No 15 Great Pulteney is just a short ten-minute walk from Bath Spa station. Although just a hop, skip and a jump from the city’s centre; including the Roman Baths and Bath Abbey, the hotel’s on a peaceful yet grand street made up of stately Georgian townhouses.
Exuding historic class, its exterior belies what’s found within, and this boutique luxury hotel surprises you with its quirky, design-led interior. Going inside I felt like I’d been transported to somewhere like Wes Craven’s Grand Hotel Budapest, as the reception kept room keys in a giant dolls house, there was a massive model of Big Ben’s tower (Big Ben is actually the name of the bell and not the tower, fact fans!), decadent features like chandeliers and large artwork like that of a bell boy. I loved it.
This ‘boujee’ vibe as Rosie would say, continued into the Sitting Room, where our afternoon tea was served. The hotel’s eye-catching, over the top design is consistently in your face, but still oddly not over the top. It’s also very tongue-in-cheek and fun, showing that the hotel doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Seated by the window, we took a moment to sit back and soak the setting in, while later taking a wander around the Sitting Room to check out some of the features in more detail. Giant mirrors, stuffed birds (not so much a fan of these), colourful art and comedy books kept us occupied while we waited for our drinks to arrive.
Each table is also a work of art – under each glass top is a spread of gaudy jewelry, trinkets and antique hairbrushes that wouldn’t look out of place on an old lady’s dressing table. How original!
No 15 Great Pulteney afternoon tea drink selection
No 15 Great Pulteney has a good selection of fresh teas on offer including white, black and fruit. Visiting with my stepdaughter Rosie and bestie Nichola, between us we tried out quite a variety of what’s on offer from Comins organic chamomile and Jing whole rose buds through to Jing lemongrass and ginger, and Jasmine Silver Needle. While some were refreshing others were relaxing, but all had subtle flavours that we highly enjoyed.
I loved that everyone’s tea came in a different style of teapot – all retro silver affairs, but differing in design and size. I even had teapot envy when I saw the gorgeous affair at the table next to ours but sadly I wasn’t able to grab a picture! There was one downside to these pretty pots however; they got very hot. We weren’t warned of this, so almost dropped our teapots on several occasions when picking them up to pour tea. In the end the safest way was to use our napkins as a buffer!
You can also treat yourselves to a sparkling afternoon tea, which we of course did – it would have been rude not to! We were each brought a vintage glass of AR Lenoble champagne, which I have to say was downright exquisite. Probably one of the most enjoyable champers I’ve ever had, I’d highly recommend this when you visit.
Afternoon tea is served!
Little features can make all the difference in my opinion, and one of the small things that made our afternoon tea memorable was the way it was served. Along with our three-tier tray came a large metal stand, which the food was hung from. I’d not seen anything like this during an afternoon tea before, and really liked this cool little touch. I also thought it was cool that each stand was unique, each decorated with a different fruit – ours was a little pineapple.
For me the highlight of the afternoon tea at No 15 Great Pulteney was the savouries. These were proper chunky affairs – no scraping on the fillings. We were each served a coronation chicken, egg mayonnaise, and salmon sandwich, all tasting deliciously fresh, with a crunchy salad filling.
These came alongside a freshly baked red pepper and feta tart and my favourite of all the dishes; a chorizo sausage roll. Warm, with flakey pastry, this was a classic pork sausage roll flavoured with small pieces of chorizo. Delectable!
Scones or rock cakes?
The only downpoint to our tea was the scones, which I usually adore. To be fair, I still enjoyed these immensely, and snuffled up a lot of them, but we found the majority to be rather hard and dry. Each of us was served one plain and one fruit scone. They were warm, so I thought they were freshly baked, but I did come away wondering if actually they were batch cooked earlier in the day and then reheated?
We did bring up the hardness of the scones with our server who apologised and got us another batch, which was very kind. Sadly these came out just the same, but we really appreciated the effort he went to.
Although they were rather dry, the scones’ flavour was nice, and topped with clotted cream and homemade strawberry jam or lemon curd they were still rather edible. The lemon curd was a particular highlight for Rosie though; she enjoyed it so much that we had to order more!
Ending on a high note
We were pretty full after the scones but still tried some of the cakes – the rest we asked to be boxed up, so we could enjoy them later at home. I adored the deliciously rich chocolate mousse with milk foam and the salted caramel banoffee pie also went down very well. These were joined by mini battenbergs and an opera cake. Laced with coffee liqueur, it was very strong in flavour, but highly enjoyable.
What we thought of afternoon tea at No 15 Great Pulteney
Overall I really enjoyed my experience at No 15 Great Pulteney and would highly recommend it as an option for afternoon tea in Bath. I absolutely loved the setting and although the scones weren’t all we’d hoped they’d be, on the whole the food was delicious.
We’re not the only ones that think highly of No 15 Great Pulteney and the Sitting Room was fully booked during our visit, which I’m told is regularly the case. If you’d like to experience afternoon tea here, I highly recommend booking in advance!
The hotel offers much more than afternoon tea however, and I’d love to return to check out its spa and also its supper clubs. We were also given a sneak peak around some of the rooms – if like me you’re a fan of unique, boutique accommodation, you won’t be disappointed…
Afternoon tea is served at No 15 Great Pulteney Monday to Sunday 12-5pm in the Sitting Room and from 1-5pm in The Dispensary on Saturdays. The classic afternoon tea costs £30 per person and the champagne afternoon tea costs £38 per person.
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Our afternoon tea was complimentary for the purposes of this review. However, as always, all views are my own.