Day of stay: Tuesday evening, March 2012
Awards: AA 3 star rating, AA 3 rosettes restaurant
The Peacock is exactly the sort of hotel that I will choose to own & run when I get the time and patience to go into the hotel business. It has chosen quality over quantity and has clearly honed its service. The hotel is owned by Lord Edward Manners (slightly jealous of the surname), who resides in Haddon Hall.
For those who have read my restaurant review of Room in Manchester you will be familiar with the type of review I write; for those who haven’t, a quick précis. Too many reviews of restaurants and hotels focus on the food or the comfort of the beds, maybe even the décor – in short, they are written by those who don’t really know what they are looking for when it comes to service and household standards. One reader of my latest review said I was being ‘too picky’ – but to me, there is no such thing as too picky. When you are presenting something that is purporting to be luxury or first-rate then you automatically open yourself up to nitpickers like me. So here we go…
I arrived at the hotel having driven the one and a bit hour’s drive from the centre of Manchester and immediately sat down for a late lunch in the bar, eating a really rather delicious Croque-monsieur.
The downstairs cloakroom was clean enough, however the waste paper bin for the paper hand towels struck me: it was far too tall for the space in which it had been placed. It was to the left of the far left sink and needed to be about 12 inches shorter so it could fit under either the sink or the table displaying pamphlets of local attractions. I also was a bit concerned about said pamphlets (good word). Not only had the A4 flyers curled at both sides to look not very appealing (due to the moisture of the room and open window) but I questioned whether having such a table in the gentleman’s bathroom was quite right. Some men don’t wash their hands after (or don’t do it properly) and then if they go to pick up a leaflet, look it at, before replacing then they are only spreading germs and dirt. Not the most heinous of crime at all, but something to consider.
My room was very comfortable and spacious. The hotel has 16 bedrooms and each is decorated with cohesion and uniformity whilst retaining their own personality.
Upon entering my room the first thing I noticed was what appeared on first glance to be the skinned Dulux dog to the side of the bed. What it was, in fact, was just a little rug. Supposedly the logic is it’s soft and fluffy and when you climb in or out of bed your feet momentarily pass through a furry bliss. But not me. I avoid this on two reasons: 1) I couldn’t shake the Dulux dog image, 2) think of the dirt the rug may contain!!! Even though I am sure the rug is regularly washed (should be done in-between each new guest arrival), the thought of stepping on it and then carrying any germs picked up and into the bed is too much for me and the two guests in my party.
I was pleased to see the towels on the towel rail were folded in the style that I teach to clients (which is the same method used in the Royal Household). What did surprise me was the loo paper. Upon arrival the loo roll had been ‘pointed’ (as it customary) but the roll was two thirds empty. Maybe this is part of an economy drive, but really a guest should arrive to a new, full roll. (The half-used rolls then go into the staff loos).
The wardrobes had a nice pull out rack, but only had three hangers on each. I imagine the hotel is used to guests staying only a couple of nights at most, but I felt a few more hangers should have been present.
Other things I noticed:
- Television & DVD controls needed cleaning in-between the buttons
- Tops of picture frames and exposed pipes needed a more thorough dust
- No need for chocolate on the pillow (naff)
- Good turn down service – they had written ‘Sweet dreams’ on the weather report for the next day, which I quite liked
- Free Wifi (I am sick of hotels/cafes trying to charge guests for this)
- In dining areas, the dishes were stacked at table when cleared (tsk, tsk)
The service in the bar was very good for dinner, and breakfast in the dining room was good too. The waiters wore footmen’s gloves to serve plates, which is a good idea to avoid fingerprints being transferred onto plates although there is a way to hold plates securely to avoid the use of gloves. The gloves were ill fitting on a majority of waiters which caused me to worry that they may cause otherwise careful staff to be a tad clumsy, although I was proved wrong.
The Peacock is a good hotel. It is very comfortable; the welcome by staff was convivial without being too pally. I would recommend the hotel to anyone who wishes to see Derbyshire (Chatsworth House – one of the grandest historic houses in England) is a matter of minutes away by car, and would stay at the hotel again… although I hope they review their policy on the dead Dulux dog.