Review: The Barceló Buxton Palace Hotel
PUBLISHED: 14:09 05 January 2012 | UPDATED: 19:19 25 February 2013
Our reviewer enjoys delicious produce and high quality cuisine at this majestic hotel
Nestled in the charming spa town of Buxton and with stunning views from its hillside location, the silhouette of the Barcel Buxton Palace Hotel is a prominent and imposing feature across the towns skyline. Conveniently located in the heart of Buxton but slightly tucked away in its own private grounds, the grand hotel designed by Henry Currey in 1868 was positively sparkling on the night of our visit.
The inviting reception area with its regal dcor and opulent lighting provided a welcoming respite from the winter chill outside, and with 122 rooms, a four star rating, sweeping staircases and traditional architecture mixed sympathetically with contemporary upgrading, its easy to see why this hotel enjoys a sustainable mix of business and leisure-time clients throughout the year. Its numerous facilities, including a health club and beauty rooms, are open to members of the public and better still, you dont have to be a guest to enjoy the hotels delicious food either.
Both the restaurant and lounge area where daytime snacks and a bar-style menu complement the restaurants more formal fare boast huge windows commanding views to die for across the hotel front, and the renowned Dovedale Restaurant, with its diverse menu created by new head chef Michael Brooks, offers an unrivalled three-course dining experience for 25 per person.
The restaurant dcor is elaborate without being ostentatious, with Regency-style chairs surrounding tables covered in pristine white napery and great service delivered by efficient waiting staff. It might have hotel in its name, but behind the opulent faade of this 19th century building is an establishment with food at its heart.
The set menu is complemented by an extensive wine list and displays a mixture of English classics and contemporary dishes. Mushroom soup, Parma ham or duck with sweet and sour dressing an appealing option for game-lovers sounded tempting for starters, whilst traditional meat and fish dishes, curry or a risotto of roast butternut squash all sounded appetising for mains.
I was swayed by the creamy carrot and coriander soup to start a warming winter choice complemented by a chunk of buttery bread. The serving was as generous and hearty as it was delicious, and my partners fish pt of smoked mackerel and trout brought a well-rounded kick to the proceedings. It proved even better when sampled on a slice of wholesome bread, and the accompanying crunchy salad and caper mayonnaise provided a welcome contrast of textures.
Having realised that this meal was going to be something special, we eagerly awaited the main course and were rewarded with two expertly composed dishes. I enjoyed a well seasoned roast rump of lamb served in thick tender slices on a nest of braised red cabbage. Savoury juices in the gravy made it a real treat, and the meaty centrepiece was accompanied by a squidge of rosemary potato cake golden and crispy on the outside but velvety-smooth in the centre.
After much deliberation, my partner chose the pork. Expertly grilled and topped with a light drizzling of sweet honey and mustard grain jus, the thick cut of pork was complemented by a plentiful serving of new potatoes and a medley of crunchy seasonal vegetables.
Portion sizes had been perfectly judged, leaving just enough room for dessert. Nothing beats warm bread and butter pudding as winter comfort food and my nostalgic dish was full of raisins and sultanas with subtle hints of vanilla and cinnamon. My partners Bakewell tart was a mouth-watering combination of light almond-flavoured cake sandwiched around a layer of sweet cherry jam. Both were accompanied by a generous serving of thick English custard a delicious way to end the evening.
Not having to drive home following such a gastronomic feast made a welcome change, and we retired to our room for the night where dark wooden furnishings and soft lemon walls created a cosy haven in which to relax and unwind. Quality features of premium double rooms include comfortable chairs, wireless internet access, a refreshment tray, trouser press, hair dryer, fluffy bathrobes, slippers and luxurious toiletries as well as a stunning panoramic view across the town of Buxton below.
The following morning we enjoyed the varied breakfast buffet which included an all-you-can-eat cooked English breakfast, continental choices, exotic fruits, cereals, yoghurts, juices, hot drinks and pastries.
Fellow guests included families, couples and business people, and as we left the Buxton Palace Hotel feeling fresh and well-rested, Im sure we werent the only ones wishing we had booked in for the week.
Barcel Buxton Palace Hotel, Palace Road, Buxton. Tel: 01298 22001 www.barcelo-hotels.co.uk/buxton