Country house with riverside restaurant in pretty Dedham Vale

A SWISH £1.5 MILLION refurbishment has put the Wow factor back into Maison Talbooth in a big way. No wonder tired townies feel totally at home à la Maison – this handsome former Victorian rectory makes a terrific place to stay on the Suffolk borders.

Set on a bluff overlooking the Stour river valley, with green fields stretching out to the medieval church at Stratford St Mary, Maison Talbooth's pretty setting has inspired many a would-be Constable. His famous painting of Dedham Vale even depicts the timbered farmhouse that is now Le Talbooth restaurant.

Three signature top-floor suites – all named after famous poets – have added a new cool and contemporary dimension to Maison Talbooth's blissful bedrooms.  We stayed in the Betjeman suite, with its sweeping views over Dedham Vale, a huge sofa to curl up on and armchairs clad in mock zebra skin.

Hit the spot

Five minutes from pretty Dedham village, on the Suffok borders.

Splash out on a Principal suite complete with outdoor hot tub, or pick the deluxe Betjeman. For a fabulous bathroom, take the Eliot room.

Be savvy
Le Talbooth restaurant is five minutes away.

Be smitten
Lavish country living 90 minutes from London.

Starlit soaks

A huge bed set centre stage was wrapped in the crispest goosedown duvet  and piled in chocolate-brown cushions. Walls came in palest pistachio and our sleek bathroom – all travertine stone and glass – was definitely made for lingering.

For a seriously splashy time, take one of the Maison's three ultra-indulgent Principal suites  – Keats, Macefield or Shakespeare. Complete with terrace and outdoor hot tub, they're just the place for a starlit soak with that bottle of champers courtesy of Room for Romance! If you'd sooner stay under the soapsuds indoors, try the fabulous travertine bathroom in the Eliot suite – one of the Superiors.

Dining is taken seriously at the riverside Le Talbooth restaurant, where diners gaze out at ducks bobbing on the water amid trailing willows. Arrive in summer, and you can dine alfresco on the pretty terrace or enjoy one of the regular Sunday night barbecues.

Feeling jaded after the night before? Maison Talbooth's new pool zone and treatment rooms will set you right. Go for a swim, knock up on the tennis court or lie back for a thoroughly therapeutic pummelling.

Maison Talbooth was reviewed for Room for Romance by Mark MacGee



Book a midweek getaway and get the star treatment at new-look Maison Talbooth

Stay two nights Sunday-Thursday at Maison Talbooth – just reopened after a £1.5 million re-fit – and you're spoiled with champagne on arrival, dinner at le Talbooth restaurant on one night and at Milson's gastro bar on the other, accommodation in a deluxe suite and – to top it off – a GBP 60 allowance on two beauty or body treatments. Cost of the two-night break is GBP 550.

* Select "Champagne getaway" on our booking pages

Click on any picture to enlarge it and move through the gallery.

Dining in
Beamed Le Talbooth restaurant (five minutes away) serves modern English cuisine amid crisp white linen, smart leather chairs and Zoffany fabrics. Expect award-winning food and spot-on service: tuck into roast lobster tail and monkfish, breast of quail en croute and Valrhona chocolate Black Forest gateau. Try the hand-dived scallops, the roast lobster tail cooked in vermouth or maybe a Chateaubriand for two.

You can dine on the terrace beneath Le Talbooth's signature curved sail in the summer months – and if you over indulge, there's a courtesy car to take you back. Daytime fare at the Maison includes Club sandwiches, wraps and freshly baked scones.

Dining out
Try Milsom's gastro bar just down the road for excellent food in a fun and informal setting.  If you're hankering after some sea air, set off for sister property The Pier at Harwich and sample the fresh-landed fish. 


Le Talbooth restaurant at Maison Talbooth. It's a five-minute stroll, or you can take the courtesy car.

What’s cooking?
Try bouride of shellfish, Scottish Chateaubriand for two and French apple tart.

Dress the part
Pack your smartest casuals.

Top table?
Alfresco on the pretty riverside terrace in summer.

See & Do

Trawl for antiques in pretty Dedham, where you can stroll along the river – just pick up a walking map. Admire the equestrian prints and paintings of Sir Alfred Munnings in the museum of his name just outside the village.

This is Constable country, so don’t miss a trip to the painter's birthplace at Flatford Mill in the village of East Bergholt, where there's also a lock and barge dock. Earn your lunch by rowing along the River Stour with a picnic and a bottle of chilled white wine – there's a boating station in Dedham. If you prefer salt water, staff can arrange for you to hire a sailboat from The Pier at Harwich and head out to sea.

There's every excuse for some pampering in Maison Talbooth's brand new treatment rooms. Opt for a side-by-side chillout and detox massage, some oxyjet skin-smoothing  therapy, a sea mud wrap or a salt scrub and full body mapping.  You'll also have full use of the hotel's heated outdoor pool and jacuzzi. There's also a tennis court and a pool house with sofas, a surround-sound TV and an honesty bar.

Dedham village has a chocolate shop, an excellent bookshop and several little teashops. Head to Harwich for some seaside shopping. Nearby Ipswich has a full complement of big stores, and quirkier little stores around the old docks.

After dark
Wander into one of  Dedham's village pubs for a game of darts, or follow dinner at Le Talbooth with a soak in your outdoor hot tub.

Join in the annual Harwich Festival – seven days of music, theatre, storytelling and visual arts. 

Dedham, Colchester, Essex CO7 6HN

There is plenty of free guest parking.

Colchester and Manningtree stations – five miles.

GBP 15-20 from Colchester station.

Stansted – 60 miles. Transfers can be arranged.

Rooms and suites

12 suites including three with a hot tub and terrace.

Special features
All suites have DVD players, kingsize beds, goose feather duvets and egyptian cottom sheets. And of course three have those outdoor hot tubs... 

You can book body treatments, play tennis or have a dip (in summer) in the outdoor heated pool.


Rates guide
GBP 200 - 400

Open all year




Minimum night stay?
Two nights at weekends

Breakfast is served in the Garden Room until 10:30am. Dine out on the terrace if it's sunny.

Room service
Available morning and evening.


Guide dogs only

Air conditioning
Yes – in some rooms.


Wedding license?
Yes – civil weddings for up to 50 guests can be held,  based on exclusive hire of the property.

House parties
Maison Talbooth lends itself to private house parties, and you can arrange for a private chef to cook for your guests in the Garden Room, or arrange a poolside barbecue. Call Room for Romance for more details: +44 (0)1225 428888.

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Room for Romance Extra

A complimentary bottle of champagne.



Pier at Harwich
Landlubbers' haven at the heart of old Harwich

Tuddenham Mill
Restored Suffolk watermill with sleek and chic interiors.


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