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WINTER GETAWAY: Joel Cooper visits Ballbrook House in Bath

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: January 02, 2014

IMPRESSED: Joel and Abby Cooper were bowled over by Bailbrook House.

IMPRESSED: Joel and Abby Cooper were bowled over by Bailbrook House.

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AS I recline peacefully into an enormous stand-alone bath with a glass of champagne in hand, Newsnight on the in-bathroom television and a fine four-course dinner in my belly, I start to wonder if my mind is playing tricks on me. Fortunately, this isn't an elaborate hallucination fashioned by my tired brain, I'm just extremely fortunate to be spending the night at Bath's Bailbrook House.

But I'm not in just any room – oh no, I'm in the enormous General James Wolfe room in the hotel's mansion house which boasts a king-size four-poster bed, opulent antique furniture, a top end television and entertainment system and a bathroom so big you'd be forgiven for asking for a map.

This unique property is unlike any hotel I've ever stayed at before.

The grandiose struck my wife and I as soon as we pulled up to the 18th century listed property which stands in 20 acres of neatly groomed private land boasting stunning views over the majestic city of Bath.

We were greeted by the concierge Mark who plucked the heavy bags from our weary shoulders and ushered us to the luxurious Queen Charlotte lounge where we sat by the smouldering fire while a waiter fetched us some peppermint tea.

Bailbrook House was purchased by Handpicked Hotels in Autumn 2012 but only opened in July 2013 after a £10 million refurbishment, the results of which are obvious as soon as you walk in – the place is spotless and gleams in its own glory.

After being shown to our jaw-droppingly lavish room – one of 13 in the mansion house – it was time for dinner in the fine dining Cloisters restaurant.

The indulgent menu boasts premium quality, locally-sourced ingredients with staff happy to recommend one of the many complementary wines on Bailbrook's extensive list.

The duck and goose liver terrine with toffee pear puree and chestnut brioche was sumptuous, and my wife tells me the chef's speciality of seared Cornish scallops with crab ravioli and bisque was equally indulgent.

For the main course I opted for red onion and artichoke tart with roast garlic and leek cream, which was every bit as good as it sounds.

My wife, on one of our three waiters' recommendations, went for Somerset guinea fowl with candied chestnuts, savoy cabbage and ham parsnip puree – the tastes and textures of which were tremendous.

For dessert we shared a platter of local cheeses and a curious yet tasty pudding selection of apple crumble, crème brûlée, doughnuts and clotted cream ice cream.

We retired to our room for the aforementioned champagne-and-TV-in-the-bath experience and hit the hay on our deluxe bed which was so big we almost had to shout "good night" to one another.

After one of the best night's sleep I've ever had, we rolled back down to Cloisters for the perfect five-star breakfast, comprising an intricate fruit platter, toast with festive mulled wine jam and steaming porridge with pecans, raisins and maple syrup – by far the best setup for a stint of winter sale shopping.

Though sad to be checking out, we couldn't help but smile at the amazing experience we'd both enjoyed.

An extra special mention must go to Bailbrook's highly trained staff who provided us with superb service throughout our stay. Every single employee we came across (and there were a lot) was kind, polite and courteous – nothing was too much trouble.

The entire experience was luxury in the truest sense of the word and, for me, Bailbrook House has really set the bar.

A night's bed and breakfast in the mansion house at Bailbrook House starts at £206. For more information visit www.bailbrookhouse.co.uk or phone 01225 855100.

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