In a word
A historic spa hotel to rival them all. It took seventeen years and the buying power (£70m) of Ensana, Europe’s largest spa operator, to revive this Grade I listed grand dame, but Buxton Crescent is return. It harnesses the Derbyshire town’s underground hot springs and guests can enjoy the mineral-rich waters as the Victorians, Georgians and Romans did before them.
There are few sights more quintessentially English than those enjoyed on the road to Buxton through the Peak District. The area immediately around the hotel speaks of a glorious past, including Pavilion Gardens, with its Kew-esque botanical conservator, and; the chic Cavendish Arcade, filled with shops, cafes and bars.
Georgian neoclassical strength at its finest, this architectural masterpiece is the stuff of Austenian dreams. Its new interiors are eye-catching, if a bit bling at times, with things hitting a high note in the bar: aged mirrors, botanical wallpaper and brass fixtures channel the best of the Victoriana gin-palace.
The historical continuity is a beautiful thing: bathing in the same waters, delivered in the same monumental surroundings once enjoyed by Victorians and Georgians, adds a dimension to the experience that seems unbeatable. The staff – while incredibly accommodating – felt a little green and somewhat out of step with the laid-back service of England’s most popular hotels.
bed and bath
Canopy beds, claw-foot tubs, and designer toiletries are all well thought out. The clean lines of the other fixtures seem a bit at odds with the rooms’ stately sash, but the palate is reassuringly muted, making it a well-suited space for lounging in your bathrobe while you wait for your next treatment.
Food and drink
The restaurant menu is both exciting and contextually appropriate. You’ll find imaginative takes on classic British dishes that use local, seasonal ingredients (don’t miss the oxtail roulade), while also looking great on the plate. If you fancy dining out one evening, options range from hearty Greek and Italian cuisine to fine old-world cuisine just a short walk away.
Swimming pools, spas and public spaces
The hotel’s raison d’être does not disappoint. On the aesthetic side, the spa area combines its past steeped in history (stained glass and cast iron) with clean lines and soothing colors. Start in the original thermal pool (filled daily), which is naturally heated to 27.5°C. Then move on to the heavenly lit relaxation pool, finishing with some hydrotherapy in the outdoor pool at the stage. The latter is where Insta-braggers should take pictures.
Elsewhere there’s a salt grotto to harmonize one’s respiratory system, a trio of saunas (infrared, bio-thermal, and Finnish), and a pair of steam rooms (regular and aromatherapy). Treatments are taken just as seriously, with a huge range of options ranging from a therapeutic hot mud bath – for aching joints – to Tranquility Pro-Sleep. Most memorable, however, is the individual experience of the Buxton CO2 mineral bath – the high blood pressure is gone!
Nuts and bolts
number of rooms: 81 rooms and suites
Gifts: Tea and coffee kit and bottle of water
In the bathroom: Toiletries by Penhaligons
Wireless: To free
Minibar prices: Everything can be ordered through room service and placed in rooms/refrigerators upon request
Handicap access: There are two accessible rooms
Pet Policy: Supplement of £20 per dog per night, with a maximum of one dog per room. This includes a free dog bed
At the end of the line
best thing: The spa
worst thing: One or two inexperienced employees (but never unpleasant)
Perfect for: A romantic spa weekend for lovers of the charm of yesteryear
instagram of: The outdoor swimming pool on the roof
Room price: Doubles from £125 per night B&B