A £10 million restoration has transformed Grade II* listed Bailbrook House Hotel in Bath and will be unveiled at its official launch today (October 10) following its acquisition last year by Hand Picked Hotels, the award-winning collection of country house hotels.
Bailbrook House, set within 20 acres of private grounds with glorious views over England’s only world heritage city, was originally built as a private residence in the early 1790s and then spent more than 190 years as an institution. The restoration programme has transformed the hotel into a leading four star destination, with a sympathetic restoration and refurbishment of the original Mansion House and a total refurbishment of Bailbrook Court.
Julia Hands, Chairman and Chief Executive of Hand Picked Hotels said: “The mansion house had been used as a school, a residential home, a training centre, and latterly for conferences, with people passing through but never staying to appreciate the grandeur of the mansion. Our main aim was to restore life into the building and bring it back to its original status as an elegant country house.”
Architects and designers worked closely with English Heritage and the planners and conservation officers of Bath & North East Somerset Council to ensure that the restoration was in keeping with a site of this importance. Bailbrook House is within the UNESCO World Heritage Site area of Bath. It also stands in a Conservation Area and is Grade II* listed.
A team of specialist craftsmen worked for more than six months to deliver the restoration. The main mansion house was in a poor state of repair and had undergone a number of unsympathetic alterations that detracted from the quality of the building, both externally and internally, including strip lighting which disfigured ornate ceilings and an unattractive polycarbonate conservatory.
Throughout the building, fireplaces, original sash windows, plaster mouldings, internal doors and staircases have been restored. In the basement, the space has been converted into the stunning Cloisters restaurant, creating a feature of impressive stone coffers that were meticulously cleaned and repaired by specialists, who took three months to restore every single block of stone. Windows have been unblocked and the loggia properly glazed to flood the area with light.
The restoration in the Mansion House has created 13 prestigious feature bedrooms, many with stunning original features, a new fine dining restaurant, three large lounges and a conservatory bar.The Cloisters fine dining restaurant offers delicious modern British cuisine and excellent wines. Afternoon tea, a great tradition at Hand Picked Hotels, is served in the lounges.
The country house setting provides a magical backdrop for weddings, with Bailbrook House Hotel holding a licence for marriages and civil partnerships.
Bailbrook Court, next to the Mansion House, has 81 classic and executive bedrooms, all of which have been completely refurbished to a high standard. Bailbrook Court has the Lansdown restaurant, with a brasserie-style menu, excellent meeting and event facilities, with a selection of boardrooms, training suites and syndicate rooms. The Brunel Suite is the largest function room, with a capacity of 160.
Julia Hands, who created Hand Picked Hotels in 2001 from a collection of hotels purchased with her husband, city financier Guy Hands, said: “We are proud of the grand restoration undertaken at Bailbrook House Hotel. It can take its place once more as a fine example of Bath’s architectural heritage, as a first-class destination for people visiting the city and also for local people to enjoy our superb Hand Picked hospitality.”
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About Hand Picked Hotels
Hand Picked Hotels, created by former lawyer turned hotelier Julia Hands, is the leading collection of architecturally splendid country house hotels - built for pleasure and continuing a centuries-old tradition of offering guests an indulgent yet attainable country house visit, with a contemporary twist. The award-winning hotels are renowned for exquisite food, fine wines and bespoke service by Hand Picked people in stylish, relaxing surroundings, a total of 20 classically British hotels in rural settings across the British Isles, with locations ranging from the New Forest and Jersey to the Cotswolds and Edinburgh. Hand Picked Hotels has won an impressive number of awards, with 17 hotels awarded two AA rosette status and Norton House Hotel in Edinburgh recognised with three AA rosettes. Nine hotels have achieved red star status which means they are ranked within the AA's Top 200 hotels in the UK & Ireland. The Four Red Star Fawsley Hall is also now part of the Hand Picked collection. There are nine hotels with spas offering the latest therapies and treatments to promote wellbeing and relaxation. Hand Picked Hotels was AA Hotel Group of the Year 2012-2013.