Retirement is meant to represent some of the best years of our life, according to Audley, and the company aims to give the residents over the age of 55 at its retirement communities across the country much more than a comfortable existence.
The recently opened Derbyshire offering St Elphin's Park gives residents a luxurious lifestyle with its own health club, bar and restaurant on site. The converted Victorian mansion, which dates back to 1887, is at the heart of the development. Currently, the Matlock site has 34 properties completed - two-bedroom houses and cottages - and 20 new-build apartments under construction. St Elphin's House is also currently being renovated to contain apartments and once completed, the development will have 130 new and converted homes.
Within a 44-acre park, the development has numerous facilities which residents can use as part of the £600 monthly service charge. Behind where the sales and marketing suite currently sits, there is a hilly area of freshly planted greenery, trees and a man-made pond. Although it appears to be wild, underneath the turf the developers have inserted a solid layer so residents can get a comfortable grip when climbing into their own wildlife garden. It is planted with wild meadow grass so poppies and other wild flowers will cover the area as it grows.
Beyond the garden area, there are two tennis courts and a field which is rented by a local farmer. With sheep and other livestock, it is an ideal spot to take visiting grandchildren.
The main house is part of the Audley Club and is available for members of the public to use, starting from £45 per month. It has a gym with six pieces of cardio equipment, weights, mats and a gymball, and a studio where pilates, yoga and tai chi classes are held. It also has an 11 x 5-metre swimming pool with loungers around the edge and regular aqua aerobics classes.
There is a hairdressing salon with a stylist on site at set times, two treatment rooms for physio and beauty treatments and an on-site care team. Residents have their own tastefully decorated private lounge and library with a selection of games and shelves full of books. In the main hall there is a grand staircase, several paintings on loan from the Derby art gallery and there will soon be a baby grand piano for residents to play.
Beyond the stunning entrance, the bar and bistro is a popular relaxation spot with residents and is open until 10.00pm each night. The Orangery restaurant serves a range of moderately priced dishes, from traditional favourites to gourmet creations, both inside and outside on the terrace.
Alongside St Elphin's House there are other converted properties on the development including The Old Chapel. Right beside the main house, the building with stained glass walls has been converted into two properties with one already sold. The second will be a two-bedroom house and be available for £330,000. The remaining properties at St Elphin's Park start at £249,000 for a two-bedroom cottage. Each of these new homes in Derbyshire has its own parking space and there is plenty of guest parking available.