So we just spent the most amazing weekend at Tazmyns favourite place ever, which is The Olde Bell in Hurley. This was actually a Christmas gift from me to Tazmyn, it’s what she really wanted so I was super happy I could surprise her with this. We have been lucky enough to stay at this hotel four times in total and each stay has never let us down. I thought I’d combine this blog post with a review of the hotel for you guys as there’s really so much to this luxurious 5 star hotel and we all know I love to give credit where it’s due, so here goes!
History of The Olde Bell Inn
Probably known for being the most well known building in Hurley, The Olde Bell first opened its doors in 1135 AD, as a guest house for visitors to the near by Benedictine Priory.
Some notable guests have included Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Cary Grant & Errol Flynn.
The Olde Bell has had many owners during its long history, but despite its many changes of ownership, it still keeps to the traditions of St. Benedict, that true hospitality be provided to travellers and strangers.
My personal review & experience
Okay so we’re locals to this beautiful hotel, with it being just a 10-15 minute drive from where we live. My mum and dad actually had their engagement party here in 1987, and more recently Tazmyn and I attended the wedding fayre here just a couple of years ago when we first got engaged. The Olde Bell is the most fantastic wedding location, if you’re looking for a barn style wedding with the shabby chic feel. The wedding fayres take place regularly throughout the year too and are definitely worth paying a visit to, all information about that can be found on their website which I’ll link you to at the end of this post.
Our first stay here was in 2016, the weekend of our engagement. Tazmyn surprised me with a luxury night away & she just so happened to have chose here! Situated right in between the beautiful town of Marlow and the picturesque Henley-On-Thames, is this beautiful, historic inn that bodes so much character. Since our first stay back in 2016, we have been lucky enough to return a further 3 times and each stay has topped the last.
This stay however, was of course for Tazmyns Christmas present so we were both really excited. We arrived at around 1pm and although check in isn’t officially until 2pm, the member of staff at reception was super helpful and offered to take our luggage for us, whilst we waited in the bar area until our room was ready. During this time we decided to have lunch in the hotels restaurant which was really busy with lots of guests but we still were given a really lovely table very quickly.
We both thought the menu choice was really lovely, and to some, the price of some of the dishes may seem a little expensive, however The Olde Bell does accept tastecard, should you have one and want to use it, which of course would then bring down the price of your meal quite considerably by 50% so well worth using if you do have one.
So for lunch, I chose the roast beef dinner, of course I did.. what else would I order?! Tazmyn went for the fish and chips. Both meals were served really quickly which was a bonus as the restaurant was busy so we did anticipate having to wait a while, but fortunately we didn’t. I also asked for extra gravy with my roast dinner too which was no problem for the staff at all, & this was accommodated really quickly too.
I’m going to be honest, because aren’t I always? Whilst I think the presentation for Tazmyns fish and chips is lovely, I do feel like the roast dinner could have looked a little better. For £18 I would expect it to be presented nicer, perhaps on a different plate, I’m not sure how exactly but the meal itself looks like something I could cook at home and for the price, and coming away for the weekend to a luxurious hotel, I would want that theme to be spread across into the restaurant also but maybe that’s just me. Presentation aside, my roast beef was gorgeous and tasted perfect. The gravy was really rich in flavour and I couldn’t fault the meal at all what’s so ever.
For pudding, Tazmyn ordered the sticky toffee pudding which was served with custard and ice cream! And for me, the apple crumble tart, served with calvados cream (life changer I’m telling you!) best dessert I’ve had in a really long time!
After lunch, we went back to reception to check in to our room and we were really lucky to have been given a little upgrade! Our room was 11, which is located in the main building, so not far to walk at all. The staff couldn’t be more helpful, they offered to take our bags and literally couldn’t do enough for us.
Our room was stunning. Equipped with a super king size bed, (always a winner) a walk in shower which is definitely big enough for two people (tried and tested!) plenty of wardrobe space, a vanity table with mirror, tea and coffee making facilities, both still and sparkling bottled water, a TV, and bedside tables. Inside the room is also a welcome pack from the hotel, with all the relevant information you should need regarding the hotel and the local area which I think is really lovely for those who are visiting and not familiar with what there is to do locally.
Breakfast is always a bit hit & miss with this hotel which is a little annoying. During the busier months of the year, the hotel offers a hot buffet of both continental and cooked breakfast, and during the quieter periods, breakfast can be cooked to order from the breakfast menu provided, in addition to the continental style buffet that is beautifully set up for you to help yourselves to at your own leisure.
For this particular stay, we were pleasantly surprised to find breakfast menu’s at our table in the restaurant as well as the continental buffet set up. We much prefer ordering from the menu, as we feel the hot food is a lot more fresh that way.
We both ordered a cooked breakfast which came relatively quick so we were happy about that, however the sausages were not edible due to the taste of them being incredibly cheap and we didn’t like the egg either, as it tasted like it had been microwaved. Such a shame because we have experienced first class breakfast at this hotel before so it’s just really unfortunate that we were able to find fault on this occasion. The staff did offer us alternatives but we chose to stick to the continental buffet and fill up on toast and cereals and fresh fruit instead which was lovely.
Tea & coffee is also provided as much as you like, to your table so you don’t need to get this yourself.
If you’d like to check out The Olde Bell, you can find their website here.
Give them a follow on Instagram too for all the latest updates of what’s going on.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post/review. & I hope my darling wife has enjoyed this stay as part of her Christmas present! 💗
Mrs Chalke x
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