Meet the Boss: Paul Milsom of Milsom Hotels

Maison Talbooth christmas Maison Talbooth poolhouse

Each week at 101 Holidays we interview one of the people behind the best holiday ideas in the UK. This week we meet up with Paul Milsom, managing director of Milsom Hotels in Essex, a small group that includes one of our favourite places to stay in the English countryside, Maison Talbooth (pictured above).

• Where did you go on holiday this year, and why?

Carlisle Bay Hotel in Antigua – we went in March. It’s perfect for total relaxation and to get some all-important sunshine after a long winter.  The room we had opens out onto the beach with the Caribbean Sea 20 metres away. Our two boys adore it there and always make friends as there were plenty of other kids of their age.

• What is your favourite bolthole in the UK and why?

The Hoste Arms in Burnham Market. The North Norfolk Coast is beautiful and Paul and Jeanne Whittome, the owners of the Hoste are great friends and run a very laid-back hotel that focuses on great food and warm hospitality. The team are always so friendly and it has a clubby atmosphere that puts you at ease. We try to stay there two or three times a year.

• If you could spend a long weekend in any city abroad, which would you pick, and why?

I’m not a massive fan of city breaks and would probably be just as happy to spend time in London as go abroad. However, I think Milan is great. Italian food and wine is superb and the shopping is fabulous which would please my wife Geraldine.  I’d probably also be able to sneak in a game of football at the San Siro!

• Please tell us three items that are always in your hand luggage.

Bose headphones for the flight, a good pair of sunglasses and a good action-packed novel by someone like Robert Ludlum. Reading on holiday is still a fantastic luxury to me as day-to-day life rarely affords me the time.

• What one thing would most improve people’s holiday experience?

It always comes down to the staff and if hotels and restaurants only employed ‘Merchants of Happiness’ we would all have better experiences.

• What has been your worst holiday experience?

Getting robbed in a restaurant in Puerto Banus and losing all our money and passports on day two of our holiday. It put a real dampener on the whole trip. The lesson to learn is don’t leave handbags under the table even in smart restaurants.

• Tell us your favourite hotel: in the UK; in mainland Europe; in the rest of the world.

In the UK it’s currently the St Moritz Hotel on the cliff between Polzeath and Rock, which is a great surfing destination. In mainland Europe – the Hotel du Palais in Biarritz, its location above the Grande Plage is fantastic and we love it there. The grandeur of the Hotel, the buzz of Biarritz which is a super town and the views over the Atlantic Ocean is a compelling mix, especially if you love surfing.

In the rest of the world it has to be The Carlisle Bay in Antigua.  It’s a super cool retreat and without doubt one of the world’s best holiday hotels.

• What is the most exciting project your company is working on right now?

We are looking at developing a cookery school and a further 4 bedrooms at our luxury Maison Talbooth hotel, although it’s very much in the planning stage at the moment.

• Thank you, Paul.

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