Saturday, 3 January 2015

Preserving the Grand Old Duke of Bath

We’re passionate about preserving the atmosphere of our Georgian guesthouse here at Dukes. A big part of what makes Dukes such a wonderful place to stay in Bath is that our guesthouse is wreathed so heavily in history. From its grand open fireplaces to its original sash windows, we’ve worked hard to maintain the integrity and atmosphere of our lovely Regency building and all of the special features within it.

Bath is without a doubt a historic city filled with a unique Georgian charm all of its own. It was granted World Heritage Site status in 1987 and it’s easy to see why. As you arrive in the city you are surrounded by beautiful Georgian facades, and even the new buildings built from Bath Stone are designed to echo its original Regency neighbours. Walking through Bath today is often as though walking through a different era. 

At Dukes Hotel, we believe it’s our job to preserve our conjoined Grade 1 listed Georgian townhouses and all of the many beautiful antiques within its walls. We hope to leave a legacy for future generations to enjoy and to provide a luxury Regency escape for the pleasure of our guests. If you want an atmospheric stay in Bath then only the real thing will do. 

So, what do we do at Dukes to look after our grand old guesthouse? Our rooms are furnished with period pieces and faithfully decorated in the classic Georgian style. They still retain their period features too. Moulded skirting boards, the odd creaking floorboard, beautiful plaster alcoves and arches, we’ve worked hard to keep as much of the old building’s original design features as we can.

That doesn’t mean that we don’t have the mod-cons too. Every room is en-suite with complimentary toiletries laid out for you and white toweling bathrobes provided for your comfort. Each room has a telephone, a flat-screen TV (tastefully and carefully installed), and free wi-fi signal. And each room has not only a daily room service facility but also a hospitality tray stocked with a kettle, biscuits, and a selection of top quality teas and coffees ready and waiting for you whenever you feel like a spot of refreshment.

Of course, a truly characterful guesthouse needs its quirks and we think that’s part of what makes Dukes so charming. Little signs of generations gone-by are scattered around for you to find; whether this is the arch of an old doorway or the light imprint of letters written in years gone by left on our antique writing desks. Dukes isn’t a perfect replica but the real thing and that’s why we love it.

A Georgian guesthouse of character, a host of friendly staff and a very warm welcome await you at Dukes Hotel. If you want a luxury bed and breakfast experience with atmosphere, there’s nowhere else quite like it.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Bring in the New Year with a Viennese Concert and a Luxury Break in Bath

Start as you mean to go on. And what could be better than starting the year with a luxury break in Bath and a spectacular New Year’s Concert.

Begun in 1939, the original Viennese New Year’s Concert has become famous around the world. Over the years its popularity and reputation has grown to such an extent that it has counted such prodigious guests among its audiences as members of royalty and famous names such as the fashion designer Vivienne Westwood. Now the demand to see the concert is so great that tickets need to be pre-registered for a year in advance and the concert’s worldwide broadcast figures in 2012 reached an estimated 50 million across 73 countries.  An impressive achievement, but nothing compares to hearing music live.

So naturally we in Bath are delighted to be welcoming back our own Viennese concert on New Year’s Day. For twenty-one years now the Bath Forum has played host to this gem of a classical music extravaganza and this year promises to be another afternoon of delights. The renowned London Gala Orchestra will be performing a collection of polkas, waltzes and arias and accompanying skilled soprano Helen Massey and tenor Andrew Wicks. All this as well as traditional favourites such as the Blue Danube, a rousing rendition of the Radetzky March and, of course, a traditional Scottish piper as a finale.   

At Dukes Hotel we are certainly looking forward to the celebrations. We’re lucky to be on Great Pulteney Street which is just a five minute level walk into town so our luxury guest house is the perfect place to stay during your break in Bath. Convenience comes with a city centre location, whilst also being a relaxing escape, and a good distance from any clubs and the late night revelers.

On the big night from our windows you’ll be able to see the fireworks as they go up but with the added bonus of being near a roaring fire and all the luxury and comfort that Dukes is eager to provide. We strive to offer a real Regency experience in the comfort of a grand period townhouses.

In the morning, after a refreshing night’s sleep in one of our sumptuous Georgian bedrooms, a delicious breakfast awaits. Before you head out to explore Bath you’ll be able to choose from our succulent breakfast menu which our chef will prepare to your exact specifications. Pick from our cooked to order selections including smoked salmon, locally made sausages and finest black pudding. In our continental options we offer a range of chilled yoghurts, pastries and fresh fruit. Or, even better, try a little of everything.

An escape to see the New Year Viennese Spectacular is a must for anyone with a passion for classical music and is a great way to bring the New Year in style in the beautiful city of Bath. Tickets can be purchased online from Bath Box Office, or by phone via 01225 463362. 

However you’re spending your New Year, we hope we can welcome you to Dukes Hotel for a stay in Bath soon.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Taking A Short City Break in Bath - The Birth of The Weekend Getaway

Going away for the weekend to a beautiful city like Bath is one of life’s little highlights; something to look forward to whilst you’re stuck at work all week or battling through a mountain of housework. A short city break is the perfect thing to look forward to – a new horizon to help you get you through it all. It hasn’t always been this way though. In fact, our Grade I listed guesthouse was completed only shortly before the fashion for weekend getaways really took off. 

Bath has always been a popular tourist destination, thanks to its healing waters and historic spa town status, but it wasn’t until 1840 that Bath became a popular location for a weekend escape. Before 1840, the city played host to those visitors who would rent apartments and stay for weeks on end in order to enjoy the season of dancing and social occasions that Bath was renowned for. Travelling by horse and carriage (as was the only available means of transport at that point), along miles of dusty roads, took a long time so it wasn’t practical to come for a holiday of less than a week. And, only the aristocracy and landed gentry could afford the time and expense.

However, in 1840 Bath Spa railway station was completed. It’s thanks to the railway network that a far wider proportion of the population could now travel in safety, and more often, all for relatively little expense – certainly far less than previously. Doctors began to prescribe “a change of air” for increasing numbers of patients’ health, now that it was a viable option, and spa towns and seaside resorts saw visitor numbers boom as their advice was taken. Suddenly a whole world of possibilities was opened up to the general public and they took advantage of the chance for a relaxing short break in an exciting new town.

Bath was a popular choice. Its impressive Georgian architecture in clean white stone, its many beautiful formal gardens and its rich Roman history drew visitors from across the country. In addition to all that the city itself had to offer, Bath was also an ideal base from which to visit surrounding places such as Stonehenge or Weston-super-Mare.

In 1987 the city became a world heritage site and today it welcomes over a million staying visitors and over 3.8 million day visitors annually. They flock to experience the culture and history, as well as to enjoy more modern recreational activities such as watching the rugby or spending a luxury weekend in the Thermae Spa. 

With so many things to see and do in Bath, guests needed great accommodation to come back to. At Dukes Hotel we try to recreate some of that Regency splendor with our luxury bedrooms and period d├ęcor. Bath is a city to escape to and we aim to help you do just that. We’re just a five minute level walk from the centre – located on the historic Great Pulteney Street – so when you’re tired out from a day spent exploring, a revitalising glass of wine and a roaring fire are only a few steps away. With the thought of all the self indulgence, what could make the working week go quicker?

Friday, 12 December 2014

Stay in Bath and Wish Jane Austen Happy Birthday

Jane Austen is one of the most famous figures in history to have stayed in Bath. She visited often in her youth and lived in the city between 1801 and 1806. Bath plays a part in all of her novels and taking a tour of the city to do some location spotting is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.

The city’s magnificent Georgian buildings, built from unique Bath Stone, are still as impressive today as they were when they were first completed around the time of the 18th century. If you are booking a stay in Bath, the city is a true Regency gem and it’s easy to imagine yourself in one of Austen’s novels as you take a stroll past the Royal Crescent or sip tea in the Pump Rooms.

If the weather is less clement and taking an exploratory wander about the town needs to wait until conditions are more favourable then that’s no problem either. Her connections to Bath live on not only in her novels but also through local attractions such as the Jane Austen Centre; a great place to visit if you’re a fan of her work or curious about her life.  

In addition to this, as well as hosting an annual Jane Austen Festival each September – where visitors from across the world can come to take part in costumed processions, book readings, and Regency balls – this year Bath plays host to an evening of celebrations on the night of her birthday, December 16th. 

Who could forget the iconic image of Colin Firth striding dripping wet across the grounds of Pemberley? But another heart-throb from the BBC’s 1995 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, Adrian Lukis, who played the devilish Mr Wickham, will be visiting Bath along with well-known actress Caroline Langrishe to discuss all things Austen. Also on offer will be seasonal music, the delightful singing of Rosie Lomas, and plenty of mince pies and mulled wine to enjoy in the atmospheric surroundings of the Masonic Hall. 

Just five minutes level walk away at Dukes Hotel we hope to be welcoming guests into yet more Regency luxury. Our boutique Grade I listed guesthouse sits within two conjoined Georgian townhouses on the historic Great Pulteney Street, so it’s the perfect place to stay to immerse yourself in the Regency atmosphere.  It’s close enough to the city centre to be in the heart of all that’s going on whilst also providing an idyllic peaceful escape to return to.

During a winter stay in Bath be sure to also pay a visit to the outdoor ice rink in Victoria Park and to catch the Christmas lights. There’s plenty to enjoy so we hope you can make the celebrations and that we will see you soon!

Follow the link for more information on Jane Austen’s birthday evening.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Christmas in Bath - Decking the Halls of our Georgian Guest House

The day is fast approaching and at Dukes Hotel we’ve been getting in the Christmas spirit and decorating our lovely Georgian guest house from top to bottom. 

Now that the decorations are up getting into the spirit is easy. Even more so when you’ve got a glass of mulled wine in one hand, a mince pie in the other. Imagine you’re putting your feet up in front of a roaring wood fire in the beautiful period surroundings of our luxury bed and breakfast hotel. Especially at this time of year our Grade One listed Georgian guest house is alive with atmosphere and, whilst surrounded by such festive inspiration, it got us thinking about a few Regency Christmas traditions. 

A hugely important part of Christmas is the decorations. One form of decoration that was very popular in the Georgian era that we still love now is the hanging up of holly and sprigs of evergreen. Christmas trees weren’t so common, in the Georgian and Regency era; they were more popular in Germany; Queen Victoria made them a tradition here in the later half of the 19th century. Wreaths would have been made though and added to with ribbons and aromatic spices. Christmas never smelt so good! 

Christmas never tasted so good either. A turkey or a goose, or if you were a member of the landed gentry then maybe also venison, was the meat of choice for the main course of Christmas dinner. To follow this up, for desert King George I was given plum pudding (an early variant of Christmas Pudding) during his first Christmas dinner, thus establishing it as a festive favourite. 

Spending time with family and friends is what Christmas is all about and balls, parties and family reunions were the main focus of the season.  Fun family games such as pick-up-sticks and charades were very popular. Unfortunately while Christmas holidays today may only mean a few days off for many people, in the Georgian era the festive season ran from December 6th - St Nicholas Day through until January 6th  - Twelfth Night.

We are passionate about preserving history and love getting lost in the Regency atmosphere here at Dukes Hotel, so what better way than to reintroduce the festive season? At the end of a long year, taking a short break in Bath over the Christmas period is a great way to relax and celebrate. Whether you’re looking for a luxury bed and breakfast escape, a romantic getaway, a city break, or a longer stay in Bath to give you time to really unwind and get into the Christmas spirit, Dukes Hotel is here to help. We’re in the heart of Bath, just a few minutes walk from the city centre, but with stunning views of Prior Park and Claverton Down visible from our windows to one side and the impressive Great Pulteney Street to the other.

Christmas is the time to treat yourself. We’re here, Regency guest house halls decked, ready with the mulled wine and Christmas cheer to help you do just that!

Monday, 24 November 2014

Bath City Centre Break - Top Winter Attractions

There’s no denying that the countdown to Christmas has well and truly begun, but there is so much more to be enjoyed during the winter season besides the big day itself. With the weather outside turning colder and Christmas day still weeks off yet, what could be a better way to lift the spirits than a luxury Bath city centre city break in Bath? At Dukes Hotel we’ve scouted out some of the top activities and events taking place around the city. 

One big upside to the lower temperatures is the opportunity to construct an outdoor ice rink in Victoria Park. Skate hire is available and the rink is open from 10 a.m. to 9p.m. daily, so we recommend wrapping up warm and stepping out on the ice beneath the gaze of the beautiful Royal Crescent. Bonus points if you manage not to slip over and a good excuse for a medicinal cup of mulled wine if you do.   

On November 20th from 5:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. will be The Holburne Museum’s impressive lantern procession. A parade of lights, lanterns and music will wind it’s way right past the door of Dukes Hotel on Great Pulteney Street and finish it’s journey at the Parade Gardens. A sight not to be missed!

If you’d rather stay in out of the cold during your Bath city break then there’s always the historic Theatre Royal to visit. Their upcoming shows include such gems as Saturday Night Fever, the wondrous and world-famous Slava’s Snowstorm, and the charming Christmas production of Rumpelstiltskin. 

In addition, Bath’s museums are also hosting an impressive array of exhibitions so there is sure to be something to interest most tastes. Displays range in variety from explorations on Caroline Herschel (sister to the famous astronomer) to shows housing the works of Matisse, Picasso and Dali.

For any Jane Austen fans, there’s an evening of celebrations planned for the night of Austen’s birthday, December 16th. In addition to mince pies and the enchanting voice of Rosie Lomas, there will be the chance to hear from Mr Darcy, meet Adrian Lukis (Mr Wickham from the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice) and lap up the regency vibes in a beautiful historic location.

Of course, there are also the festive things to enjoy as well. Bath’s Christmas lights are hung up and switched on, and from November 27th until December 14th there’s also the ever-popular Bath Christmas market to explore.

With so much on offer why not treat yourself to a warm winter getaway to Dukes Hotel? We’re only a five minute level walk from the city centre and all of the action, and we’re sure that our boutique Georgian guesthouse will be the perfect accommodation for your stay in Bath. Our luxury regency rooms promise an indulgent night’s sleep in a bed you won’t want to leave. No problem. While the warmth and comfort of your bed may embrace you, a best in class breakfast cooked to order awaits you. Crisp smoked bacon, fluffy scrambled egg, homemade pancakes or delicious smoked salmon beckons.

Winter is coming to Bath and we hope you will too!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Dukes Hotel - Stay With Us in Bath And Visit the Christmas Market

One of the highlights of staying in Bath during the winter season has to be the opportunity to explore the Christmas market.  Begun in 2000, this year will be the market’s fourteenth visit to the city and it promises to be another huge success. 

Five minutes level walk from Dukes Hotel, down Great Pulteney Street and across Pulteney Bridge, will take you to the city centre and to the square outside of the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey. Each year this square accommodates the market’s village of over 170 wooden chalets and provides a dramatic backdrop for visiting shoppers. Christmas shopping online can’t hold a candle to this festive experience. 

The market, which will run this year from November 27th until December 14th, plays host to a wide variety of unique craft and gift stalls, artisans, and, of course, an array of delicious food and drink to sample. As the market is of the traditional European variety, it would hardly be complete without somewhere to purchase a warming cup of mulled wine or a mug of Austrian-style Goulash soup.  

Among the wares on display you’ll see a range of ceramics, Christmas ornaments, stone-work, children’s toys, textiles, jewellery, home wares, artwork and handmade clothing. But there are too many stalls to mention everything the market has to offer! The best thing to do is to take a relaxed stroll around and soak up the atmosphere for yourself.There is plenty of atmosphere to go around!. Aside from the gifts on offer there are carolers singing traditional tunes, street artists performing music and magic and an abounding air of festive excitement.

The market is open from ten o’clock every day and is a fantastic afternoon out during your stay in Bath. But if you want a real sense of winter festive spirit why not visit in the evening? When the sun sets the Bath Christmas lights are turned on and the abbey is lit up, highlighting its impressive Gothic Revival architecture and towering steeple. Monday to Wednesday the stalls are open until seven. On Thursday you can browse until eight, on Sunday until six, and on Friday and Saturday there’s no need to stop before nine! The Roman Baths too keep their doors open until half past five so you can pay a visit to the illuminated steaming waters before you start your shopping. 

Then, when the day is over, what could be better than coming back to the warm welcome of Dukes Hotel to round off your Christmas break in Bath? Our guest house resides in a pair of Grade I listed Georgian town houses and is the perfect city centre location for a luxury break away. We can offer you a choice of period bedrooms and a stay in characterful antique surroundings. We are here to provide our guests with charming accommodation that is ideal for anyone who wants to escape from the hubbub of the everyday. Come and stay in Bath and pay the Christmas market a visit. We look forward to welcoming you to our beautiful city.