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“Worth avoiding over Christmas”
Review of Monsal Head Hotel

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Monsal Head Hotel
Ranked #5 of 6 Hotels in Bakewell
Reviewed January 6, 2013

We booked as a large group - 13 - over Christmas (8 adults and 5 children). We arrived at 12 noon - as arranged and were the first there. There was a single waitress who grew increasingly over-stretched during the lunch service. In a nutshell we waited well over 2 hours to get all of our food - 2 of the kids left theirs when it finally arrived having simply given up the will to persist. Despite there being a bar it took about 20 minutes and 3 trips to it to get a second pint.

In truth it was simply chaos. We asked for more bread and olives after the starters when it was clear there would be a wait for the main course and this arrived after the mains - and was sent back. Some of the food was apparently very good - the fish soup was tasty, the smoked haddock salad less so. In all this review is less about the food and more about what a complete horlicks this place made of what should have been a great trip out with the family.

For my money The Packhorse in Great Longstone just down the road is infinitely superior. If there is any chance of there being a rush at this hotel give it a wide berth.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
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Thank Simon M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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350 - 356 of 438 reviews

Reviewed January 2, 2013

We stayed at the Hotel between Christmas and New Year on a great value package - two families of four.

The food was excellent, tasty, imaginative and well presented. If we had to wait for it we didn't notice! Prices seemed reasonable (they source a lot of it locally) - we certainly weren't expecting a bargain BOGOFF set-up - we'd have been disappointed if it had been a budget hotel, restaurant or fast food burger bar - that wasn't what we wanted.

We were there for two days/nights and found the service attentive and, most importantly, friendly and approachable. We didn't experience any poor service - everyone can have an off-day - guests included. In my experience a negative feeling about a place can develop from approaching it the wrong way, not being realistic about the prices or not seeing something you immediately like on the menu. Once your mind's set on this place it's very difficult to see anything positive.

We like this hotel (especially the Stable Bar) and have been back at least three times in the last few years.

Recommended - but don't expect fast cheap food or 5 star comfort - expect a tasty, imaginative, friendly hotel and bar with it's own charm and great views on Monsal Head!

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank GenuineFoodFan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 30, 2012

We decided to take visiting family for a long walk with a halfway stop at Monsal Head for lunch. REALLY wish we hadn't bothered. I have worked in the hotel and catering industry for over 30 yrs and I should have seen the signs of what was to come.... Firstly the bar prices, over inflated to say the least, but not to pay the wages of the numerous staff, no no, 1 bar person on the Sunday between Christmas and New Year!! Secondly, the number of people eating their own food. Then the menu, the menu for the bar area is the same as the restaurant, do walkers really want Turbot with lobster medallions? When we got the food we really wanted, sausage and mash (£11), fish and chips (£10), burger (£8.50) and get over the prices, we then had to wait 50 mins for it to arrive. We were sat outside as we had 2 dogs and inside was heaving, it was cold...but our food arrived colder!! We had 2 small roast beef and 2 cheeseburgers (totalling £29), made worse by the fact that the chips were the bought in chilled variety.
On complaining the manager offered us numerous reasons and excuses before offering us a dessert, which we refused, before she said she would refund us and to be fair she did refund all 4 meals.
Other issues include, but are not limited to, no hot water in the toilets....not that it wasn't hot, there was no hot tap!! Hopefully the staff toilet provides hot water and soap.

We left, cold and hungry, for the 4 mile walk back to HASSOP STATION where thankfully, they understand customer service, the food was delicious and worth the money (we had a burger here that was £9.75 but worth 3 times the one at Monsal).
Monsal probably don't care about these reviews as they think have a captive customer base, but I would advise people to find somewhere else to eat, in the summer take a picnic, in the winter, eat at Hassop Station.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank Rhiannon_Fae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 28, 2012

I recently ate in the stables bar with my family and all six of us had delicious meals. We chose some of the more expensive items on the menu but they were all excellent value for money with generous portions of high quality food. The service could not be faulted either! There was a nice log fire and a couple of other groups in so it had a lovely relaxed atmosphere.

I would highly recommend this venue for an evening out with friends or family.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Service
1  Thank Cliffey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 19, 2012

As a group of seven we deliberately arrived reasonably early in order to get a large table and a reasonable service time at the Stable Bar.

The ambience was nice and the stable 'booths' are a nice touch but I'm afraid that's where the compliments end...

One of the waitresses was clearly new and simply didn't have a clue. The other was texting in the kitchen whilst customers were waiting to be served. The menu was over-priced and the drinks weren't good value either (£3.50 for mulled (non-alcoholic) apple juice!).

The starters arrive fairly promptly - my salad looked great on paper (crispy pancetta, black pudding, mushrooms, croutons, mustard dressing etc but it arrived without any dressing (I had to ask for them to bring me some) and was very insubstantial (the black pudding was in tiny, almost imperceptible cubes). We then had the longest wait I think I have ever had for our mains (which must have been the easiest order to process: 5 sausage and mash; one burger; and some chips - hardly challenging...). In all the time we waited, neither waitress came to take away our plates/empty glasses/offer more drinks, nor did anyone explain the wait or apologise. After almost an hour we asked if the food would be arriving soon and were told it was because we ordered in two goes (i.e. 2 of us paid at the bar) and asked for the food to arrive together. What a pathetic attempt at an excuse... Multiple tables who arrived after us were served before us and when the food did arrive it was distinctly average (after an hour-long wait I was hoping for gold-leaf encrusted carrots or at least champagne-marinated sausages... ah well, perhaps they were outside freshly slaughtering the pig...).

The toilets were freezing, the loo roll had run out, and the cold breeze from the door didn't seem to be being negated by anything, meaning that the place lacked a coziness which it could easily achieve.

The view from outside the front is magnificent but I suspect that this place has become complacent due to it's popularity because of the location. The food itself isn't worthy of a bad review but we left disappointed having lost an hour of our precious weekend time away together.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled with friends
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Thank OxfordLizzy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 14, 2012

We booked for a three night break, dinner bed and breakfast the price a bit on the high side but decided on it anyway, upon arrival we were greeted by a friendly member of staff and shown to our room. I have to say now that the best thing about this room was the view across Monsale dale, first off the room was quite cold as there was only one small heater the tea and coffee making facilities were good with some nice homemade shortbread. The shower was ok but the fan in the bathroom made a grinding sound, and the sink was not in the bathroom but in the bedroom which was a little strange. Another nice touch was free bottled water everyday and a small flask of sherry to keep the cold out, mmm. The towels were changed everyday which is a good thing as there was nowhere to dry or hang them.

The food in our package was we have to say excellent, every course and including breakfast was fantastic, certainly the best part of this hotel. The staff were always friendly and helpful. So all in all a good stay but we have to say the hotel could be better laid out and better use of the lounge, maybe as somewhere to have a drink before dinner. So this is why I'm only giving it a three out of five as we have stayed in a lot cheaper hotels with better rooms and facilities.

Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
2  Thank Paul-kl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 13, 2012

This was the fourth stop in our short Autumn tour around England and Wales and it was well very enjoyable.

We'd driven down from Hawkshead in the Lake District and, as we headed south with time on our hands, we decided to veer away south-east towards Bakewell and the Peak District. We passed a sign for Monsal Head and we were reminded of the time many years ago when we'd been there with our young family. So off we went, stopped at the Monsal Head Hotel and found that they had rooms available - and at an attractive last minute price.

The hotel is quite large, I understand that it was an old coaching inn with the stables at the back having been converted into a bar. There weren't many people staying but then again it was a wet and windy Thursday in October but despite the low numbers it was clearly very much open and fully staffed.

For dinner we chose the braised beef and it was absolutely wonderful. The beef steak just fell apart like a knife going through butter and the sauce and garlic mash were just perfect. They served two large pieces of beef in this meal and I wonder whether guests would be equally satisfied with just one piece each. They are rather big and very filling but nevertheless very very tasty. We finished off with cheese and port;again quite large portions.

The room was, in terms of furniture and decoration, a little tired but nonetheless clean and tidy with an en-suite bathroom and fresh towels. The room we stayed in could probably do with a bit of a makeover but it served its purpose and we enjoyed a comfortable night.

On our previous visit to the area we'd walked onto the old railway viaduct at Monsal Dale and saw that the entrance to the Victorian railway tunnels had been sealed off. On this visit we found that the local council have reopened the tunnels, installed lighting and created a fantastic walking / cycling trail. We headed off to nearby Hassop, hired a couple of bikes and had a fantastic time riding along the Monsal Trail through the long dimly (but adequately) lit tunnels complete with their own interior downpours !

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank agenuinetraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Monsal Head Hotel

Address: Monsal Head, Peak District National Park, Bakewell DE45 1NL, England
Location: 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: $96 - $168 (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

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