One of many pleasures during the Great Inns of Britain
event was witnessing the passion and commitment that the hoteliers have towards their properties and guest experiences. Perhaps none more so than Jenni and Ian of The Peacock at Rowsley
, an utterly charming, hard-working, and delivery-focused couple. Those qualities have enabled them to build a quite exceptional establishment and brand.
As a potted history, Ian MacKenzie did his apprenticeship as a chef at Penn’s Hall in Birmingham in the 1960s, whilst Jenni ended her teacher training and took a receptionist position in a hotel, where she met Ian, who was Head Chef. They have worked together in hospitality ever since, starting couple hotel management in 1989 after returning from 8 years in Italy.
As with all the Great Inns of Britain
, their hospitality is very personal, as is the ambience of their guest experience.
has an enviable and compelling history. It was built in 1652 as a modest manor house by a steward on Haddon Estate, who was able to retain the house for two generations. It then reverted to Haddon Hall who used it as a Dower House until 1820 when it then became an Inn. The Peacock has the marvellous and unique distinction of being the oldest hotel in the world selling fishing tickets to fishermen for Haddon Hall.
The rooms are sympathetic to the history and luxuriously appointed, but there's some eccentricity to revel in, too. Unique pieces of furniture include the Judge’s Chair, and many original paintings from Haddon Hall and Belvoir Castle are on display. They have a designer, India Mahdavi from Paris, who created a mix of contemporary colours, fabrics, and feeling to mix the old of the building with modern colours.
The Peacock prides itself on its hard-won restaurant following. In an area of intense competition, they have achieved 3 AA rosettes for their food as well as several significant restaurant awards. They use quality local butchers for their meat and focus strongly on local, seasonal produce.
Their next big goal is to maintain the AA 3 red stars and AA 3 rosettes, but also to eventually convert the stable block to 8 new bedrooms and then create 2 suites from their current bedrooms, enhancing an already appealing range of accommodation.
The guest comment that Jenni and Ian currently prize most greatly is: "extra care gave us extra happiness". It is not at all easy to create such an approachable and friendly setting in a high profile historic building, and The Peacock
deserves great plaudits for doing so.