My wife and I spent a night at Dukes (no apostrophe) right at the end of July, when the city of Bath was dripping with glorious sunshine.
From the railway station, Dukes is about as far as any hotel in Bath, and we traipsed past a number of perfectly good-looking hotels as we wondered how much further it would be. In truth, nowhere is Bath is very far from anywhere else (it being a very small city), and our total walking time from the station to the hotel wasn't more than twenty minutes.
Dukes is close enough to the city centre to be convenient for all manner of excursions, whilst being far enough to provide a peaceful place to rest. I am so glad we chose this quiet corner of Bath, rather than one of the hostels or hotels along the busy and noisome main thoroughfares.
Check-in is from 2 p.m. but we arrived earlier in the morning, having just come up from London. While Dukes can make arrangements for earlier arrivals, we didn't feel the need to bother with this. Instead we just deposited our bag at reception, signed in and the went off to explore the city. When we returned to the hotel later that evening, our bag had already been taken up to our room and everything was ready for us.
Dukes is situated in a lovely row of Georgian houses, just a stone's throw from the Holburne Museum and a short walk from Pultney Bridge with all its delightful cafes and shops and views of the river.
The hotel itself is, I think, properly considered to be a 'bed and breakfast' (B&B). As such, don't come expecting a 5-star resort experience. It is what it is. And for a B&B it is simply wonderful.
The staff are professional, polite, cheerful, friendly, helpful and seem to take a genuine interest in the comfort and well-being of their guests. While rooms may be hit or miss, great service will always make me remember a hotel fondly and recommend it to others.
And that is by no means a way of saying that the room was sub-par! Indeed, the room we chose ('Buccleuch') was so nice that we changed our minds about going out for the evening and decided just to stay in.
Our room was one of the two 'four-poster' rooms, and is really more like a small suite with double doors separating the bedroom from the sitting room. The ceilings were very high and gave a great sense of space. The bed was comfortable; there was plenty of storage space; two televisions (one in the bedroom, one in the sitting room); and there were lovely period touches throughout.
Being a 'period' hotel, Dukes boasts some lovely design details but also must suffer the vagaries of creaking floorboards and other signs of age that newer hotels aren't troubled by. But still, if you're coming to Bath (and to Dukes) to soak up Georgian splendor, then far from being a source of complaint, these details must surely count as positive charms!
At this point I think it important to reiterate that this is a B&B, which used to mean cramped rooms and communal bathrooms! The cost of rooms at Dukes is very low; so the furniture is perhaps looking a little worn; so the tap in the bathroom is perhaps a little loose; so the front door is locked after 11; so what? You're given the access code to the front door when you check in; your room is comfortable and spacious; the toiletries are by Penhaligon's; there's free wi-fi; oh and the breakfast is absolutely first rate.
My wife and I were the first down to breakfast, as we had an early train to catch, and we feasted on the buffet options as well as on the full, cooked breakfasts. For those who are concerned about the welfare of the animals that they eat, or who are concerned about what potentially nasty, mass-produced stuff they might be ingesting, the back of the menu describes where all the meat and fish come from, with the black pudding coming from an award-winning Scottish producer and sausages from a local farmer and so on.
Well-rested and fully-fed, my wife and I headed off to the train station and I resolved to write a positive review of Dukes. I would certainly recommend this hotel to anyone going to Bath.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Dukes stands on Great Pulteney Street - one of the finest boulevards in the Heritage City of Bath. Built over 200 years ago, Dukes comprises of two very generously proportioned town houses and has been engaged as a hotel and guest house for over 100 years. Whether it is the high ceilings, sash windows or hand crafted Sanitan bathroom suites, each of our rooms uniquely reflects on an era of craftsmanship, Georgian elegance and charm. Being less than a 10 minute flat walk to the centre, as a guest you can easily access all the attractions that Bath has to offer. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Dukes Hotel Bath