, Stratford Road, Dedham, Essex.
Set back along a gravel driveway, Maison Talbooth is a luxury country house hotel in a modernised 19th century house in Essex. It has 12 uniquely designed bedrooms named after famous English poets.
There’s always a friendly welcome at Maison Talbooth. From the front door you pass into the light and relaxed lounge, from there to the Garden Room, and onwards to the outdoor terrace. The terrace looks out across the lush green lawns which lead to the outdoor pool, heated for winter swimming, outdoor hot tub and the beautifully designed pool house with a fully-stocked honesty bar, Sky HD TV, wraps and towels. The Pool House also includes an open log fire where you can enjoy a glass of champagne curled up on one of the sofas. For a more active time there is a tennis court that overlooks the pool and the country views.
The in-house spa, The Treatment Rooms, provides a quiet and relaxed environment perfect for pampering. The choice of spa treatments just goes on and on, from relaxing massages to reflexology, full head-to-toe body treatments to a spray tan, makeup and waxing to manicures and pedicure.
The light and airy Garden Room is the breakfast room for residents, as well as serving light lunches, gourmet sandwiches and afternoon tea for hotel guests and non-residents. For dinner or alternative dining throughout the day, Le Talbooth with 3 AA rosettes is the riverside restaurant beside the River Stour serving outstanding food with outstanding service, and just a few minutes away by the hotel’s courtesy car. There’s an à la carte menu that includes grilled fillet of Cornish red mullet with heritage tomato, baby squid and basil, or Thetford Forest venison carpaccio with a mustard croquette, golden beetroot and apple to start. Mains include the celebrated Dedham Vale chateaubriand (for two) or the pine nut crusted Scottish halibut – and needless to say there are some very tasty desserts and a comprehensive wine list.
All luxury bedrooms at Maison Talbooth have private bathrooms, the comfiest king size beds, latest TVs and Bose radio alarms, Sky In-Room with all Sky channels in HD, telephones, tea and coffee, treats and nibbles, complimentary soft drink mini-bar, wi-fi, luxurious fluffy robes, towels and slippers, Aromatherapy Associates toiletries, magazines and books. Taking the names of the great English poets, it’s hardly surprising that the principal suite is Shakespeare, a grand bedroom with a private terrace and a sunken bath. At the opposite end of the range, the smallest room is Kipling, but don’t think the great man should feel insulted as it is fun and full of character with a walk-in wet-room and views across open countryside.
Located between Colchester and Ipswich, the Dedham Vale is an area of outstanding natural beauty. This is Constable country with the famous Flatford Mill, Willy Lott’s Cottage and Bridge Cottage just the shortest of hops from Maison Talbooth. The estuaries of the rivers Stour and Orwell, Pin Mill and Hamford Water Nature Reserve are all nearby.