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Spa Break at Ensana Buxton Crescent hotel REVIEW

[AD – PR invite] I was absolutely delighted to receive an invite to enjoy a spa break at Ensana Buxton Crescent hotel. It’s been rearranged a few times due to covid, but I finally got there yesterday, and it was bliss.

For someone who is essentially very lazy, I am not very good at relaxing. I am a workaholic. This has become increasingly evident now I’m in the process of setting up my own business and juggling the demands of still teaching (only part time but all my classes are exam groups and it is a stressful time for all involved). And being a Mummy. And trying to keep the house clean (definitely failing at that one!). It has been a fraught few weeks and I arrived at the spa feeling very much in need of some relaxation!

Buxton Crescent hotel Derbyshire Peak District spa break

Initial impressions

Buxton Crescent is an iconic landmark. A Grade 1 listed building, its fascinating history dates back to the 18th century.

I was warmly welcomed and check in was efficient. The building is just as impressive inside as it is outside. Curved corridors mirror the exterior, punctuated by delightful pops of fragrant fresh flowers and sumptuous lounge areas.

bar area at Buxton Crescent hotel
The gorgeous bar area at Ensana Buxton Crescent

My room at Ensana Buxton Crescent Hotel

I could have cried when I saw the room. Happy tears! By far and away the best room I have ever had in Derbyshire. And probably in my life. Not only was it a huge suite, with separate bedroom, bathroom, and lounge/office area – but there was a magnificent rolltop bath which looked out on to the beautiful crescent. The perfect setting to relax in bubbles and daydream you’re in Bridgerton. Check out 6 Pretty Places for Jane Austen fans.

roll top bath at Buxton Crescent hotel

The room was so very beautifully decorated. Chic wood panelling in muted tones of grey and putty. Authentic period features coupled with contemporary comfort. Oh my days it was divine! I also noted the room was well equipped (an excellent hair dryer, toiletries from Penhaligon’s, iron etc).

suite at Buxton Crescent hotel

The icing on the cake for me was the exquisite setting. The views from the room were simply stunning. Looking out over the gardens, watching people go about their business on the pavements below, I really did feel like I was on a luxury city break. That feeling you get when you’re in Milan, or Paris, or New York. That feeling of being at a world class destination. And we have that here in Derbyshire!

I stayed in room 214 which is a Junior Suite and can accommodate a family (in which case I imagine you might need to deduct some some relaxation points).

Junior Suite at Buxton Crescent hotel - room 214

The Spa at Buxton Crescent

The popularity of Buxton spa dates all the way back to Roman times. The restorative properties of Buxton’s thermal mineral water are now harnessed in a luxurious spa environment that combines some stunning period features with state of the art contemporary treatments. Choose from traditional hydrotherapy and beauty therapies, wellness and holistic treatments or luxury spa treatments.

outdoor rooftop pool at Buxton Crescent hotel
Photo credit: Ensana Buxton Crescent

There are three separate pool areas, including a stunning rooftop pool. And three different types of sauna and two different steam rooms. Everywhere was spotlessly clean.

Ensana spa at Buxton Crescent hotel
The Relaxation pool

I enjoyed two treatments, both carried out by Sarah who was a wonderful therapist and really put me at ease. She was professional but approachable and friendly.

The first treatment was a Tranquillity Pro-Sleep Massage (60 minutes £75). This was very light touch massage with gentle, flowing movements. It was so relaxing, I had to concentrate on not dribbling! I whole heartedly recommend this and do think I slept better as a result.

My second treatment was a Therapeutic Thermal Mud Pack (50 minutes £75). Heated mud was applied to my whole body, and then I was cocooned in towels and left to relax. The mud is from Lake Heviz in Hungary and has concentrated levels of minerals. The treatment is designed to warm the muscles, relieve aching and soften the skin. The warm mud felt lovely as it was being applied, and the feeling of being cocooned was relaxing. However, it was quite tricky rinsing the mud off, and although I enjoyed it overall personally I don’t think I would have this particular treatment again.

Ensana spa break

Two showers later (and I can only apologise to poor Sarah and the housekeeper – because that mud got everywhere) I was feeling deeply relaxed. I could have happily had a nap at that point but I had a dinner reservation and some champagne to enjoy. It is a hard life…

bath and bubbles

Dinner at Buxton Crescent Hotel

This is the first time I recall dining alone in the evening. On one hand I don’t know why it bothered me as I routinely go out for breakfast or lunch on my own. But I did feel a bit nervous. Bolstered by a glass of fizz (a very thoughtful welcome gift from the Operations Manager, James Turner), I headed to the restaurant.

The restaurant is lovely. It’s tastefully decorated and looks out on to the historic courtyard. Service throughout was impeccable. Not overly stuffy but everything done properly. My main server was a young waiter called Joe who was really welcoming and had a good knowledge of the hotel and the menu.

The food here isn’t cheap. The three course set menu is priced at £50pp, this had four choices of each course. There was also an a la carte menu and you could order from either. I initially picked from the a la carte menu, although dessert was from the set menu.

bread basket
Freshly baked bread and deliciously salty butter

Having ordered, and enjoying an ice cold glass of Pinot Grigio, I tried to relax and not think about the fact I was the only single diner in a room full of couples. It actually wasn’t that hard and I had a perfectly pleasant evening.

Mackerel tartare

For my first course I ordered mackerel tartare. It doesn’t look particularly photogenic but was a wonderfully light, tasty start. This seemed in the spirit of things given that I was at a spa (I’m afraid I didn’t continue with this sensibility but at least I started with good intentions!). The dish was very reminiscent of Japanese cuisine, but with a familiar sweetness of beetroot rather than the punchy kick of wasabi. I really did enjoy this.

dining at Ensana Buxton Crescent hotel
Duck in a Madeira jus with peas and pancetta and dauphinoise potato

For main course I ordered duck (which I requested medium to well done) which was served with a satisfyingly substantial rectangle of dauphinoise potato, a generous serving of peas and perfectly crispy pancetta. The duck meat was divine and perfectly accompanied by a Madeira jus.

I treated myself to a glass of fine red wine. I’d noticed Coravin on the wine list. This new technology allows fine wines to be enjoyed by the glass (without compromising the rest of the bottle). I opted for a glass of Amarone which normally retails at £65 per bottle, something that is far beyond my usual price point. However, I was perfectly prepared to pay £11 for a glass. Initially more out of curiosity – but the wine was wonderful. It had a delightfully seductive bouquet and was delicious with the duck. I enjoyed the wine immensely and would definitely do this again.

dessert at Buxton Crescent hotel
Dessert!

To finish I ordered the dark chocolate mousse with blood orange sorbet and chocolate crumble. This came garnished with salted caramel popcorn, something I tend to avoid on dessert menus but this has changed my mind! The flavours of this dish were simply exquisite. The perfect end to a wonderful meal.

Overall I think the menu at Ensana Buxton Crescent struck the perfect balance of offering plenty of healthy, lighter options for people completely committed to a health and wellbeing break, whilst also offering more substantial dishes for those of us who equate relaxation with good food. You could even have a side of truffle fries (I resisted!). It was also pleasing to see a good wine list.

After a glorious night’s sleep, I woke up feeling refreshed and feeling very grateful for having enjoyed such a wonderful experience. It was also time for breakfast!

Breakfast

Breakfast is served in the restaurant and I pre-booked a time slot. There was a continental buffet with a good selection of everything you’d expect plus smoothies. There’s also a menu of cooked to order breakfasts including Full English (with vegetarian and vegan options), pancakes, a range of egg dishes etc. I opted for eggs Florentine which was lovely. The eggs were perfectly poached and the hollandaise sauce light and airy.

cooked to order - eggs florentine at Buxton Crescent hotel

Overall impressions of Ensana Buxton Crescent Hotel

Nevermind the best spa hotel in Buxton, I think this is the best spa in Derbyshire. It’s definitely luxurious and just a cut above anywhere else I’ve visited in the county. I loved how the spa felt like a serious wellbeing place. It wasn’t overall busy or at all commercialised (even the spa shop is very refined and understated).  I loved the historic setting. All the staff I encountered were wonderful.

The hotel itself was also impressive, I adored my room and it would be the perfect base from which to explore Buxton and the Peak District national park.

Buxton Crescent hotel exterior
Beautiful Buxton Crescent

Go for:

A destination hotel with an impressive history and high quality spa with brilliant facilities.

Details:

Ensana Buxton Crescent Health Spa Hotel, The Crescent, SK17 6BH Buxton, United Kingdom, Telephone 01298 808 999, Email reception.buxtoncrescent@ensanahotels.com

The hotel is just a five minute walk from Buxton train station.

Everything you might possibly want to know about Ensana Buxton Crescent Hotel

In case you overthink things like me, here’s some answers to some of the things I was wondering about beforehand:

Is there car parking for Ensana Buxton Crescent Hotel?

Ensana Buxton Crescent hotel does not have its own car park. I used their valet parking which costs £20. No booking is required. Although it’s a little bit pricey, it was a great service and my car was ready and waiting for me upon check out.

Otherwise, some of the streets closest to the hotel have short stay parking (2-4 hours maximum, ticket machine situated opposite the Old Hall Hotel. Several residential roads within walking distance have free parking. Long stay car parking is at Buxton train station, which is a five minute walk away.

Everyone (regardless of where they park) is welcome to drop off bags by car. Simply drive into the area right in front of the hotel.  

How to find Ensana Buxton Crescent Hotel

Annoyingly my phone didn’t recognise the postcode of the hotel. The Crescent itself is really easy to find, it’s a landmark building and well signposted. From the road it isn’t easy to see exactly where the entrance to the hotel is, but it’s about a third of the way into the crescent from where you enter from the one way road.

Can I just go for a spa day?

Yes of course! There are a range of packages available. There are also part days, evenings etc to make it more affordable. And you get a discount for being a Derbyshire resident (see below!).

Are there any special offers for Derbyshire residents at Ensana Buxton Crescent hotel?

Derbyshire residents get a 10% discount, if this is advised at the time of booking, and proof of residence shown, in the form of a council tax bill and photo ID. For example, there is a mini spa taster day, specially priced for Derbyshire residents only.

Are spa robes provided at Ensana Buxton Crescent?

Spa robes and flip flops are provided in the hotel room. I sent an email beforehand requesting a plus size robe and this was waiting for me in my room. Towels are provided at the spa.

I’m going for a spa break – can I wander round the hotel in my robe and spa slippers?

Sort of. I got ready for the spa in my room and then walked through the hotel to the spa in my robe and flip flops. It was less than a minute’s walk from my room and I didn’t encounter anyone else. However, generally everyone else in the hotel seemed to be fully dressed in normal clothes. There are changing rooms in the spa area. You wouldn’t, for instance, wear your robe to the restaurant (see below).

What’s the dress code for the restaurant at Ensana Buxton Crescent hotel?

I couldn’t find details of any dress code on the website prior to my stay so emailed to check beforehand. I was informed it was a smart casual dress code. After much deliberation I ended up wearing ‘jeans and a pretty top’ and whilst I think I was the only person in jeans I seemed to get away with it. Absolutely no one was in their spa robe and slippers at dinner – so don’t do that! (There is a spa café in the spa itself and everyone was in robes there – but the restaurant is very much part of the hotel rather than the spa).

The same restaurant is used to serve breakfast and people were dressed much more casually – lots of jeans, t-shirts etc.

Is Ensana Buxton Crescent hotel wheelchair accessible?

From what I could see, there seemed to be wheelchair access throughout the whole hotel. It’s a very old building with stairs – but there were lifts and various wheelchair lifts dotted about. Accessible rooms are available.

Is Buxton Crescent hotel dog friendly?

Dog friendly rooms are available to book. Well behaved dogs are welcome in the lounge and bar areas but not in the restaurant (nor the spa!). Read about 60+ dog friendly places to eat out in Derbyshire.

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