East Lodge Hotel, Matlock

Richard and I had a lovely romantic getaway at East Lodge, Matlock. The hotel’s peak district setting is absolutely beautiful with the Heights of Abraham at Matlock Bath a stones throw away and the picturesque market town of Bakewell within a ten minute drive. The placement of the hotel on the cusp of the Peak District allows tourists to have a real explore of historic country houses such as Chatsworth or even go on some scenic hikes (or scenic pushes if you’re a wheelchair user like myself). The options are endless; I went to school close-by so I know the area well! Drop me  a message if you want to know any further details. The wheelchair accessible hotel near Matlock is luxurious and boasts an exclusive twelve bedrooms; some of which even include four poster beds! These decadent features mean I would say the hotel is ideally suited for couples perhaps celebrating an anniversary or the upcoming Valentine’s Day. (Gentlemen/ ladies you will score some real points booking here!). The ambience was definitely sophisticated but families would also get a warm reception; there is certainly enough “running around space” in the ten acres of surrounding landscaped garden.  Parking, Entrance & ReceptionThe approach to the hotel goes through some areas of the water gardens and has the effect of creating an oasis which seems entirely separate from the outside world despite Peak Shopping Village being thirty seconds away! The stone-built building is beautiful and seems perfectly in-sync with the surroundings. There is a large car park which could be used to its fullest at the wedding celebrations the team hold there. I’ll talk about East Lodge and how it’s suited to special events like this at the base of the blog post.  If you are disabled like myself and require a wheelchair friendly hotel in the Peak District then look no further; there is a dedicated disabled car parking space which is situated right beside the ramp used to access the Reception. This ramp actually also leads to a private door which opens into the disabled suite – a wonderful feature! We didn’t pop in and out of the hotel too much (it was snowing and we wanted to explore the interior!) but if you stayed for a longer period then this saves a wheelchair user having to go through the hotel interior to get out of the building. This also comes in handy when you realise you’ve left something in the car!    

 Disabled Accessible Bedroom SuiteWe stayed in Osbourne (Room 15) since this was the East Lodge accessible suite. Some of the other rooms were up a flight of stairs. Our room had an indulgent feel with the deep red colour scheme and gold velvet curtains and bed runner. The bed was huge and very comfortable and there was plenty of room to push my wheelchair around. I’d just note that our room was rather cold and the heating system seemed complex but the staff were more than happy to help and the room soon heated up despite the large space. The separate lounge area was lit by a skylight which gave the space an airy feel. I liked how open this space was rather than having a wall between spaces since this helped to get my wheelchair into the area. The lounge gave plenty of space for lots of people to sit around in the room and get ready together (perfect for Peak District family reunions or even weddings). There were even two TVs in the room to prevent fighting over the remote!  

In terms of access, the shining star to me throughout the room was the shower. The bathroom was a wet room and the shower seat wasn’t fixed to one point in the wall but instead slid along a runner. This was great as you could choose to sit in the full flow of the shower or rest just outside of this. When washing a person who needs assistance this feature is brilliant as you could move the person from side to side as required.  The shower was really powerful and there were rails beside the toilet to pull up on as you would expect in an accessible bathroom. It was really spacious and the decor felt modern yet suited the classic appearance of the hotel. 

 Special Touches in the roomThere were quite a few things that stood out as special touches in the room; these gave it a more personal touch rather than the clinical similarity in every room at a company such as Premier Inn. Firstly, Richard and I made use of the bath robes provided as we were getting ready for evening  meal.  I liked the wide selection of teas, coffees and hot chocolates in the room but I wished there were two of everything so we didn’t have to fight over the hot chocolate. However, when we asked for more, the member of staff at Reception (Christian) was really very helpful and gave us everything we asked for immediately with no problem.  A really great touch was the large numbered phone for contacting Reception – perfect for some of my subscribers! There were the fittings on the ceiling for ‘pull-cord’ emergency help in case of a fall etc. but these did not have string cords so weren’t in use. If these were added then that would be another real selling point for me. 

In the room there was a wonderful selection of various magazines and books about the area. There was also a bookshelf outside the room to borrow literature if you had a moment (surely impossible with all the things to do around the hotel and in the area!). There were also lots of leaflets advertising things to do surrounding the hotel in case you needed some last minute inspiration.    

One of the things I wished they had in each room was a book that detailed things like the WiFi password and check-out time. This would have saved us time asking at Reception (although Christian was very helpful there!). Bar AreaThis was a lovely relaxed area with elegant, classic decor and comfy sofas to relax on. The conservatory area was wheelchair friendly with plenty of room to move amongst seats and the staff moved a chair to create a space to park my wheelchair without us even having to ask so this was  really exemplary! (Thank you to Christian here again!)  

 There was a step to the bar serving area but this posed no problem at all as the waiting staff came up to us and served drinks on a tray. There were canapés served with the drinks consisting of homemade crisps and a selection of olives. We were given the menu to choose starter and main course  prior to entering the dining area. This was a really nice touch rather than ordering at the dinner table.  

 This area was a little cold again (due to snow outside!) but the lovely romantic atmosphere made up for this in heaps and we would have enjoyed drinking here even if we weren’t dining at the hotel. This would have been a nice gathering point as a Peak District family reunion venue prior to entering the main restaurant. Disabled Toilet near Bar Area This was nice and clean with a nice selection of hand creams and soap. I would note that the bin was a little far from the toilet so was out of easy reach and there was no rail to the right-hand to help me rise from the toilet. Air freshener would also have been a nice touch for visitors who may have alternative toiling needs such as changing a stoma bag. This also would have been nice in the accessible bedroom.  Evening Meal at East LodgeThis was definitely the best bit of our stay! The food here was absolutely delicious, fresh and  cooked to order. The local ingredients certainly made the selection brilliant!  The tables were easy to navigate with the wheelchair and, again, the dining chair was removed without me asking which was great! The decor was classic with white tablecloths and beautifully shaped windows. The romantic atmosphere continued here since there were mainly couples dining in the restaurant and it was nice to be joined by various people so the room was never quiet. We were given   fresh bread and butter to eat whilst we perused the wine menu. The wine was actually good value and we selected a nice rosé that was only £22. 

 If you choose half-board at East Lodge then you get £35 to spend towards food per person. This is a really good deal as, alongside breakfast, this means you get a wide choice over the evening dinner menu. Please drop me a message on disabledtravelwithgeorgina@gmail.com if you want a  copy of any of the menus. Please note these were accurate as of January 2018.  Richard and I have very different tastes in food but the restaurant definitely accommodated both of us very well. Plus, it gave us a chance to sample a wide range of the tasty cuisine that was  available! I didn’t have a starter but Richard enjoyed the chicken liver paté with caramelised onion chutney.  The mains were even better and I had the duo of lamb (cooked to perfection!) with a tasty pomme anna potato in the centre and savoy cabbage. The portion size was perfect and gave me room for dessert! Richard had the 7oz fillet steak with chips, onion rings and tomato. This was delicious and matched perfectly with his medium-rare request. The chips had great flavour to them and didn’t even need any sauce accompaniments (although these were offered). 

 Luckily, we had just enough room for dessert! We did the classic indecisive couple thing and ordered two desserts to be shared between the two of us so we could each sample two! The crème brûlée was perfectly creamy and had a nice crunchy topping. This was served with a homemade shortbread biscuit. The “British Pudding of the Day” varies according to the time you visit the hotel but I would recommend the spotted dick if available. It had a taste that was slightly reminiscent of Christmas with the spiced fruit within. The sponge was not overly dense for a steamed pudding but was lovely and filling. 

 Overall, Richard and I would certainly recommend dining at the East Lodge restaurant as the food was really delicious and not badly priced for the exemplary service you get. I think it is the sort of place to visit if you want a Peak District celebration restaurant or a romantic dinner. Perhaps the upcoming Valentine’s Day might be a good excuse to surprise your other half with a visit! BreakfastBreakfast at East Lodge Hotel was served again in the main dining room with the nice classic decor surrounding us. This time there was a beautiful view of the water gardens owned by the hotel out of the windows (more on these later).  There was a self-service area where you could help yourself to cereal or fruit such as fresh melon, prunes and fruit salad. The waitress removed the chair for the wheelchair again and we were given breakfast menus once seated. There was a lovely selection including kippers, omelettes and eggs benedict. We were spoilt for choice!   We were given fresh toast (which was delicious) to have with a section of butter, honey, marmalade and jam. Tea, coffee and fruit juices were also included and you could have as much of this as you wanted. The waiting staff were really helpful but also kept their distance while we enjoyed our breakfast. The snow was falling pretty heavily at the time so this gave the room a  lovely soft atmosphere and really set off the beautiful views of the surrounding gardens.  As mentioned before, Richard and I have very different tastes in food but this was perfect as we got to see the range in produce for breakfast at East Lodge. Richard ordered the kedgeree which he said was perfectly spiced and the fish was tasty. Although, this was made with arborio rice rather than the basmati as mentioned on the menu – still tasty though! My full english was also very nice and included bacon, sausage, fried bread, a portobello mushroom (not the button mushrooms mentioned on the menu but perhaps what the kitchen had fresh in?), tomato and eggs cooked to your liking. The egg options were a nice touch as this gave you the freedom to “personalise” your breakfast according to your tastes. We were given the option of sauces too and we could have asked for additional toast, hot drinks and fruit juices if we wanted these.  

 Breakfast is also open to “non-residents” so people not staying at the hotel could join you or pop in for breakfast independently. This is priced at £17.95 which isn’t the cheapest but it definitely reflects the picturesque Peak District setting and local produce. Garden and ExteriorThis was an area we would have liked to explore more but the snowy weather doesn’t really suit my wheelchair wheels – it also doesn’t suit Richard’s shoes either and there was a real slippery risk of one of us taking a tumble! However, we managed to view some of the garden areas from the car park and upper pathways. The topiary hedges framed lovely stone urn planters filled with flowers. The gardens were accessible via ramp and there were plenty of seating areas that would be perfect on a nice summery day. There was also a large bandstand which looked lovely when dressed for an event (please see more below). Overall, there was plenty to explore and lots of lovely areas to sit around in or have photographs taken in if you were celebrating a special occasion. 

 Events FacilitiesRichard and I had the embarrassing coincidence of stumbling upon the wedding fayre being held at the hotel. Although we had to brave a couple of “when is the date” questions, it gave us a chance to explore what the set-up could be like for a Peak District wedding venue or even for a celebration or engagement break. The staff were really helpful throughout my stay and easily fulfilled any request we had. I would  think that this helpful nature would also extend to wedding preparations. The hotel would even be perfect for a Peak District surprise proposal getaway! In addition to the dining space photographed earlier in the blog, there was also a smaller room which was set up with four tables; perhaps perfect for a Peak District birthday celebration or a wedding breakfast?  The dining area could be transformed into a wedding service area with bows on traditional fabric covered chairs. There was also an example display of how the table seating plan could be displayed artistically. 

 If the wedding or celebration was held in warmer months then the bandstand was set up so guests could view the vows in this area. This is a lovely intimate Matlock wedding venue. OverallAs an overview, our stay at East Lodge was really lovely. It was romantic and the food was really nice! The room was very wheelchair friendly and any tiny problems we had (such as the heating being too low) were corrected by staff as soon as we mentioned them. The wet-room in the disabled Matlock hotel room really shone and there were lots of special touches in the room and around the hotel.  The manager Iain and his colleague Christian really stood out as giving exemplary service and I can only assume that the partner hotel at Callow Hall is also run to the same high standard.  If you were looking for a disabled Peak District hotel either for a short break or a long holiday then I would seriously consider East Lodge. The location is absolutely perfect and gives you the ability to explore a wide variety of places in the surrounding area