Quirky and colourful, the Francis Hotel is a boutique hotel that offers so many delights, and much more than just a convenient base for your stay in Bath.
The Francis Hotel is a Grade-I listed hotel in the centre of Bath, about a 10 minute leisurely stroll from the station. The staff are friendly, the restaurant onsite is Raymond Blanc’s acclaimed Brasserie Blanc, and the hotel itself is steeped in Regency history, and full of wonderful surprises.
The hotel occupies seven 18th Century townhouses that make up the south side of Queen Square, and is perfectly located to explore all the historical wonder and grandeur that the UNESCO city of Bath has to offer. Within easy walking distance you’ll find the Roman Baths, Pump Room, Thermae Bath Spa, Jane Austen centre, and the Theatre Royal.
You’re also a stone’s throw away from all the shopping, foodie and cultural delights that Bath has become so renowned for.
Francis Hotel is made up of 98 rooms and suites, but manages to maintain a very intimate atmosphere. There are three tiers of rooms, ranging from comfortable classic rooms, to more opulent superior, and spacious feature rooms. Each room features comfortable beds with Egyptian cotton linen, separate en-suite bathrooms with luxury toiletries, flat-screen televisions and complimentary WiFi. The superior rooms come with additional regency furnishings and a Nespresso machine, and the Feature rooms come with additional iPod docks, four-poster beds, and many boast stunning views over Queens Square.
After receiving a warm welcome at reception, we made our way upstairs. We loved the decorated stairwell, which was painted a bright yellow and covered in black portrait silhouettes.
Our room, on the second floor, was spacious and beautifully designed. There were lots of little touches that continued to impress us as we explored. A huge bowl of fresh fruit was left on the desk, and the in-room telephone was a vintage gold, 1920’s-style dial phone. The wardrobe featured a quirky sketch, and an oil painting was propped on the ceiling above the bed. Our room was one that featured views over the park in Queen’s Square, which was lovely to look out over.
Wandering into the black and white styled bathroom, I loved that a photo of the Roman Baths formed the backdrop of the shower. None of the rooms have baths, but the shower was large and featured a rainforest shower-head.
We checked emails before making our way down for dinner, and found the WiFi to be very fast, a nice touch after staying in multiple hotels with sluggish WiFi.
When we returned to the room in the evening, we’d had a turn-down service, and entered to the sound of relaxing music playing from the wall-mounted television, and delicious, soft homemade biscuits placed by the bed. We also noticed that our towels and toiletries had been replaced, with the bathroom being made up – an unexpected added touch to come back to.
Brasserie Blanc Restaurant
Brasserie Blanc restaurants have created a reputation for quality, casual French dining, and after dining at Brasserie Blanc in Oxford, we had high expectations of the service, and of the food.
The Bath restaurant is spacious and open plan, with contemporary features and decorations that created a subtle change in atmosphere from the rest of the hotel. We were seated by the window and our waitress came to introduce herself, and talk us through the specials.
The menu offers plenty of choice, without being overwhelming. Meat-based dishes are definitely most prominent, but there are also options for fish and vegetarian dishes so that everyone is catered for. The drinks list is extensive, predominantly featuring French wines, along with beers, spirits and cocktails.
My partner opted for a blanc de blanc sparkling wine to begin, and I decided to start with a vesper martini to enjoy before our meals arrived (which was one of the better martinis I’ve had in a long time; mixed and balanced beautifully).
For starters, we both ordered the baked Queen scallops with tomato butter. These were preceded by a basket of freshly baked bread and bowl of olives which we hadn’t ordered and were brought out by mistake, but which were left to us with compliments and which we still thoroughly enjoyed.
The scallops were absolutely delicious. I almost always order scallops when I see them on the menu, but I had never tried them baked before – needless to say, there was silence at the table as we made our way through them, enjoying every bite.
For mains, I had the vegetarian pearl barley risotto, and my partner opted for the rack of lamb from the specials. When the dishes came out, I felt the presentation of the risotto was lacking – but a mouthful later and any worries about the flavour of the dish disappeared. The rack of lamb was a much more impressive presentation, and more importantly, it was cooked to tender perfection.
To accompany the mains we both ordered we both ordered a glass of the merlot/cabernet. I really enjoyed the wine, but it wasn’t a favourite of my partner who perhaps should have chosen a bolder blend.
We mustered up enough room to fit in dessert, for which I ordered the caramel creme brûlée, and my partner ordered the cheese board, selecting the three strongest cheeses. The brûlée was sweet and deliciously flavoured, and it was nice to see that the cheeses were accompanied by a range of crackers, grapes, nuts and dried fruits – and also a description of the cheeses which had been selected.
Breakfast is not served in the restaurant, but downstairs in the John Wood room. The atmosphere is casual, and there was a very impressive continental buffet, with a variety of freshly baked loaves from a local bakery, fruit shots, pastries, and all your usual goodies. From the a la carte menu I was tempted by the signature “Poor knights of Windsor” eggy bread with fruit compote, but restrained and opted instead for the eggs royale. My partner ordered the banana pancakes.
Both dishes were delicious, and we made our way back to our room to prepare to check out, well and truly fed!
Francis hotel is an ideal base for a stay in Bath, the hotel itself is steeped in history, and is perfectly placed to enjoy a weekend in the city.
What impressed us most about the Francis hotel was the consistent attention to details, in all aspects of the hotel; from service, to room decor, and to the offerings at breakfast. It’s the kind of hotel stay that’s guaranteed to put and keep a smile on your face.