Once these Palladian private houses hosted the great, the good and the not-quite-as-good-morally. In Georgian days, the well-to-do flocked to the city to take the waters and the Bath Oliver biscuits.
Sir Walter Scott, William Wilberforce and many other eminent figures stayed in these honeyed Bath stone terraced houses Think Bridgerton and breeches. In fact, you can take a Bridgerton locations walking tour around Bath.
South Parade literally was a parade. The pavement was wider than a road so that promenading ladies could display their latest embroidered silks and satins, so that dandies could show off their fashionable sculpted velvet waistcoats.
Then, opening in 2020, nine of those Grade 1 listed houses, were transformed into the elegant Hotel Indigo Bath. In an age of boxy and bland hotels, Indigo properties by IHG, are distinctly unique. Indigo hotels celebrate the local environment.
Hotel Indigo Bath looks back to the city’s glorious Georgian years, a time from 1714 to 1837, when a succession of four King Georges sat on the throne. An era when gentleman cleaned their hessian riding boats on the mud scrapers before presenting their calling card to the butler.
Hotel Indigo Bath is antique clocks, wall-mounted antlers, rabbit book ends and a stuffed pheasant looking down on reception. It may sound gentleman’s club stuffy but in fact the ambience, with modernist chandeliers, is cutting edge cool.
Take a closer look at the seemingly formal portraits. You’ll see deer posing in regimental uniforms, sombre portraits obscured by blotches of contemporary colour. This is an irreverent, tongue-in-cheek, take on Jane Austen’s genteel world.
Every room is unique, decorated with themes recalling Georgian Bath: Architectural Beauty, Garden, Literary Hideaway, Romance and Mischief. Bath was notorious for card tables where fortunes were made and lost. Our arched vault room, revealing exposed brickwork, features playing card inspired artwork.
Yet, the comforts of today’s air-conditioned rooms were unthinkable for even the most affluent Georgian families. Hypnos beds are dressed in high thread count Egyptian linen. Bathrooms feature walk-in rain forest showers. The mini fridge is refrigerated and there is a 40 inch television. Even Mr Darcy’s wealth could not buy such indulgent luxury.
Part of the hotel, The Elder restaurant and bar are independently run and owned by restaurateur Mike Robinson with Gavin Edney as Executive Chef. This is where breakfast is served, and hotel guests can book a table for lunch or dinner or have a drink and snack at the bar during the day and evening. The restaurant’s name is a tribute to John Wood the Elder who built South Parade in the 1740s.
Now The Elder’s Bar stretches on to an al fresco terrace, a popular spot for cocktails, West Country cider and shucked oysters. If you are tempted into The Elder restaurant there are more oysters amongst the starters, served with a Vietnamese dressing and an orange mignonette.
Made up of forest green rooms with pastoral still lifes, the restaurant runs through four of the former terraced houses. More than just a restauranteur, Mike Robinson’s other pursuits influence the menu. Ask him who he is and he’s likely to reply, “Hunter. Gatherer. Cook. TV Presenter.”
As Robinson owns land and hunts deer, it is no surprise that venison appears on the menu. Perhaps masala spiced fallow deer tartare as a starter. And the irresistible main course roast pave of Bathurst Estate fallow deer must be The Elder’s signature dish.
On the dessert menu the damson soufflé has acquired legendary status but sadly it was taking a break when we visited. New on the menu, an apricot and basil Mille-feuille made an impressive debut and the madeleines with the tonka bean and oat-milk panna cotta are world class.
Strategically placed somewhere between 18th century elegant and 21st century luxury, both Hotel Indigo Bath and the Elder Restaurant bring a new style to Bath. Old greets new and retro blends with contemporary at a hotel perfectly positioned for exploring this UNESCO World Heritage City.
Hotel Indigo Bath fact file
Read about rooms and bookings at this boutique hotel in Bath city centre, see Hotel indigo Bath.
You’ll find more about this elegant city full of heritage, contemporary culture and a few surprises at Visit Bath.
If you enjoyed Hotel Indigo Bath – indulgent luxury as old greets new, you’ll find more UK short break reviews on our Travel channel.Tags: Hotel Indigo Bath, The Elder Last modified: August 8, 2022