Bath guest house named best in Britain . . . and second best in Europe
A Bath guest house whose breakfasts are internationally-renowned has emerged as the best in Britain.
The four-bedroom Athole Guest House in Upper Oldfield Park has been voted the second best B&B in Europe in a TripAdvisor poll which gave the top position to an establishment in Italy.
Meanwhile, the Apsley House Hotel in Newbridge has been crowned the second best luxury hotel in the UK and ranks seventh in the website’s Travellers’ Choice Awards Best Luxury Hotels in Europe category.
The awards identify the most outstanding properties worldwide, in the categories of Top Hotels, Luxury, Bargain, Service, Small Hotels and B&Bs. The rankings are based on millions of reviews and opinions covering more than 650,000 hotels collected in a single year from travellers around the world.
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Owner Josephine Herrlinger said: “Naturally we are delighted with the award, which confirms that we are doing something right. I suppose the key is that we are interested in people. Running a B&B can be the best job in the world when you like people - or the worst if you don’t.”
Her German husband Wolfgang added: “We try to present a completely honest view of what we offer, so when guests arrive, they know exactly what to expect. Our website even includes scale layouts of every room as well as photos. Many B&Bs today seem to put style over substance: we combine the two, and keep our promises.”
Almost all the reviews of Athole House mention the breakfasts, which consistently win special awards from Visit Britain.
Chris Martin, who has been housekeeper since the guest house opened in 2000, said: “We use local and organic produce, wherever possible. We have never used any factory breads, for example.”
Mr Herrlinger bakes a range of at least four different breads for breakfast, and any additional bread is from the city’s Bertinet bakery.
Sausages are made by Moorland Road butcher Banables, while cheeses come from the Fine Cheese Company in Walcot Street.
On top of the traditional full English, the Athole offers options including Craster kippers, eggs benedict or eggy bread, many types of omelette, smoothies and freshly-made buttermilk pancakes with blueberries.
More than half the visitors to Athole House come from outside the UK, with many from the USA, Canada, Australia, Japan, China, Germany and Italy.
“We find it particularly satisfying that on an average day about one in five guests are returners,” said Mr Herrlinger.
Athole House has the highest five-star rating and a Gold Award from Visit Britain.
The 12-room Apsley House was also awarded seventh place in the Best Service Hotel in the UK category and came eighth in the UK in the Best Small Hotel category, which recognises hotels with fewer than 30 rooms.
“Apsley House Hotel should feel very proud, winning TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice awards across three different categories is a fantastic achievement,” said TripAdvisor’s Emma Shaw.
Meanwhile, the Royal Crescent Hotel has been given three AA rosettes today for the quality of its restaurant.
The hotel is one of 13 establishments to be given the accolade.
The AA says: “The Royal Crescent Hotel is set in a number of houses in the famous Royal Crescent, and is one of the country's most interesting and historic places to stay. Bedrooms offer a range of suites and sizes, all have individual style and character, many have views across the city, and all are most comfortably appointed. Public rooms make the most of the character of the house and are styled in keeping with the elegance of the period. The hotel has a superb spa and range of leisure facilities, as well as a number of meeting rooms and private dining venues. The bar and restaurant led by accomplished head chef David Campbell, offer the very best of contemporary dining and are not to be missed.”