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An inspiring visit to Buxton Crescent Hotel

by Christina Mitsi
Buxton Crescent

It’s only when you visit a destination that is closer to home than you originally thought that you really question why on earth you don’t get out more. I came to this realisation when I visited the lovely town of Buxton to stay at the luxurious Buxton Crescent Hotel, one of the few Ensana hotels in the UK, Only a short train ride from Manchester and I was transported to Georgian England on the edge of the Peak District. But I wasn’t here for the scenery, I was to experience their incredible spa, sumptuous food and wonderful service to match.

Why is it called The Crescent?

Although the spa here is a destination in itself the hotel should not be overlooked, though that is hard to do when you see how magnificent it looks upon arrival. I arrived on a beautifully clear, crisp day and had to hold back a ‘wow’ as I stepped out of the car at the hotel’s entrance. The iconic crescent shape of the hotel is so distinctive yet fitting with the quaint surroundings of the town. Built between 1780 and 1789 it was built for William Cavendish, the 5th Duke of Devonshire, as part of his scheme to establish Buxton as a fashionable Georgian spa town. Lovingly restored in 2020, the Grade 1 listed building is just as beautiful outside as it is on the inside.

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What are the rooms like at Buxton Crescent Hotel?

I meet my companion in the spacious reception and are quickly checked in and shown to our room. The hotel features 81 bedrooms and suites, including dog-friendly and accessible rooms, and sometimes feels like a bit of a maze until you remember the shape of the hotel and that once you’re in the middle, most of the facilities are on one side so it’s not hard to get lost.

We were staying in a Crescent Room (not shaped that way) which although is not the most lavish of the rooms still felt every bit as luxurious. We had everything we needed from robes to a bath and shower with lovely toiletries, mineral water (one guess as to the brand!) tea and coffee facilities and a safety deposit box. We were welcomed with a bottle of champagne and chocolates but they would have to wait as we were eager to visit the famous spa so popped on our robes and slippers and headed down.

How big is the spa at Buxton Crescent Hotel?

If you visit this spa then don’t think you can just spend an hour or so and then have a treatment, no, no, it’s so big and full of different facilities that you have to take the time to experience them all. It is also hard to find your way around but thankfully the lovely staff are always on hand to give you a tour or point you in the right direction. A good tip is also to follow the mermaids and the beautiful murals painted on the walls going from down the thermal pool up to the treatment rooms and rooftop pool.

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What spa facilities are there at Buxton Crescent?

We began on the heated tile beds, simply to catch up on our gossip while no one else was there, we then headed to the biothermal sauna, a great combination of sauna and steam to ease us into the experience. Next, we headed to the aroma steam room where uplifting scents like eucalyptus and tea tree and channelled into the mosaic-tiled room. This left me feeling awake, relaxed and thoroughly rejuvenated. After a quick cold shower, it was straight into the relaxation pool which was quiet enough for us to do a few lengths in anticipation of the three-course meal we would be indulging in later that evening.

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The unique Buxton water thermal pool

The thermal pool was one of my favourites, its unique draw is that it contains Buxton mineral-rich water which flows into the pool and is left chemically untreated. This warm, natural pool is surrounded by the Victorian features of a stained glass canopy over the pool and exquisite tiled walls and deckchairs. The whole spa is so unique in that it feels as though you are in an 18th century building and yet the facilities are so thoroughly modern and luxurious. 

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Rooftop thermal pool in the Peak District

The highlight for us was the indoor to outside rooftop pool, you get into the warm pool inside and have the option to swim through to the outside thermal pool, complete with 2 whirlpools with jets and a fast-flowing jet for back massage. The outside area also has deck chairs and sun loungers but on the night we visited there was not a chance we’d be out of that pool with it being 0°C. But it was a clear night and it was a euphoric feeling to be in the warm pool quite literally under the stars.

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Spa treatments at Buxton Crescent

Although the spa itself was lovely the treatment I had was truly special and possibly one of my favourites I’ve had on all my travels. I opted for the Himalayan Salt Massage, a 50 minute treatment that began with warm Himalayan salt blocks being gently massaged over my whole body, this then leaves a residue of intense minerals to detoxify the body. Then a salt scrub, a combination of pink Himalayan salt and a nourishing aromatic oil, is massaged over my whole body with an aim to completely detoxify the body, ease aches and pains, stimulate the metabolism and restore vitality and balance.

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My therapist then invited me to take a warm shower and remove the salt scrub, before returning to the bed for a massage with my choice of fragrance oil. I left this treatment feeling so soft and smooth and completely invigorated so I would wholeheartedly recommend it.

The Dining Room at the Crescent

After an absolutely wonderful afternoon in the spa, we headed back to our room for a hot shower and got ready for dinner at the hotel’s British restaurant, The Dining Room. The space is very stylish, with teal-coloured walls and decorative light fixtures and cream-coloured furniture giving it a clean, classic look. Our server Lee looked after us so well and gave us the perfect recommendations for food and wine. We opted for a bottle of Mahi Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2022, plush and broad but with grapefruit notes giving it a crisp taste.

I began with Mussels Mariniere with grilled sourdough, an absolutely huge portion but thoroughly enjoyable and exactly my kind of food. For main I devoured the Canon of South West Lamb which was perched on top of smoked layers of soft potato, the cabbage and pancetta with it was a wonderful mix of flavours and the jus bringing it all together was just delicious. Lovely dish. I had saved just enough room for a slice of treacle tart because I couldn’t even remember the last time I had enjoyed some, served with Cornish clotted cream and bitter orange gel. It was the perfect ending to a scrumptious meal.

dinning room

After a good night’s sleep, we woke up to falling snow, so romantic and picturesque it would have been the perfect day to visit the spa to use the outdoor thermal pool. Alas, normal duties were calling and we reluctantly packed our things and checked out. The snow-covered scenery on the way home was stunning, but the incredible spa, gorgeous food and incredible service throughout at the historic Buxton Crescent Hotel is what will make me return to Buxton again.

Buxton Crescent Hotel
The Crescent
Buxton
SK17 6BH
United Kingdom

Author

  • Christina Mitsi

    Born and raised in the picturesque Lake District, Christina Mitsi had a truly idyllic childhood. She then transitioned from being a head chef in Manchester to compiling the community pages and features for the Manchester Evening News. She is always ready for an adventure, whether it’s swimming in the Norwegian fjords or singing in the honky tonks in Nashville. Now running her own social media business, she loves nothing more than exploring with her dog Luther or being curled up with a good Netflix documentary.

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