Having only recently opened its doors, The Gainsborough Bath Spa is set to become a local haven and an international must-visit retreat. Ideally located along Beau Street, the hotel has been elegantly designed by internationally-acclaimed, New York-based, Champalimaud Design, and EPR Architects London, with Bath’s classical roots in mind.
The design of The Gainsborough Bath Spa pays homage to its colourful history in a fusion of contemporary style and Georgian-era influences.
Situated atop the vestiges of a Roman Settlement and the remains of ancient Roman Baths, the Gainsborough story begins within its foundations. At the onset of the redevelopment process, archaeological excavations uncovered the ‘Beau Street Hoard.’ The Hoard comprises over 17,000 ancient coins, and now forms a part of The Gainsborough Bath Spa’s earliest chapter and exciting future legacy.
The structure itself was built as the United Hospital in 1824, with designs by renowned architect John Pinch. In 1932, the Hospital closed and the property became home to Bath College of Art & Design until 2005. The property owes its name to the College, paying homage to the famed portrait artist, Thomas Gainsborough, who was a central figure in Bath society.
To honour that legacy, YTL has selected three students from the College and have commissioned from them exclusive artwork for the Gainsborough Bath Spa to feature prominently in its public spaces.
“While we have rooted the design and features of the Gainsborough Bath Spa in its strong, listed, Georgian characteristics, our intent has been to offer something new,” says Anthony Champalimaud, Vice President of Development, YTL Hotels. “Our design team has introduced contemporary elements respectful of the fabric of the building and its surroundings. While the hotel is designed to pay deference to history, it does so in a manner that appeals to, and engages with, the present. The Gainsborough Bath Spa is designed to be welcoming, vibrant and social – a meaningful and enduring contribution to the life of the city.”
The hotel will offer guests beautifully appointed rooms with views that overlook the UNESCO World Heritage City and the surrounding hills beyond. Visitors to the hotel will enjoy guest rooms flooded with light from 16ft tall windows framed by long dramatic draperies. Each feature of the guest rooms are bespoke and a result of exclusive collaborations between Champalimaud and other design specialists.
An inviting contemporary two poster bed features a playful antimacassar over the headboard designed by Champalimaud in collaboration with Kravet. The design, on toile, depicts a classic Gainsborough pastoral scene. A Champalimaud designed custom built-in wardrobe features in each of the guest rooms with lighted, burl wood interior, drawers and ample hanging space.
Marble bathrooms feature alcove roll top bath tubs with traditional brightware plumbing fixtures and under floor heating. Three exclusive Spa Suites will be the only guest rooms in the UK to offer guests in-bathroom access to the thermal waters via a third tap, giving guests the luxurious choice of bathing in thermal or non-thermal water.
Spa Village Bath will be the only UK hotel spa to provide direct access to natural thermal waters – one of the most exciting features of The Gainsborough Bath Spa. The spa’s design fuses modern elements with traditional architecture typical to surviving examples of Roman Baths.
At its heart are three healing pools of warm thermal water beneath a contemporary glass atrium. The spa is spread over two levels. On the lower level there are treatment rooms, an ice room, infra-red sauna, traditional sauna, steam room, luxurious men’s and ladies changing rooms and the thermal pools. Respecting the historic Roman tradition, each pool is a few degrees warmer or cooler than the next and are to be experienced – as they were in Roman time – in sequence.
Between the columns of the Romanesque colonnade and feature wall surrounding the largest of the pools of the Bath House, are niches clad in custom glass mosaics in blue and grey. Designed to reflect the thermal water and the Bath sky beneath the glass roof above, bathers will sit amongst the columns enjoying massaging jets of therapeutic water.
Above, three contemporary interpretations of Georgian lanterns illuminate the Bath House, adding another contemporary edge to the spa’s design. Elsewhere, a Roman mosaic floor, uncovered during 19th century archaeological works and sealed beneath the surface, has been replicated above.
On the second level, linking the Gainsborough to its sister YTL property, Green Leaf Niseko Village, in Japan, a Tatami and a VIP room complete with an Ofuru-style tub – a wooden Japanese soaking tub accented with river rocks – is a feature element honouring the Asian hydrotherapy tradition. Ensconced further within is a cloistered space called the Fountain Room where guests are invited to taste the mineral-laden thermal water – a practice known to Roman bathers in Bath – and to meditate on a waterfall in contemplative solitude.
The Romanesque Bath House is backdrop to Gainsborough Bath Spa’s innovative, best-in-class internationally-inspired spa treatments. Offered in the longstanding tradition of YTL Hotel’s Malaysian Spa Village brand, the Spa promises an experience that honours the healing culture of Bath, providing an individual and authentic experience, harmoniously combining natural local ingredients with long-celebrated Malaysian healing practices and long standing hydrotherapy practices drawn from around the world.
At The Gainsborough Bath Spa, hotel guests and Bath residents will enjoy a striking restaurant with a chic country bistro feel that seats up to 94. Warmly appointed with butterscotch coloured leather seating, herringbone floors and soft banquets nested in windowed niches, guest will find a seating arrangement to suit their mood beneath high, beamed ceilings, and contemporary lighting.
Laid out in two wings and a central dining area, the restaurant’s left wing sits behind a dramatic wine wall. Intimate seating around an open fireplace lends this space to family dinners, meetings or cosier dining. The right wing features a remarkable mural commissioned from a student from the Bath School of Art and Design. The taller, communal-style tables in the middle of the restaurant create a perfect setting for groups and lively gatherings
The bar is chic, modern and sits as a fun and interesting contrast to the hotel’s more formal attributes. The bar itself is impressive, built from ceruced oak with an elegant white calacatta gold marble top. Behind the bar is a de Stijl inspired, Mondrian composition of different metal and glass panels in pink, peach and soft pastel shades.