rooms at The Roseate Villa Bath start from £150.00 per room per night, for more information visit www.roseatehotels.com. For a dog friendly room there is an additional supplement and special ‘woof’ boxes are provided by the hotel for your pooch’s arrival.
Review by Shelly Vella