This petite spa is in the atmospheric vaults of an elegant Bath hotel on one of the historic city centre's wide terraced avenues. Its design beautiful and unique, each of the four treatment rooms has been designed around bespoke art instillations by local university students. There’s a cedar wood hot tub, a barrel sauna and steam pod to explore before an ila or Natura Bisse treatment. Curl up afterwards in the cosy relaxation room in front of a roaring fire.
- Cedar wood hot tub
- Barrel-shaped sauna
- Colourful steam pod
- The Retreat relaxation area
- Natura Bisse
Our Spa Spy review
No.15 Great Pulteney stands on one of the historic city centre's wide terraced avenues. The boutique townhouse hotel has a distinctive home-away-from-home feel and combines classic elegance with plenty of quirks. Slip downstairs into the vaults for the small yet beautiful Spa 15.
What's on offer?
From the hotel, polished Carrara marble steps lead down to the lower ground floor, where the reception resides among colourful artwork and quirky chandeliers. There's a separate entrance for day guests.
Leave your valuables in the lockers behind the reception desk, pick up a fluffy cloud-grey robe and a pair of flip-flops and continue through a door to where dusty pink walls brighten the corridors. Three pretty bathrooms serve as private changing spaces, with showers clad in in mosaic tiles and stocked with fragrant ila shampoo, conditioner and shower gel. Dyson hairdryers are just outside in the corridor. Next door is a small tiled steam room scented with eucalyptus.
A series of large gilt mirrors leads downstairs into the thermal zone, giving the illusion of space. You will find a console with a couple of magazines, a vintage glass water dispenser, an open rail for hanging up your robe and a stack of towels. Follow the slate steps down (watch your head on the authentic exposed-stone archways) to a series of vaulted rooms. A cedar wood hot tub seating a maximum of six is lit on all sides with funky lights while ambient Ibiza-worthy tunes emanate from a Bowers & Wilkins speaker in the corner. A barrel-shaped sauna is in the adjoining room, and both spaces are dotted with pale patterned cushions. There's a single open shower for cooling off.
Spa 15 commissioned Bath Spa University students to decorate each of the four treatment rooms; the Coral Room, for example, has been crafted from plastics, silk, wool, paper, wire, plaster and wax.
Post-treatment, head to The Retreat, a relaxation room with its flickering fireplace, cosy couches and stacks of magazines. Your therapist will offer you tea (we went for hibiscus), or you can choose from a range of drinks from the well-stocked fridges.
Tell us about the treatments
My therapist, Sarah, collected me from the hot tub and gave me a moment to dry off before leading me to The Pottery Room, which is brimming with hand-thrown pottery.
We tried the ila Balancing Back Treatment (60 minutes, £95) followed by the ila Mini Organic Facial (30 minutes, £50).
After running through a couple of my problem areas, Sarah explained that the balancing back treatment is designed to target both the physical and emotional causes of back pain. The ethereal music provided by ila is designed to promote healing through sound.
Sarah left me to lie face down on the massage bed and returned to cover me with warm towels. My treatment began with a few deep inhales of scented oil. Sarah delivered long, deep strokes across my middle and lower back with a focus on my hip joints and spine. She then teased every last shred of tension from my knotty shoulders.
For the second part of the treatment, Sarah targeted each of my back chakras with symmetrical pressure on either side of my body. She then massaged warmed herbal poultices along my spine. Combined with the music, it was a soulful and relaxing experience.
I then lay on my back for the facial. Sarah explained that the rose-infused products would encourage cell renewal and produce a refreshing glow. After cleansing, Sarah applied ila's Glowing Radiance face scrub: a flowery but gentle combination of Damascena rose otto, Cotswolds honey, blackcurrant exfoliator and purifying sandalwood. Sweeping off the scrub with damp towels, Sarah followed up with a creamy face mask packed with mineral-rich green clay, rose water, rosehip seed oil and Himalayan salt crystals. As the mask settled, Sarah treated me to a heavenly scalp massage. Finally, after removing the mask and spritzing me with toner, Sarah gently coaxed me to my feet.
Sarah explained how the herbal poultices help her read someone's body: the ones that tremble rather than lie still indicate problem areas. I left not just rebalanced, but with an insight into the relationship between my body and mind, too.
As well as ila, Spa 15 also partners with Natura Bissé for a selection of results-driven facials and rejuvenating body treatments including scrubs, wraps and massages which range from hot stones to reflexology. Spa 15 also looks after men and mums-to-be.
You will need to dress to eat at Cafe 15 on the lower ground floor, which serves lunch on Saturdays. You can also try the Sitting Room or Bar 15 for all-day dining and Bar 15 which offers bar snacks. The menu in the Sitting Room is relatively compact, but we thoroughly enjoyed a creamy celeriac soup with truffle oil for lunch and a tasty lamb rump for dinner. Don't miss the creative cocktails in Bar 15.
We loved / we didn't love
The cool, low-key ambience, and the little touches such as the Dyson hairdryers and the individually designed treatment rooms.
Our sun-drenched Henrietta Suite with its high ceilings, sash windows and enormous bed delivered a dreamy night's sleep.
Our excellent therapist; she was knowledgeable and ensured that my treatment felt personalised.
We didn't love
The separate restaurant meant we had to change out of our robes for lunch.
We also found the magazines by the thermal facilities rather limited.
Who do you think would like it?
Spa 15 is well suited to couples seeking a little spa time as part of a city break, or friends in need of a tasteful retreat. The spa offers some great day-spa packages such as a treatment paired with afternoon tea.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We gave Spa 15 a Good Spa Guide Bubble Rating of 4 Bubbles. The spa is small but delightfully designed and set in historical vaults, with quirky and luxurious touches. It offers results-driven but also holistic treatments in some of the most creative treatment rooms we have ever seen.
Cafe 15 is a sociable space serving smaller dishes and sharing platters from around the world, all day dining is available in the sitting room, there's afternoon tea and private dining expereinces on offer too. You don't want to miss the creatve cocktails in Bar 15!
The hotel has 40 unqiuely designed rooms varying from suites with Great Pulteney Street views to cosy loft rooms with bespoke feature wall murals. Well well-behaved dogs are welcome too.
10am until 7pm Monday - Sunday