The Malmaison London is a charming boutique hotel straight off the set of a BBC Dickens period drama on Charterhouse Square in the square mile.
Once you walk up those few steps you are transformed from Old London into a seriously fun, idiosyncratic style palace with wood paneled walls and neo-gothic design, all finished with a pink-lit champagne bar and opulent fixtures.
The 97 rooms are matte and masculine, boasting black furniture, wall-mounted LCD televisions and beds with ceiling-height cushioned headboards - though white bed linen and cream carpets keep decor unimposing. Standard rooms have plenty of space (some have king sized beds), and Deluxe rooms even more size-able.
The signature French bistro is housed in a seductive subterranean restaurant, with wood-cocooned booths and a wall mounted fireplace. A private party alcove, raised above the main floorspace, has a sexy chequered ceiling, black chandeliers and an altogether more devilish decor. A jet black bar serving classic cocktails completes the scene.
But it’s not all naughty, as the ‘Home Grown & Local’ menu proves; produce is sourced from the best independent suppliers in the area.
Sharp and attentive service was further enhanced with expert product knowledge on the menu and wines.
If a tasty banger does it for you then this is the place, the cooked breakfast was exceptional. High quality products served quickly and hot. The buffet table was standard and nothing out of the ordinary.
What you need to know:
Who stays here: City boys & girls - Enthusiasts of style – Romantics escaping the rat race at the weekend
At the weekend, the area surrounding the hotel is fairly quiet; it’s much more bustling during the week.
Don’t rely on taxis being able to find Charterhouse Square on name alone
Barbican tube station is just off the square
If you want to be right in the middle of the action, this isn’t the hotel for you. But if you want to be near the action, in a hotel where other people’s action won’t keep you up, the Malmaison’s a terrific choice.