* Prices may differ from that shown
This year, it was my 'turn' to organise a Valentine treat after my fella whisked me off to Rome last year to get frostbite. We had recently started getting into walking each weekend and had heard that the Peak District is beautiful, so that's where I decided to look. Superbreak is one of my favourite websites for finding cheap hotels and that's where I found our little package for the Buxton Palace. I paid £159 in total for two nights B&B and dinner on the first night - that's £40 per person per night which is a pretty good deal even for a Holiday Inn or something similar, and this looked like quite a posh hotel. Of course, once I'd made the booking I went on lots of travel and hotel review sites and scared myself that I'd made a terrible mistake - all I saw were gripes about the shabbiness of the rooms and the awful food. I did note however that since many of those reviews had been written, the 'Paramount' Buxton Palace has been taken over by the Barcelo group, whom I've stayed with before, so I held onto the hope that some improvements would have been made. We arrived at the hotel at around 3.30pm on Valentine's Day after driving down from the North and spending the day at the Heights of Abraham. The hotel is really easy to find as it's right next to the train station so you can just follow the rail signs once you arrive in Buxton. You cannot miss the hotel itself - it is a huge imposing Victorian building set on a bit of a hill and it looked beautiful with a dusting of snow as we pulled into the car park. (NB. I don't know what the picture above is, but it doesn't appear to be the Buxton Palace Hotel, not as I remember it anyway!) *PARKING* According to the website the hotel has 350 parking spaces, so there must be some overflow car park at the back somewhere because at the car park at the front of the hotel was very small and had resulted in some imaginative parking by guests! Nevertheless we did find a space with no problems. One of the major things I've noticed in other reviews of this hotel is the fact that they charge residents an extra £3.50 per day for parking. Most people complained that they were not made aware of this beforehand, but if they read their booking documents and the website (or indeed any of the reviews on the place!) carefully enough I'm sure they would have known about it. It's only a small thing, but it IS irritating to be charged extra to park your car when you're already paying to stay there, and I think that even if they could not abolish it altogether, the hotel could maybe increase the room price by £3.50 per night without anyone noticing. It was just a bit reminiscent of booking a 'bargain' flight, only to find you have to pay for all the extras on top. *THE HOTEL* Ok, so now I've got the bad bit out of the way ... We did feel very grand I have to say walking up the stone steps towards the hotel. We entered the lobby through a rather geriatric revolving door that may pose problems for people with a lot of luggage, but our first impression did not disappoint - we walked into a large atrium with marble columns and a sweeping staircase with an enormous chandelier, and it didn't look at all shabby or dated. Valentine's is obviously a busy time so we waited in line to check in, and when our turn came the lady on the desk was very friendly and efficient and advised us to book in for our meal straight away if we wanted to eat at a decent time, so we did. We ascended to the second floor in a rather slow and small lift, and found that we were in a newer 'annex' on the back of the building. The Buxton Palace has 118 bedrooms and four 'suites' and I guess you have to pay more for one of the rooms on the front of the hotel with the big windows looking out over Buxton. We had a smallish window overlooking the roof of another part of the hotel, but things like that don't bother us, especially in February when there are only about three hours of daylight anyway! *THE BEDROOM* Our room was fairly small, but had high ceilings and enough room to manoeuvre for the two of us and was very luxurious indeed. The bed was large and high and really comfy and squashy and I have to say there was again no sign of the datedness I had come to expect - the carpets, curtains and bedding all looked brand new and were good quality so the hotel has obviously been undergoing some renovation in recent years. Furniture-wise, as well as the bed, there was a desk/dressing table, wardrobe, chair and Cable TV, and plenty of good-quality tea and coffee making facilities. The en-suite bathroom was almost as big as the bedroom, and although not quite as plush as the bedroom, it was still nice with a good strong shower (although I noticed this was a little bit more unpredictable on the Monday morning, possibly as more people were showering at the same time across the hotel) and complimentary toiletries. A hairdryer was provided but if you have any length or thickness to your hair at all I'd strongly advise you to take your own as it seriously took me about 15 minutes longer than normal to dry my hair and if there hadn't been snow on the ground outside I would have given up altogether! *THE FOOD* As we went downstairs for our romantic Valentines dinner I was again apprehensive after the reviews I had read. There is a small bar just off the reception area leading to the Dovedale restaurant and this is where we were greeted by another friendly member of staff and taken to our table. The restaurant is beautiful - tastefully decorated, again with very high ceilings and chandeliers and real flower arrangements on the tables. There was a set menu (starter, main and dessert) which was included in the price of our booking, but we did have the option of choosing other dishes or extras for a supplementary pound or two (payable afterwards or added to the final bill), and this was clearly marked on the menu and didn't cause any confusion. We were happy enough with the set menu though and chose soup, Beef and Vegetable Wellington, and some really charming/cheesy (delete as appropriate, I'll go with charming!) profiterole swans for after. All of it was delicious and we really enjoyed it. I can't remember exactly how much we paid for drinks and although it wasn't cheap we did get change for a tenner for two so it can't have been THAT bad! As well as tables around the bar, there were comfy sofas in little nooks and crannies around the reception area which were nice to sit in. There was more of a 'traditional' pub type bar which we stumbled upon at the back of the building, but we found this to be closed most of the time. The buffet breakfast was served in the same room the next day and we were again welcomed and seated, by the same lady actually (ugh, I remember working split shifts in a hotel!), and she took our order for drinks. I was pleasantly surprised by the wide selection available for breakfast - as well as the usual fried breakfast goodies, guests could also help themselves to fruit juice, cereal, muesli, fresh fruit, pastries and muffins. There was also one of those awful toasting machines which just seemed to be the toaster equivalent of the Burning Jaws of Hell - no matter how I twiddled the knobs I just ended up with a charred lump of carbon. Free newspapers were available from reception. A wide selection of snacks and meals was also available from room service. *HOTEL FACILITIES* Unfortunately our walking weekend in the Peaks was scuppered by the inclement foggy weather, so instead we ended up having drives out then coming back to the hotel to take full advantage of the facilities. The Buxton Palace has a 15m pool, which is a good length for a decent swim but not far enough that you're working VERY hard, you are on holiday after all! It can get crowded quite easily though. There is also a small gym and a free weights room, neither of which we used because we hadn't brought suitable attire. What we DID use however, were the sauna and steam room. Again, these were both quite small, seating no more than about six people at a squash, but did we come home feeling relaxed and refreshed!! Towels were available for free hire, all you had to do was sign in and give your room number. The changing rooms were again quite plush and luxurious, in-keeping with the rest of the hotel. The showers were powerful and complimentary toiletries were available, and there were dressing tables with large mirrors and much more powerful hairdryers than the rooms. There were also plenty of large lockers which take a £1 coin. A full range of beauty services such as manicures, pedicures, facials and massages was also available at an extra cost. *OVERALL* Don't listen to older reviews slating the Buxton Palace, I thoroughly enjoyed my stay here. I can imagine there are more luxurious hotels around but for our purposes and the price I paid I can't fault it. The only thing stopping it getting five stars is that niggly parking charge and the rubbish hairdryer. More information can be found at: http://www.barcelo-hotels.co.uk/hotels/ northern-england/barcelo-buxton-palace-hotel/
Yes, this is a beautiful hotel, however the food in the atrium lets it down... you'll be lucky to get any service, the menu is very unexciting, and the food very poor quality. We ordered a hamburger (£10); the burger was deep fried; the chips obviously reheated; and the salad looked like floor sweepings. Oh and it was meant to have a blue cheese dressing, but only came with salad cream. Give it a miss.
The Palace Hotel in Buxton, Derbyshire, is an amazing hotel. It is an RAC 4* accredited hotel and my partner and I went on a 2 night leisure break there for Easter. We chose this particular hotel because it has a swimming pool, sauna, steam room, gym and beauty salon. In short, we decided to pamper ourselves. When we arrived in Buxton we drove straight to the hotel. It is a beautiful Victorian building, which stands proudly on a hill at one end of Buxton overlooking the Opera House, the Pavilion and the Pavilion Gardens. It is also adjacent to the Buxton Crescent and so the view from all the bedrooms at the front of the hotel is magnificent. There are revolving doors to enter a vast marble reception. It all looks very grand and first impressions of the hotel are that you will be treated like royalty during your stay. The Palace Hotel is one of a group of Hotels run by the Paramount Group. They are all 4* hotels and most of them have leisure facilities. They offer 2 and 3 night leisure breaks from £50 per person, per night. This tariff is for 2 people sharing and includes a 3 course dinner and full English breakfast. The Palace Hotel has 112 rooms and 4 suites. We stayed in a standard room at the rear of the hotel and so had no view. Our room was lovely. Tastefully decorated with satellite TV, trouser press, tea and coffee making facilities and telephone. The bathroom was ensuite and nice, if a little small. To be honest, the room didn't really scream extravagance - I have stayed in Travel Lodges with equally nice rooms. The thing that did it for me was the hotel itself. We arrived at 6pm, checked into our room and went straight off to the swimming pool. The 14 metre, mosaic tiled, indoor swimming pool is beautiful. The water is colder than you would imagine (the idea is that you get all hot and sweaty in the steam room or sauna and then dive in the cold water to cleanse and tone the skin. Of course, these da ys you are required to take a shower between the two). The pool itself is within the leisure suite. You enter and are greeted by a receptionist. You are given towels and asked what you would like to use. You can choose to either be largely left to your own devices or to be shown around - it's up to you really. For two people who swim regularly in the local council pool, this was a really nice experience. It was all so clean and the changing rooms were large and pretty. It was the little things that counted for me. After our swim, I took a nap and then we dressed and went down to dinner. We had a drink in each of the hotel bars, the Derby Bar (which is also open to the public) and the Robert Rippon Duke Bar (which isn't). Neither had many people in them or much atmosphere. We went into dinner and were sat in the middle of the Dovedale Restaurant. The restaurant is amazing. It is all done out in pale blues and pinks with an awful lot of gold. We were offered a wine list but decided not to order any wine as the house red was £11.50 per bottle and a glass was £4.50 on it’s own. We ordered drinks from the bar, like so many of our fellow diners, to keep the extra cost down. The menu offered us plenty of choice. There were 10 starters to choose from and 12 main courses. A couple of dishes were offered at a supplement. For example, we could have chosen any of 9 dishes as part of the weekend break, or any of 3 for an extra supplement of between £3 and £6. We stuck to the basic menu and the food was wonderful. 3 courses later and we were both too full to do anything other than go to bed and watch TV. Breakfast the following morning was buffet style but there was a lot of food and it was all very fresh and hot. Again, the food was excellent. I have to say that over the course of our 4 meals, the service we received was not excellent. It wasn’t bad, really, but not excellent. Service was slow on the first night and w e were horribly rushed on the second. They forgot to bring our drinks during one dinner and then our coffee during the next days breakfast. We were apologised to on all occasions and everyone was very polite. One more mishap, though, and I would have been complaining bitterly. On our second day I booked a back massage at the beauty salon. For £10.50 I had 30 minutes of back massage and felt it was well worth the money. The salon offers all kinds of treatments including hair-dressing, massage, aromatherapy, manicures, pedicures, eyebrow-shaping ..... You get the picture. There were lots of children around, as it was Easter, and children stay free. There is a children’s menu available and all you pay for are meals. I wouldn’t really recommend it for kids as there isn’t anything for them to do in the hotel and I saw a lot of stressed parents trying to get their young to behave ‘properly’ during a 3 course, silver-service meal. It’s a bit boring for kids. I would thoroughly recommend the hotel to anyone wanting a quick break. However, if at all possible I would not include dinner on my stay again. There are lots of lovely looking restaurants and pubs in Buxton and I would prefer to try those instead. We booked this break through an internet late-break specialist called www.wotif.com at half price.