24-25 Pulteney Rd
Tel: 44 1225 425 495
This cozy, friendly, family-run 14-room Victorian built of distinctive honey-colored Bath stone is near the center of town and strolling distance from most of the city's attractions. The curious mix of Victoriana—button-back wing chairs, four-poster and brass beds, and deep-pelmeted windows—with Asian antiques and Oriental plantings in the walled garden makes sense when you know the proprietors also have a gallery of Southeast Asian antiques. Breakfast is included in the rates.
Tel: 44 1225 830 830
A reliable agency with the blessing of the Bath tourism board, this outfit has a stable of 18 furnished weekly rentals that sleep between two and six people. Most of the apartments and cottages are traditionally decorated, but if mod's your thing, ask for one of the choices with jazzy contemporary décor. All have fully equipped kitchens, and most are in Georgian buildings, so you can play at being a local.
Tel: 44 1225 331 922
Set amid four acres of landscaped grounds near the Royal Crescent, this rambling 19th-century stone inn feels more country house than townhouse. The lounges and 33 bedrooms are done up in English manor chintz, with a ecclesiastical motif running throughout. The rates include breakfast and use of the spa's indoor colonnaded pool (but no treatments). The restaurant, headed by Michelin-starred chef Chris Horridge, turns out excellent seasonal menus based on local produce.
Tel: 44 870 400 8222
Tel: 888 892 0038
This 129-room Georgian mansion, set among seven acres of landscaped gardens, is a mostly peaceful getaway in the hills outside the city. Rooms in the original house, built in 1848, have period details and furnishings (like the four-poster beds in the 27 spacious suites) that can evoke a Jane Austen-ish reverie, while those in the 20th-century addition have a more contemporary feel. All have polished marble and mahogany bathrooms. In recent years, it's become a favorite destination for conference attendees—and delegates with name badges tend to spoil the sense of historic nostalgia. The good news: You can escape the hordes by hitting the pool, the large spa, the gym, or the croquet lawn—or by booking one of the butler-serviced Imperial Suites, housed in a structure set apart from the main building.
Tel: 44 1225 447 928
Since this 29-room Georgian townhouse hotel was taken over by one of Bath's tourism directors and his wife in 2003, it's become one of area's top places to stay. The redesigned rooms are handsome and—for Bath, anyway—almost edgy: All are decorated in shades of chocolate, olive, pink, and rust, with mod wallpapers, halogen light fixtures, angular couches, and flat-screen TVs. Also redesigned: the popular below-street level modern British restaurant, the Olive Tree.
16 Royal Crescent
Tel: 44 1225 823 333
Tel: 800 980 0987
This 45-room property sits right in the center of the street of streets, the spectacular Royal Crescent. Everywhere you look in the five linked houses are 18th-century antiques, oils by such notables as Reynolds and Gainsborough, and portraits of historical figures with links to Bath, including Lord Nelson and George III. The suites, too, are named after famous local figures (such as Jane Austen and the "Scarlet Pimpernel"—the fictional Sir Percy Blakeney). The Georgian fantasy isn't quite authentic; Sir Percy would have swooned at the luxe bathrooms with their custom-made organic products, the fancy spa, and the Mediterranean- and Asian-influenced fare at the Dower House restaurant. But no one's complaining. On weekends, a wedding is likely to be in progress.