The buildings were first occupied in 1775 and evoke the patrician air of a Jane Austen novel. The crescent has endured 18th Century Blue Stockings Society to present day silk stocking celebrities the likes of Kylie Minogue and Michelle Pfeiffer.
While the hotel is stylistically coherent with its commitment to period antiques, the owner went with a contemporary feel for the Bath House Spa. Created from a converted coach house and stables, the facility embraces both ancient and modern spa culture. The walk from the main crescent to the spa is an aromatherapy session in itself – beds of knee-grazing lavender, pods of poppies and tiers of thyme. A dip in the pool is more sacrament than workout, all soaring ceilings, stonemason thick walls and a chapel-like hush.
(Credit: The Royal Crescent)
Despite recent Fort Knox-style security measures, the hotel is right back to the height of gracious living by the time I pull in for the spa’s popular Black Sand Jewel Massage Ritual. My therapist begins by rubbing me down with a Tahitian black sand scrub, releasing the most intoxicating verbena aroma into the air. After hosing me down on a marble slab in the wet room, she leads me up to a cozy massage suite to conclude the treatment. I’m dubious at the sight of her hands – I’ve seen Cabbage Patch Kids with bigger palms – nevertheless she performs a made to measure body massage, customizing to my pressure preferences. It’s a heavenly sojourn of scent and sensibility, fragrance and full body release.
The spa selected Anne Semonin’s black sand body scrub for it’s combined benefits of white salt, black sand from French Polynesia and the excellent hydrating properties of jojoba, calendula and sweet almond oils. Mineral salts revitalize skin and eliminate dead surface skin cells, rendering the skin velvety soft, smooth and simply glowing.
Enjoy cooling plunge tubs, steam Karahafus, treatments ranging from fruit enzyme wraps to the Rolls Royce of facials – the Royal Experience Ritual. Dinner at The Dower House is not to be missed; the gastronomic arabesques impress, from a Pimms foam amuse bouche to a glorious barn-reared Creedy Carver Duck. My meal couldn’t have been more summery if it had sprung from the Wedgewood, asking if I fancied a round of croquet. For Canadian anglophiles and history buffs titillated at the thought of a sleepover in a Regency masterpiece older than Canada itself, The Royal Crescent is sure to please.