Ashley’s five favourites from 2014
The festive season has been and gone now, and this means for me it’s been a year as part of the Orchid City & Spa family. What a fun-filled, exciting year to look back on; there has been an office move, new branding and a much loved nespresso machine! Nevertheless I did leave the copious amounts of coffee and bourbon biscuits behind to explore some of the places around the country that we love and recommend to so many at Orchid.
Here are Ashley’s five favourites from 2014 for you:
The overnight hotel stay is certainly my one of my preferred perks of the job! Expect egg shape baths, warm woods and regency grandeur if you travel to the Montpellier Chapter. Our ‘feature’ room was superb and the staff friendly, they even let us try the soup at dinner before ordering! It was of course delicious, as was the main, dessert, cocktails and coffee! I certainly felt rejuvenated and refreshed for Monday morning back to work!
I loved: The chic private dining options of Chapter 1 & 2, lined with a wall of wine on the lower ground floor and their own private entrance make for a very memorable dinner.
Despite the foggy December day Bath looked spectacular with its Christmas décor, and there was the bustle of people doing their last minute shopping. On this occasion, for research purposes of course I visited the Bath Thermae Spa!
I had a fabulous tour of the spa, there is a rooftop pool, a second floor home to the steam rooms which have four microcosm tropics, each one having an individual pleasant aroma which feels cleansing and therapeutic. An additional large pool and treatment rooms occupy the ground floor and there is a terrace area which looked great for relaxing with friends on a summer day, however I will admit with it being rather chilly I didn’t brave it on this occasion!
Don’t miss: A trip to the open-air rooftop pool; the views are fantastic from the third floor, Bath Abbey neighbours the spa and there is a mix of Georgian buildings and rolling countryside that sweep the landscape. It can snowing on the ground but with the pool at a toasty 33 degrees you will stay perfectly warm.
I was kindly invited to join the ladies at the Magdalen Chapter for Lunch. The hotel is an eye-catching contemporary hotel with a fresh, seasonal menu and quirky private dining rooms such as ‘The potting shed’. The meal was fantastic and we all enjoyed a large portion of sticky toffee pudding to finish, claiming the diet would start tomorrow!
Be sure to: Pack your swimming costume as the indoor-out pool had something for everyone; there is inside pool area with a wood burning fire, or you can enjoy the Devon air in the outside pool.
On a rather rainy day in April I celebrated my birthday, not that the weather damped the fun. I had decided to do a treasure hunt and thoughtfully our supplier arranged this for me along with a couple bottles of bubbly at the final meeting spot which was appreciated by all as we tallied up who won! The teams were competitive as we chased around the Circus and Crescent to get all the clues, and the locals friendly as they aided my team with a clue or two!
Worth doing: For a bonus points make sure to get creative with the photo challenges, it’s what gave my team the victory! The snaps provided us with a great giggle for the rest of the day.
In week three at the office I made the short train journey to Bath, this city is steeped in history with prestigious Georgian properties and Roman retreats. After a leisurely ramble around Bath, my morning was completed with an indulgent lunch at The Porter. It is certainly somewhere worth visiting; every level of this four story property has a different design and feel. It’s a quirky place where each area can provide something completely unique from private dining afternoon tea to late night cocktails in the basement bar.
My recommendation: Try Mr Parson’s sausages and mash for a winter warmer!