This elegant country-house hotel would be worth a visit for the view alone, and its cleverly mirrored dining room affords everyone a look at the verdant water meadow on the last bend of the Thames before it hits London (complete with cows in the summer).
The food is as pretty as the outlook, and all tastes are accommodated. Local regulars and hotel guests mingle with ladies and gents out with the family, while the menu mixes true classics (fully garnished plates of hand-carved smoked salmon, Dover sole with beurre noisette and capers etc) with more modern riffs – perhaps tuna tartare with yuzu dressing and pickled pear sorbet, duck magret with pickled cauliflower and burnt onion or smoked chocolate délice with ‘edible soil’.
The kitchen is now run by chef Jean-Didier Gouges, who makes the most of the hotel’s out-of-London appeal – relying heavily on flowers and herbs for presentation, which is never less than gorgeous. As a bonus, the wine list is worthy of a country hotel but, happily, is priced more like a wine bar.