For a relatively recent hotel the Malmaison can claim to be defining and historic. It kick started the Quayside revival of Newcastle one of the most popular quarters to party in England and it redefined the notion of a metro hotel. Gone are The Gideon brown bible, teas- made, Colby trouser presses, patterned carpets , hideous prints and conference rooms. In are dark seductive cool colour schemes and an edgy provocative image. They invite you to be daring and take the soap home.
Malmaiasn soon spread to Manchester, Glasgow ,Leeds Liverpool and Clerkenwell In London and others like the Hotel du Vin adopted the same formula. Started by the medical entrepreneur Richard Balfour Lynn I don’t know who owns it these days.
I returned to Newcastle for my 4 th visit. Geordies are usually friendly and the reception staff combined this with an efficient professionalism. One of the first things I look for in any hotel is a warm welcome. My room (403) overlooked the Tyne and was really a junior suite. There was a largish area with divan and an enormous queen size bed with the bathroom in between. the colour scheme was purple and black. This is one of my minor criticisms. It’s so dark that I bet many a guests leaves a mobile behind . When I checked out the reception lady whilst being concerned rightly about Sunderland’s form advised me to book a 3 or 23 corner room on a floor to enjoy the Tyne and a larger space.
They have had a recent refurb but rather incongruously for its sexy cool image let out the front which would make a lovely cafe/ brasserie overlooking the Tyne to Starbucks.
The Malmaison is where you take your new girlfriend or your mistress but not for your silver wedding. My squeeze was at a hen night in Newcastle and without her the Queen Size bed seemed as big as a soccer pitch. At 11 pm a text came. I was sure it was her but no it was the occupier of my London townhouse basement informing me that 2 youths were in the act of breaking down the front door. So I could mot emulate the mighty swordsman, Ruud Gullit who broke all records in his suite as Newcastle manager. Years ago I was reviewing for a student guide and was in a 3 star hotel on the left bank of Paris. It had a strange oblong extension from the adjoining room. I discovered his was a bed as the couple were engaged in lusty and noisy congress all night long and I could hardly sleep a wink.
I decided to eat in the room . The pancetta and corn soup was delicious served with a steak of bacon. The duck breast was not pink as I ordered and a bit mean on portion but satisfactory. I booked well in advance and my total one night bill for the room, breakfast, dinner and bar drinks came to £239 which I found acceptable.
The Malmaison may be historic but its fun, professional, innovative and set standards which after 4 visits i can report are maintained.