I simply adore Luxury boutique hotels and I have found a real hidden gem set within the picture perfect Stour Valley in Dedham Essex. Within easy reach of London, The Maison Talbooth is a beautiful country house hotel with scenic views across the renowned constable country and is within walking distance of Dedham Village. The pretty countryside location makes for the perfect getaway, especially for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.
With 12 charming, stylish and spacious bedrooms to choose from, (seven of which are even dog friendly) you will be spoilt for choice. The interior design style of the spacious rooms has the perfect mixture of historic character with a modern twist. All the rooms have tea and coffee, complimentary water and soft drinks, satellite TV, Bose sound systems and big bathrooms with aromatherapy toiletries. The more traditionally furnished Wordsworth and Shelley have the best views but the quirky Tennyson will appeal to fans of the Beatles. The Keats is the hotels family room which offers bunk beds and additional space, other rooms interconnect and put up beds are available on request. I personally found the bed in my room to be really comfy and I had such a great nights sleep. The view of the countryside from my window was beautiful and my room was a very generous side. The plush interior styling was very much to my taste.
A gated area in the grounds of the hotel consists of a chic summer house, with a relaxed television area, honesty bar and changing rooms. Outside there is a gorgeous outdoor heated swimming pool, sun loungers and a Jacuzzi. I had a lovely swim in the pool on a crisp day in April and it was so nice to be able to swim outdoors under crisp blue skies but feel completely toasty. I also couldn’t resist relaxing in the Jacuzzi, (which is adjacent to the pool) with a cheeky glass of fizz! These outdoor facilities really set the hotel apart from others I have visited, basking in the sunshine by the pool was almost like being abroad on holiday.
Outside the summer house is an outdoor seating area with a fireplace and there are blankets aplenty, so this really is a relaxing area to be enjoyed whatever the weather. You could even still feel cosy sitting outside on chilly evenings and snowy days. For the sporty amongst you why not also take advantage of the tennis courts located within the grounds. The entire hotel can be booked on an exclusive use basis and with the gated pool area and clubhouse it is the perfect place for weekend house parties. The hotel and grounds also make for a sophisticated and luxurious wedding venue.
Back inside the hotel the Maison Talbooth serves delicious breakfasts, lunches and afternoon tea options within the hotel’s light, airy and chic garden room. However the dining highlight is taking a very short trip down the road to the hotels flagship riverside restaurant, Le Talbooth, located on the edge of the river Stour. The hotel provides a driver and beautiful car to take guests back and forth to the restaurant when required. The magnificent and historic Le Talbooth is just 2 mins drive away and is absolutely worth a visit. The restaurant has been there since the 1960’s, with food and service that are both exceptional – you will be hard pushed to find a more scenic view.
The restaurant’s a la carte menu has an array of tempting delights including celery and warm mushroom brioche to start, squid ink gnocchi, baby squid, sea purslane and lemongrass for main, and my favourite, St Clements bread and butter pudding with butterscotch and orange sauce accompanied by lemon ice cream. The menu options feel very unique, are full of flavour, bursting with interesting ingredients. Portion sizes are generous too, so whilst dining here is pricey, it is well worth it in my opinion. You will not leaving feeling hungry. Separate vegan and vegetarian menus are also available as well as a comprehensive wine list. Whilst I would highly recommend the dining experience at Le Talbooth there is an option of room service at the hotel until 9:30pm should you wish to just relax in the beautiful rooms and not venture out.
If you would like to combine a hotel stay with a spa break, the Maison Talbooth has three treatment rooms, two of which are twinned, so are ideal if you would like to share a treatment with a friend or as a couple. The mini spa at the hotel offers face and body treatments from Aromatherapy Associates and Dermalogica. Jessica manicure and pedicure treatments are also available as well as St Tropez tanning and Delilah make-up. During my visit I opted for a scalp, neck and shoulder massage which took place on a heated therapy bed, which was just divine! I took my mum as my guest and she opted for a pedicure which included a pampering foot massage which she really enjoyed. Whilst the spa is very small, the treatments offered are top notch and there is plenty of choice.
Overall standards across both the Maison Talbooth hotel and la Talbooth restaurant are high, with professional and sophisticated staff there to cater to your every need, nothing is too much trouble. My mum and I had a really wonderful time and certainly wouldn’t hesitate to come back. I am also going to keep the hotel in mind for future spa days and group event hire.
A stay at The Maison Talbooth is ideal for anyone looking for a laidback, relaxing country retreat escape. If you are a fan of boutique style hotels, delicious food, excellent service and charming views, this should certainly be one for your hit list.
Essex CO7 6HN