If you’re looking for the perfect mix of contemporary yet traditional, spacious yet cosy, and city meets countryside, The Talbot Hotel is the perfect place for you.
Originating in 1235, The Talbot initially worked to serve the needs of the Newark Priory, before its unfortunate demise in 1537. The Talbot continued to make its mark on history, becoming a staging post and post office on behalf of the Royal Mail by the mid-1700s. Historically, The Talbot welcomed visitors such as Lord Nelson during his travels between London and Portsmouth, and was even said to have played host to the love affair between himself and Lady Hamilton during 1798. With such an impressive history behind it, it is no wonder that The Talbot Hotel’s personality radiates and shines bright before you have even stepped inside.
Located in Ripley, a delightful, quaint village in close proximity to Woking, the Talbot Hotel resonates with those with a desire to feel as though they are deep in the countryside. With a gorgeous exterior, living up to its name as one of England’s finest coaching inns, you are immediately met by the sense that your stay is bound to be a positive one. Don’t be fooled by the word ‘countryside’ however, as this does not mean that you are destined to spend hours driving around in desperate search of the hotel. In fact, despite the green surroundings, the hotel is located only half an hour away from the big city of London and just twenty minutes away from both Heathrow and Gatwick airports. So whether you’re a tourist flying into the UK, or you’re a local looking for somewhere refreshing to spend the night, the Talbot Hotel is ideal. No silly squabbles over who’s read the map wrong either, as the hotel is just two miles away from junction 10 of the M25.
We were lucky enough to spend the night at the Talbot Hotel, staying in one of their 43 rooms and enjoying both an evening meal and a hearty breakfast the next morning. Upon entering, the welcome we received was both warm and genuine, as we were greeted by immediate superb customer service and shown to our superior room. Most of the bedrooms are located in the Ripley Wing and present a more contemporary feel, whilst the remaining nine bedrooms in the Coaching Inn display a contemporary twist yet still retain the traditional aesthetic and authentic features from the hotel’s history.
Our bedroom was in the Coaching Inn, and whilst it was perfectly spacious we were still able to feel the relaxation associated with the feel of being in a cosy cottage. With the elegant fireplace and traditional wood panelling, the feel was not only authentic and bursting with character but also homely and comfortable. The Talbot Hotel works well in providing the picture-perfect mix between tradition and modernity, as all the necessary features that present-day hotels require were available and the décor was incredibly suave and stylish. This may be down to the recent £1 million refurbishment, after the hotel was purchased by the renowned Bespoke Hotels. It is clear that the staff have an attentive eye for detail too, as not only was there a complimentary range of tea and coffees in the room, but also various other free necessities such as shampoo, conditioner, a pen and a notepad.
In the evening, we headed to the newly refurbished restaurant for a meal. Prior to eating, the staff dedicated their time to ensuring we were comfortable and enjoying our stay, providing us with excellent service. It was delightful to be able to talk to such personable people who made us feel right at home, whilst also sharing their knowledge of the food and the hotel’s history. The food itself was utterly delectable.
For the starter, we opted for oak smoked salmon and salmon mousse with Lilliput capers, shallot and dill, and the ham hock terrine with piccalilli sauce and cauliflowers croutes. Whilst the salmon melted in your mouth and the mousse was light, creamy and refreshing, the ham hock terrine was tender, perfectly seasoned and complimented the tangy piccalilli marvellously.
For our main meal, one of us selected one of the daily specials; fish pie with lobster, haddock, sole and prawns, accompanied by seasonal vegetables. The pie was topped with a delicious layer of smooth mash and the lobster was portioned generously, making this serving a wonderful option for the hungrier amongst us!
The other decided on braised lamb shoulder and glazed meatballs, with mash, rosemary broad beans and tomato. This dish served up the wow factor in its presentation, with the food being plated expertly and giving meaning to the word ‘gourmet’. Despite this portion size not being too large, we were still left feeling comfortably full and satisfied. The lamb was not only succulent, but fell of the bone, indicating that it had been cooked to perfection. The accompanying jus provided the dish with some moisture and a little bit of extra flavour. All in all, the main course was absolutely one of the high points of our stay.
For the dessert we would recommend the vanilla ice parfait with homemade malteser, as the vanilla was sweet but not too sweet and the honeycomb’s crispy texture was a real treat. Great for those with a sweet tooth.
Bellies full and feeling more than simply content, we headed back to our room to sleep off our meal. There is no other way to describe the bed other than exceptionally comfortable, allowing us to get the perfect night sleep. Without even stirring during the night, we woke up feeling refreshed and ready to eat some more!
Before we rounded off our stay, we tucked into a tasty breakfast and were grateful to be provided with the choice of either a continental breakfast or a cooked breakfast. With the continental breakfast consisting of a range of pastries, toast, jams, cold meats, cheese and cereals, we were very tempted by this option. We did however want to try the cooked breakfast and so opted for this choice instead.
The Full English Breakfast and Eggs Benedict went down an absolute treat with no complaints whatsoever. Sitting in the new extension area of the building, it almost felt as though we were enjoying our morning meal outside – without the rain of course! We couldn’t have asked for a better start to the day.
Overall, it was a relaxing and ultimately enjoyable experience from start to finish. With the gourmet food, the gorgeous room designs and quiet location, the Talbot Hotel is a winner for both tourists and locals alike. Whilst we would wholeheartedly recommend a stay in the hotel or a visit to their restaurant, if you fancy just popping by or checking the hotel out for yourself, you can come in and grab a coffee in the courtyard or sit back and sip on a drink at their bar. Treat yourself and take a load off at the Talbot Hotel.
For more information, visit their website by clicking here.