Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Enjoy the sights of Bath by Land or Air this Summer

This summer we invite you to select Dukes as your preferred Bath accommodation. We are a well-recognised boutique hotel in Bath. We believe that the hotels in Bath city centre may be a little noisy and that we offer accommodation that is a mere 5 minute stroll from the heart of the city. With a friend, a loved one or simply to celebrate a unique occasion, you may wish to give some consideration to a rather exhilarating weekend break.

Ballooning over Bath

With the pleasures of crisp hotel sheets, feather pillows and a cosy duvet, who would choose to leave the hotel room? If you’re an early bird, this may be for you – leave your bed and breakfast accommodation before the Sunday papers arrive and head on out. On a crisp, dry morning in early summer, the balloons lift off majestically from Victoria Park. For many on board, it is a lifelong ambition. With the grandeur of the Royal Crescent and the inspiration of the Circus to admire, the early ascent will be a prize for all time. For those too excited to sleep, the morning flight may be preferred. Sneaking out of your hotel, B&B or guesthouse, Why not enjoy an inspiring walk through the streets of Bath as the city awakes?

Arriving in Victoria Park, the balloon lies half the size of a football pitch across the dewy grass, damp underfoot. The roar of the burners as they fill the cloth balloon is surprisingly deep, resonating and loud. The heat of the burners is a little out of place as the sun slowly struggles to rise. The basket of woven willow is surprisingly heavy and hard to the touch. Those around you embrace a spectrum of ages, heights and culture. A ten year old boy cold and white faced, the loving couple in their twenties…a honeymoon, anniversary, or marriage proposal. The older man in shorts windjammer and mountain boots, perhaps the least perturbed of all, with no facial strain or tautness in his voice. The filling tent of fabric gradually brings the wicker basket to attention, and we are ushered on board. The tanks are opened full and the roar is intrusive and overwhelming, we rise, there is a bump, we rise again and we are up. Not too high, not high enough a thousand images and perspectives burst through your mind……….Bath so familiar, so new, so strange.

For those who have paid for a good hotel room and a breakfast that will set you up for the day, why not turn over, snuggle down and enjoy your well-deserved lie in? Morning flights are popular, but for those who might prefer a pie and a pint, an evening flight will offer a day of anticipation and sunset memories for a lifetime. Whether you are  an early bird or a sunset tourist, a balloon flight over Bath is a one off.

As one of few boutique hotels in Bath, Dukes may act as the ideal base for one of those Bath weekend breaks that you will remember and cherish for ever. Whether it is to celebrate a special birthday, a milestone anniversary or as integral part of a unique wedding proposal – ballooning across Bath is a magical experience. If you are interested to find out more the ‘Champagne Classic Flight’, at £ 145 per person, and all other flights, offers may be  found on Bath Balloons or phone 01225 466 888

Roman Bath

The Romans clearly recognised the unique qualities of Bath accommodation. Having been challenged by the cold and damp conditions of Northern Europe their accommodation in Bath offered great appeal for all on the campaign. The Romans developed the springs, however, the history associated with the water stretches further back into the mists of time. The hot springs in Bath were first described in 836 BC. The special powers of the spring waters were claimed to have cured Bladud and his herd of pigs of leprosy through bathing in the warm mud. More recently, in 60-70 AD, the Romans developed a complex of bathhouses. Life focused in on the three geothermal hot springs that bubble up at a rate of one and a half million litres of water every day. At the temple dedicated to the goddess Sulis Minerva, the water emerges from the ground at 46°C, making these the hottest springs in the UK. In recognition of the important powers of the springs, the  Romans built a temple in tribute to the healing powers of the goddess Sulis Minerva. Once tributes had been made, the Romans also took the opportunity to build themselves a lavish complex of bathhouses, taking advantage of the naturally warm water. The heart of their complex remains today as the Great Bath, a very substantial lead lined pool filled to a depth of 1.6 m from the Sacred Spring. When visited today, the pools are open to the air, though in Roman times they were covered by a 45m high barrel vaulted roof. The complex of pools, for both hot treatment and cold plunge pools, attracted travellers from across the Roman Empire – the complex has long been respected as one of the most advanced, comprehensive and best-preserved spas in the world.

With the demise of the Roman Empire, and the Roman withdrawal from Britain, the baths fell into neglect and were gradually lost due to the silting up and the flooding of the low lying terrain in the era of the 6th century. The hot springs benefitted from attention in the 12th century and again in the 16th and 18th century. John Wood the Elder and John Wood the Younger instated the buildings and decoration of the Roman Baths largely in the form they are seen to this day.

The baths are recognised as the best preserved Roman spa in the world. In addition they utilise the hottest natural springs within the United Kingdom. Though no longer open to the public, the geothermally heated water rises up and is used within the Thermae Spa and will, from the latter part of 2014, also feed into the Gainsbrough Hotel and Spa.

New World – Old Maps

As a World Heritage City Bath would lay claim to some of the finest Georgian architecture in the world. The Royal Crescent, Circus and Great Pulteney Street are seen to be unmatched. However a little known fact is that Bath, or rather the American Museum in Britain  on the outskirts of Bath, holds arguably one of the finest collections of rare printed world maps in existence. In 1988 Dr Dallas Pratt, co-founder of the American Museum in Britain donated 200 Renaissance maps of the New World. Dr Dallas Pratt bought his first sixteenth-century map in 1932. He was in Paris with a friend, and on strolling past a bookstall on the left bank of the Seine, his eye was caught by three rather colourful maps. Over the following 50 years, Dr Dallas Pratt concentrated on acquiring the works of European cartographers. Mediaeval maps had a rather exotic mythical emphasis, and with the Renaissance, came a revival of the classical discipline of scientifically mapping land mass.  The riches of the New World warranted careful and exacting measurement as they were discovered, plundered and ruled by their Old World new rules. For those wishing to  celebrate the glimpses and memories of the less distant past, give a thought to enjoying a weekend break, embracing a memorable stay in a Bath hotel, pre-theatre dinner for two, followed by a superb rendition of some popular very well-known music and dance.

Thriller Theatre

A two hour spectacular direct from London’s West End is Thriller Live – a show that pays homage to Jackson’s 40 year musical legacy. This live concert, created in celebration of the world’s most well-known musical entertainer, will be staged at the Theatre Royal in Bath. The show has been performed in over 26 countries of the world and enjoyed by an estimated two million fans. Enjoy your favourite Jackson songs performed by an immensely talented troupe. The evening will faithfully feature songs from The Jackson Five and Michael. Through dance, audio and video you will be transported on an inspirational tribute to the legend that is Michael. Moonwalk along to your favourite songs including ABC, Beat It, Billie Jean, Bad, They Don’t Care about Us and Thriller.Monday 23 June through to Saturday 28th June, Life on stage from 19:30.

Bath is very fortunate to be home to numerous good quality, well run restaurants. However, residents and visitors are united in enjoying the rare privilege of having a culinary genius in our midst. For those who prefer the theatre of the kitchen – then look no further…

Inspired dining in Bath

Menu Gordon Jones is a small restaurant which is a little out of the city and a little awkward to get to. A tasting menu for two with accompanying wine will cost you £160 - £180, which amounts to  a little more than bed, breakfast and overnight parking at Dukes. However occasionally in life one has the opportunity to see, buy or taste something that mainstream. Of all that Bath has to offer, Menu Gordon Jones is possibly one of the most distinct, unique on the cusp experiences that this World Heritage City has to offer. The restaurant sits within a 70’s styled rounded shop front store on ‘bear flat’ a little way out of the city centre to the south of Bath.

When talking about an artist, musician or sculptor we are often prompted to describe by association. Gordon Jones may be portrayed as being from the school of Ferran Adria. He is one of two brothers who ran the world famous elBulli restaurant in Roses, Catolonia, Spain, until its closure on July 30, 2011. Reffan Adria forged a worldwide following for his molecular gastronomy. The emphasis is upon serving the essence of food, the essence of taste in a unique and wholly engaging manner. It is so much less about the food, or the course and so much more about the experience, flavour and genius of creativity. Each course is an assault on the senses.

Opening the performance may be a warm, almost foamy soup, with a delicate, thyme madeleine. A second scene may be an interpretation on a full English breakfast (remember this is a lunch and evening restaurant!). For those who retain their bearing, a third scene may present a ‘tandoori of dogfish’, with beetroot tacos and perhaps avocado yoghurt. By now one is losing the plot and enjoying the ambiance of the event somewhat. The experience is the food and within the food is the experience. Somewhat like the opening night of a creative gallery, or walking through a Mediterranean fruit and vegetable market, one’s eyes, ears and taste buds are fully engorged. Losing one’s sense of direction as to where to go next and how the evening may develop, the veal dish arrives. Pink flushed English veal lies with a bed of purple carrot puree as a companion. The pair are joined with a pickled, palate cleaning, crispy lotus root and a discrete gathering of girolles mushroom. One recognises that the final scene beckons with the arrival of -  one is not so sure though may be it is  -  beetroot ice- cream, gently poached fruits and a gracious slice of chevil root cake no less.

Menu Gordon Jones, 2 Wellsway, Bath, Tel: 01225 480 871. £160 for two for tasting menu with accompanying complimenting wines

Father’s Day – June 15

With Father’s Day scheduled for the 15 June, a solution for the occasion is at hand. Why not celebrate Father’s Day with a family weekend break in Bath? After a late morning arrival in Bath, park up the car for two days, check in and drop the bags off Before enjoying a light lunch al fresco by the River Avon, or overlooking the Abbey courtyard. Have a stroll around one or two of the World Heritage sites, perhaps The Roman Baths, or simply relax in the sunshine on the public lawns that sit in the lap of The Royal Crescent. Dine al fresco at Carlucci’s or Cote in the courtyards of Milsom Place or try the independent restaurant of Claytons Kitchen on George Street. An overnight stay in Bath gives all the family the opportunity to share in the true purpose of Father’s Day. A celebration of family, of fatherhood, and shared family values. Return to Dukes, one of a few Bath boutique hotels, late evening and allow our night receptionist to treat you to a nightcap in our residents’ bar such as a generous glass of port, an historic single malt or may be a liqueur.

Dukes Bath accommodation -  Click here to view our luxury bed and breakfast

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