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, 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) 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.
Francis Hotel Bath, 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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