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Going underground

As the good people of Bath go about their business, you could be chilling in a bubbling hot tub beneath their feet in the super Spa 15

I’m working my way around the very best spas in Somerset and Bath. It’s a hard life. Next on the list, a luxury spa that lies beneath the pavements of one of Bath’s swankiest streets: Spa 15 in the chic No. 15 Great Pulteney hotel. Are you ready? We’re going in…

Be good and walk past the bar (you can nip in there afterwards) and go down the stairs to the Spa.



Spread over two floors, it’s a little warren of wet and dry areas, treatment rooms and chill out spaces and, like the rest of the hotel, it’s filled with original artworks, curious bits and bobs and quirky decorations.

First stop: the hot tub. It’s down this gloriously glam corridor.

Love the hotel’s trademark statement lights. Nearly there…

Here you go. The hot tub and sauna are in the exposed stone vaults underneath the pavement. The hot tub’s a proper one, deep and made of cedar wood, with a Murano-style chandelier above, masses of bubbles at the press of a button and chill out music from the speaker.  I had the place to myself which was a treat but it would be sooo nice with friends.

Head into the next vault for the barrel-shaped sauna. There’s a steam pod up on the floor above (impossible to take a pic – sorry).

Don’t dehydrate: help yourself to water out of a pineapple.

I had a snooze here, lulled off by that super chilled music. Every where you look there are arty touches – here, silk artworks hand painted by Bath artist Carole Waller are pressed between the glass in the windows.

Time for a quick blow dry with a Dyson Supersonic, natch.



The Spa offers a whole range of holistic and results-driven treatments for the face and body, using Cotswold-based ila natural and organic skincare products and anti-aging products by Barcelona-based Natura Bissé. There are four treatment rooms, each decorated with original artworks. In my room,  there was a sea bed/coral reef on the ceiling, and Venetian glass mirrors,  embroideries and a huge painting on the wall.  You could change the level of lighting and even the colours in the room too.  Less is not more here.

I was booked in with Sarah for a 60-minute ila balancing back treatment, which focuses on relieving stress in the shoulders and back – perfect for someone who spends a lot of time hunched over a Mac. As well as a half-hour back massage, this treatment uses ancient marma therapy  (unblocking energy channels), warm herbal poultices filled with Himalayan salt and lavender, sound therapy (resting the hands on the back in synchronicity to ‘om’ chants) – and chakra balancing. Whether or not you’re into all of that,  it was a fabulous massage and I did feel great afterwards.

These little babies are warmed poultices filled with Himalayan salt and lavender



Time to chill in The Retreat, a relaxation area with soft armchairs and a sofa, a flickering open fire (no heat just atmos, in this hottest of summers) and assorted artworks. Note the bar with water, juices and a bottle of fizz – but I sipped a deep red and fruity hibiscus tea as I perused a couple of my favourite mags.



A quick whizz through the bar (no time to stop off for a cocktail this time) en route to supper.

A table was booked in Cafe 15, aka The Dispensary. Coloured glass chemist bottles displayed on antique chemist shop fittings line the walls, brass cooking pans hang above an old range with a flickering flame and more quirky lights.

Dishes are listed on the menu under fish, meat, vegetables and puddings. Choose one or more, as regular starter/main/dessert or as a selection of small plates which come one after the other, in any order you like. For example: clockwise, from top left: Bath gin cured salmon with lime, avocado; twice-baked cheddar souffle, spinach and pommery mustard (which could be a light supper in itself); tender,  juicy bavette steak with watercress and béarnaise; and peach melba, raspberries, meringue and Marshfield ice cream.

The wine list is fairly extensive, and apparently, some of the wines aren’t available elsewhere in the south west.



I went to the spa at around 4pm, followed by the treatment, then supper – perfect after a hot and bothered day in town. The 60-minute ila balancing back treatment cost £95.  Similar packages include the Relaxation and revelry with supper, from 5pm, which includes use of the spa, a 30-minute treatment (facials, massages and scrubs) and two-course supper with a glass of wine and coffee: £99.  Rejuvenate and refresh with lunch, arrive 10.30am, includes spa and a 60-minute treatment: £149. Luxury and wellness and afternoon tea (as above but with lots of tea and cake instead of lunch): £149.

Hot tub and sauna alone £35;  £20 when booked with a treatment; private hire after 7.30pm £70 for two people and £120 for six.  Every kind of facial, skincare, body treatments, massage and holistic therapy and treatments specially for men, from £55–£185. See the full list here.

If you want to combine a visit to the spa or treatment with supper in Cafe 15: most dishes are between £6-£9 with a couple up to £18.

Spa 15 is open from 10am–7pm, seven days a week.

Spa 15. No. 15 Great Pulteney, 15 Great Pulteney Street, Bath BA2 4BR. Tel 01225 807015.

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