Tom Aikens worked with heavyweights, including David Cavalier and Jöel Robuchon, before becoming the youngest British chef ever awarded two Michelin stars. In 2003, he opened his own restaurant in Chelsea and went on to open two more. He has written three books and collaborated with designer David Linley on a range of kitchenware.
The Hotel Olde Bell is in great location, only 40 minutes outside London, so it doesn’t require the usual 90 minute drive to feel as though you are in the countryside.
Set in a very old building, dating back to the 16th century, the hotel is very quaint and charming inside and out. There is a garden out the back that’s perfect for kids to run around in and supplies the hotel with fresh produce. And for the energetic, a tennis court.
The rooms in the hotel are fairly basic, each with a TV and nice washing facilities, including an en suite bath. We had our 10-month-old baby with us so they provided us with a cot. Unable to find a nanny, we ordered room service both nights, which we found efficient and liked that we had access to the hotel restaurant’s full menu. The food arrived swiftly and came covered with Cloches. Our meals were uncomplicated; modern English grub well-suited for the type of clientele the hotel has—unpretentious and simple.
Breakfast at the hotel was lovely and featured a large table spread with all types of breakfast goodies, from banana cake, muffins, homemade jams and fresh fruits to yogurt, granola and an endless choice of cooked breakfast treats. Sunday lunch was superb with a small menu to choose from and a great rib of beef that was definitely big enough for two.
Around the hotel are some great walks and places to visit; small barges and assorted boats meandering along the Thames and a charming tea shop serving delectable afternoon tea treats and cakes is close by.
I would certainly recommend The Hotel Olde Bell to those looking for a quick stay outside the city.
A Part of the Ambassador Review Series