What to do when you need a weekend away from it all and everything seems to be against you? The impeding ash cloud prevents you from going abroad and you won't have much sun in the UK either as the weather forecast predicts rain, rain and more rain.
Thank god there is beautiful Bath, which offers you both, rural and city life (meaning if it rains you can go shopping :) ) and of course a huge quantity of spas.
The Royal Crescent in Bath
After a rather unpleasant stay at the Hilton in Bath and some bad food at the Olive Tree, we were lucky to discover The Bath Priory Hotel and Restaurant. This really is an oasis of calm, beauty and good food.
Before you are getting too excited and start booking your next weekend away, let me introduce you to the major disadvantage first: the price. We are talking very special weekend away here. (unless of course you are an investment banker or married to one)
The Bath Priory Hotel ticked a lot of boxes for me. Member of the Relais & Chateux group, you do get what you pay for. The service is immaculate even though I found it hilarious that the people working there were trying to imitate a French accent, but well, this might be required by Relais & Chateux, who knows.
The hotel from the street side. It's prettier from the garden side though.
The rooms are generous and charming with a lot of attention to detail (with Molton Brown products sometimes I am so easy to please). I loved the beautiful, big garden with mature trees and a vast selection of marvelous flowers, most of which I have never seen before.
One day we just hung out in the nice spa with sauna, steam room and pool while it was raining outside. The massage there was amongst the best we had ever had. Adding to the immediate relaxation is the fact that you have chick magazines lying around everywhere. My intentions were so good, but in the end the Herald Tribune, The New York Review of Books and the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro remained unread while I educated myself with Psychology, Vogue and Glamour. I might have even read Heat Magazine
Breakfast with fruit, French cheeses and delicious Eggs Benedict. You have to imagine them, they were gone before I could take a picture.
But of course I am a food blog and so let's start on the delicious dinner I had at the Bath Priory Restaurant. Executive head chef is Michael Caines who holds two Michelin stars at the Bath Priory sister hotel Gidleigh Park in Devon. The actual cooking is done by head chef Sam Moody, who is not only a young and very talented chef but also a lovely guy. I really liked the fact that he was asking the diners for their opinion on the food. Not that there was much to fault
I think it is 68 pounds for 3 courses, in our case it was included in the weekend package.
We loved the first pre-starter. The Foie Gras (or duck liver) parfait was heavenly and smooth. Also nice but less memorable was the rice ball. The second pre-starter came as an espresso cup of warming and comforting soup (I think it was potato?)
Possibly my most favourite dish of the evening was the Morel and Broad Bean Risotto. Moist and creamy, perfectly cooked rice with the delicious morel flavour was topped with generous parmesan shavings and tasted like summer on a plate. The dish was perfect without truffles, and even more so with them
Usually not a big fan of lobster, I really enjoyed the Ravioli of Cornish Lobster. The pasta was al dente , the filling generous on the lobster and the lobster bisque beautifully united the flavours of the sea.
One of the best duck dishes I have eaten in a long time was the perfectly prepared Slow cooked breast of Creedy Carver Duckling. What an ingenious idea to combine orange puree with anise sauce. I had one of my 'I really want to lick this plate' moments.
For me maybe the least convincing of all the dishes was the Loin of Local lamb. Even though it was nicely prepared it didn't fully deliver the bold flavours common to the other dishes.
Dessert time! With rhubarb being in season there was no way around the Plate of Rhubarb. 4 different ways to prepare rhubarb on one plate is heaven and I very much enjoyed the different textures and flavours and the fact that it was a very non-sweet dessert. The winner of course was the rhubarb crumble (it should have been 3 times the size) but I also savoured the rhubarb and custard and the tangy sorbet.
We then selected 6 cheeses from the very attractive and generous cheese board. They all were good but I just love my Stinking Bishop!
Good to know that there is excellent dining outside of London!
For pictures and more please refer to
We spend a long weekend recently at the Bath Priory for my wife's birthday (a very significant, multiple-of-10 birthday...)
It was amazing. We had dinner in the restaurant our first night and everything was perfect. My wife was pregnant, and they were very accommodating with the menu non-alcoholic but interesting cocktails. Meanwhile I found a bottle on the extensive wine list that did the trick. The food was fantastic.
The next day my wife went for a "maternity" massage and she love it. Afterwards we sat in the indoor pool overlooking the countryside. The grounds are beautiful and worth wandering around, even in frigid mid-December when we were there.
We availed ourselves of the inviting drawing room each evening to unwind and enjoy the fire. At one point, I tried to avail myself of a Lagavulin at what I thought was an honesty bar, but turns out Lagavulin availing is only available through the server...
Overall the service was terrific, but to be clear it was not an inexpensive weekend (hence the 4 stars). I paid for one of the "nicer" rooms which was beautiful and comfortable, but not particularly big or impressive.
I would definitely stay here again, but for our next visit I think we'll probably try the other Relais & Chateaux place in Bath (Royal Crescent) which is a bit more central.
On a trip to Bath last weekend we decided to treat ourselves to afternoon tea at this hotel. Before we even got there we were thinking it must be fancy, the taxi driver said it was the 'poshest place in Bath'.....
Anyway it is a beautiful manor house type hotel with wonderful artwork on the walls, and very comfortable furnishings. The grounds to the rear are also suitable for a stroll after gourging oneself on cakes and finger sandwiches.
We opted for the champagne afternoon tea and on general it did not dissapont. The sandwiches were tasty, and had good fillings. The cakes were yum, and the scones were reasonable. The teas on offer were good, and the ones we chose were very good. The Darjeeling and Lapsung (very smokey) the standouts.
On the downside, there was a small bone in one chicken sandwich, the tea was in ceramic pots and not silver service, and the scones were only okay!
Not as good as the afternoon tea in the Merrion in Dublin, who go the extra lenght, but is unfortunately very, very expensive.
special night out was just that for my Birthday. Three courses early dinner, wine and water and service £125 for the two of us, and worth every penny. Their website shows early special which suited us for timing on a work night. Flavours were amazing, and beautifully presented. A cut above the rest.
Posh nosh with a special touch, including a full description on serving.
mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm very nice!
Never stayed here - but have lunched on a few occasions. Excellent food in a wonderful country house environment. This hotel exudes class and is within 20 mins walk to the centre of Bath. However, if you can afford to stay here, you probably don't have to do much walking
Good changes since Michael Caines became executive chef. Good flavours and they certainly know how to source the produce.
I organized a hen lunch in this beautiful hotel/restaurant and i was overwhelmed at all the effort that was put into it by the staff. We where sat in the lounge surrounded by antiques and paintings enjoying sparkling wine before being taken through to our own private room, with place settings and menus. the food was served promptly and presented beautifully. the afternoon went by so quickly but everyone has since commented on what a lovely meal it was. Overall the food was exquisite and the atmosphere relaxed and enjoyable. x
We have just returned from a one night stay at the Bath Priory Hotel. We were given an upgrade to a premium deluxe room, and the room was lovely: antique furniture, pretty cushions, fresh flowers, view over the splendid gardens, etc. The service was warm and helpful and nothing was too much trouble for the multilingual staff.
We found the location to be very central and the ambience exceptional. we would reccommend it to anyone.
dont get me wrong its fine dining in fantastic surroundings but it does feel its not quite as good as it used to be a few years back. still worth the money.
During my recent mini-break we booked a table for dinner here.Wow.From the second we walked in we realised we were here for a whole experience,not just to eat dinner.Welcomed into a homely drawing room we were offered drinks and canapés,given menus to browse with no hint of 'you booked a table for 7pm,you showed up at 6:55,hurry up and sit down and eat'.The service was sublime from the start to the finish,from the sommelier who didnt mock me for not wanting red wine with my lamb to the waitresses who made darned sure mine and my partners plates were placed on our table at precisely the same time. The food was to die for.Portions were not huge but the food was rich and filling and I didn't leave wishing they had put more on the plate.When they found out that we were celebrating our anniversary they piped 'Happy Anniversary'onto our petit fours plate in white chocolate.Shane about the fact that it gets lost in french translation as happy birthday,but this happened to us when we celebrated in Paris one year,so it's become a bit of an in joke! If I had to find fault,it would be with the other diners and nothing more.I cannot comprehend why someone would pay lore attention to their iPad for the entire meal rather than their other half or their dinner,but I guess maybe whatever work they were doing paid for their stay! Be prepared to spend more than you ever thought you would on a meal here.For the likes of me that is a treat I won't be repeated for another year or two!Maybe next time I will save extra hard to spend a night there.What an experience that. Must be!
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