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Bath City Hilton (Bath)

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Walcot Street, Bath, GB BA1 5BJ<br />Tel: 44-1225-463411 Fax: 44-1225-464393

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      17.08.2003 07:15
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      Again, there's something bizarre affecting the first few paragraphs and their punctuation. Not my fault, I assure you! Please read on! If you've never been to Bath, in the South West of England, then you should most definitely go. And you should go tomorrow! This beautiful, ancient Roman city has been very sensitively planned and developed and even the more modern buildings seem to manage to fit in with the honey-coloured Cotswold stone out of which the older buildings have been fabricated. The whole place has a very homogeneous feel to it. Bath, with its Roman spa baths, is an absolute delight. There's plenty to see and do - museums, relaxing river trips, sightseeing - and there is a myriad of excellent eateries and some absolutely superb places to enjoy a drink - notably the "Crystal Palace". Situated in something of a basin between hilly, scenic countryside, it also makes a superb base from which to explore the locality and the lovely city of Wells and the magnificent Cheddar Gorge (yes - it's where the cheese is made, and where all the tourists, in their thousands, go) are within exceptionally easy striking distance. We had booked two nights at the Bath City Hilton. Bath is anything but a drivers' paradise and we were very glad to deposit our car in the car park beneath the hotel and take to our feet for the duration of our stay. If there's one thing that Bath does not lack, it is open-top, double-decker tour buses, and these will ply for trade - and your cash - taking you around all the sights of the city. There is a wide variety of tours to choose from. We didn't take one, preferring to be more independent, but I guess that the routes they follow are all pretty similar. Emerging from the underground car park, we made our way into reception. The hotel is a modern, four-storey structure and at the time of our visit, it was undergoing major renovations, meaning that there was plenty of rather un
      attractive scaffolding adorning the front of the building. Notwithstanding what I've already said about buildings in Bath fitting in with the existing environment, nobody could describe the hotel as being of any architectural interest. It's actually a rather boring cuboid, which matches the colour of Bath's existing architecture, yet which fails to inspire in a big way, despite its clean lines - or maybe, indeed, because of them. The weather was absolutely scorching and we almost dripped into the lobby, which was very efficiently air-conditioned. Joy! There's really nothing like walking into an air-conditioned room on a really hot day! On the left was the "Caffe Cino", and reception was on the right. Check-in was fast and efficient and we were soon in the lift heading aloft to our upgraded "Plaza" room on the third floor. The room was quite a walk from the lift and it rapidly started to dawn on me that the corridor, though nicely decorated and welcoming, didn't benefit from the air-conditioning we'd enjoyed downstairs. We reached our room and opened the door. No air conditioning there, either! Not a problem, usually, but this week the UK was experiencing the highest recorded temperatures in its history. It was anything but comfortable! The room was very pleasant, although if it was an upgrade (and it said so on a brass plaque on the door), then I'm not sure what on earth a standard room would be like. Cozy, comfortable bed, colour TV with the usual Hilton information systems, nice, well-appointed bathroom, and a very comfortable sofa. Apart from the fact, however, that we had a river view and that fresh fruit, chocolates and mineral water were delivered (daily), I couldn't quite see that this was really an "Upgrade". There wasn't even a bathrobe! Ho hum! Maybe my expectations are too high. Don't get me wrong - apart from the temperature, there was nothing wrong with t
      his room at all. It just didn't strike me as being "OTT" special. I know I haven't shared this important fact with you yet, but it just happened to be our 13th Wedding Anniversary. Splashing out would have been nice, in the circumstances! That said, we?d booked a babysitter to look after baby Josh and she arrived, as arranged, at 6:30pm. The handover was like something out of a Cold War spy routine - meeting up at reception and arranging final details etc. I was starting to wish I'd called myself "Red Fox" or something similar! Helen, the babysitter, seemed very nice and we took her up to the room. She bonded immediately with Josh and asked what time he would go to sleep. Josh (who is almost two) tends to stay up late (which also means that he sleeps through the night and wakes up at a civilised hour), so we suggested that he'd probably be up until about 10pm. We headed off for dinner and some drinks. It was nice to have "a night off". Dinner, included in our deal, was absolutely wonderful. Served in the hotel's Mediterranean-themed "Zucotta" Restaurant, the staff were extremely friendly and very helpful. We were given a table with a lovely view of the river and the famous Pulteney Bridge and ordered our food. I chose a delicious bowl of Cream of Stilton and Celery soup, whilst Amanda dived into the Antipasti buffet for starters. I followed this with Steak on a bed of Parmesan mash, whilst Amanda opted for a delicious salmon dish. A selection of ice creams, for me, and toffee and banana pancakes for Amanda finished off a most pleasant meal before we headed into town for a few post-dinner drinks. We returned to our room. All was quiet. Helen was sitting quietly in a darkened room reading a book in an oasis of peace and calm. "Josh" she said, "went to sleep at 7:30pm", as she relieved us of £36 for 4 hours? work. "She?s great" said Amanda, adding &qu
      ot;I must write to the agency to commend her". When Josh (Bless 'im) awoke at 11pm and decided to spend the next few hours running wild around the room, I simply agreed to differ. Ah well - I hope it was a good book. I ought to add, in fairness, that the babysitter was arranged by an independent agency recommended by, but not anything to do with, the hotel. Morning came, and Amanda and Josh went down for breakfast which was, I understand, superb. Being in a Plaza room, I understand, entitles you to a table with a riverside view and the staff were very apologetic when one was not available. It didn't really matter; it meant that the boisterous one was kept out of other guests' way. And Josh liked it, too! The bathroom was great and the shower was just to die for. So powerful, indeed, that you could actually lean against the water flow and be supported. I emerged totally refreshed and completely invigorated. After our two day stay, we left, happy customers. It's not a great hotel and is not really anything much out of the ordinary. Four stars, certainly, but nothing out of the ordinary. The rooms are, however, comfortable, the staff are very friendly, and the location is absolutely unrivalled. As I started off by saying, you really must visit Bath. And if you do, I would recommend the Bath City Hilton. Andrew

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