When I first visited Bath, I was working for The Leading Hotels of the World and stayed in high style at the Royal Crescent Hotel. I remember the fun I had in exploring this gentle Somerset city and I longed to return.
As fate would have it, I was recently invited to experience the The Francis Hotel, part of the MGallery Collection so returned to the city in an equally stylish fashion. Like the Royal Crescent, The Francis is situated in a Georgian terrace (seven adjacent houses converted into one) but is perhaps a little more central, overlooking a leafy square where, in the evening, a competitive game of boules is played by the locals.
Behind its listed regency facade, the decor is a clever mix of contemporary style, sitting comfortably amidst its historic setting.
Traditionalists may quibble with the juxtaposition of design elements, but I personally think the hotel has hit just the right note.
Touches of roguish Regency mix happily with mix-matched yet sumptuous armchairs, silhouette wallpaper, samples of exquisite Bath Aqua Glass and de-constructed crystal chandeliers.
It’s lighthearted and fun – and it certainly made me smile.
I stayed in the Jane Austen Room (you can’t get more Regency than that) and I loved the vibrant, dark colours and my views out over the square. Obviously there’s fast free Wifi, tea & coffee, gorgeous toiletries (Bigelow Apothecaries) and sumptuous linens and towels – that goes without saying.
Elements that stand out for me include the “now you see it, now you don’t” wardrobe which is a lot of fun. This is the wardrobe closed …
and this is it open! Clever, don’t you think, and appropriate to the age of the property.
This almost-vintage telephone was another hit to me.
The bathroom – well, if I could have, I would have packed it away in my suitcase so I think that just about sums up my preferences there.
We took afternoon tea (fresh and delightful), ate in the adjoining Brasserie Blanc (wonderful) but what I really liked – and what will make me consider making this my prime Bath address forever – were the friendly, happy staff who stopped at nothing to make my stay enjoyable. A hotel is only as good as its employees and these are just great.
This is the first and only UK MGallery property so is in effect, their flagship: but not for long. Expect sister hotels to join the collection this coming Autumn with properties in nearby Cheltenham and Royal Windsor opening soon.
Francis Hotel Bath – MGallery Collection, Queen Square, Bath, BA1 2HH – reservations call 01225 424105 or visit their website. The rates for the Feature Rooms range from £160 – £325, room only.
Contributor & photographer : Sue Lowry
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