Thermae Bath Spa is built around the city's natural hot springs creating a spa in the original sense of the word. The heritage of the site, and the way the spa makes the most of the waters, is outstanding. The two separate spa buildings house the Cross Bath where the natural spring rises to the surface, and the New Royal Bath, where you will find modern pools and thermal facilities. Don't miss the dramatic rooftop pool where you can swim while looking out across the city to the hills.
- XXL robes available
- Open-air rooftop pool
- Natural thermal pools
- Wellness Suite (Two aromatic steam rooms, infrared sauna, ice chamber, celestial relaxation room)
- Experience showers
- Hydrotherapy pool
- Relaxation room
- Towel, robe and footwear included in entry
Our Spa Spy review
Natural hot springs have been welling up from 3kms below the ground of Thermae Bath Spa for thousands of years - The Romans created it as a sanctuary for rest and relaxation in AD43; in Georgian times it became a fashionable place to ‘take the waters’.
The modern Thermae spa is built on the footprint of the old municipal pool; the square stone and glass building rises up above the old mellow stone buildings in the centre of Bath. From the eye-catching rooftop pool, you can gaze out across the city to the surrounding hills. A beautiful, clever piece of design, it elegantly blends ancient and modern while still retaining the feel of a public bath (rather than a swanky spa).
What's on offer?
As a public day spa, the reception area feels slightly ‘municipal’. We were warmly greeted and offered a robe, towel, flip-flops and a wristband which doubles as a locker key and a means of charging purchases that can be settled on departure.
Shuffle through the turnstile and head upstairs to the unisex changing rooms. Lockers and shower cubicles have blue wooden doors; changing cubicles open either side via a switch. Step into the individual changing room, lock both doors with a lever and unlock when ready to step out the other side next to the lockers.
Oddly, showers are downstairs - each contained unbranded shampoo/ conditioner and shower gel on our visit. You’ll find toilets on most of the building's four floors. There's also a spin-dryer for wet swimsuits and a small vanity bar with mirrors and hairdryers.
The spa was rebuilt within the footprint of the original Bath Spa so space is at a premium - and has been mainly given over to the pools. Architecturally it’s impressive. Most visitors head straight up to the rooftop pool; leave your robe on a wire shelf and join the happy throng. Gaze over the golden rooftops and spires of Bath in the warm, steamy waters fed by the city's three springs. Timed jets around the pool's edge allow you to gently bubble away.
The New Royal Bath's second pool is the large, curvaceous thermal Minerva Bath on the ground floor, which was lightly refurbished in 2018. Glass walls let natural light flood in, while four space-age white columns support the ceiling. Step into the warm waters and enjoy massage-jet stations, a central whirlpool and a meandering river. There are loungers around the edge for taking respite.
Quiet relaxation spaces can be found in each of the three treatment areas; help yourself to water, tea, magazines and blankets, and relax on a lounger.
Built in 2017, the 2nd floor Wellness Suite contains the thermal facilities, including four, glass-fronted thermal rooms, each with coloured lighting and large enough to seat 15-20 people. The Infra-Red Sauna, with its heat panels, does wonders for aching backs; the Georgian Steam Room was gently heated and very steamy. Sadly, the Roman Steam Room was out of order on our visit.
The unusually dark Celestial Relaxation Room has tiled recliners, starry lights in the ceiling and a huge screen showing NASA videos of our planets in honour of Caroline and William Herschel - who lived in Bath and discovered the planet Uranus.
Cool down in the blue, misty Ice Chamber afterwards, with its metal-panelled walls and a huge trough full of ice. The Experience Showers offer a walk-through experience. As you move past, the showers change colour, spray different perfumes and even play different music.
Tell us about the treatments
We tried the Inner Peace Massage (55 minutes, £125).
Rachel, my therapist, met me in the reception area and led me to a treatment room where she enquired about my general health and asked me what I wanted to achieve from my treatment.
The treatment began with a guided inhalation, Rachel holding firmly onto my back as I breathed out - with each breath, I relaxed a little more.
Rachel then performed a lovely relaxing body massage; at one point, she spread a deliciously warm mud mask on my feet, and warm rose quartz crystals on my hands and chest. Rachel finished the treatment with a hand and arm massage using a rich cream, and a tingle of a bell, which – given that I had drifted off – I was grateful for.
Rachel then handed me a dry robe, settled me in the relaxation area and brought me a herbal tea. I snuggled down under a fluffy blanket to rest and recover.
Thermae Bath Spa offers a range of massages, scrubs, Elemis facials and Vichy shower experiences, as well as signature rituals – such as Roman Trilogy, a scrub, massage and facial in one - and treatments for couples, men and mums-to-be.
The Spring Café offers hot and cold drinks, plus prepacked salads and sandwiches – our tuna, and ham and egg sandwiches - washed down with a glass of orange juice - were satisfactory.
If you need something a bit grander, nip across the road to the Gainsborough Bath Spa Hotel, after your spa session, for afternoon tea in their lounge. You will need to pre-book.
We loved / we didn't love
The warm mineral waters feel soft and buoyant.
The rooftop pool: get there early to beat the crowds and swim looking out over the Bath of Jane Austin and Beau Brummell. It’s spectacular in the sunshine (take your sunglasses with you) and fun even when it rains or snows.
The phone pouches: Lock your phone in a Yondr Pouch at reception before leaving it safely in your locker (they are banned in the spa). We thought we would hate being sans phone but loved the peace and quiet.
We didn’t love
The changing rooms can feel rather cramped at busy times; the showers and toilets are also on a different floor.
Weekends and school holidays get very busy: book a time slot online and opt for an early start. At 9am there were just 10 people in the rooftop pool; by midday this had increased to around 50.
The lunch options could be a little more exciting.
One lift wasn’t working on the day we visited, and the staircases are tight meaning we had to take it in turns going up and down the steps.
Who do you think would like it?
History buffs will love bathing in the mineral rich hot waters, as people have done here for thousands of years.
Bargain hunters: Thermae Bath Spa is great value: a two-hour slot costs £40 on weekdays and £45 on weekends. Treatments start at £125.
City breakers: just one more reason visit the historic city of Bath.
What bubble rating did you give this spa?
We awarded Bath Thermae Spa a Good Spa Guide Bubble Rating of 4 Bubbles for its rooftop pool, natural waters and sense of being part of history, but the changing rooms are very cramped, and the lunch could be more interesting. Go on a busy day and it may feel more crowded than restful, but time it right and it is a unique spa experience.
Springs Café offers a ‘grazing menu’ of light bites and a selection of sweet treats.
9am – 9:30pm every day