The Monsal Head Hotel delivers superb value for money in a stunning location in the heart of the Peak District. Its Victorian bones are creaky and in need of renovation, its decor basic, but its food is on par with any fancy gastropub-with-rooms and the service levels of its cheerful team equal upscale boutique hotels. New managers Keith and Hannah have only been in place for six months and have been hard at work improving the basics. Hearing their plans for the future, I'd bet this place joins the ranks of posher, more fashionable neighbours in a couple years. Get in now while it's still an undiscovered deal.
Four of the hotel's seven rooms look over a view right out of a travel brochure from cozy, enclosed balconies. (Ours had two comfy wicker chairs; I assume the rest do as well.) The furniture is basic but comfortable. They've clearly paid attention to the one place you can't skimp: the mattresses are good. The biggest difference between this and posher places is the bathroom: sink in the room itself, blocking a fireplace that would have been an attractive design feature; toilet and underwhelming shower in a tiny separate room. This is clearly where renovation is needed, and the managers say it's on the list.
We dined here three nights as part of a great package (included B&B, dinner, half bottle of wine each, easter eggs and one packed lunch for £450 for both of us for the three nights) and were delighted. Somebody's clearly been watching Masterchef. Dishes were modern European with influences from Asia or North Africa. The best dish of the stay was a lamb fillet with hints of Morrocan spice served on a squash puree and topped with parsnip crisps. Starters of chicken liver pate and confit duck leg showed confidence with the classics, and several fish dishes came out perfectly cooked.
If the rooms are slightly below expectations, the dinner is far, far above. If you're a foodie, you'll recognise this place as a hell of a deal.
They also welcome dogs for a small extra fee, which was a critical factor for a long weekend in the country.
There's abundant potential here, and they seem to be on the right track to exploit all of it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Monsal Head Hotel is situated at the peak of the Monsal dale. The hotel itself is steeped in history whilst the Stables bar which has stood the test of time for over 200 years still holds the quirky values today as it did then. Offering a fine selection of beers supplied by local micro breweries. Food is of the highest offering with everything from light bites to hearty meals with an enphasis on good quality local produce all made on the premises. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Monsal Head Bakewell
- Monsal Head Hotel Bakewell, Peak District National Park