I’m the kind of girl who when booking a hotel pores over booking.com and Trip Advisor before I’ll commit money to somewhere to lay my head. Be it for a night in the Las Vegas of the UK (also known as Blackpool), 2 weeks in the sun or for a city stay in my beloved Venice I’m the girl who scrolls until her finger goes numb reading guest reviews.
When I first found out I would be staying at the Malmaison in Manchester I already knew that I wouldn’t need to do that, purely because the Malmaison name preceds them and their praises had already been well and truly sung to me (especially by Amelia who is a firm fan!)
With 12 hotels scattered around some of the UK’s biggest cities, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Belfast and of course, Manchester, the brands premise is “hotels that dare to be different” and they certainly are. From the rich colour palettes of deep purple, red and black in luxurious textures to the rather risqué but fabulous décor throughout the floors of the hotel, the Malmaison certainly appeared to see no detail too small.
If you’re one of those people who doesn’t like the idea of traipsing luggage up and down side streets then the Malmaison is most definitely for you. The hotel is a short stroll from Manchester Piccadilly train station in which is situated in the heart of Manchester. When I say short, I mean “I didn’t even have time to finish my Starbucks mocha frap to go” before we had arrived at the beautiful red brick building which was to be my home away from home for the night. If you’re not arriving into Manchester through Piccadilly station, then the hotel is easily accessible from one of the main focal points of Manchester – Piccadilly gardens.
“Welcome to the Malmaison Manchester”
They say you should never judge a book by its cover but the reception should most definitely set the standard for what you should expect from the rest of the hotel. A revolving door on the front of the hotel made the inner six year old in me woop with excitement as I tried to fight the urge to spin in it and the 27 year old in me appreciated the beautiful sumptuous décor. We were greeted by an extremely friendly hotel receptionist and the whole check in process took not much longer than five minutes with dinner and breakfast both booked and daily papers acquired.
“Oooh, The Penthouse”
Remember the whole Pretty Woman scene where Vivienne makes her way up to Edwards penthouse suite (which most definitely isn’t available by the hour”)? Well our suite reminded me of that… without the whole call girl aspect. Our corner suite, 538 was located on the 5th floor of the building and I half expected a sofa to be in the chic mirrored elevator. I had my own Julia Roberts moment when entering the suite. “Ooooh The Penthouse” I gasped as the door opened onto our sitting room where our massive LCD TV provided some atmospheric surround sound music (atmospheric = Beyonce “Drunk In Love”). This suite was beautiful. Remember the “fussy” comment from earlier? Well, I was blown away. The entire room was decorated in deep and rich purples, luxurious floor to ceiling curtains, crocodile effect wardrobe doors, a TV in the bedroom as well as the suite and a switch which controlled the curtains. Could this BE any more luxurious? Even the smallest touches from the complimentary toiletries, the breakfast cards and the room door hangers all fit in with the Malmaisons quirky branding. If there’s one thing the Malmaison has down to a T, its consistency, and for a self confessed branding wh0re like myself, these details won me over.
When I first clambered into the queen size bed, I felt like I was in the princess and the pea fairytale. The mattress was firm but comfortable, the pillows were plump and the sheets were crisp. Is there anything that can beat a freshly made bed? Especially when its been made by room service. Despite the hustle and bustle below of the centre of Manchester on a Friday night, I was out like a light and in the am woke to light streaming in through the flowing drapes of the bedroom.
I’m a hot chocolate before bed time and tea in the morning kinda gal and the having a selection of hot drinks, a kettle and “a proper mug” for my tea, as well as ginger biscuits (they must have known) included in the room meant I could enjoy without having to rock my post makeup face at breakfast. My favourite going out dress was saved from showcasing its embarassing creases after being folded in my suitcase with the help of an iron and a full size ironing board in the room. Its the little touches like these which made this hotel a little like a home from home.
After checking in, taking a stroll around Manchester and doing some bank balance damage, we decided that our dinner reservation was a little earlier than we would have liked (the bed looked so enticing and a disco nap was required) and a quick call to reception guaranteed a no fuss rearrangement of our original timeslot. No huffing, no puffing, no “we’re far too full to accomodate you” or “why do you need a disco nap, you’re 27” – the flexibility was appreciated.
I’m a little bit of a fussy bathroom person, I love my bathtime and I’ve spent many a hotel stay cramped in a tiny bath with luke warm water or standing under a shower which could well be described as a drizel. Boasting both a large bath and a tiled slate shower at my disposal I was in my element. A “quick soak in the tub” before dinner (another Pretty Woman reference there for you) allowed the perfect time unwind.
Checkout the next day wasn’t until 12pm, which, as far as check outs go is pretty generous. It gave us time to enjoy breakfast and spend some time (dancing to Beyonce on the surround sound) in the suite before we had to check out rather than being turfed out by a disgruntled cleaning lady at 10am like some hotels. Luggage can be stored at reception on check out to enable you to enjoy a little more shopping or lunch within the city without having to drag your dirty laundry around with you.
I was well on my way to rounding up my stay with zero negative points until it came to getting glam in our room. There were only two areas which let the Malmaison down: Mirrors and lighting. During the daytime light streams in through the windows of the suite and the luxurious lighting adds to the ambience of the suite. But ambience lighting is not particularly makeup friendly and trying to do my makeup for the evening resulted in me angling myself under a spotlight to find the light (as Ty-Ty Banks would say) and coming off a little more RuPaul th There was a small vanity mirror on the desk and a bathroom mirror, but the ultimate girl in me was longing for a full length mirror, even if on the inside of the wardrobe door.
If you’re looking for a hotel with personality that you simply must stop by the Malmaison. The entire hotel oozes glamour and luxury and with the city centre only a hop, skip and a jump from your room, train links almost on your doorstep and a cocktail menu to please everybody, the Malmaison is most definitely the way to do Manchester in style.