A welcome new addition to our Essex section - under an hour and a half drive from London - this smart, rather plain-looking Victorian house is hard to beat for lavish comfort. It’s recently undergone some impressive embellishments: two new suites, a spa, pool, and tennis court.
   The 12 poet-themed suites have a decadent Sixties feel: quilted fabrics and luxury drapes; charcoal greys and muted greens; and patterned wallpaper that contradicts the all-new modern bathrooms.
   Down the road, Le Talbooth, also under the Milsom ownership, is the gastronomic hotspot of the area. It remains a popular place to eat even after 50 years, and still exudes the feel of its ‘Sixties heyday’. There’s an exceptional wine list and a blend of old-and-new style cooking from new head chef Andrew Hirst. If you don’t feel like going out, light snacks can be served in your room at Maison Talbooth. Courtesy cars take you to and from the restaurant, or anywhere else nearby.