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Buxton Crescent, Buxton, Derbyshire
This handsome, honey-hued, semi-circular stretch of buildings started life in the 18th Century, created by decree of the fifth Duke of Devonshire, whose family owns land in Derbyshire. Originally constructed as accommodation to boost Buxton's reputation as a spa town against its rival, Bath, it resulted in one hotel on either end, with several cheaper lodging houses in between. Over time, part of it became used as the town's Assembly Rooms, while the hotels - known as St Ann's and The Great - prospered, but by the 1980s had fallen into disrepair. Enter European spa hotel group, Ensana, who wanted to preserve and celebrate Buxton's spa heritage. A £70 million renovation later, they've created a smart, modern, 81-roomed hotel with a multi-level spa and wellness centre which makes full use of the natural hot spring waters sourced nearby. The décor throughout features tones of silver, plum and deep blue, while other facilities include a snug bar, large airy restaurant, and function area (the aforementioned Assembly Rooms). There's also a visitor centre on site for those who want to learn more about Buxton's evolution as a spa town from Roman times.
History buffs will enjoy deciphering a copy of a poem etched into a window at the neighbouring Old Hall hotel by Mary Queen of Scots, who stayed in the town shortly before her death. The Cavendish Arcade, formerly the town's public baths, is now home to a profusion of chic boutiques.
The hotel is situated in the heart of Buxton, gateway to the Peak District. Buxton Park and The Pavilion Gardens are a short walk away.
By car: around 1 hour from Sheffield, 2 hours from Birmingham and 4 hours from London. Parking costs £20 per day.
By train: direct trains to Buxton from Manchester Piccadilly (1 hour). The hotel is a five-minute walk from the station. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
This hotel suits everyone from couples to groups of friends who want to immerse themselves in the wellness facilities (access to the spa is automatically included) and hikers who want to explore the beauty of the wider region. We loved the details honouring the founders; there's a painting of architect John Carr hanging in one of the corridors, showing him with the hotel's original plans, and a statue of the Duke in a courtyard.
Service & Facilities
Being immersed in the heated pool outside while the weather is cold or rainy is quite the experience. Several rooms are designed to accommodate dogs, who get their own water bowl and dog bed for £20 per dog per night, although they are not permitted in the bar, restaurants, or spa.
- Swimming pool
- Wellness suite
- On-site parking
- Free Wi-Fi
The suites have lovely views onto the old Pumphouse and the gardens across the way. Soaking in the tub after a long walk on the hills was divine.
Classic, Attic, Crescent, Attic Superior, Crescent Superior, Junior Suite, Crescent Suite
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom with toiletries, hairdryer, tea and coffee facilities, mini fridge, TV, free Wi-Fi
Food & Drink
The friendly, down-to-earth, knowledgeable staff - the restaurant is a place which could pass for fine dining, but with none of the stuffy formality. Tender roast venison with red cabbage at the main restaurant came beautifully medium rare, as requested.
The Dining Room: modern British cuisine. Open daily for breakfast and dinner.
The Lounge: serving morning bites, light snacks and drinks. Open daily, food served 10am-9pm.