As Easter holidays were upon us, we thought a well needed overnight stay was in order to relax and recharge the batteries.
It didn’t take a second thought to use this opportunity to head North West to Liverpool. Named European Capital of Culture in 2008, the City has a lot to offer, from the Beatles Tours, the infamous Cavern Club, the Tate Liverpool, Royal Albert Dock and Anfield, home to Liverpool FC. It goes without saying there’s enough to do for all ages.
Wanting a room with a view, we opted to stay at The Malmaison Liverpool, situated on Princes Dock. The rooms at this chic boutique hotel underwent a 1.6 million refurbishment in 2018 and they certainly don’t disappoint. The hotel also offers two suites, ‘The Kop’ and ‘The Toffee Shop’, which are undergoing refurbishment later this year.
Walking into the hotel’s reception, the grandeur of a stylish staircase, met with a centre piece of a roaring flame certainly gave a warm welcome.
Check in was seamless and we were directed to our room on the second floor. On exiting the lift, we were met by a beautiful fish tank, adding vibrancy to the area, to what can usually be a bland space. Observing the pictures of the famous 4 on the walls, paying homage to the legends was a nice touch. Then I looked up! Up above, floating down was a yellow submarine. I certainly wasn’t expecting it and frankly thought it was fantastic.
We made our way to room 218, which happened to be at the end and a corner room. The room was light and airy and very welcoming. Being a corner room, full length windows let in natural light from two sides and provided excellent views of the iconic Liver building and of Princes Dock.
The room was well equipped, with a huge flat screen TV, a well stocked mini bar, snacks, tea and coffee facilities and an enticing tray of wine on offer to purchase. The room had clearly been refurbished to an excellent standard and didn’t disappoint.
The room offered a large, comfortable bed, with enough pillows on hand to prevent the all too often call to reception to ask for more. The bed linen was white, crisp and clean, with a softness to the touch that already made me feel like I was going to sleep like a baby!
Needing a quick phone re charge, I started the search for the sockets. Again, all too often, sockets are out of reach so you can’t use your device whilst charging, leaving an element of frustration, but not here! Sockets with USB points built in were a plenty. Whether sitting at the spacious work desk, relaxing on the chaise, or lying in bed, there was somewhere to plug in electronic devices. A well thought out touch and whether travelling for business, or pleasure, one that’s welcomed by a modern traveller.
All rooms are en suite and offer a spacious bathroom. Of course, you don’t want to spend much time in the bathroom when you’re away, but it’s nice to have home comforts. Well, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the size of the bath! Not a lover of baths and preferring a shower, even I was convinced it was something I needed to try. There was a separate rainfall shower, which was spacious and gave enough room to move. Interestingly, the toilet was at the other end to the shower, but I found this quirky, clever and pretty cool. Well thought out, a good use of space to leave enough room for the colossal bath! Enough room for two adults, but you wouldn’t want to share (or you might), I couldn’t resist and swiftly filled it up. Closing my eyes and fully submerged, It was the most relaxing bath I’ve ever had!
We’d made our way to the hotel’s bar for a late afternoon drink. The decor was bright and the bar spacious, with seating to cater for the busiest of times. For 4pm on a Tuesday afternoon, the bar was fairly busy and there was a great atmosphere. Large flat screen TVs showed different channels and the background music was just the right level to enjoy conversation. Other customers were being served food that looked well presented and frankly delicious, it certainly made us drool and we looked forward to what dinner had to offer! The bar was well stocked with a wide range to cater for all tastes. I enquired with the bar man, who we now know to be Fernando, about the ‘Mal Pilsner’ on draught and was quickly offered a taste. Although pleasant on the palate, it wasn’t quite what I fancied and opted for Heineken instead.
Keeping up with the gin craze, there was a wide range of gins available, including Liverpool gin from the local distillery. Malchemy cocktails, cleverly put together were 2 for £12 past 5pm, so we decided to have a quick sample before heading back to the room to change. My cocktail was gin based and the garnish was fresh, with plump green olives that complimented the gin well and offered a great flavour to the drink. It was hard to tear ourselves away actually as we were having a very relaxing time and enjoying the atmosphere. Fernando was warm and attentive and provided excellent service, bringing our drinks over and attending to our every need. He couldn’t do enough for us and the other customers. So much so, we had a few more before heading off…it’s nice to be spoilt sometimes!
The outside space was without tables, but with large umbrellas to provide shade from the sun, it made it easy to visualise what the venue would be like in warmer weather. With superb views and a bustling atmosphere, It’s the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon, without a doubt.
Refreshed and ready for dinner, we headed to Chez Mal Brasserie. The A LA CARTE menu was varied and offered a range of dishes to suit everyone’s taste, including a Cotes du boeuf, which is a delight for any meat lover. We were given a Spring PRIX FIXE menu to peruse, which offered two courses for £19.95 or three courses for £24.95, which we thought offered a great choice and superb value. Although tempted by the steak, we opted to order from the Spring menu and ordered smoked ham hock and soup of the day as our starters. The soup was broccoli and offered a great flavour, which was warm and comforting. It really delivered the ‘hug’ that was needed on a chilly April evening. The ham hock was moist and flavoursome, with the right amount of salt from the ham that balanced well with the sweet mustard dressing. Portions were generous, but left enough room for the mains.
The wait wasn’t long for the mains to arrive and we were presented with Rigatoni and Cumbrian chicken. The Rigatoni was well cooked, with the salty feta being well balanced with the accompanying ingredients, delivering a punch of freshness, whilst being light and refreshing. The Cumbrian chicken was moist and cooked well. The fricassee of spring vegetables complimented the dish well and the truffle cream was out of this world, it was simply incredible and I could’ve eaten a bowl full.
Taking full advantage of the PRIX FIXE menu, we managed to find room for dessert. As a lover of rhubarb, my companion ordered the rhubarb fool and I opted for the chocolate & almond sundae. The shortbread with the fool was buttery and crumbly, with a sharp and refreshing rhubarb compote which sat well with the creamy element and made a delightful and very satisfying dessert.
As for the sundae, the burst of flavours and textures were an absolute delight. Soft and gooey brownie, with crunchy honeycomb, all washed down with a salted caramel ice cream…it was sheer heaven. For me, it was one of the best desserts I’ve ever tasted and it ticked every box and some. Full compliments here, my only critique being I wanted more, more, more!
Feeling comfortably full, we were offered coffee, which we decided to take in the bar area to relax and let our meals settle. We both opted for liqueur floater coffees, one Irish and one Calypso. The coffees arrived and I hoped they tasted as good as they looked. At times I find myself disappointed that the taste of whiskey doesn’t come though the coffee, but this wasn’t to be. The coffee was the right temperature and the flavour of Irish whiskey stood out. Drinking the warm whiskey coffee through just the right amount of cold cream was incredibly comforting and delivered everything that an Irish coffee should be…we were truly satisfied.
We sat and chatted for a while and the drinks kept on flowing and flowing and flowing! I don’t think I’ve ever felt so at ease in a hotel bar!
Heading back to the room, I’d already predicted that I was in for a good night’s sleep. Getting into the bed was what I imagined to be like sleeping on a cloud. Normally I’d toss and turn in an unfamiliar bed, but not tonight. I was very quickly asleep and woke up the next morning…20 minutes after breakfast had ended! I’d slept right through the alarm, had switched it off and turned over and had gone back to sleep. I was that comfortable, I didn’t want to get up. In fact, I didn’t and took full advantage of lazing around, watching TV and getting the relaxation time I’d longed for.
My companion had managed to make breakfast and upon returning to the room, boasted about the fresh baked pastries and full cooked breakfast they’d just devoured. Although I was disappointed, I was warm and cosy and enjoying a filtered coffee from the tea tray. As a coffee lover, opting for single cup filtered coffee over the usual sachets was another hats off to the hotel.
Check out was 12pm and finding the motivation to move out of bed was challenging. Check out was swift and we were on our way, feeling very relaxed and satisfied from our stay.
Whether you’re visiting Liverpool for business or pleasure with family and friends, the Malmaison will cater for your every need. It’s in a superb location, with excellent travel links and within walking distance to the centre. Every element was to an exceptional standard and as hotels go, it’s one of the best ones I’ve ever stayed in. I wouldn’t hesitate to go back and when we next visit Liverpool, will be checking in again.
Thank you Malmaison Liverpool for having us, we hope to see you again soon!
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