The best hotels with pools in Bath and beyond, from the city to the countryside
These are unusual times, and the state of affairs can change quickly. Please check the latest travel guidance before making your journey. Our writers visited these hotels pre-pandemic.
Bath has no shortage of noteworthy historic and contemporary bathing pools. There’s the Roman Baths and Thermae Bath Spa, whose pools are filled with natural thermal water, and the Cleveland Pools – a Regency-era lido currently undergoing a massive restoration – is likely to make a big splash when it opens in 2022. The city also has a good selection of hotels with indoor and/or outdoor pools, and there are some enticing hotels with pools in the Somerset and Wiltshire countryside, a short drive from Bath. So whether you’re looking for a tranquil dip in a rural setting, a thermal soak in the city centre or simply some splashy entertainment for the family, here’s our pick of the best hotels with a pool in Bath and beyond.
Named after the artist Thomas Gainsborough, who lived in Bath, the Grade-II listed building dates from the 18th century and is a stunningly imagined addition to the city. Care has been taken to build on the hotel’s Georgian characteristics by introducing a sensitive blend of the traditional and the contemporary. Roman columns and a glass roof dominate the compact and exquisite Spa Village, which comprises three thermal pools, sauna, steam room and 11 treatment rooms offering a range of massages and Asian‑influenced therapies. It is also the only hotel spa with access to the city’s natural thermal waters.
One of the loveliest Bath hotels with swimming pools, in the centre of the city’s showpiece Georgian crescent. Curvaceous staircases overseen by classical busts, lounges with chandeliers and oil paintings, and extravagant suites with elaborate stuccoed ceilings set the elegant tone. There are 45 bedrooms, roughly half in the townhouses in the crescent and half in the buildings at the back of the large and beautiful garden. The swanky Spa & Bath House is a big draw for many visitors to the hotel. The main communal area includes a 12-metre indoor “relaxation” pool, vitality pool, sauna and steam room. There are also six treatment rooms and a Mediterranean-styled walled garden.
The Bath Priory delivers the refined atmosphere and all the trappings of an upmarket country-house hotel, but is in walking distance of the city centre. The crunch of gravel in the courtyard in front of the late-Georgian, Bath stone mansion, and the sweeping lawns, giant cedar trees in the three acres of beautifully maintained gardens to the rear, deliver country-house style in spades. As does the hotel’s plush lounges, with their ticking clocks, real fires and large-scale colonial-era, militaristic and sporting paintings. Its stylish indoor pool is better suited to relaxing than exercise, but there’s also a heated outdoor swimming pool in the lovely gardens.
Perched high above the Midford valley, this manor house has fantastic rural views of one of the loveliest valleys in the region (you can spot the White Horse at Westbury on a clear day). The hotel’s main areas have been overhauled in the last few years, and enlivened with modish, geometric wallpaper and some contemporary sculptures, while the indoor swimming pool is a calming, enjoyable space, with a Scandi feel, thanks to its beautiful, wood-clad vaulted ceiling. In summer, the outdoor pool is a real boon, occupying a highly Instagrammable spot above the thickly wooded valley.
Surrounded by 500 acres of tranquil parkland, and with a Michelin-starred restaurant and a spoiling spa, Lucknam Park is one of the south’s best-known hotels for an indulgent escape. The spa is picture-perfect, with a large 20-metre indoor pool beset with a long fireplace, an indoor-outdoor hydrotherapy pool (with various massage jets) overlooking countryside and an arboretum, plus a private area with an outdoor saltwater plunge pool and seating for guests who have booked treatments. Children are allowed to use the pools outside the hours of 11am-3pm, and adults can make full use of the thermal suites.
Just 10 minutes’ drive from Bath, this stylishly revivified country-house hotel comes with playful and eye-catching art and features, private hot tubs on outdoor terraces in some of the rooms, and an appealing spa with an outdoor swimming pool heated to 28C year-round. Expect antique wall and carriage clocks, Staffordshire dog figurines and framed Picture Post magazine covers. Most striking of all is the restaurant, with its cluster of frilly chandeliers and arresting photographs of Peter Gabriel. At the rear the hotel backs on to open fields, and there are views across the scenic Avon Valley.
The original country outpost of Soho House is gloriously swathed in pristine parkland and stunning Somerset countryside. Among its many facilities are two pools; one outside overlooking the lake, the other housed inside a cavernous stone barn. Both are heated and back onto a pool house in which you’ll find steam and sauna rooms, luxurious changing facilities, and a cinema that seats 45 and hosts free screenings every day. Service is relaxed but delivered by achingly hip staff with an ethos of “whatever you want, whenever you want it”, including lounger service by the pool should you desire it.
This 17th-century home with extensive gardens offers both country manor relaxation and child-focused fun. Its two lounges are inviting, with comfy sofas and chests full of wooden toys and books, allowing parents to monitor play with a drink by the fireside. The gardens are home to a static tractor, a pig, chickens, a scarecrow, a giant tree swing and a fairy garden, while for the adults, a modern, attractive Elemis spa overlooks the hotel’s walled vegetable garden (though there is also a cot beside the pool, so parents can have a dip while keeping an eye on baby). An outdoor pool is heated in summer.
This modern, city-centre four-star hotel is Bath’s biggest, with plenty to entice couples, families and businesspeople. An attractive Scandi look pervades the light-filled property which has 177 slick bedrooms; an open-plan restaurant; an informal bar/lounge area which functions as a multi-purpose co-working spot; and a swimming pool, steam room, sauna and gym. The Roman Baths and Thermae Bath Spa are also just five minutes’ stroll away if you want more pool time. In terms of rooms the City category is the cheapest but the top-floor Balcony rooms have an outdoor area with pleasant views over the rooftops.
Though this purpose-built country-house hotel in the expansive Bowood Estate is 17 miles (roughly 35 minutes’ drive) away, it’s worth making the journey over. Major selling points are the adjacent golf facilities, the smart spa (with a large indoor pool), walks in the grounds, and complimentary access to Bowood House and its gorgeous gardens. The hotel’s interior has been imaginatively designed by Bowood’s owner Lady Lansdowne as a contemporary take on a traditional English country house. There are 43 good-sized and comfy bedrooms; plump for a Luxury Parkland room for French windows opening on to a balcony, or a corner suite.