Once home to novelist Jane Austen, Bath’s honey-hued terraced streets are rich with history; No.15 Great Pulteney embraces the old and adds a dash of modern wit – murals, mish-mashed patterns and modern art are an exercise in charming (Non)Sense and Sensibility. The jewel-encrusted, bar serves up endlessly inventive cocktails, plus sandwiches worthy of any society lady’s afternoon tea. Romantic suites – jazzed up with plexiglass furniture – are ideal for imagining yourself as a literary heroine (the king-size, cashmere-soft beds aren’t bad for flopping into, either). After a few days here, you’ll be feeling all the Pride, and none of the Prejudice.
Get this when you book through us:
Two glasses of prosecco and a luxury candle to take home
11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from $114.63 (£87), excluding tax at 20 per cent.
Rates include a Continental, full-English or à la carte breakfast: our favourites include the organic bircher muesli with honeycomb and the smoked Wiltshire bacon on fresh sourdough.
Ian and Christa are passionate about supporting local designers, and their influence can be seen all over the hotel: Woodhouse and Law and the Rossiters of Bath interpret the hotel’s mantra – ‘luxury for the curious’ – in the rooms. Keep an eye out for Martin Hulbert’s Lost Earring chandelier, crafted from thousands of lone earrings.
At the hotel
Free WiFi throughout; on-site parking (£20 a night; space is limited and subject to availability); laundry service; access to a generous larder with free drinks and snacks. In rooms: internet-enabled LED TV with Sky and free sports and movie channels; tea- and Nespresso coffee-making kit.
Our favourite rooms
The rooms at No.15 are individually decorated, either by owners Ian and Christa, or interior designers they admire. The Pulteney Junior Suites are our favourite: thought up by Martin Hulbert – the designer responsible for Smith-approved hotels Chewton Glen, the Grove and Coworth Park – they’re the image of romantic, understated elegance. The marble washstands, high ceilings and vast sash windows are straight from a Jane Austen classic, and the plexiglass furniture adds a whimsically modern touch.
Subterranean Spa 15 is set in the stone vaults below the hotel; take the waters – as one does in Bath – in the large cedar hot tub, barrel-shaped sauna and steam room. Take your pick of holistic treatments (all use ila and Natura Bissé unguents) that include facials, classic massage and body scrubs. We’d start with the essential-oil laden top-to-toe Himalayan treatment, the deep-cleansing cure facial and the bespoke full body massage. After your treatment of choice, unwind in the Retreat by the open fire while you sip on herbal tea (or something fizzier if you prefer).
Aspiring Lizzie Bennets should pack cosmopolitan gear for sightseeing – smart skinny jeans, soft tailoring and ballet pumps will go down well (though you needn’t bother with a corset). Mr Darcys should aim for gentlemanly chic in chinos, blazers and collared shirts.
The hotel has a lift to all six floors, and is suitable for guests with mobility issues; one room has also been specifically adapted.
The hotel is happy to host up to two pups in some rooms (excluding the Cosy Double rooms) as long as they’re fairly small and well-behaved. There’s a charge of £20 a night. Just let the hotel know when booking. See more pet-friendly hotels in Bath.
Children of all ages are welcome at No.15 – the hotel can provide baby cots, building blocks and teddy bears – but there aren’t any babysitters or kids clubs to provide distraction.
When Cafe 15 isn’t open for dinner, wend your way to the bar early and bag the table by the fire for a G&T and the polenta chips.
Best of British, with a unique twist to match your idiosyncratic surroundings: tweeds, heritage cashmere and pussy-bow blouses will go down nicely, jazzed-up with unusual jewellry.
Helmed by executive Chef Marc Hardiman, Cafe 15 is open daily for breakfast and dinner and serves modern, British fare. Like the rest of the hotel, the restaurant is bursting with curios, collections and contemporary art – shelves lining the walls are stacked with blown-glass trinkets and multi-coloured, antique chemists’ bottles. Don’t forget to stop by for afternoon tea in the sitting room, where the chicken sandwiches with apricot crumble and crispy skin are the stuff of local legend, and the list of brews – all served in silver tea pots – is as long as a Georgian petticoat (try the Gunpowder Green and Organic Jade Sword, if you’re feeling adventurous).
It’s easy to lose an afternoon in Bar 15, a pastel-coloured treasure trove groaning with trinkets: glass tables display vintage jewellry and an accent wall behind the bar is lined in scalloped, leather scales, fashioned to look like exotic fish. The cocktail menu is vast – 52 tipples long printed on a deck of hotel-personalised playing cards, so you can have a game of whist, Austen-style, while you wait. Each drink is a mini performance in itself; served in a test tube, a carved-wood bowl, or a smoking, blown-glass goblet. We’re particularly partial to an Eastern Promises, a herby, lime-infused concoction served in a blue-china faux-urn. If you’re peckish, raid the bar's menu of light snacks and sharing boards.
Breakfast (7.30am–10.30am), afternoon tea (2pm–6.30pm) and dinner (Wed–Sat, 6pm–9pm) are served in Cafe 15. An all-day menu is served in Bar 15, which is open Sunday to Thursday, 6.30pm-9.30pm, and Friday and Saturday, 6.30pm-11pm.
You can have breakfast in your room between 7.30am and 10.30am.
The hotel – a classic Georgian townhouse – sits on one of Bath’s most iconic streets in the centre of town; the famous Holburne Museum sits at one end, the fountain at Laura Place at the other.
Bristol Airport is a 45-minute drive from the hotel. If you’re flying internationally, go to Heathrow, from which it’s a two-hour car journey to Bath. The hotel can organise transfers from both airports (from Bristol, transfers start at £40; from Heathrow, prices are available on request).
The hotel’s closest railway station is Bath Spa, just a five-minute drive from the hotel. The station is well-served by Great Western Railways, and direct services frequently run from London, Bristol and Cardiff. The hotel can organise transfers from £5.
You won’t need a car for exploring the city, which is compact and best discovered on foot. If you’d like a set of wheels, there are car-hire booths at Bristol Airport; follow the A368 to reach the hotel. If you’re coming from London, the journey along the M4 will take just under three hours. The hotel does have on-site parking, subject to availability, for £22 a night.
Worth getting out of bed for
Best known for its hot springs and 18th-century Georgian architecture, honey-hued Bath has long been a destination for socialites, artists and people-to-know. Stroll along Royal Crescent – arguably the city’s most famous locale – to get a feel for its epochal grandeur, and visit the Holburne Museum (just minutes from the hotel) for a dose of culture: you’ll find Dutch masters, fine English beadwork and intricate tapestry housed there. For an afternoon’s pleasurable card-swiping, wander down Walcot Streetin the centre of town to browse independent craft, pottery and antique shops. For a spot of rejuvenation (tired, sightseeing feet can only take you so far), head to the iconic Roman Baths, where the spectacular columned courtyard is lit in the evenings by flickering torchlight. Those left slightly miffed that you can no longer ‘take the cure’ at this historic spot should make their way to Thermae Bath Spa, where the mineral-rich waters are open to the public for a dip. And, if you really think you'd feel the benefit of a shot with 43 minerals, you can purchase a cup of spa water in the Roman Baths' Pump Room for 50p. If you get the vapours at the thought of a wet frilly shirt, pay your respects to Bath's most celebrated former resident at the Jane Austen Centre; or see costumed parades, learn how to cotillion like a pro, then flirt with your fan at a Regency-style ball during September's Jane Austen Festival.
The Mint Room on Lower Bristol Road has the best Indian fare in the city; try the palak kofta and the lamb rogan josh. For classically British fine dining, head to the Allium Brasserie at the Abbey Hotel on North Parade. No.15’s sister property, their focus is on traditional (and perfectly crafted) dishes such as chicken-liver parfait, lightly smoked salmon and scotch quail’s eggs. Take a leap of faith at Menu Gordon Jones, where the chef's multi-course feasts are a surprise until they're served. Pieminster's home turf, the Raven has generously filled dishes and a 'Not Pies' selection of gastropub faves. Bath is also brilliant for vegetarians and vegans: try Acorn Restaurant, the Green Rocket and Nourish for cruelty-free feeding.
No trip to Bath is complete without a stop at the historic Sally Lunn's eating house, to sample Bath's famed – not quite a cake, not quite a roll – 'bunns'.
It's not all 'taking the waters' here… Opium has murals on its arched ceiling, vintage seating and a long list of cocktails to get through, while the Dark Horse is a wood- and leather-lined space pouring English wines and southwest beers. For gin, go straight to the source: the Canary Gin Bar at the heart of the Bath Gin Company and distillery. And, get a taste for West Country gold at the Bath Stable: a pub and pizza joint with more than 50 ciders behind the bar – dedicated tastings let you try eight varieties for a very reasonable sum.
For the week prior, I was driving my way through Cornwall: wild, rocky cliffs and mysterious fog on the west coast of England. With only a few more days of my road trip, I made my way to Bath, my final destination before flying home. The stately city called my name and I was excited to get out of my hiking gear and into something a little more British. However, the air conditioner in my rental car broke and it was a shockingly hot week.
I desperately needed a bath.
Trying to push the heat out of mind, I focused on my surroundings as I pulled into Somerset. Driving through the English countryside is, it turns out, stunning. Long views of rolling green hills hug you along your route. And when I finally pulled into Bath at sunset, the perfect rows of white marbled Georgians glowed a fierce pink.
Then there’s Great Pulteney street. It just reeked of class. A wide pedestrian walkway – most definitely for a pre-dinner promenade – is flanked by stately houses. No.15, I was about the discover, would be my most favourite.
No.15 Great Pulteney has a sensibility that is unlike any other. You’re immediately awed by their collection of art. It fills every inch of the walls, floors and furniture. Even the cocktail tables have a glass top displaying beads and baubles and sequined treasures. A magpie’s delight.
‘How many pieces of art do you have?’ I ask at the check-in, my neck straining to peek at the giant hutch’s top shelf.
‘Countless!’ comes the reply.
I’m lead up to my room which is tucked into the corner of the top floor. The walls slant. The floor buckles here and there. But there is something in the Alice in Wonderland nature of this eccentric home that makes those faults charming. My room features one wall with a graffiti’d mural of the cosmos. Two vintage teacups sit on table in front of it.
‘That’s it!’ I thought: it’s the juxtaposition of modern art and tradition that makes it all so tantalizing.
But there is no time to gawk at the art. I hop immediately in the shower and get dressed for my Bath promenade. The first stop is not very far. The lobby bar, awash in the brilliant sunset light by the large sash windows, is very chic. I order a Campari and soda.
‘That’s the most divine looking Campari and soda I’ve ever seen’ I tell the bartender as he brings it to the table. There is slapped mint and a giant wedge of grapefruit. It tastes as good as it looked.
I chat-up a fellow hotel guest. The atmosphere encourages it, in fact. With so many things to look at, you definitely need another to point out the piece in the massive collection you inevitably missed.
‘Did you check out the Kaleidoscope wall?’ she asks. I did. On my way up to my room after dinner, I find the wall. Rows of kaleidoscopes all lined up for you to look through. Intoxicating! I tell her about how much I love the sconce lampshades. They’re hand embroidered with the hotel façade. It was such a memorable touch.
Outside, I stroll the streets of Bath. It’s a small but vibrant town. The Roman architecture of Bath’s namesake tourist attraction is mimicked gracefully throughout the city. It feels a bit Mediterranean, just with more pints.
Upon further exploration, I deduce that Great Pulteney is the street. It’s unrivaled in its perfectly symmetric beauty. Arriving back at the hotel, my heart jumped as soon as I stepped inside. Such beauty outside and such wonder within…
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in No.15 Great Pulteney’s Guestbook below.
The thought that went into caring for our pet Border Terrier, and the great service all round.
To be able to eat in the restaurant with the dog.
Stayed on 9 Sep 2019
No.15 Great Pulteney is a boutique hotel with unusual flair and style. We were left a lovely (hotel branded) black pomegranate candle in a box on the dressing table, as we had booked through Mr & Mrs Smith. Also, as soon as we checked in to our room there was a knock on the door by the barman who was carrying two glasses of prosecco and a card for our 25th wedding anniversary. We had booked a small room as we were staying one night. The bed was very comfortable and the bathroom was a very good size and nicely appointment, with an awesome copper sink and a walk-in shower. I can't not mention the larder: a little room filled with sweets, brownies, flapjacks, yoghurts, ice cream and milk. You feel like you are sneaking treats. We didn't get a chance to eat in the restaurant, but next time we will.
Don't expect to park for free. It is £22 per 24hr period, if it is available. We parked in the local multi-storey which was a 10min walk away. Bath parking is tricky at best.
Stayed on 3 Apr 2019
Its proximity to the city centre. Really comfortable rooms and the little snack bars out side the room for midnight feasts…
A culinery experience at breakfast. It took a while to get to us as well…
Stayed on 25 Jan 2019
I've never known a more helpful hotel. Great location, very comfortable, easy-going and genuinely dog-friendly. Thank you!
Stayed on 28 Dec 2018
Friendly and attentive welcome, lovely quiet room with plenty of space. Great breakfast with excellent service.
The main door to be open after midnight; although the night porter will come and open the door for you, remember it may take some time to get to the door as it is a big building depending on where he is!
Stayed on 11 Sep 2018
Fantastic hotel restored my expectations of British hoteliers; service from walking though the door to leaving exceptional. Bar area fantastic and afternoon tea the best in Bath. The breakfast is great, had some reservations after reading some reviews. But to no avail it was excellent and well worth the money. The room was fantastic and furnishings and gadgets exceptional, even had a Dyson hairdryer! Fantastic all round hotel location is excellent for all the Bath visitor locations.
Don't expect poor service: these guys truely know the meaning of service and quality.
Stayed on 25 Aug 2018
The quirky rooms and the larder where you can help yourself to sweets and drinks.
Boring hotel rooms. Also, great breakfasts! The breakfast room is too small for the number of guests so get down early. The cooked breakfast was very average.
Stayed on 20 Jul 2018
The decor, and the two glasses of prosecco by Mr and Mrs Smith were a very nice touch. Eat at Sally Lunn's, Yak Yeti Yak, or Rosario's.
Plenty of restaurants or bars with lots of options
Stayed on 12 Jul 2018
Quirky eclectic design features. Free treats from the larder.
No air conditioning in the bedrooms. Cool drinking water would have been appreciated in the larder during the recent heatwave.
Stayed on 6 Jul 2018
We had a lovely weekend stay here. My wife and I wanted a short getaway after our wedding and some peace and quiet. The hotel knew this and went out of there way to make it a brilliant weekend. My wife was pregnant and they made sure we had everything we needed and left us some beautiful gifts. We had a coach house suite which was a beautiful room and it had lots of little personal touches. Everything from the bedding to the furniture was very high quality and the room had all the facilitaties you would expect in a room at this cost. Brilliant location and although we didnt arrive until late in the day parking was not an issue. I would like to thank the hotel for everything and being attentive but not intrusive. Highly recommended and will definitely return. Dinner at the Ivy was great and the service excellent.
The personal touches and surreal art work made it a great place to stay. Loved it. However, from a personal perspective I did not like the statues on the back of the building as I didnt think it was in keeping with the other touches outside. My wife didn't agree. Breakfast was very good but I thought it was expensive at £20 per person for eggs on toast.
Stayed on 9 Jun 2018
The atmosphere, the decor, the feel, the look, the rooms, the peace, the staff...everything. Local recommendations: Great Pultney Street, Great Pultney Bridge, Romsn Baths, City Cente, shops, bars, restaurants.
Stayed on 13 May 2018
Friendly welcome, comfortable and quirky decor and atmosphere, great location and good value for central Bath. Sotto Sotto – a good Italian restaurant.
Lots of car parking – if driving, arrive early, in a small car!
Stayed on 13 Apr 2018
Beautiful artwork in each of the rooms, comfy beds, cool interiors, lovely spa and a larder where you can help yourself to complimentary brownies, drinks and fruit! Great customer service and spa.
Stayed on 1 Apr 2018
We loved another great stay at this quirky hotel. The rooms are spacious and comfortable with bathrooms to match. The larder is well stocked too.
Don't expect to get into the spa unless you have prebooked.
Stayed on 23 Mar 2018
Attention to detail. There was thought in every wall and aspect to the interior of this hotel. I spent time just wandering the hotel to see what else I was going to find; captivating. Staff were thoughtful, attentive and helpful without being overbearing. Lovely welcoming feel to this small hotel focused on guest happiness. We only had breakfast which was of a high standard. Games in the drawing room/bar including packs of hotel cards designed around cocktails and you can order any of them! Ladies, even the hotel toilets are a visual spectacle. The Hideout Suite. Wow! If you can find an excuse to treat yourself to a night here...don't hesitate...book. It will not disappoint. We loved: parking so close to the suite, having our own staircase, being so close to the spa, not being overlooked, living room facilities, music and the bathroomm. Thank you to all the No.15 staff.
Local reccomendations: a visit to Bath Abbey including the Tower tour – great view; very interesting. Gluten free treats at Rosario's cafe. Sotto Sotto restaurant. No.1 crescent if you like a bit of British history; we thought it a little pricey though.