In a perfect world, every long weekend would be like this. No, let’s live on the edge. In a perfect world, every regular run-of-the-mill two day weekend would be like this! But you know, I’m not really a live on the edge kind of person, as dashing and romantic as it sounds. I don’t do whirlwind weekends away… well, not over two days 😉
But you know what’s totally do-able and equally as relaxing? A weekend getaway in Londontown (or you know, wherever you live). Stash yourself away in a luxurious hotel. Explore that side of town like you’ve never seen it before. Drink champagne. Eat lots. Enjoy.
That is exactly what I did last weekend.
There’s a lot of London that Panu and I don’t see. We live in central or “W1″ as Londoners would call it and we are too lazy to venture far because I’m a great believer that every damn thing I need is in Soho. But once in a while, it’s nice to explore another side of this city and last weekend, we spent a night at the Malmaison in Clerkenwell and pretended like we were visitors to the east side. Well, we were!
The Malmaison is a part of a new “micro chain” of hotels, scattered across Britain spreading a little bit of affordable luxury to local and international travellers. Located in peaceful Clerkenwell Square, they’re obviously targeting couples or business travellers with *ahem* massage oil and what not complimentary in every room.
But you know what they don’t have? They don’t have free wifi. I don’t get that, especially for a hotel in the Square Mile which would be coveted by business workers. One of my – and I’m sure for other travellers too – key criteria when booking a hotel abroad is free wifi. Am I right or am I right?
Incidentally there’s also no spa or gym but those I can live without for a weekend.
Anyway, un-free wifi aside, they do have a quaint little champagne bar which I adored!
After settling into the hotel, we wandered around Clerkenwell and Old Street and up and down intricate alleyways. We stopped by St Ali and ducked into the Zetter Townhouse cocktail lounge and eventually meandered back to the hotel for a nap. There is no better way to enjoy a hotel than laze around in a bigger-bed-than-mine and disappear into the super thick duvet.
And then it’s dinner time! The Brasserie at The Mal boasts ample and delicious locally sourced British cuisine. To be honest, the menu didn’t inspire me one bit but as it turns out, the food was much tastier than I had expected and presented far more beautifully than I imagined. I love when something – anything – exceed expectations.
smoked haddock & leeks with grain mustard & paoched egg
250g Donald Russell aged entrecôte served with marrow
pan fried halibut with asparagus, leeks & sauce vierge
warm plum & frangipane tart with clotted cream
rhubarb & ginger parfait
Stuffed. Understatement. We probably should have gone and walked off the food but instead I crawled into bed and watched Johnny Depp prance around as Captain Jack Sparrow. I mean, there are worse ways to end a night, right?
Breakfast. The most important meal of the day… along with brunch, lunch, snack, dinner and supper.
The Brasserie turns itself into a cosy little family-friendly breakfast room in the morning, clearly the secret wine cellar (which they have) becoming a secret again by daylight. Breakfast offerings include a continental buffet and cooked breakfasts so seeing as the food from the previous night had digested, we went for both!
Tis a cold hearted person who can say no to melon balls.
Loch Etive smoked salmon with creamy scrambled eggs
grilled Loch Etive kippers with lemon & parsley butter
I don’t really know what I thought kippers were but I was expecting like… white bait. Little fish. This was kind of big and fishy but I drowned it in delicious parsley butter and lemon so the emergency was contained.
So that was our little getaway in Londontown. And you know what’s awesome about holidaying in your own city? There are no airports and waiting and flights and more waiting! We checked out at midday (oh yes, standard midday checkout win!) and were home at… 12.30pm and we still had the rest of the day to enjoy the weekend!
Malmaison Hotel & Brasserie
18-21 Charterhouse House Square
Clerkenwell, EC1M 6AH
0207 012 3700
Note: Panu and I stayed as guests of Malmaison