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Luxury living and fine dining at Maison Talbooth and Le Talbooth in the Essex countryside

Escape away to Maison Talbooth, in a setting with breathtaking views overlooking the glorious Dedham Vale in the heart of Constable country.

Beyond the stunning Victorian façade, its boutique furnishings and polished decor welcomes guests (and dogs at the manager’s discretion), with 12 luxurious bedrooms, each with super king size beds, sumptuously soft pillows and roll top baths, all named after famous poets.

Ideal for a restorative weekend, I arrived with my husband and our Norfolk Terrier Archie, who was extremely excited about his visit.

A high spec country house…

Hotel facilities include a heated outdoor pool and pool house

I soon discovered this was not your average hotel, more like a high spec country house for hire – in fact you can hire out Maison Talbooth for exclusive use, which is really handy for weddings and events also held on site.

During your stay enjoy some time in the hotel spa located on the first floor or explore the gardens, home to an all-weather tennis court and a heated outside swimming pool and pool house.

There is also a hot tub, a log fire burning all day, along with drinks and snacks provided from a well-stocked honesty bar.

As the flagship of the Milsom group, Maison Talbooth has always been the country-house complement to its award winning restaurant, Le Talbooth, situated in a beautiful location down by the river Stour.

Le Talbooth…

Le Talbooth enjoys a stunning riverside setting

Although located just down the road, travelling to Le Talbooth is no issue, especially when you are picked up and chauffeured to the restaurant in a top of the range Mercedes!

From the moment we stepped through the doors of this magnificent building, the staff made it their mission to make sure our every need was met.

We were led to a tranquil riverside setting where we enjoyed a drink by the river whilst perusing the menu options and nibbling on olives and smoked almonds.

After selecting our dishes we were led back inside taking in every bit of beauty from the historic beamed building. It was a lovely introduction to the restaurant and its surroundings.

Starters focus on seafood and seasonal produce is used wherever necessary. Choices included dill coated smoked salmon, hand dived scallops, seared yellow fin tuna and poached native lobster, however, there was also a vegetarian menu to satisfy non-meat eaters like me.

The menu combines tasty classics with exciting flavours

I began with the spring truffle and machego cheese ravioli with mushroom puree, tahoon cress and chanterelle mushrooms. The flavours were incredibly delicate and light making this the perfect starter for a warm summer evening. My husband thought so too as he also copied my choice!

On to the main event and you will find no standard veggie risottos or heavy pasta dishes here.

The ricotta and cep dumplings with pine nuts, butternut squash, confit egg yolk and tenderstem broccoli made a pleasant and interesting change. Packed full of earthy flavours this plate of food was delicious and satisfying without being too filling.

My husband had the baked brill with mussel mousseline, served with crème friche leeks, potato tuile with saffron and caviar sauce and was appreciated with equal measure.

Although I couldn’t drink on this occasion, the wine sommelier was most helpful by advising my husband a wine to pair with his dishes. The look on my husbands face told me he knew his stuff.

Leave room for one of Le Talbooth’s delicious desserts

For me, the absolute highlight of the meal was the dessert!

Dark chocolate and pistachio delice with candied pistachio and raspberry sorbet – it was sublime! I eat out a lot, but this took me to a whole new level of dessert heaven. Although covered in chocolate it wasn’t too sweet, it wasn’t too rich – just perfect!

I also had a bite of my husband’s black forest soufflé with vanilla Chantilly and black cherry sorbet. A close second!

We finished the meal with mint tea and coffee and didn’t turn down the offer to select a homemade chocolate from the famous Le Talbooth chocolate box – you will know what I mean when you see it!

Feeling happy and content we caught the Merc back up to the hotel and received a very warm welcome from Archie, ready for a blissful nights sleep.

A real treat…

Breakfast is a real treat and offers a full vegetarian option too

Time for breakfast – you can rise early for a leisurely breakfast in your room, on the outside terrace or in the airy Garden Room.

There are a range of options from the buffet breakfast but most notably the most full vegetarian breakfast I have come across yet, featuring Quorn sausages, bacon and vegetarian black pudding, locally made in Bury St Edmunds.

We sat overlooking the well-kept grounds – it really was a treat to be eating breakfast outside.

We couldn’t leave before a visit to the pool house. On a sunny Saturday it was the perfect place to relax and recline – completely private within its own walled area, you could have been anywhere in the world.

The Verdict…

Dogs are welcome at the manager’s discretion and Archie had a wonderful time!

When you are looking for a stay and dine break away that’s a little bit special or out of the ordinary, then Maison Talbooth and Le Talbooth tick all of the boxes. Archie had a wonderful time during his stay and the staff loved making a fuss of him. The Milsom team will never let you down.

You can read my review of Kesgrave Hall in Suffolk – another one of Milsom’s fine hotels – by following this link.


Maison Talbooth

Address: Maison Talbooth, Stratford Rd, Dedham, Colchester CO7 6HN
Phone: 01206 322367

Le Talbooth

Address: Gun Hill, Dedham, Colchester CO7 6HP
Phone: 01206 323150