Travel review: Bath Z Hotel offers comfort and convenience in the heart of the city
- Credit: Archant
Imagine waking up in the heart of a bustling city centre, just moments away from the shops, attractions and restaurants which have made it a key destination for millions of tourists each year. And then consider being able to do all that without spending an absolute fortune on accommodation.
That is the premise behind Z Hotels, a growing chain of boutique-style hotels located in prime locations in cities including London, Bath, Liverpool and Glasgow.
We checked out the Bath option, which features 149 rooms just over the road from the iconic Theatre Royal and in the heart of a vibrant restaurant district.
The rooms themselves give a whole new meaning to the phrase "cosy", containing little more than a bed and, behind a smoked glass screen, toilet, shower and sink. Windows aren't a guarantee, but we were fortunate enough to be given one, and the TV seemed weirdly out-of-sync with the on-screen programme guide, so it was a random choice as to what you ended up watching.
Food and drink is available in reception, and randomly there is free cheese and wine for a couple of hours on a Saturday night, if you fancy a nibble and a tipple before dinner.
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It's been 25 years since I was last in Bath, and although the essential look of the Georgian city remains unchanged, that cannot be said for what it now offers as one of the country's most popular choices of staycation.
With an extensive selection of mainstream retail outlets, many of which we'd thought had long since vanished from the High Street, coupled with a plethora of independent and boutique stores, the shopping experience was quite remarkable.
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With the city centre largely pedestrianised, you can wander for hours along the main streets and alleyways in search of hidden gems, all the while immersed in the historical environs which make Bath such a special place to visit.
Much of our weekend was thus spent ambling around, with no real plan in mind other than to stop for the occasional coffee or pint depending on time of day and inclination. Having a weekend free from the children gave us the opportunity to browse without constantly being told it was "boring" and asked "Can we do something else instead?" as is usual with progeny in tow.
The exceptional location of the hotel means we could comfortably dash back to drop off shopping without feeling the need to stay any longer, which meant we could continue without being overwhelmed by bags of purchases.
Before heading back to our room ahead of dinner we enjoyed a couple of drinks in Bath's oldest pub, The Saracens' Head. This dates back to 1713 and offers a wide selection of ales and gins alongside traditional pub fare in unpretentious yet inviting surroundings.
Just across from the hotel is a selection of different Italian restaurants, and on our first night we grabbed some first-rate artisan pizzas in The Oven, a rustic eatery with a lively atmosphere, reasonably priced wine and excellent table service.
Our full day in the city was largely spent shopping, with the occasional stop-off for refreshments, including the quaint artisan quarter around Walcot Street, and wrapped up with dinner at The Botanist, a delightful restaurant located in The Octagon Chapel, once patronised by Jane Austen.
The selection of quality restaurants throughout Bath is quite staggering, and we were spoilt for choice throughout our stay, but we chose to wrap up our visit with breakfast at another gem, the Cosy Club. As they say on their website: "Think aristocratic abundance with a dash of local village cricket pavilion pottiness." You get the idea.
The ease of access provided by our accommodation undoubtedly contributed to the overall experience of our city break, and if you're just looking for a base of operations while you're out and about exploring your destination then you really can't fault the Z Hotel concept.
Find out more about staying at the Bath Z Hotel from as little as £45 a night at https://www.thezhotels.com/bath