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“Flawed gem” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Talbot Hotel

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Talbot Hotel
3.0 of 5 Hotel   |   West Street, Leominster HR6 8EP, England (Formerly BEST WESTERN Talbot Hotel)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Leominster
London, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
74 reviews 74 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 25 cities Reviews in 25 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
“Flawed gem”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2010

CONTEXT
The Talbot was full to the gunwales over the weekend of our stay. A month ahead, the Best Western (BW) website said no room at the inn. I called them anyway. They said that they did have a room. It was one of the last rooms available and my comments should probably be set against that.

SITUATION
The Talbot is in Leominster (pronounced ‘lemmster’), an architecturally attractive, though otherwise unremarkable market town in Herefordshire, surrounded by chocolate-box countryside. Goering didn’t redesign Leominster, so it retains examples of all styles from the past 500 years or so, which is pleasing. If you’re visiting by train, you needn’t go via Newport or Crewe; there’s a service from London to Hereford, whence it’s one stop (10 minutes) to Leominster. There are also direct rail links from Manchester and Cardiff.

SUMMARY
This is a soundly run BW hotel, scoring in most departments. Being BW, it’s independent, saving us from the corporate facelessness of Holiday Inn et al. The AA gives it three stars which may err towards the munificent but I’ll not dissent. The building is ancient and thus architecturally very interesting (see ‘Goering’, above), with many original features. The restaurant scores highly and the members of staff generally are excellent.

I didn’t recognise the Talbot from the more scathing reviews and I wonder what these folk expect. If they want a 26-storey glass and steel box, with air-con, fawningly obsequious staff, a helipad, swimming pool and gym, then don’t go to the Talbot - or Leominster - that simply not what they’re about. The Talbot exemplifies the principal hotel in a provincial English town.

CHECK IN/CHECK OUT
Check in was seamless. They clearly have the right man for the job; he greeted us with a friendly smile, quickly found our reservation and processed us efficiently. When we left, the wireless POS terminal was playing up (see RF interference below) but, again, the receptionist (a young European woman) coped with aplomb, apologising but concentrating on sorting out whatever needed to be sorted out. Top marks, here, I’d say.

THE ROOM
This was clean, attractive and invitingly-presented, with solid furniture and plenty of space and hangers in the wardrobe. There were wooden beams, structural and cosmetic. The latter had been attacked with a chisel to suggest that some artisan had toiled over them. You get tea ‘n’ coffee (and beezer bikkies), as you’d expect and they’d thoughtfully supplied a fan, which we needed, as it was stifling, even for June. Shared facilities included a shoe shining machine and a selection of confectionery, with an honesty box.

I wondered if our room was actually intended for single occupancy. There was only one tooth mug and while the bed was a double, it wasn’t huge. This impression was reinforced by the room’s greatest, er, idiosyncrasy, the bathroom.

There was no door, just a curtain and no extractor fan (you couldn’t rely on the windows). You’ve GOT to be soul mates to cope with that! Then there’s the comedy plumbing. Empty the washbasin and it starts to emerge through the bath plughole. Both bath and washbasin take an age to empty and then gurgle contentedly for about ten minutes, contemplating a job well done. There shouldn’t be a knack to flushing a lavatory; I found that it was in the wrist action. We got there eventually, though.

On comedy features, I think that the whole building has RF attenuation problems. While I could get a GSM signal, there was no analogue radio on the alarm/radio and the DTT suffered constant interference, even on the radio channels. I wonder if this is why the POS terminal had problems. If not Ghostbusters, I think they need to call a radio engineer.

The main problem (largely outwith their control) is noise. The room faced the front and was only one floor up. She Who Must Be Obeyed (who knows about these things) said that the disco opposite was playing some kicking tunes. It did so about until 2.00 am, whereupon, the plastered youth of Leominster turned out, with their industrial language at 120 dB. This was followed by our neighbours, as they got in at about 2.30am. Interesting conversation they were having, too, audible as it was through wafer-thin walls.

CATERING
Both the bar and the restaurant impressed and, again, the staff shone. The lad who greeted us was affable and sensible but without obtruding. He obviously knows his customers, as we were left to select from the menu over a drink in the bar. We were called to table when our starters were ready. All the while, they also had a big party (15+ covers) to serve. They did that at remained attentive to us.

The dinner choices were varied and included red meat, white meat, fish and vegetarian (wot that?). The wine list could do with some expansion but any list that features Grüner Veltliner can’t be all bad. I do wonder if Chef needs to curb his enthusiasm. The dishes were exquisite but, really, vanilla sauce (‘jus’) with halibut? And what, exactly, is basil custard? The Monty Python Recipe Bok springs to mind. That didn’t detract from an excellent meal, though.

If I’ve any comment, it would be to have a second member of staff available to pitch in at the bar when it’s busy but that’s only a half-suggestion.

Breakfast offered imaginative and varied fayre. It was again served attentively. More marks scored here.

VFM
Hmmm. £100 per night for two sharing in a 3-star in the provinces is Croesus territory and did not represent value for money. There again, £60-odd for three courses with wine was almost giving it away, given the quality of food, wine and service.

AND FINALLY...
If asked about accommodation in Leominster, I’d say that you could do significantly worse than the Talbot. Would I stay there again? Yes.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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152 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    22
    63
    41
    15
    11
See reviews for
14
91
5
19
Rating summary
  • Location
    4 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (52)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Solihull, West Midlands
Contributor
17 reviews 17 reviews
15 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2010

We stayed for two nights over the Spring Bank Holiday. The quality of the food here is excellent, very generous portions and nicely served by pleasant staff. Leominster is pretty poor for eateries so we stayed in for dinner both nights and were not disappointed. Breakfasts were very well cooked, coffee strong and hot, and the service again efficient. The rooms are a little tired but were nice and clean and pretty spacious. It is after all a very olde worlde building so creaky floors and other quirks are to be expected so if you don't like that look elsewhere.

  • Stayed May 2010, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
kent
1 review
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 30, 2009

We stayed at the Talbot for two nights and were most impressed, the bedroom was very nice, the shower worked, plenty of towels kettle with coffee, tea etc. the bar was very comfortable, very nice log fire burning! The breakfast was very good, wide choice of Cereals plus some fruit and juice. I did not ask for the Kippers so cannot comment on them(see the previous review) but the cooked English breakfast was fine, just right. I woud certainly stay there again

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham
Top Contributor
108 reviews 108 reviews
90 hotel reviews
Reviews in 82 cities Reviews in 82 cities
223 helpful votes 223 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2009

This is a fairly large hotel in the compact little town of Leominster and the easiest access to the carpark is via the Somerfield car park on the outer road.

The interior has many old beams, staircases, beautiful fireplaces and period features and is perfectly located right in the heart of the town.

Our room was OK, prettty standard really, but clean.

Breakfasts were excellent and the staff friendly & efficient. Recommended.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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England
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 13, 2008

We held our Annual Convention at the Talbot last April, having previously done so at another Hotel in Leominster which had been run like Fawlty Towers - I'm not joking, in fact that is an understatement.
Not knowing quite what to expect, we were treated to a marvellous weekend with superb food and excellent accommodation. The staff went out of their way to be courteous and helpful. We were so pleased we immediately rebooked for 2009. The Talbot is a traditional style Hotel which is regrettably now hard to find in England. Do give it a try if you are in the area, you will not be disappointed.

  • Liked — Staff and Food
  • Disliked — Nothing in particular
  • Stayed April 2008, traveled on business
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
ME
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
57 hotel reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
144 helpful votes 144 helpful votes
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 28, 2007

The Talbot should trigger the feelgood factor, being old and homely-looking - but instead it exemplifies the sad side of British hotelkeeping. The hotel is tired, and desperately in need of a major refurbishment. The room was poky with cardboard wall partitions and a bathroom the size of a wardrobe, with rusty fittings and a joke shower. The bed squeaked alarmingly with normal breathing movements. We heard every sound from next door. Breakfast was horrific. I ordered kippers but knew things were bad when the inevitable ping from the microwave bounced through the dining room. What was presented to me was a piece of inedible leather with the colour of mahogany and the taste of perdition. We made up our minds to leave then and there. I now treat the AA writeups, once pretty reliable, with extreme suspicion - more and more of them seem to be written by the proprietors themselves - be warned. Use TripAdvisor! Leominster itself is pretty bleak; not fancying the Talbot's odour of boiled cabbage and dead things, we ended up in a bleak Indian nearby, with overpriced food, poorly cooked. Leominster seems stuck in the 50's; a good time for nostalgia but lousy for tourism. Avoid.

  • Liked — Quirky
  • Disliked — Most everything else
  • Stayed October 2005, traveled with family
    • 1 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 1 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Talbot Hotel

Address: West Street, Leominster HR6 8EP, England (Formerly BEST WESTERN Talbot Hotel)
Location: United Kingdom > England > Herefordshire > Leominster
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Leominster
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:3 star — Talbot Hotel 3*
Number of rooms: 20
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Best Western Leominster
Leominster Best Western
Talbot Hotel Leominster, United Kingdom

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