Boasting one of the most enviable addresses in Bath, newly-opened boutique hotel No. 15 Great Pulteney is something of a contradiction. You might think that beyond its Grade I-listed Georgian doors that you’d find plush antique furnishings and decadent regency décor, befitting local heroine Jane Austen, but instead you’ll find one of the most intriguingly designed hotels we’ve come across in a long time – thoroughly modern, totally arty and maybe even a bit bonkers (in a good way). Dreamt up by star interior design firm Martin Hulbert Design, in collaboration with the hotel's owners Ian and Christa Taylor, it features quirky touches throughout, from its oversized doll’s house reception to a chandelier made entirely of lone earrings, but sacrifices none of the inherent glamour of its 18th century digs. Featuring what is becoming Bath’s hottest date spot for locals– Bar 15 – as well as a restaurant that serves up breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, and a spa that’s set to launch imminently, it’s easy to see why No 15 is becoming the discerning visitor’s first-choice hotel.
The whimsical décor you encounter elsewhere in the hotel isn’t toned down when it comes to the 31 individually-designed rooms and suites (40 when the new spa suites open later this month), which makes them feel thoroughly home-like for some reason (because where is more idiosyncratic than our bedrooms?) On entering our suite we were greeted by stunning views of Bath from the three-quarter length windows, before having our eye turned by myriad of other details. First there’s the Victorian-style doll’s house, which housed our coffee and tea-making facilities, plus beautiful real china cups and saucers – a rarity in most homes let alone hotels. Then there was the glass-top coffee table, which was filled with gin bottles, ink bottles and other ephemera; the gigantic chandelier hanging over our bed; the modern artwork hung on one wall; the turquoise vintage radio; the faux four-poster bed wallpaper – no last detail was spared, but it didn’t feel ‘busy’ or distracting, it felt just right, Goldilocks-style. The bathroom was less arty, more glossy, with a marble raised sink, roll-top bath tub and old-fashioned chain toilet, plus Bamford toiletries and fluffy robes. A Dyson hairdryer, Sky TV and Nespresso machine meant all the mod-con boxes were ticked, too. Oh, and there’s a pillow menu if that’s your thing.
What We Drank
We headed down for a pre-dinner drink at Bar 15 on the recommendation of staff, making a reservation to ensure we bagged prime seats at what has swiftly become one of Bath’s coolest drinking holes. After admiring the quirky décor, we set down to the business of picking our poison of choice from the deck of cards laid out before us. Because rather than having a pedestrian cocktail menu, Bar 15 has all of its drinks on playing cards, with each suit indicating a different kind of tipple, from fruity to hard core. For the brave, you can even play ‘Carte Blanche’ (the Ace of Clubs) which allows you to ask the bar team to make you a concoction of their choosing, or for the Instagram-fiend, there’s the Pulteney’s Maze, which must have taken 20 minutes to make and featured steaming glasses of various liquids. Our favourite part of the whole experience? The complimentary cheese and olives, generously portioned, which put the obligatory bowl of dry peanuts to shame.
What We Ate
After enjoying our time in the bar, it was time to head down to dinner, which takes place below stairs in Cafe 15. Don't let the humble name mislead you - the food is no casual affair. Although the menu features humble pub grub classics, from fish pie to steak and chips, everything is executed with flair. Our recommendations include the baked camembert stuffed with garlic and rosemary and served with toast, as well as the sea bream and mash for the main, although nothing beats a really well-cooked ribeye, too. Pudding-wise, we shared the vanilla panna cotta, which was served with a delicious accoutrement of Cheddar strawberries, basil and honeycomb. With its unshowy service, simple yet delicious food and eye-catching surroundings - there's an entire apothecary's wall to stare at, plus a magic fireplace that could have been in a Harry Potter film - it's hit the ideal trifecta for fine dining without any of the fuss or intimidation.
How To Book It
A room at No 15 Great Pulteney is £110 per night based on two sharing on a B&B basis, book it now at no15greatpulteney.co.uk