Following a very heavy Saturday night of cocktails celebrating a friend’s milestone birthday, I decided to recuperate by checking into Malmaison, London for a night of peace and relaxation.
The hotel is situated in Charterhouse Square, near the Barbican, and is a great base for anyone doing business in the city. I would not recommend the location to tourists as it is fairly far from the centre and at the weekend becomes a bit of a ghost town with many pubs and shops closed due to low footfall.
As soon as you step inside the lobby you are immersed in the Malmaison aesthetic of deep jewel like colours, dim mood lighting and a carpet so thick you could sleep on it.
My room was on the 4th floor and extremely spacious. However, I came to realise that I had been allocated a wheelchair friendly room and, therefore, all the facilities such as the sink, showerhead etc were placed at a low height. As I’m 5ft 11 this made them extremely awkward to use.
The decor in the room was light and minimalist with accents of dark wood and deep purple textiles. There was a large desk with internet access, a mini-bar containing all the usual suspects and a wardrobe big enough for even the most extravagant packer!
A nice touch is the bottle of red wine and two glasses for that cosy pre- dinner drink, or in my case whilst in bed eating cheesecake and watching The X Factor.
The bed was inviting from the moment I walked through the door; it was a giant king size with crisp white linen and a mattress with the perfect balance of support and squishiness. The pillows were plump and in abundance, so you can make the bed just as you like it.
As I mentioned before, the bathroom was extremely spacious and also well lit which is a rarity for a hotel. There are some nice Malmaison toiletries provided with the quirky slogan “Steal me if you dare”, I didn’t, but instead enjoyed trying them out and found them to be of high quality and not in the usual miniscule rations. The towels were sparkling white and plump and fluffy so overall top marks for the bathroom experience.
Along with the bed the best part of my stay was the food as the brasserie restaurant served a great dinner in extremely comfortable surroundings – high backed chairs and the signature dim mood lighting created a relaxed yet buzzy atmosphere.
As a starter I opted for the soup d’jour which was winter cauliflower and was deliciously creamy and rich, served along with homemade melba toast. The soup could probably have done with some seasoning to liven up the taste of simple cauliflower, however with a bit of black pepper it was the perfect winter warmer for the cold November evening.
My Friend M came along for dinner and choose a daily special of pan-fried scallops with pancetta. Whilst the portion was right for a starter, M commented that she enjoyed it so much that she could have eaten it again – a true sign of great food!
The menu is fairly extensive and as a fussy eater I found plenty to choose from, in the end opting for lemon and garlic chicken with cous cous and grilled courgettes. The chicken flavouring was strong and roasted to perfection with a crisp skin and succulent meat. A whole bulb of garlic was sliced in half and baked allowing you to eat each juicy clove with ease.
Being the slightly more adventurous diner, M selected roast partridge with a pommes gratin and spinach, which again was cooked perfectly. The accompanying jus was a great compliment to the partridge and overall the dish was extremely rich and flavoursome.
It was nearing The X Factor hour but it was too tempting to refuse desert. We selected crème brulé and white chocolate cheesecake and enquired whether it was possible to have this in my room. Our waiter couldn’t have been more obliging and sure enough 10 mins later we were delivered our decadent desserts with two giant cups of hot chocolate hand finished with the hotel’s logo dusted in cocoa which was a lovely touch.
The following morning I headed down to breakfast after one of the best night’s sleep I have had in a long time.
Although the lighting was still dim, the brasserie had a different feel and appeared extremely cosy and welcoming in this early hour.
I was offered a choice of tea or coffee and directed to a buffet table laden with fresh pastries, cereals, juices, yoghurts and plenty of fresh fruit. I was also given the option of a cooked breakfast at an extra cost, but following last night’s indulgent feast I politely declined, however, I think having the choice is an ideal solution for varying guest’s needs.
Overall my stay at Malmaison comes highly recommended and the food was absolutely excellent. Although not strictly in the luxury territory, the hotel offers a higher end version of some of its counterparts and could be classed as affordable luxury with lots of little extras and amenities making for an incredibly comfortable stay.
Malmaison Hotels can be found in twelve cities across the United Kingdom with London rooms starting at £245 per night. For more information and exclusive rates for London & beyond visit the Malmaison website.