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Particularly appealing in the sunshine, this 64-room hotel occupies a prime position on one of the River Thames' loveliest stretches. A hop-skip from the shops, pubs and restaurants of Marlow, Macdonald Compleat Angler is a great choice for a weekend away, with multiple dining options as well as handsome rooms overlooking the water.

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Rooms available from £192 per night

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Orla Thomas
Freelance journalist and editor
Orla Thomas is a freelance journalist and editor specialising in travel. She regularly contributes to The Times and The Sunday Times, National Geographic Traveller magazine and Lonely Planet, as well as writing about travel telly (among other things) for the Radio Times. Keen on nature walks and wild swimming, you can find her on both Instagram (@orlakthomas) and Twitter (@OrlaThomas).



Delightfully situated on the banks of the Thames and a five-minute walk from Marlow's charming high street, the hotel is easily reached either by train or by road (it's half a mile from the A404). Guests can strike out to stroll the river or make a beeline for one of the town's many excellent restaurants. Local dining options include Tom Kerridge's The Hand and Flowers, the only pub in the country with two Michelin stars.

By car: around an hour's drive from central London and 50 minutes' drive from Oxford. Free on-site parking.

By train: London Paddington to Marlow (via Maidenhead) takes around 1 hour. The hotel is a 10-minute walk from the station. Book trains to Marlow.

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The Compleat Angler's ace card is its redbrick exterior, and though some corridors and rooms are a little old-fashioned and faded, the hotel's communal spaces are lovely. Breakfast and dinner are served in a light, bright river-facing conservatory, and the wood-panelled Walton Bar features a Bacchanalian frieze of grapes and vines.


Though reception staff are welcoming, assisting guests with information and recommendations, those working in the bar and restaurant let the side down a little when it came to universal good cheer. Although well-served by dining and drinking options, there's no spa, gym or pool - though the hotel can arrange bike hire and boat tours.

  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Garden
  • Pet-friendly
  • Free parking
  • Free Wi-Fi


Rooms are generously sized, accommodating wing-backed armchairs, a desk, a wardrobe and a relatively-spacious en suite bathroom kitted out with Penhaligon toiletries. If you want to be able to open your floral curtains onto a river view, be sure to book one suitable - or you may end up overlooking the carpark.

Room types: Standard, Deluxe, Super Deluxe, Deluxe Four Poster, Super Deluxe Four Poster, Suite

Key amenities: ensuite bathroom, tea and coffee facilities, desk, TV, free Wi-Fi


The Riverside Restaurant's set menu features fanciful flourishes such as champagne sauce, but simpler options are available in the bar. The inventive cocktail list here looks good, but the staff weren't equipped with all the ingredients to make them. As well as hotel-run spots, guests can choose to eat at Michelin-starred Indian chef Atul Kochhar's Sindhu, also on-site.

Riverside Restaurant: British fine dining, local ingredients. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea.

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