Take inspiration from Bath’s finest hotels and borrow ideas for a little touch of luxury at home
Everyone but the most jaded rock star loves a luxury hotel room. There’s that blissful few moments after you’ve shut the door against the world and taken in the perfect peace and order of a room where someone else has done all the hard work. The colours are harmonious, the big bed looks inviting, the curtains are neatly drawn back, bedside tables with twin lamps give a pleasing symmetry and there’s a chair or sofa to throw yourself into once you’ve checked out the bathroom for top quality toiletries.
Some hotels lay on fresh flowers, a tea tray or a bowl of fruit, or if you’re very privileged there’ll be an ice bucket containing a bottle of Champagne, a pair of fine Champagne flutes and a tempting platter of strawberries dipped in chocolate.
We can’t spend our lives checking in to hotels just so we can experience the delights of Egyptian cotton sheets, fluffy bathrobes and plump pillows. But we can recreate some of those details at home. We’ve asked some of Bath’s top hotels for some five star inspiration for our own homes.
In a city bursting with luxury hotels, The Bath Priory continues to draw visitors, enticed not only by the reputation of its restaurant, its gardens tended by The Bath Magazine’s very own Jane Moore and the only L’Occitane spa in the UK, but also by its beautiful interiors.
Downstairs, guest rooms such as the library and drawing room are opulently decorated and full of some of the private art collection of owners Andrew and Christina Brownsword, while upstairs, the refurbishment of bedrooms in 2016 has provided cool, contemporary spaces in which guests can relax. Designed by Sims Hilditch, the luxury interior designer based in nearby Cold Ashton, we’ve asked them to share their tips on how we can emulate the style of a luxury hotel in our own homes.
Founder Emma Sims Hilditch comments: “I always begin a bedroom design by looking at the amount of natural light the room gets. This will influence the general arrangement of furniture, as well as the colour palette and elements such as floor, wall and window treatments. At The Bath Priory colour was important, so each room is individual with plenty of personality, while artwork was also key, so our interiors took inspiration from key pieces, which is a good starting place for bedrooms at home too”.
Oasis of calm: interior design house Sims Hilditch has chosen natural shades for individually designed rooms
at The Bath Priory
Emma continues: “The bed is the centre piece in any bedroom so choose your style carefully. Upholstered beds create a soft, welcoming feeling while four poster or sleigh beds create a dramatic statement. However, a bed is never on its own. I like to think of the side tables and footstool as a triangle that surrounds and anchors the bed – as well as having an important aesthetic impact, they are also practical for storing books, extra blankets etc.
“Finally, indulge in your own little bit of hotel lux – whether that is just the right linen, the perfect light bulb to give off just the right amount of flight, or a vase of fresh flowers such as the beautiful arrangements supplied to The Bath Priory by florist Deb England, then you can create the finishing touches to create a hotel-worthy bedroom at home.”
Grand country house hotels need bathrooms that meet expectations at five star level; classic yet modern and practical. The bathroom project at the hotel was overseen and executed by Robert Cotterill Construction which has been heavily involved in all recent refurbishment of bedrooms and other projects at hotel.
Bath based interior designer Claire Rendall had seen a wash stand idea on her travels to other hotels and commissioned Stephen Graver who specialises in bespoke kitchen and bathrooms to create these sumptuous rooms.
The bathrooms at Lucknam Park feature a number of thoughtful details. The wooden washstands were designed to fit double basins, with bespoke stands made of American black walnut, with maple veneer. Slatted shelves were created underneath for extra storage.
The titanium granite tops are from Windsmere Stone, Seend, which also provided the stone for the corner shelves in showers and the well thought out shelves next to freestanding baths for toiletries and glasses of champagne.
The marble tiles are from Mandarin Stone in Bath – polished marble was used on the walls while the honed marble on floors was chosen for its non-slip qualities. The bathrooms have underfloor heating. The showers have a wet room look with discreet practical frameless screens and doors and no lip on entry to avoid stubbing of toes.
The mirrors have heat pads behind so that they don’t mist up and there are LED lights on the ceiling and floor level, as well as low illumination lights to guide people safely to the lavatory in the night.
The interiors at No15 Great Pulteney were brought to life by owners Ian and Christa Taylor together with Martin Hulbert and Jay Grierson of Martin Hulbert Design – one of the UK’s star interior design firms – known for their work at Coworth Park, Chewton Glen and The Grove, Hertfordshire. Unfailingly elegant in style and with an added layer of drama, curiosity and detail on top, the hotel is imbued with new energy while retaining the integrity of its original architectural features.
The design of the hotel is inspired by the Georgian history of the building, in combination with a contemporary look. The interiors are defined by captivating collections of objects, original art, bespoke wallpaper and plenty of sparkling chandeliers (including one made entirely of thousands of lone earrings) that result from the Taylors’ scouring antique fairs and graduate degree shows – creating an almost gallery-like feel. Café 15 features an old chemist’s shop, with hundreds of apothecary bottles lining the walls.
Martin Hulbert Design’s first floor and second floor suites feature calming colour palettes, statement art and chandeliers, contemporary four-poster beds and Perspex furniture. Much of the furniture is bespoke, including doll’s houses that house tea and coffee making facilities.
The Pulteney Suite at No15 in Great Pulteney Street
Alongside the Martin Hulbert suites, local designers Woodhouse and Law, Rossiters of Bath and Eton Design have also each designed a bedroom to showcase local talent. At the top of No15, the Taylors have created the Artist’s Floor, a manifestation of their keen eye for up-and-coming talent – working closely with a range of local students and artists to commission bespoke murals in the seven bedrooms, as well as a charming design with cheeky monkeys stealing food from the pantry on the landing.
Several of the bedroom interior schemes have been inspired by the walls once stripped bare, with some walls left intentionally unfinished for a new twist on the old. Vibrant wallpaper can also be found throughout – from Rhian Beynon’s botanical prints in the lady’s powder room, to Tracy Kendall’s inventory-print wallpaper reflecting the history of the building in one of the Woodhouse and Law bedrooms, and Rossiters bird-print wallpaper on the ceiling of their Good Evening bedroom.
No15’s quirky and eclectic design throughout could inspire us to cherish and display some favourite vintage objects, and perhaps even to create unique pieces of upcycled furniture or lampshades, using old jewellery for example.
The five star Gainsborough Hotel prides itself on using British products throughout the property, including design classic the Roberts radio in the bedrooms, but updated with Bluetooth connectivity.
The marble for the hotel’s floors is from Zanetti in Bristol. Asprey toiletries are supplied to guests in the bedrooms and classic British brand Neals Yard Remedies are used in the spa and the bedrooms. Romy Frasier started blending oils in the hippie gathering marketplace of Neals Yard dairy in Covent Garden in the 1970s. Since then the brand has expanded to become a leading national brand with an international reputation.
The Gainsborough’s therapists use the original single note essential oils to make personalised blends at the aroma bar. They also use NYR massage oils. The hotel restaurant, run by head chef Dan Moon, prides itself in using all local suppliers and produce.
The Royal Crescent Hotel is set in a Grade I listed Georgian townhouse. It underwent a multi-million pound renovation and restoration, which was completed in 2014 and now prides itself as a quintessential English luxury hotel, reconsidered for the 21st century.
The Royal Crescent Hotel and Spa has 45 individually decorated, spacious rooms and suites. While these are all newly refurbished, bespoke design has preserved and highlighted the period features of the Georgian property. Every room has its own distinctive character, with classic antique pieces such as four-poster beds or roll top baths.
Contemporary design touches include the latest mod cons such as TV flat screens, iPod docking stations and Nespresso coffee machines. All the master suites are named after key figures who formed a part in the making of Bath and the Crescent’s 250 year history.