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After coming back from six weeks travelling, my boyfriend and I decided to have a posh night away from home to celebrate. We chose Malmaison because as far as I know it has a great reputation, and we'd always passed by it in Manchester wishing we were staying there! So we finally got to fulfil our little dream of staying there when we went to Leeds for the night. Malmaison Leeds is really easy to find. It is about a five minute walk from the train station (no need to get a taxi or anything!). I have a really bad sense of direction and I managed to find it pretty easily so no problems there! It took a little while to check in, but the staff member who served us was really chatty. I did get a feeling that she couldn't care less why why were here or what we were doing in Leeds when she asked, but hey. No one showed us to our room and I have to admit we did get a bit lost (probably down to me) but we got there eventually, and after getting confused about how the door unlocks, we put our bags down and did a bit of exploration of the room. The bed sadly wasn't as soft/bouncy as we expected. Both of us, like children, sat down on it and were a bit disappointed, but I suppose that's a small detail. The duvet was nice (I like expensive duvets... must have been rich in a past life) and it felt so luxurious sleeping in it! There was a desk next to the table which is where the ethernet cable is for access to the internet. This is really useful if you have a laptop as you don't have to worry about getting passwords etc for WIFi. I suppose it's not very practicaly if you like to use your laptop on the bed, as I don't think it streches that far, but for the one night we were there it was perfect. On the desk there is also a menu for the restaurant downstairs and room service and we were so shocked as we both couldn't believe the prices! Nevertheless we checked the menus out wishing we could afford it... Everything sounded delicious! The view from our room was meant to be a nice one, overlooking the river. However, seeing as the river was dark and murky, it wasn't the nicest view, and the weather wasn't great either so we made use of the cool switch which closes the curtains! The bathroom was super shiny and clean, just how we expected it to be. However what annoyed us both was the little signs and notes everywhere nagging us. There was one on the bath telling us to keep an eye on the bath while it was running. Is that not obvious? Granted, the taps really did shoot out water quicker than usual, but there wasn't much else there to distract us like there would be in a normal house. There were other notes around the room too but I can't remember what they said, it was just irritating to keep pulling them off everything. Anyway, I digress. The shower was another disappointment. My boyfriend is really tall, and he had to crouch under the shower to fit under it (quite an amusing sight!). I was standing under it for ages getting burnt because I couldn't find the right temperature. They left us notes about everything else except for how to make the shower work! However a nice touch was that we could heat up the towel rack. As you would expect from an expensive hotel, the snacks and drinks in the room were also expensive. We didn't touch them as there is a newsagents a minute's walk from the hotel if we needed anything. The cupboard also had things that we didn't need such as a hair dryer and ironing board (from what I remember). These I would imagine would be useful for people who would normally pack a hair dryer as it would save a lot of room in your luggage. We didn't dine in the restaurant downstairs sadly, but it did look really nice and I'm sure the food there is of a good quality. There is also a bar there serving expensive cocktails but we opted to go to Las Iguanas (a short walk away) instead. The location of the hotel is perfect. It is so easy to walk to the centre to go shopping, or to the train station. Another thing I haven't already mentioned is that they have a small gym. You just need your key card to unlock the door. There were weights and treadmills from what I remember, but seeing as I don't like exercising normall, I wasn't going to do it on my holiday! Overall, we both enjoyed our stay at Malmaison but there were a few niggly things that might stop us going there again if there is a better option available.
On a recent business trip to Belfast I was booked into the Malmaison Hotel in Belfast for three nights. Location The hotel is located probably about 4-5 minutes walk from the main shopping area of Belfast. There are a large number of restaurants and bars around the shopping area in case you decide to venture out of the hotel for food. On Arrival The first thing that you will notice about the hotel is that it is beautifully decorated - with comfy sofas in the reception area and is spotless throughout. The next thing that you will notice is just how dark the interior of the hotel is. Why hotels decide to make hotels so poorly lit I will never know. The reception staff are friendly and well presented. Ask them for advice on a good place to eat and they are more than willing to help. Rooms The rooms are again spotless and have great furniture. A king sized double with plenty of pillows and a nice firm matress. There is a good sized flat screen TV with about 20 channels to choose from. There is free internet, either using a wired mode in the room - or wireless in public areas available to all guests. There is a sofa and desk for work too. The mini bar is well stocked but typically expensive - £1.75 for a small packet of (albeit posh) crips anyone? You are provided with free tea and coffee facilities - making your own filter coffee in a cup is an experience but vastly superior to the normal Nescafe offerings! Again my only complaint about the room would be the light -or lack of it - the room is so dark. It is obviously a design choice for the hotel - but I really felt that I was straining my eyes when trying to read using the "reading light???" Bathroom A large bathroom with bath, shower, sink, toilet. Again spotless and great pressure in the shower. There is a note by the cosmetics (which are made for Malmaison) saying "feel free to take the cosmetics away - they are yours" which does take the fun out of stealing the cosmetics but is worth it as they are lovely. The soap is one with exfoliating properties so expect it to scratch slightly - just a little surprising when you are half asleep! One very annoying (for me) thing abougt this hotel is the fact that there is a light under the sink in the bathroom that you can't turn off. It does stop the room from being totally dark at night which is a pain but apparently stops you from banging into things in the middle of the night? Breakfast Is included in the cost of a B&B stay. It is served in the main restaurant - which again is comfortable but slightly dark. You are greeted by pleasant restaurant staff who are very friendly. You can help your self to the buffet which has pastries, fresh fruit, yoghurts, breads, nuts, cheeses, cereals and juices. On top of this you can have tea, coffee (both excellent quality), toast and a full cooked breakfast. I stuck to the cold stuff but the hot breakfast looked great. Definitely not a meal to skip. DInner and Room Service I didnt bother eating in the hotel as the menue was definitely "a la carte" think- wild mushroom risotto, and roast meat with red wine jus. When I am away with work I prefer slightly less rich, more plain food (think Vege lasagne, and omelette). Having said that my colleagues said that dinner was very good. Room service offers the same menu as the restaurant plus comfort food such as cheese on toast. Pricing of the meals is reasonable - around £10 - 15 for a main. For cheese on toast £4.50 including service. Not bad for a 4 star hotel. Facilities The hotel has a cosy bar with a log fire and a gym facility. The gym is very basic, a treadmill, cross trainer, swiss ball and free weights but enough to do a reasonable workout and I was the only one using it. Price I (or my work) paid £100 per night B&B - which is pretty reasonable I think. Apparently the hotel does great weekend packages (look at www.lastminute.com) at the moment as Belfast is trying to rival Dublin as a weekend destination! Overall I could easily return here for work or pleasure - but please could we have a little more light!
For the most part of summer 2005 I was based in Birmingham, and my lovely bosses picked the Malmaison hotel to be my home away from home. Of all the places I have been fortunate enough to stay in this has to be one of my favourites. Location: I was told this hotel was located in the mailbox, which instantly confused my dopey head. A hotel in a mailbox? Only the mailbox is a designer shopping mall home of Hugo Boss, Bang & Olufsen, Armani and DKNY to name a few. (You always know a highbrow shop when they don't put the prices in the window.) This sets the tone for this hotel. As soon as you walk through the door to this place and enter to dark wood and leather sofas this place screams class. Apparently the name the mailbox comes from its origins as a Royal Mail sorting office in the 60's. It is about a 10 minute walk to all the main shopping, eating and drinking establishments in Birmingham. Checking in: At the reception desk I never had any trouble checking in. The staff were friendly, informative and told me about things like coming back in at night. (They have added security at night, meaning you have to swipe your room key to get back in the entrance.) The room: I have stayed in a number of these rooms now and they are all beautiful. The calming brown and beige colour scheme, large beds, thick wooden doors and white bathrooms are perfect for relaxing in. The rooms come with coffee making facilities, a bath and shower, sky tv, cd player and room service. The room was always immaculate when I came back to it in the evening. The restaurant: The meals in the restaurant are absolutely lovely. They are about £15 to £20 for a main course and I recommend anything from the chargrill menu - the steaks are delicious. The bar offers some scrummy cocktails and is well worth a night in testing them. The facilities: On site there are boutiques, a spa and a gym. The spa is the most relaxing place in the building - the scented candles and treatments are worth a look if you have had a stressful day. Cost: The rooms vary from about £90 to £250 per night. The malmaison range does offer a number of special offers so if you can get hold of one of these it can be worth going. Overall: As I said above I really enjoyed this hotel. It is in a prime location for Broad Street so even if you don't want to eat in the restaurant, you aren't ever far away from a good place to eat. The rooms are spacious and relaxing with great facilities. I wouldn't suggest using the tea making facilities - it is about £4 for a cup of tea! With the town centre location it is good to know they employ added security measures. The only real problem is that with it being in the middle of Birmingham parking is very expensive. You must park in the Mailbox which is £15 per 24 hours. If you don't need you car I would suggest getting the train and using taxis. This is a lovely hotel, that isn't pretensious and has a great range of people in it. The staff are lovely and always happy to have a chat. I checked out of the hotel one day and had left my mobile phone in the room - the cleaners had rung my home number to leave a message and were prepared to post it to me - I did realise and go back before I had driven all the way back to Lincoln though. The hotel is 4* and I would recommend any of the malmaison range from my time staying in Birmingham. (Sorry if you have already read this, but I accidentally posted it in the wrong place and don't know how to delete it)
The atmosphere and decor is sexy, classy and sophisticated. I love the extra touches such as them leaving a note in the bathroom, encouraging you to take all the toiletries with you. They are also clever, in terms of marketing as they leave a bottle of wine there with a price tag on it and they find ways to encourage you to spend. The bathroom is incredible with a gogeous slate shower with a powerful water that is like rainfall. The bath is massive and I did not want to leave it and the bed was like a double-king-size. If you can bear to leave your room, the food and cocktails are second to none, although I objected to the compulsory service charge being added. They have some very original items to eat and drink and everything is well presented and delicious. Customer service is friendly but there are some pretentious people working there, and as I have stayed at 5 different Malmaisons, I can use this as a general statment. It is my favourite hotel chain though and I am looking forward to my next visit.