Weekend Away: Rafters At Riverside House, Ashford-in-the-Water
The last 15 months have not been the easiest for anyone, but much like the current virus back in the 17th century, there was a deadly virus that arrived in a Derbyshire village.
The tradition of well dressing in many Derbyshire villages took on a special significance, notably in Tissington - where the inhabitants gave thanks for their deliverance from the Plague which had decimated nearby Eyam. In truth they had been spared by the altruism of the inhabitants of Eyam, who quarantined themselves while the disease, accidentally introduced in a package of clothing from London, ran its course.
Riverside House situated in the picturesque village of Ashford-in-the-Water feels like a haven to get away from all the bad news and regulations we have all had to live with.
Garden Room - outside view
The former shooting lodge consists of two Superior bedrooms, Rafters and Kingfisher, four House Rooms on the 1st floor of this original Grade II listed building and eight bedrooms in the Garden Wing extension. The four on the 1st floor overlook the River Wye and the four on the ground floor benefit from French doors leading to their own private patio area with direct access to the garden and river.
Now headed up by the team behind the Iconic Rafters Restaurant in Sheffield, Rafters at Riverside House has undergone a full refurbishment.
With the hotel being small the service feels bespoke from the friendly and welcoming staff. From the food in the restaurant to the sumptuous bed in my room, everything was top quality - even the face mask, I had inadvertently forgotten on my way down to dinner, was first class.
My ground floor room in the Garden Wing came with one of the comfiest beds I have slept in and I woke up feeling totally refreshed. Some thought has gone into the furniture too: the armchair allowed my shoulders to feel relaxed, whilst the writing desk had a chair that was just the right height.
There is no fridge in the room nor air conditioning though you can open the French doors for some fresh air. The garden furniture, on the patio was a nice touch; the rooms are south facing catching the afternoon sun. Any worries about noise from the traffic on the nearby main road during the day, weren't an issue, more or less none existent from early evening onwards, which meant I could hear the adjacent River Wye running its course. Very idyllic.
The Rafters restaurant appeared to attract a fair share of non residents. The dinner menu costs £65.00 per person whilst the tasting menu is £80.00 - with top class service and food to match.
As I tucked into my starter of a very rich cream cheese Tortellini, Gregory Porter was playing in the background. Thankfully the service was not as long winded as the talking Porter does between songs at his concerts.
Cream Cheese Tortellini Dry Aged Derbyshire Beef Filet
The Dry Aged Derbyshire Beef Filet came with a nice chunky thickness, still tender even with my preference of it being cooked well done. Served with a deep Parmesan and Peppercorn sauce it seemed fitting that Porter was to be heard singing his hit “Be Good” how apt it was.
Baked Vanilla Cheesecake
The English strawberries, fresh on the Baked Vanilla Cheesecake, came with meadowsweet shortbread and a light strawberry sorbet. I asked to try a slice of their Derbyshire Blue Cheese which was pleasing to see served at room temperature. A salty and sharp blue which hit all the right notes. So many restaurants seem to think serving cheese straight out of the fridge is acceptable. A superb meal.
A full English breakfast was waiting for me the following morning and still left time before check out or taking time to discover nearby Bakewell, Buxton or Chatsworth House.
A homely retreat. If you need to treat yourself or a loved one after the COVID year we have all endured, then this is a perfect hotel.
Rafters at Riverside House Hotel, Fennel Street, Ashford-in-the-Water, DE45 1QF