Following substantial refurbishment works and a star-studded launch event, The Talbot has reopened its doors in the heart of Ripley, breathing new life into this historic Surrey coaching inn, which has played host to everyone from Audrey Hepburn to Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton during its 250-year history.
Having benefited from a £1 million investment, encompassing soft enhancements to the bedrooms and suites, the restaurant and bar areas, as well as the property’s substantial events and wedding facilities, The Talbot sees itself reinvigorated and ready to make its mark in the South East once again.
The addition of the renowned Michelin Starred figure of Martin Blunos to the role of Executive Chef has also helped to transform the Talbot’s culinary offering, with a brand new menu comprising modern flourishes alongside time-honoured British favourites, with an emphasis on versatility and locally sourced produce.
“The Talbot has always been a property brimming with personality”, said Graham Marskell, Managing Director of Bespoke Hotels. “We are delighted to have been able to bring out this unique character through a schedule of extensive refurbishment works, as well as an exciting new menu and dynamic team. We at Bespoke are looking forward to re-establishing the property both on a local and national level.”
Ask any couple what they think makes the ultimate romantic getaway and you will probably get slightly different answers from each partner. Speaking to a friend recently she said her husband’s idea of the perfect break was sun, sea, sand and surfing, while hers was sun, sea, sand and no surfing. We will leave it to you to figure out what happened on the honeymoon.
There are a few silver screen standards that go without saying when it comes to romance, candlelit dinners and beautiful views for example. On the flip side, while it’s highly entertaining, the upcoming release of the 50 Shades of Grey film on Valentine’s Day probably isn’t high on the serious priority list for most.
Nonetheless, at Bespoke we have our own ideas about what is a truly romantic getaway in a hotel, many of them actually, but here’s a few to whet the appetite.
A waterside location
At The Lugger Hotel in Cornwall there are a lot of things that make it special – it is really a chocolate-box perfect kinda romantic getaway. Y’know, service, sea and utterly timeless.
It is a toss up as to whether the best part of The Lugger Hotel is the beautiful pared-down luxe design or the location overlooking the sea, cliffs and headland. Perhaps it’s a combination of the two – either way, it’s perfect.
A lot of the time what really makes a hotel stand out is something intangible – a combination of the history, the architecture and the service, all of which make up an enchanting atmosphere. The Grosvenor Arms in Shaftsbury has atmosphere in spades.
Once a medieval posting inn, it now has the gravitas of a building with a past, but, having had a nice contemporary makeover. There is a cosy pub vibe throughout and is situated so that you can explore Salisbury, Bath, and the Dorset coastline with ease. It’s the ideal place to potter along for the weekend hand-in-hand.
A fairytale castle
What can we say? Cinderella would have been proud of this one. No matter how ball busting you happen Stonefield Castle on the shores of Loch Fyne is the sort of fairytale location that will make you go weak at the knees.
With a history dating back to 1837 it showcases Scottish baronial architecture at its finest and still has original touches such as wood paneling and marble fireplaces. Visit when there’s snow on the ground or flowers sprouting along the water’s edge, it’s a magic romantic getaway.
A private hot tub
If all else fails, a private hot tub is always a bit of a winner, and Bermondsey Square Hotel in London has a suite (Lucy) with its own hot tub overlooking the city. The hotel is utterly contemporary with design inspired by the Beatles and all suites named with a nod to their most famous songs.
It is located for couples wanting to spend a little time exploring the sites, but then again, you can see the London Eye from the hot tub, so what you do with your time is up to you!