With two weeks to go before our wedding and having had a lot on our plates lately, my fiancé and I decided to turn a weekend trip to London into something a bit more special.
We were heading up to the capital to see a concert at the Roundhouse, and decided we deserved a stay at Malmaison London was in order, already knowing what a delight Malmaison Belfast is.
Part of the impact of Malmaison is that the buildings are always extraordinary. Not for Malmaison the ugly, purpose-built, soulless tower-type construction of the budget hotel chains. No, no. Malmaison repurposes buildings that have been anything from a former prison (Oxford) to a converted church (Glasgow), meaning that you’re guaranteed to enter a grand design. And the London link is no different, being a former nurses’ home for St Barts.
Set on a quiet square close to Farringdon Station, don’t be deceived into thinking you’re out in the sticks. After a visit to the central British Museum on Saturday, we arrived at the hotel just a 25-minute walk later. And on the Sunday, we were at the expansive Museum of London after a casual 10-minute walk.
With 97 rooms and a swish suite, Malmaison London has plenty to offer and, in true Malmaison style, all of the boutique rooms are kitted out with the very finest things… WiFi, flatscreen TVs, luxury toiletries that you’re encouraged to take home, and the most comfortable big beds; not to mention the velvet drapes everywhere and the rich plum colours. It’s almost womblike!
After I unwound in the deepest and most bubbly bath ever, we spent a few hours in the hotel’s Brasserie before going out to a concert, and were spoilt rotten with the fresh, locally sourced food. With Smithfields meat market being but a stone’s throw away, you just know the food is going to be the very best it could be. We sipped champagne while choosing what to eat, and – as we were pushed for time – we leapt straight in with the mains.
With Smithfields so near, my carnivorous fiancé plumped for the Donald Russell Aged Entrecôte, which came on a wooden platter with ample French fries, plump roasted tomatoes and even bone marrow, which had to be tried simply for the sake of it! In contrast, I chose the Roasted Cod and potatoes, with a tomato salad. Needless to say, the cod was cooked to perfection, and the large glass of ‘Friendly’ white wine that our waiter had helped me choose was the perfect accompaniment. We both had very contented bellies!
We made sure we had room for pudding, though, and had the steamed vanilla sponge, with jam and custard. I never knew a sponge pudding could be so light, it was absolutely spot on. We rounded the meal off by sharing the Whisky Flight tasting menu – a shot each of the Bowmore 12, 15 and 18 years old blends. Which was a really fun way to end a delicious meal, and something neither of us had seen on a menu before. Maybe we’re uncultured, or maybe Malmaison London has cottoned onto a grand idea? If you’re passing, that alone is well worth it, and really set us up for a night of live music in Chalk Farm.
Needless to say, we slept like lambs and were grateful that we’d ordered the breakfast hampers to be brought to our rooms. I’ve waxed lyrical about these before after trying one in Belfast, and the London one was equally good. Fresh pastries, fresh yoghurt, fruit salad and freshly squeezed orange juice… yumzers. So we felt quite at home reclining in our enormous bed, munching croissants and devouring the paper. As the day was so sunny, we had the window open and the Sunday morning sounds from the cobbled and pedestrianised Charterhouse Square wafted up. Bliss.
All in all, Malmaison London is just as impressive as Malmaison Belfast in our opinions, and we had such a lovely and peaceful stay. While the weekend peace and quiet of Farringdon may trick you into thinking you’re away from central London, remember you’re but a short taxi ride or a 30-minute walk away… and when you also remember that the walk will take you through Bloomsbury, I really don’t know what more you want. (For more info, just click on this link.)