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“Tremendous food, great location, new managers with a vision”
Review of Monsal Head Hotel

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Monsal Head Hotel
Ranked #5 of 6 Hotels in Bakewell
Reviewed 8 May 2014

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.

Room Tip: Rooms with a view of the Dale are essential!
See more room tips
  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank BencardsBites
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
derbyshirew, General Manager at Monsal Head Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 14 May 2014

Dear Elferrara,

I think your review has more than said anything I may wish to add, so I will keep it nice and simple and just say "Thank you".

Please educate the rest of society in commenting in the same way and the whole world will become a better place.

You review is honest and unbiased and you had several days to judge your opinion and I would like to think that when we get it right we savour those times and when we get it slightly wrong we raise our arms and admit it so as to learn for the future.

As for the future I hope we get a return visit so you may see all the amazing changes we have made.

Bye for now

Keith Robson
General Manager

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264 - 270 of 433 reviews

Reviewed 8 May 2014

We have a second home in the Peak District and eat out most times when we are there. The restaurant at The Monsal Head Hotel is somewhere we always return to because of the consistent high quality of the food prepared by Rob and his team.
The new owners and management under Keith know that there are things that need to be done to enhance the experience but that is happening ( the new gents toilets for instance should be finished when we visit on Saturday)
The menu delivers exactly what it says and beyond at a very reasonable price.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
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Thank Nick S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
derbyshirew, General Manager at Monsal Head Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 14 May 2014

Dear Nick S,

Your feedback is greatly appreciated and you always know that your special table will be reserved whenever you book, you have become part of the Monsal Head family with your frequence of visits and we always look forward to your arrival.

The new toilets in the restaurant are now just 2 days away from being completed and you of all guests will know what an impact this will have on our business.

We look forward to your return visit soon.

Best Regards

Keith Robson
General Manager

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Reviewed 6 May 2014

The Stable's Bar, next door to the hotel, has a great atmosphere and is minutes away from the Monsal Trail. The outdoor seating area is great in the summer months, and during the winter months and evenings the cosy interior provides a shelter in which one can warm up from the chill. The food is surprisingly very good, as many reviews suggest otherwise. Although pricey, it does maintain a decently high standard, even if the food may not be of michelin standards. There is a wide variety of dishes on the menu, ranging from light snacks to more restaurant-esque options with prices ranging accordingly. Putting the food aside, there are great views and scenery to admire from the outdoor seating area.

I would highly recommend the Stable's Bar to anyone looking for a bite to eat near the Monsal Trail. The food is of a high quality, and the service is very efficient.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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Thank sebh96
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
derbyshirew, General Manager at Monsal Head Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 14 May 2014

Dear Seb H,

Thank you for your amazing and honest feedback that you have left on trip advisor.

I am so happy that you are one of the ones who is quick to praise when things are right and not the opposite.

We have the 3rd most visited tourist attraction in Derbyshire right on our doorstep and we like to match that view with great rustic food matched only by the micro brewery ales we offer to complement the food.

Our staff work hard, infact not just hard they give their heart to the Monsal Head Hotel and Stables bar and I am proud to be called the General Manager of this whole business.

We will work hard every day to ensure all guests receive the kind of visit you received and I hope we see you again in the future and people like you.

Regards

Keith Robson
General Manager

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Reviewed 6 May 2014

I booked a night here - dinner, bed and breakfast - to celebrate my husband's 40th birthday.

We've been visiting the Stables bar for many years, and as we love the area so much, it seemed fitting to finally stay at the hotel. To focus on the positives, our evening meal was delicious and the staff serving were friendly and helpful. However, the room was so disappointing.

Admittedly the room had a lovely view, but it was in dire need of upgrading and felt decidedly shabby. The 'en-suite' was a toilet and shower cubicle in a cupboard the size of a wardrobe with tiling which had been painted over, and scruffy lino; the 'cracked' sink was in the bedroom; and as much as I love 'period' features and old furniture, the 1970s cane furniture and old faded curtains were in need of replacing.

So disappointing, as its a beautiful old building, but I expected a much higher standard for the cost of the overnight deal.

Unfortunately we also timed our stay with some renovation work being carried out downstairs next to the restaurant, which meant toilets being out of order, dusty floors and tables in the restaurant, and skips filled with rubbish outside. No-one's fault but it added to the general disappointment of the overall experience.

As someone with many nostalgic and sentimental memories of Monsal Dale and the Monsal Head, it pains me to say that I would not recommend the hotel to any friends or family on the basis of our stay. Maybe I should have stuck with the Stables Bar where we've always enjoyed the food, beer and atmosphere....

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Liz G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
derbyshirew, General Manager at Monsal Head Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 14 May 2014

Dear Liz G,

Thank you for your feedback on trip advisor, we appreciate all comments and can only move forward by receiving such feedback.

Once again I find myself replying to feedback that is left on this site as opposed to myself in person. You give us so many positive comments regarding the food and the service and we really appreciate that but with regards to the negatives well all I can sy is that we are working on it and if the skip that was full outside the business did not prove this then I do not know what will?

We are an independant hotel which operates on its own cash flow basis and when the time is right we will be investing in all areas of the hotel, but in 6 months of being here as the general manager we have seen 2 rooms receive a full refurbishment and 4 rooms receive light redecoration, add to this a brand new beer cellar install so we can offer the most micro brewery ales in the area and after many years a brand new gents toilets in the restaurant as well as running the businees on a day to day basis I think we are doing quite well so far.

Had we known about your disappointment I believe we would have been able to rectify in in maybe offering you an alternative room which would have resolved your issues immediately.


Once again I appreciate your feedback and when the time is right we will be resolving the negative points you have raised although many other guests do comment that the period features are a quirky added to touch to their stay and we are just sorry that this was not so for yourself.

Kindest Regards

Keith Robson
General Manager

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Reviewed 26 April 2014

We would not stay here again as although the room was nice, clean and with a great shower, the service in the restaurant was very slow, the dining room large and with no atmosphere and the breakfast unpalatable after waiting nearly an hour for it to arrive.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank C R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
derbyshirew, Duty Manager at Monsal Head Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 30 April 2014

Dear C R

Thank you for your feedback regarding your stay with us during April. I do apologise, but during your stay we were undergoing some much needed refurbishment to our Stables bar, thus resulting in some turmoil during your evening with us and the following morning.

I would like to state that although this refurbishment was being carried out, it should not have had the impact on you that it did during your stay, myself and the team are very troubled that we were unable to provide you with the same level of customer service that we are able to give. I would also like to thank you again for bringing this to our attention, enabling us to make certain that we do not make the same mistake again.

I would like to invite you and your partner to return to us on a date of your choosing, fully complementary as our guests, with a view to regain your confidence and trust that we are able to provide you with a more memorable stay with us

At a convenient time for yourself would you please ring myself on the telephone number 01629 640 250 and I would be more then happy to arrange a date for this.

Kindest regards

Andrew Heron
Duty Manager

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Reviewed 21 April 2014

The restaurant at this hotel is under new management with some fresh and exciting ideas.
Yes, the dining room is currently a bit drab and lacking atmosphere, with the hard wood floor and high ceilings contributing to an echoey sound that makes conversation hard to hear above neighbouring chatter. They are going to put up drapes and freshen the room up during 2014.
The service is enthusiastic and friendly, the people running it are clearly passionate about the place. They understand the place's current shortcomings and know what needs improvement.
The food, most importantly, is very good. They're trying to offer some meals and flavours that are above the run of the mill and largely succeed.
Very fair value for money.
I did think there should be a clear system to allow all diners a free parking space, especially in the early evening. Something for the park authorities and/or landowners to consider.
It's somewhere we would definitely return to, to try different meals and see what changes have been made to the place.
And in addition to that, of course, there's the amazing viewpoint of Monsal Head.
Good luck to this dynamic team with their plans.

Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
2  Thank chestervoyager
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
derbyshirew, Duty Manager at Monsal Head Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 24 April 2014

Dear Chestervoyager

Thank you for such wonderful feedback, I am so pleased that you enjoyed your stay with us. As you state we are in a phase of constant development at the moment with exciting things happening on an, almost, weekly basis.

Unfortunately in regards to our car parking facilities, we currently rent our part of the large car park from Derbyshire Council and thus we are unable to provide any signage or reservations for our visiting patrons. Although we use our best efforts to find places for people coming to stay with us, it is not always possible to locate a space in the free area.

Kindest Regards

Andrew Heron
Duty Manager

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Reviewed 19 April 2014

Extremely good food & service. Booked a table for 6 in the restaurant on Friday night. The location is wonderful & the premises are really comfortable. After a very warm welcome when we arrived, I started to prepare for the catch!! I’m delighted to say there wasn’t one! The food was to a very high standard & well presented. The beer was great too. I could imagine Monsal Head successfully catering for a very wide range of customers & that’s a tough task.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with family
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Thank JamieKirkby
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
derbyshirew, Duty Manager at Monsal Head Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 24 April 2014

Dear JamieKirkby

Thank you for your feedback regarding your dinner with us on Friday night. I have passed your comments to our team and they are elated that they made your evening with us such a delight.

Myself and the team hope to see you again in the near future

Kindest Regards

Andrew Heron
Duty Manager

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Additional Information about Monsal Head Hotel

Address: Monsal Head, Peak District National Park, Bakewell DE45 1NL, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Peak District National Park > Bakewell
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 6 Hotels in Bakewell
Price Range: £60 - £119 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 7
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

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