The hotel's stunning suites

Starting tomorrow (13 September), the Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel hosts over 70 events to coincide with the annual Jane Austen Festival, including talks, concerts, readings, dance workshops and even a masked ball. Eva Gizowska books into the stunning 5-star property for a closer look.

First impressions

I have no idea of my bearings. So, I jump in a cab from Bath Spa station. The hotel is only a mile away but due to a one-way road system, the journey takes about 15 minutes. The driver delights in pointing out key landmarks along the way including the River Avon and the famous, historic Venetian style Pulteney Bridge; think the Ponte di Rialto in Venice and Ponte Vecchio in Florence.

The hotel is a beautiful Georgian building, set on a hillside, amongst exquisite landscaped gardens. The grounds are huge and as the cab makes its way along the long, winding drive, I pass a mini ornamental lake with a fountain and a small alcove with seats hidden amongst the greenery.

MacdonaldbathfrontSplendid Georgian facades overlook pretty gardens
Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel

The hotel reception is large, light and spacious with a marble floor. Leading off it is the drawing room. I take a quick look. The decor is classic Georgian – cream walls, a patterned carpet, fireplaces, portraits and paintings on the walls, spiky green plant arrangements in oversized vases, armchairs, sofas and tables incorporating touches of muted burgundy, sage and brown. There are guests dotted around the room, reading, having tea, chatting.

Ideal for…

It’s a wonderful honeymoon choice for newly weds and couples wanting the ultimate romantic break. It’s also a great option for families, groups of friends, culture vultures, Jane Austen fans and anyone wanting a conveniently located base from which to explore Bath.

The room

It’s late afternoon as I check into my garden view room. There’s a large, comfortable bed with immaculate white bed linen, a couple of armchairs, chair, desk and HD flat screen TV. There’s also a mini bar, iron and ironing board, white fluffy robe and slippers and plenty of wardrobe space for clothes. The bathroom has a marble bath and shower and a selection of Molten Brown toiletries.

Best room

There are 129 rooms that combine a mix of Georgian and modern style décor. These include classic rooms, garden view rooms and family rooms. But if you’re seeking total indulgence, opt for one of the Imperial Suites housed in a separate wing accessed via the courtyard gardens for total privacy. The suites vary – some offer grand fireplaces, others spire beds and a separate sitting room. Champagne and canapés are served every evening. Each suite also offers a full butler service, who will even run you a scented bath on request.

Eating and drinking

The hotel’s signature restaurant is the award-winning Vellore, located in what used to be a magnificent ballroom in the original house. There’s plenty of space with tables arranged around the vast dining area. The menu features traditional British dishes made from local, fresh, seasonal foods from ham hock terrine and grilled Cornish mackerel to Highland lamb and Gressingham duck.

VelloreroomThe Vellore restaurant and tranquil Drawing Room
Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel

I meet a friend for a pre-dinner aperitif in the hotel bar. We opt for bespoke cocktails – a fruity mix of gin, champagne and pomegranate. For dinner, we both go for the fish of the day, brill, with a delicious seafood sauce and fresh green vegetables. For dessert, the ever-obliging Scottish waiter recommends the dark chocolate delice, because “it marries very well” with the lavender ice-cream. He’s not wrong - the chocolate pudding turns out to be delicious.

Next morning, breakfast, also in the main dining room, is another treat. You can choose from a selection of fresh breads, pastries, cheeses, cold meats, fruits and yoghurts, continental style and there is also the signature Macdonald cooked breakfast that comprises the full works - eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, baked beans, black pudding, fried bread and toast.


One of my favourite spots in the hotel is the Drawing Room. I love the big comfy sofas, the tranquil atmosphere and the giant, freshly baked cookies. You can also have afternoon tea and other snacks here.

MacdonaldbathspaRelax in the outdoor pool
Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel

The hotel also has a state-of-the-art spa, outdoor and indoor swimming pools, whirlpool, rock sauna, salt infusion room, ice room and a range of health and beauty treatments including Decleor face and body treatments, and alternative therapies such as reiki and reflexology.

Room for improvement

The reception was a bit sparse at times with only one person manning the desk when I arrived, which meant a bit of a wait until I could check into my room. For a hotel of this size, I felt there should be more staff available front of house.

Out and about

The hotel is situated away from the main hub – yet, only 10 minutes walk from the city centre. It neighbours the historic Sydney Gardens and The Holburne Art Museum is down the road. Next door to the hotel is a small path that leads to the most beautiful river walk where you can see herons, swans and other wildlife, and also admire the beautiful riverfront gardens and stunning Georgian mansions.

Other must-see attractions include The Jane Austen Centre, The Fashion Museum, Bath Abbey, The Royal Crescent (the famous row of Georgian houses) and Number One Royal Crescent for a fascinating insider glimpse of a typical Georgian home. Not forgetting of course, the historic Roman Baths. I spend a morning at the Thermae Bath Spa where bathing in thermal waters on the roof-top pool was totally sublime.

For more information on the Jane Austen Festival, see


Macdonald Bath Spa Hotel,
Sydney Road,
BA2 6NA.
Tel: (01225) 444 424.
Prices start from £145 per night for classic double or twin room (based on two sharing), excluding breakfast.


Visa and passport information is updated regularly and is correct at the time of publishing. You should verify critical travel information independently with the relevant embassy before you travel.