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Healing Waters

by Sandra Ramani

The allure of potent natural mineral springs helped draw everyone from ancient Romans to eighteenth-century wellness-seekers (not to mention plenty of Jane Austen characters) to the UNESCO World Heritage city of Bath. And now, modern-day travelers have the chance to experience those same healing waters from the privacy and comfort of the city’s first true spa hotel—and the only hotel in the United Kingdom with on-site thermal waters.

Opened last fall after nearly a decade of excavation and construction, the 99-room Gainsborough Bath Spa sits in the heart of the city, minutes from the remains of the fifth-century Roman baths. Elements of that history echo through the design and rituals at the Spa Village, set on the hotel’s lower levels. After checking in, guests create a personal scented sachet to keep on hand while navigating the Roman Bath hydrotherapy circuit, which includes saunas, steams, an ice alcove and hot and cold pools (plus treats like hot chocolate on tap).

Therapists encourage guests to write or draw their intention on a wax slate—another nod to those Romans—before beginning services like organic facials, muscle-easing magnesium wraps and Thai/Malay Campur-Campur massages. Signature Aquasana (in-water yoga) and watsu massage, both performed in the central heated thermal pool under an elegant domed ceiling, will also have you feeling as if you’ve floated back in time. thegainsboroughbathspa.co.uk 

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