24-hour room service: The Talbot Hotel, North Yorkshire

A stately diversion en route to the coast

If you ever find yourself motoring from York to the east-coast resorts of Scarborough, Filey or Whitby, or further north to the North York Moors, make sure you take in the pleasant little market town of Malton, which was founded 2,000 years ago by the Romans. As you drive past the war memorial, you might, if the clouds part, see the golden letters spelling Talbot Hotel reflect the sun.

Should you be tempted further, turn on to the gravel path and you'll arrive outside a sturdy Grade-II listed Georgian building.

If you think the hotel seems as shiny and new as the letters above the door, you'd be right. Although this was once a Trusthouse Forte property, it was closed for several years, largely gutted inside, had £5m pumped in and reopened with 26 bedrooms under new management last month. The result is a picture of country-squire elegance. It's enough to make you forget your route to the seaside and check in for the night.

Inside, there's Meissen china in the hallway cabinets and paintings of 19th-century racehorses, as well as sombre-looking grandees in breeches and waistcoats. Photos of Malton dating back to the First World War hang elsewhere, and there are plush, comfy sofas in the sizeable drawing room. If it sounds a little sober, it isn't – for example, in the centre of the building there's a large atrium next to the bar through which light floods the room.

Hearty eating is a big feature of the "new" Talbot, so Malton-born chef and TV regular James Martin has been drafted in to oversee the kitchen. On my visit, the management was somewhat vague as to how often he'll actually be there, given his culinary and TV commitments elsewhere, but they pointed out that he's just bought a house outside Malton.

The main restaurant is somewhat formal, with an emphasis on local produce – my warm salad of Skipton Moor lamb confit came with pickled cucumber and turnips, mint and watercress from eight miles up the road in Pickering. I noticed that the menu boasted that my main dish of cod was line-caught off the east coast.

At the bar, you can have a pint of Yorkshire Warrior from the Cropton brewery, also near Pickering, to go with your Whitby crab risotto, or a pork chop from Fletcher's butchers in the next-door town of Norton, with scrumpy, black-pudding faggot and spring greens.

Outside, the grounds are still being landscaped, a task not helped by the recent soggy weather, but eventually the large garden will stretch all the way down to the river Derwent at the bottom of a sloping hill.

Location

Malton is not a big town. The picturesque central market place and shopping streets, with a healthy mix of one-off and national stores, are a leisurely five-minute stroll from the hotel. If you're around on a Sunday, the Milton Rooms playhouse offers "Tea and a Tale" – short stories read by an actor while you sit down with a cuppa – for a very reasonable £3.50. And, rather than stay in your room, you could do worse than catch a film at the cosy, family-run Palace Cinema, just down the road.

With a car, you can be in Scarborough in around half an hour, Whitby in not much more, and York in around 25 minutes. Attractions nearby include Castle Howard, Eden Camp (a former Second World War internment site, now a modern history museum) and Flamingo Land amusement park. The Moors, Wolds and Howardian hills are on the doorstep and linked by a decent transport network if you want to bus one way then walk back.

Comfort

Rooms are cosy and traditional, either painted neutrally or wallpapered, and come in three types – Ryedale, with walk-in shower rather than bath, Malton, with king-sized doubles, and Norton with super king-size beds. Even the smaller rooms have a writing desk, flat-screen TV and are en suite with Penhaligon's smellies. Bathrooms are decked in marble and white block tile of the type my mother describes as being found in a men's urinal. (She refuses to say how she knows this.)

There are also four larger "feature" rooms and three suites – the bottom line being size; some have a four-poster bed and roll-top bath. There's no lift, so the creaky of knee may want a room on a lower floor and, at ground level, one is adapted for wheelchair use. Some rooms face on to Yorkersgate (Malton's busiest road) and while they're double-glazed (and I found them quiet), those who like a totally tranquil night may want to ask for one looking out towards the river Derwent on the other side.

The Talbot

Yorkersgate, Malton, North Yorkshire YO17 7AJ (01653 639096; talbotmalton.co.uk)

Rooms *****

Value ****

Service ****

Doubles start at £145, including breakfast.

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    IT Administrator - Graduate

    £18000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPORTUNITY FO...

    USA/Florida Travel Consultants £30-50k OTE Essex

    Basic of £18,000 + commission, realistic OTE of £30-£50k : Ocean Holidays: Le...

    Marketing Executive / Member Services Exec

    £20 - 26k + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Marketing Executive / Member Services Ex...

    Sales Account Manager

    £15,000 - £25,000: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has arisen for ...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam