Peak Edge Hotel: a relaxing dog-friendly stay in a location ideal for visiting the Peak District
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As a dog owner, I often wonder why I don't frequent this vast area of outstanding natural beauty more often, especially as it's a place that attracts so many visitors from far and wide.
Perched above the historic market town of Chesterfield, The Peak Edge Hotel is exactly as its name suggests. Sitting high up at Stone Edge, it's the ideal base for venturing deeper into ‘The Peaks’ and despite maintaining a remoteness all rural retreats should have, it's not too far from civilisation.
With our pet pooch Jojo in tow, my wife and I arrived for a one-night stay to relax, unwind and immerse ourselves in the hotel's plush surroundings before heading to the Monsal Trail to enjoy one of the Peak District's most iconic walking routes. An evening meal in the hotel's Red Lion restaurant would be sandwiched in between.
Walking through the glass door entrance into the lobby, I was immediately aware of the hotel's 'laid-back luxury' approach, as we were quickly checked in and pointed in the direction of our dog friendly 'superior' room at the bottom of the ground floor corridor.
I was happy to discover the room's reasonable size, with ample space for a greyhound and her rather large basket which slotted perfectly between our king-size bed and the bottom wall, with a gap more than big enough to ensure there wouldn't be any night time trip-ups.
Looking out of the window I marvelled at the well-manicured garden and photo-friendly footbridge arching over a large pond, while round the corner towards the restaurant is an attractive pergola with all-weather seating area for weddings, which is a big focus for the hotel.
Only last year the 'four star' Peak Edge was named best wedding venue in Derbyshire after scooping the prestigious accolade at the Hitched Wedding Awards.
Other 'superior' room amenities included a dressing area, an open wardrobe, en-suite bathroom with underfloor heating and perhaps the most unexpected perk, a funky Bluetooth mirror allowing guests to stream their favourite tunes and sing along in the shower. It was also nice to find complementary toiletries and a bottle of fresh milk in the fridge, which is always better than using the mini-sachets and cartons you often find in hotels.
Onto dinner in the Red Lion and after being seated in one of the bar's extra large booths, ideal for the dog, it didn't take long for me to select my starter and main course as I was immediately swayed by two of the chefs 'daily specials' - honey-roasted carrot and parsnip soup and fillet of salmon with new potatoes, tenderstem broccoli and a caper and lemon sauce.
Served with warm sourdough bread and whipped butter, the 'winter warming' soup was delicious and full of flavour, while the salmon had that all-important crispy skin with the zesty sauce leaving a sharp 'bite' on the end of the tongue.
I was impressed by the restaurant's stylish rustic interior - think low beams, cosy corners, private booths and log fires - not to mention the glorious grub that we were consuming.
Opting for a richer meat dish, my wife went for the loin of Derbyshire venison which came with salt-baked carrot, pickled red cabbage jelly and beef fat crumb, along with a wonderful side pot surprise of haunch cottage pie which contained some mouth-watering fillings. Her dessert of passion fruit soufflé with burnt white chocolate ice cream was duly marked ten out of ten.
After a good night's sleep the aim over breakfast next morning was to fuel up for our six-mile trek along the Monsal Trail, with my 'Full Derbyshire' and my wife's generous portion of smoked salmon and scrambled eggs fulfilling our goal. Not wanting to be left out, an extra sausage was prepared for Jojo, which meant all three of us left feeling full and happy.
The Peak District is a 'must-stay' for rural adventurers and as well as the Monsal Trail it boasts an abundance of stunning countryside walks and cycling trails, including the idyllic views of Mam Tor and at 2,087 feet above sea level, the breathtaking views of Kinder Scout.
Togged up in our walking gear with only dog treats and a flask of coffee in the rucksack, we were more than content with our lot. After all, that's what life in the Peak District is all about.
Address: Peak Edge Hotel/Red Lion Restaurant, Darley Road, Stone Edge, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S45 0LW
Telephone: 01246 566142
Room prices start at £155 a night and can be booked through the hotel website.