I'd originally wanted to book the sister hotel (nearer to home) but was told it was fully booked, instead I was offered The Palace which was a little more expensive but as it was for a special occasion I didn't mind. The staff member (Lorna) was very helpful and booked us in at The Palace. However when we arrived at 9am following an hour's drive we were told they had no record of our booking. We were supposed to have got a spa package each (2 full length treatments plus robes, towels and lunch). There were two staff members on duty who, to their credit, were apologetic and helpful in trying to fit something in for us. As they were busy arranging an alternative I called Lorna at the sister hotel to explain the situation. I received no apology for her mistake which I was not impressed with considering as it turns out she is the manager of both locations. A staff member came into the waiting room to inform us she could give us mini versions of the treatments we had booked giving us a total of 40mins each. In the circumstances my friend and I were grateful to the staff for offering us something but still very disappointed that our day of luxury would be cut so short. The treatments were ok but far from what I was expecting. My mini pedicure consisted of a short foot scrub, a bit of moisturise and wearing warming slippers. No file and polish as I would have expected. The beautician also left the room twice for quite a while so my 40 minutes was more like 20-25. However, I was given the treatments and a very good discount so have no problem with that really.
When I'd finished I had to ask for a robe (not offered) and got into my swimsuit. I then went to the relaxation room to swap with my friend who would then be getting her treatments (again, different to what we'd booked as we wanted to spend the day together not having treatments one after the other). The room had three loungers, a chair and a chaise longue. All were occupied with women waiting for treatments. The waiting room was also full. I found this odd as by now we'd only seen 4 staff members so couldn't imagine how they would give everyone treatments. It turned out they could possibly. I got talking to some of the women (as the relaxation room is very boring, no magazines or soft music playing) and they told me they were all booked in for 10am. It got to 10.40am and some of the women still hadn't been called into treatment rooms. Very poor organisation. There was also a hen party of 25 waiting so who knows how long they were waiting with no explanation.
After getting bored in the relaxation room I ventured back to reception to ask where the toilets were. I was shown to a tiny, dirty loo round the back of reception. Hardly of "luxury spa" standard. Then I thought I'd go in the pool, found the changing room myself (no tour or directions given) but found it had a coded lock on it so went back to reception to ask for the code. THEN discovered I needed £1 for a locker so once again back to reception for a £1 coin (swapped for a handful of change).
The changing rooms were run down, cold and could do with a deep clean. The pool was warm but the space around it for relaxing is laughable. Two sunloungers were squeezed in at one end toe to toe along the pool edge! We didn't try the steam room or sauna as I am pregnant and shouldn't use them.
In conclusion I really think the advertised prices are far too high for what is a pretty run down spa. I got the feeling the management just book too many people in to get their money and don't really care about customer service. Staff members had a tough job trying to keep all guests happy but remained as helpful as they could in the circumstances.
Other things to improve are:
- No questionnaire for health risks taken (particularly important for me being pregnant! I had to inform them myself to make sure products were safe)
- No spoons for tea and coffee
- general cleanliness
- relaxation room next to loud slamming door of changing room. No calming music or magazines
- no towels provided. Robes only given on request but a bit tatty. My friend's had no belt.
- no lunch option offered
- tiny basic showers
- no tour or explanation of facilities given
- rooms were bland. A lick of paint, nice wallpaper and décor would make a big difference.
- loud chatting in corridors not great when you're having treatments. Staff could be quieter when moving around.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Victorian Palace Hotel sits in 5 acres of landscaped gardens in the spa town of Buxton. Ideally located for visiting Buxton Opera House and exploring the Peak District National Park, Britain's first National Park and one of the country's most popular walking destinations, this hotel has an imposing facade and opulent interior to provide an unforgettable backdrop for any occasion. With 122 bedrooms, including 12 premium rooms, a Health & Leisure club with swimming pool, gym and beauty rooms, and a restaurant using local ingredients to prepare British and Continental cuisine, it's the perfect spot for a country town retreat. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Palace Hotel Buxton
- Palace Buxton
- Buxton Hotel Palace
- Barcelo Buxton
- Hotel Palace Buxton
- The Palace Hotel Buxton, Derbyshire