spa in ad 43 … blinis and jane plus a hole in the wall

#11 – on my gems list – Bath

The city was first established as a spa with the Latin name, Aquae Sulis (“the waters of Sulis”) by the Romans in AD 43, and were abandoned when the Romans left Britain at the beginning of the 5th century.
It was granted city status by Royal Charter by Queen Elizabeth I in 1590, and was made a county borough in 1889 which gave it administrative independence from its county, Somerset.

Today there lives about 84.000 people in this stunning city – where no estate agency’s signs or cars are allowed in the city center.  I have been there in the summer and autumn – and the same breathtaking beauty by River Avon.

Lived in Brighton when visiting Bath – direct train – a 3 hrs journey through stunning scenery (2 hrs from London, Paddington Station)  … the destination station is called Bath SPA. Price for a ticket from London anything between £9.50-£84.00/€11.35-100/$15.00-132.00 (single) – The Train Line, cheap online train tickets.

The main attraction in the city is The Roman Baths had 1,037,518 visitors during 2009. The water which bubbles up from the ground at Bath fell as rain on the nearby Mendip Hills and reach 46 °C (114.8 °F) at the bath.

The Roman Bath – you have to visit – It’s a MUST – very interesting and beautiful
Adults £11.00/€13.00/$17.50 (July &August £11.50/€13.80/$18.50)
Senior Citizens & Full time Students – £9.50/€11.50/$15.15
Child (6yrs to 16yrs) £7.20/€8.60/$11.40
Family tickets – 2 Adults +4 children £32.00/€38.50/$51.00

 The Grand Pump House – completed in 1799 – after couple of builders had resigned, 10 years it took to finish the building and in their The Pump Room restaurant …  they serve a great afternoon tea: Pump Room Champagne Tea for £24.50/€29.45/$39.00 for 1 – £48.00/€57.70/$76.45 for 2. Well worth the money – not least because of the smoked salmon and cucumber blinis. You can also buy a glass of spring water from The Kings Spring for £0.50 – when I was there.

Also worth it’s money is Pulteney Cruisers – from the Pulteney Bridge along the River Avon – 60 min around tour.
Fares: £8.00/€9.60/$12.75 adult – £4.00/€4.80/$6.35 children (under 16) – children under 5 free
Senior & students; £6.00/€7.20/$9.55
Done the tour twice and both times I saw Kingfishers along the river bank – beautiful small bird. Only that is worth the ride.

They there is so much to see of old buildings, culture, events and parks – The City of Bath – you need a couple of days or come back for more.

Shopping – everything from the big high street names to small local exclusive boutiques: fashion, antiques, jewels, books, food … you name it – they have it and all in a picturesque setting.

So where should you have your pillows – have stayed once on hotel just opposite the railway station and on B&B’s that I can’t recall the names on – nothing outstanding, but the city itself does that. Today there is some boutique hotels and luxury with SPA, if that’s what you’re after. The Bath Priory Hotel, luxury a bit outside the city centre – but they have the Breakfast award and 2* Michelin Restaurant. Also member of Relais & Chateaux , but don’t sell itself cheap – £300/€360/$478 for standard double. Never been there – not even for a cup of coffee. Have a look on their website – quite a place and I’m sure that I would have liked it very much. Now back to reality!!!!
Friends of mine stayed not long ago at The Henry Guesthouse – and where very pleased – so I give details for that plus the hotel I stayed.

The Henry
6 Henry Street,
Bath BA1 1JT, UK
Tel +44 (0)1225 424052
Double/twin room £90-120/€108-145/$143-191 – 7 rooms – breakfast incl.
2 bedroom apartment ‘Below Stairs’: sleeps 8 – self catering – breakfast avalible for £5.00/€6,00/$7.90p.p. at the hotel – £240.00/€287/$379
The Henry Guesthouse, Bath

The Royal Hotel
Manvers Street,
Bath BA1 1JP, UK
Tel: + 44 (0)1225 442931
Double/Twin: £120-165/€145-98/$191-263 – breakfast incl.
The Royal Hotel, Bath

A bit old fashion, otherwise nothing wrong with it – fantastic location – great service – good breakfast and medium size rooms. Some has 4-poster beds.

Then we come to interesting bit of Bath – the food.
Loads of restaurants & pubs with great food.
My favourite is:
Hole in The Wall
16 -17 George Street
Bath BA1 2EN, UK
+44 (0)1225 425242
The Hole in The Wall
Always served me high class food – great wines and a fantastic interior with open fire place. A very cosy and romantic restaurant. Not over pricey – 3 course set menu £29.95/€36.00/$47.50
Make a reservation.

1 York Buildings
George street
Great concept restaurant that I visit many times in London – now spreading globally. Asian food – and very good. You can’t go wrong – often the restaurants are quite big and service excellent. Great prices. Just drop in!

Jamie’s Italian
10 Milsom Place
Bath, BA1 1BZ, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1225 432 340
Jamie’s Italian
UK’s young TV-chef, Jamie Oliver’s place in Bath – never been there, but my friends went there and they said it was like eating in Italy. Very casual – but book. Can’t believe it – he has wallpaper with blue roses !!!!!!!

A little more about Bath in Somerset.
1. “Bath in Bloom” In the summer months – Bath is full of flowers every where, called “Bath in Bloom” – non profitable organization – an award – where the residents and companies in the city can compete about the best looking gardens. The whole city is eye candy.
2. The Royal Crescent – the most photographed building/buildings is Bath. You need a good wide angle lens.
3. Fashion Museum – Fashion Museum – you need a good 2-3 hours and get the audio guide.
4. Jane Auston Centre – The Jane Austen Centre – Bath’s most famous resident, the centre has a lovely tearoom too.
5. Hugh Grant & Elizabeth Hurley – lived in Bath for many years, before the scandal, that made them sell their house. Some useless information !!!!!!!

Bath is so beautiful – and it’s like taking a step back in time – and if you can avoid July & August when it’s cramped, you will get a very relaxed visit. A very regal city – it’s like you can imaging the horse carriages, the ladies in their pretty dresses with umbrellas walking on the cobblestone streets – and elegant men in top hats with walking sticks. Please, give the city good time when you go there.

A city very hard to give justice in the written word –
it has to be seen !!! So just go !!!

“If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more”
Jane Austen

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22 July 2005 … mistaken identity … winter graden and taittinger

#7 – on my gems list The Landmark, London 

also day that brought the death of Jean Charles de Menezes – shot to death by mistaken identity by the police – in London Underground. Was waiting for my bag at the conveyor at Luton Airport outside London, when my boss phoned me .. told me to be careful because there had been a shooting in the Underground – he didn’t have any details, about who or why.

2 hours later a girlfriend an I signed in at The Landmark Hotel in London. A gift from my American travel insurance, IAPA (International Airline Passengers Association) – don’t know why – the voucher just came on the post. Very nice of them.

The best hotel experience I ever had – it even beats the Peninsula. Everything was just so exquisite – from the check in to the check out.

The Landmark Hotel
222 Marylebone Rd
London NW1 6JQ, UK
Phone; +44 (20) 7631 8000
5-stars; 249 rooms – 51 suites
Prices: £300 – £2.400 4/ $475 – $3.795 / €360 – €2.800

It was a bit carry on – on my part when booking – because it was an Executive room I had been given .. we had our own (call her) hostess – we changed our mind a couple of times and nothing was a problem – she where so helpful and tried all she could to help us get dates adding up with flights – my friend came from Sweden and I was living in Belfast. Outstanding service. Sent her a bouquet of flowers as “thank you”.
Never heard about the hotel before and when visitng their website they had this interactive map – where London taxi’s and buses where driving on a drawn map. Very cool – don’t anymore.
The room at that time would have cost us £280 without breakfast … there we was with 3 nights with breakfast include.

The room – had it’s own door bell – no knocking there. The rooms was so lush … and the colours so soft. We got a room with view over the Winter Garden – their atrium and restaurant. The curtains – never felt anything like in my life and the style of them !!!!! – wish I had taken a photo.

We didn’t only have a bath room , we had a separate shower room and the toilet – all had separate entrances, so no interfering there. Our check-in clerk went with us up on the room and explained everything .. about TV, DVD player, internet, safe – mini bar (free).

Breakfast – served either in the room or in The Winter Garden – cooked to perfection and freshly squeezed juice, what ever flavour we wanted in crystal glasses. No breakfast buffet – served on warm big plates and if we wanted more – they came with an other plate.

Because everything was free – except the tipping and tipping there was – we decided to go for their Sunday Brunch. £55.00 per head and so much champagne as we could handle – and my favourite: Taittinger. We where singing like canary birds as we left the restaurant 2,5 hours later.

Food for Gods. To make a buffet so SCRUMPTIOUS plus it was massive, 5 tables in total – and to keep those entire hot dish looking fresh and warm a miracle. Everything from veal kidney, bacon, pan cakes, Belgium waffles … Caesar salad – Asian noodle dishes .. the most beautiful desserts.

We went to bed around 3 a’ clock pickled as gherkins and woke up just before midnight – room service and 2 hamburger with fries and coleslaw. Heavenly good.

Our last breakfast we decided to take in the room – so I filled in the card .. add on my special requests with 50/50 juice, sliced cheese, warm milk with the coffee,  lemon muffins and fresh fruit salad with blackberries – just to test them. A ring on the door on the minute and in come this massive table and there they where – on top of  my fruit salad was my blackberries plus everything else. Top Class!!!!

My friend and I we talked about saving a bit every months … so go back after 2 years, but it never happen. We often talk about the hotel. We where told by the taxi driver that took us to the airport that – the rooms cost £1 million pounds each when the hotel was built. I suppose it was divided the total cost for the hotel with the amount of rooms. Still – a lot of money for a hotel room.

That weekend was the ultimate hotel experience. I doubt if it can’t get any better then that.

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