My husband knows how I love Christmas markets. Last year we went to Berlin and the year before Prague but this year we decided to stay close to home as we have a couple of big holidays next year, and to be honest we couldn't afford a short European break and the spending money that goes with it. So Bath it was, and I wasn't disappointed.
I thought we were just going for the day but he surprised me with an overnight stay at The Francis Hotel, right in the centre of Bath.
We got to the hotel around 10am. We knew we couldn't check in yet but as the Christmas market gets very busy we thought we would get there as soon as it opens.
When we arrived at the hotel we didn't know where to park but as we stopped outside the concierge, an older gentleman, came out and was most helpful. He said that we could unload here, as it was a Sunday and although he thought there was no parking space available yet he would double check to see. As we unloaded he tagged our bags and I went to see if I could fill in the registration details at reception. As I was doing so the concierge pointed out that a space had become available in the car park and my husband went to park. What great service!
Copyright The Francis Hotel
Walls are traditional regency colours but also mixed with stunning wallpaper adorned with birds and silhouettes.
The room wasn't ready so they took our details and stored our luggage for later.
We then headed straight out for the Christmas market a five minute walk away where we enjoyed the atmosphere and later in the afternoon had a cheeky glass of mulled wine from one of the stalls. The Christmas market was very busy as it was a Sunday. I would recommend visiting on a day in the week if you could. Bath has some great shops so we also did some shopping and had lunch before heading back to the hotel for 2pm.
When we returned our room was ready.
The room was a decent size, not big but perfectly formed. The room was very stylish in the Regency style but with modern facilities such as a coffee maker, flat screen tv and fridge with fresh milk. How often do you see that in a hotel these days?
The bathroom was decorated in black and white with a feature wall of a scene from the Roman Baths just down the road.
The bed was very comfy but it was the finishing touches impressed me, like the gorgeous antique style phone the ornate gilt mirror and the painting on the ceiling - yes you heard that correctly! You could look up in bed and admire a country view.
It's the little touches that make this a cool hotel like the painting on the ceiling, the ornate mirror and antique style phone
Later that night we had a drink in one of the two lounges below.
Again, beautifully designed, the lounge was very relaxing and stylish. You can have afternoon tea in the lounge and I can imagine it would be lovely. My husband decided on a cocktail and I had a coffee Prices were on the steep side but we enjoyed them, the cocktail especially was well made. We then headed off to Brasserie Blanc next door for our dinner that night.
Stunning wallpaper adorn the walls
The next morning breakfast was served in the John Wood room. The selection of food was wide and varied, pastries, fresh fruit, cereals, yoghurts, fresh juice ( not concentrate), smoothies and much more. A menu gave you a choice of cooked to order food included in the price and you could choose from about 10 offerings including porridge, pancakes and bacon, scrambled eggs and smoked salmon, omelettes and a full cooked breakfast. Everything was excellent quality and they use locally sourced food wherever possible. Staff were cheerful and helpful. We were impressed.
Would I stay here again? It is not a perfect hotel - the lift for example is small and the reception area takes a while to deal with the people checking out and checking in. It also doesn't have a gym or spa for example BUT....I have stayed in hotels all around the world and there was something charming about this hotel that I really loved. The architecture, great service and location really cannot be beaten in Bath, and although it's not cheap, it's not ridiculously priced either. If you have a chance to stay in Bath I urge you to stay at The Francis Hotel. You will not be disappointed.