Editor's Blog

Telling stories at Bailbrook House

I always like a hotel with a story to tell. It makes them a lot easier for me to write about, for a start. And Bailbrook House Hotel in Bath (pictured) has so many stories to tell, it’s difficult to know where to begin.

The Georgian house, one of only two Grade II listed hotels in the city, began life as a private home in the 1790s. Since then it has regenerated almost as often as Doctor Who, having spent time as a sanatorium, an air traffic control training centre and most recently as one of Sundial Group’s residential conference hotels.

Hand Picked bought the property in 2012, and following a nine-month £10 million refurbishment Bailbrook House Hotel opened in its current 94-room incarnation.

First impressions are key, and Bailbrook House doesn’t disappoint on that front; the 20 acres of sumptuous grounds and distinctive honey-coloured limestone satisfying any expectations of Regency grandeur you may be harbouring.

The hotel is split into two main sections; the original Mansion House with 13 feature rooms and 2 AA Rosette fine dining restaurant Cloisters, and the 1970s Bailbrook Court extension, where the rest of the rooms are to be found. The 2012 refurbishment also created a dedicated business centre featuring two training suites, three syndicate rooms and a breakout area.

And just this year, the hotel’s Duke of Clarence Suite, positioned at the front of the old Mansion House affording great views of the grounds, has been converted from a lounge to an additional meeting room for up to 24 delegates. 

Keith Turnbull, the hotel’s GM, tells me how Bailbrook House is continually enhancing its facilities and services to meet the needs of event organisers.

“The Duke of Clarence Suite is a perfect example of that, where demand dictated the need to transform the space from an elegant lounge to a dedicated meeting room taking our total to 13 suites,” he says. “ The suite, situated at the front of our historic mansion, has lots of natural daylight and overlooks our impressive grounds, providing a perfect environment for a productive meeting just 1.5 hrs from London.”

And he adds that the hotel is also spending money on the little things too, such as adding zip and link beds into an additional 18 bedrooms to cater for the associations market, giving delegates the option of twinning rooms, and resurfacing the car park.

“The last thing you want is for people to get out of their cars and immediately stand in a puddle”, reasons Turnbull. The fact that the hotel has onsite parking is also a huge selling point in Bath, which is not the most automobile-friendly of places.

Turnbull proudly shows me the “worst” room in the hotel, which is a perfectly serviceable double room, albeit with no view to speak of. All rooms feature soft white bathrobes, DVD players and jugs of fresh milk in the fridge to give even the smallest room a touch of home. And the company’s decision to use Hypnos beds across the chain has seen Hand Picked become the second biggest hotel referrer of customers to Hypnos, behind Premier Inn. In short, the beds are comfy.

We stayed in the Lady Isabella King suite, one of the hotel’s 13 feature rooms, with high ceilings, original fireplace, huge wooden sleigh bed and a vast bathroom with a white roll-top tub placed proudly in the centre. The food at Cloisters restaurant was winningly delicious, a toothsome steak tartare and a haddock with squid Bolognese proving highlights. And the waiting staff didn’t even bat an eyelid when we asked to take our meal to our room halfway through, thanks to a tantrum-throwing 10-month old.

A short journey from the centre of Bath and a 10-minute drive from the M4, its handy location was one of the factors in Mastercard using the hotel as a base for 50 of its top South American executives when Cardiff staged the Champions League final earlier this year.

We were using the hotel as a base for exploring Bath, a city with hundreds of its own stories to tell. And to get just a taste of them, you can't go far wrong by dropping in at Bailbrook House.

Facebook Share Twitter Share LinkeIn Share
  • Tim Chudley 10/08/2017 Of: Sundial Group

    I'm so pleased to hear that Bailbrook is in good hands (pardon the pun). We loved owning and developing the property and are proud to be part of its illustrious history.

    Wishing all the best to Keith and his team with special thanks to those on the staff that we worked with in the past.