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The Palace Hotel
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Reviewed May 30, 2013

I booked a two night break for my birthday, also booking a champagne package in the beauty salon.
The check-in was fine. The lift up to the rooms is not! It has green carpeted walls for a start which were the subject of some peoples amusement but most concerning was the fact that it was very slow, rickety and old. I didn't use it again after check in, I daren't.
My room was small which I was quite surprised about after looking at the photographs on the website but as there was only me I wasn't that bothered. It would have been too small for two.
There was hair in the bath and the bathroom smelt of urine; it even had a couple of friendly black beetles in there. There was also brown stain in the toilet which looked like it needed a good bleaching. The paint was peeling of the walls excessively and the grout and sealant were mouldy.
I always check my bed in hotels to see if they are clean and sadly, this one wasn't. I am pretty disgusted to say that I had big, grey pubic hairs in my bed and it smelt unwashed. I tried to phone housekeeping but it was Sunday afternoon and there was no-one there so I telephoned the reception and asked if my bed had been changed as there were hairs in it and the guy said that he was almost certain as it was supposed to have been but did I want to speak to the duty manager? I certainly did! The duty manager did not answer but called me back in a couple of minutes. I explained to him and he asked me 'do you want to change rooms or....?' I settled on having my bed changed and he came up himself with a clean sheet and we both made my bed. He was very, very young, shy but apologetic.
I later took a bath. There was plenty of hot water but I could feel the grime around the side of the bath although you couldn't see it. It needed a good scrub.
AT breakfast on the first morning I was shown to my seat by a very helpful waitress who explained that everything, including tea and coffees, was self service and she even made me a coffee because there was no decaff coffee or tea on display and she had to go and get some from elsewhere (I have to drink decaff and was surprised that a 4* didn't at least have decaff coffee as an option). She was still there serving dinner in the evening but I had heard her during the day telling someone that she had two days off, and didn't we notice. Breakfast on the second day was mayhem. We just wandered in, no-one ticked us off so in theory anyone from the street could have toddled in an eaten for free. The food was not good on my first morning but worst on the second. The sausages were still pink inside so I obviously didn't want to chance it. Everything was greasy, tough and quite lukewarm. I just stuck to toast.
Whist were were eating, the cleaner was hoovering the bar area, which is very near the restaurant tables, although she did say hello as I stepped over the hoover cable to leave.
I went to check out the leisure facilities and I was really disappointed. It was tatty. There was a free weights room with no door on from which you could smell sweat and hear grunting, which you had to pass to get to the leisure reception. The leisure receptionist gave me a code for the changing room door and informed me that they were upstairs which I was surprised at but off I went. They were quite clean with good showers but I only saw one private changing cubicle if you are bothered about privacy.
The pool was busy which was expected but the was a lane rope out so you could at least try to swim. I had the unfortunate experience of tasting the water which was salty. It was on the nest day that I would find a possible reason for this!
Later, I went for my Champagne treatment which was to consist of the choice of two mini treatments and a champagne afternoon tea. I was offered no champagne, the treatments were 'ok' but did not last a full hour. You are then taken to a 'relaxation room' which was not very relaxing because the female changing room door is beside and it was possible to hear the doors banging and shouting.
I had to take a 'voucher' down for my afternoon tea. The staff were debating what to do with the paper but I was informed that I didn't get the champagne there either. After a bit of a wait, a young lady brought me some sandwiches and four (!) deserts. The food was ok but the atmosphere in the place wasn't. The staff were mumbling about rotas.
I had decided to leave my swim that day until later when most people were in the dining room in an attempt to have a proper swim. There were still plenty in and decided to go into the lane. As I was getting my goggles I noticed a man come out of the sauna running with sweat and dive straight into the pool without using the sower of which was available not 12 foot away. There was one possible explanation for the saltiness of the water!
He proceeded to don a mask and snorkel and swim up the centre of the lane. I had to wait until he was at the end of the lane to start my swim as there was no room. I swim for fitness and usually in a lane you swim clockwise or anti clockwise to keep out of each others way but this man was having non of that. He stopped me half way down the lane, firstly getting my back up by mimicking my accent and then nastily barking 'which side are you swimming on?'. I said that I swimming anti clockwise. He tutted and I asked if there was a problem. He again arrogantly barked ' but what if I want to swim at that side?' I said that I would follow him or he could follow me, there was not enough room to swim side by side as the walls jutted out. Again he mimicked me. I asked him not to speak to me like that as it was my birthday so he laughed and said 'many happy returns'. You can imagine what I said after being spoken to like that. I ended up getting out.I informed the reception staff who confirmed my suspicions that he was a member so I said that hotel guests spend a lot of money to come here and whilst we are here and being spoken to like that by a member does not constitute for a relaxing break. As I was leaving the reception, a man who was sitting in reception piped up ' But yes ( he said the receptionists name that I can't remember) but we are here all year'. Bearing in mind that this person was not speaking to the person behind the counter before I did, the guy was speaking to someone else, I knew that he was talking about what I said so I said " what has that got to do with it? Just because members are here 'all year' does not mean that you can speak to hotel guests rudely". He said that he was not speaking to me. So I said 'Yes, you were talking about what I had just said' and he was just as rude as the man in the pool, shooing me away back to the hotel complete with hand gesture haha! I was fuming but left.
I would have spent plenty money in the restaurant that night as it was my birthday but didn't because I was too upset.
To sum up then, this hotel is tired, some of the staff work long hours and are helpful whilst others huddle in corners talking about rotas and not cleaning the rooms adequately. There are a lot of sideways glances from the staff as if they are scared of engaging with the guests. There is much more to hospitality than merely doing the mechanics of the job. Friendliness and confidence is a must and I think that most of the staff at this hotel ( with a few exceptions) have a lot to learn.
I have stayed at another hotel in the Puma group, Billesley Manor, which is much better and that I would return to but never again would I stay at The Palace as it was just one disappointment after another. The rude members were the last nail in the coffin for me.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank AngelicaBianca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joel F, General Manager at The Palace Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded June 1, 2013

Thank you for leaving your feedback on your recent stay with us. Firstly, I would like to apologise for the problems you encountered. I am always disappointed to hear when someone hasn’t received our usual high standards of service and I appreciate you taking the time to share your comments so they can be investigated and improved.

I would like the opportunity to discuss these problems with you further. If you would be happy to contact me either by e-mailing j.fagg@pumahotels.co.uk or calling 01298 22001 then we can discuss your comments in further detail.

Management Team
The Palace Hotel, Puma Hotels’ Collections

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2013

Really enjoyed our groupon 2 day stay staff very friendly and helpful room quite spacious for wheelchair user. Food very good and overall cleanliness excellent. Only downfall was the final bill £144 was astounded we only had 2 glasses of wine and the only extra was for the dog. Either bad computer input by staff or someone gave our room number throughout their stay. It was corrected with apologies but it should never happen. Maybe they should have a system when clients order extras show a card with identification on it. Simple enough.

Room Tip: Front of hotel good views and bigger size.
  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Victoria W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joel F, General Manager at The Palace Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded June 1, 2013

Thank you for leaving a review on your recent stay with us. I am delighted to hear you had a wonderful time but am disappointed in the final bill being incorrect and therefore tarnishing your stay. I would like you to be assured that I am investigating this with my Front Office Manager to avoid it happening again in the future.

Management Team
The Palace Hotel, Puma Hotels’ Collections

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2013

Central to the main historical sites of Buxton, this is an impressive Victorian hotel. Entrance hall is vast! Bedroom large and although decor rather 80's, facilities and comfort were fine. As we were there as part of a "deal" (with a free bottle of wine) it is always difficult to know if the older bedrooms are allocated to those paying a bit less. Parts of the hotel did show their age and there was some external building work being done. Swimming pool and leisure centre were good to have on site, although pool very dimly lit and somewhat gloomy with women's changing rooms upstairs (although these were modern and pleasant - no costume spinner though!). Good range of breakfast fare. Evening meal choices rather limited and not particularly generous. Staff were delightful and helpful. This was fine for an overnight/weekend stay.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Jo L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joel F, General Manager at The Palace Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded June 1, 2013

Thank you for your feedback on your stay with us and for taking advantage of one of our special offers. I am pleased to hear you had a good time and have passed your feedback onto our Leisure Manager so he can make improvements wherever possible.

Hopefully we will be welcoming you back to The Palace in the near future.

Management Team
The Palace Hotel, Puma Hotels’ Collections

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Reviewed May 28, 2013

Located in the heart of Buxton and has many eating options in the vicinity. Friendly staff. Pool, sauna is really good but ppl may find the sauna a bit too small. The food served in the main restaurant (dinner) was good – the appetizers and dessert were fabulous, but I felt the main lacked a bit of flavour – at least to my palate. Breakfast spread was good with many options – but was really greasy. Croissants and pastries were freshly and fabulous. Rooms were spacious, really clean and the third floor rooms have a good view, but needs a face-lift desperately. The shower was not working and lift was not fully operational. All in all the stay was really good and the minor setbacks didn’t put us off at all. I do recommend this place with the stated caveats.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank dineshpr1980
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joel F, General Manager at The Palace Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded June 1, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to leave us your review on your recent stay with us. I am pleased that most aspects of your stay exceeded your expectations and will certainly address those that didn’t. The team and I look forward to your return visit.

Management Team
The Palace Hotel, Puma Hotels’ Collections

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 28, 2013

Food expensive, portions a little small, breakfast fantastic, service couldn't fault, cleanliness second to none, rooms roomy and very comfortable, swimming pool a little small but warm, one of the best stays ever...felt like a film star all weekend.

Room Tip: Go for the deals on line
  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Michelle F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Joel F, General Manager at The Palace Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded June 1, 2013

Thank you so very much for your kind words about our stay and welcome. I am pleased you felt valued and can assure that the areas for improvement you mention have been taken on board. We hope to be able to welcome you again soon.

Management Team
The Palace Hotel, Puma Hotels’ Collections

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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