Last weekend we traveled down to Brighton to stay at the brand new and super stylish Malmaison Brighton for a weekend away. But it wasn’t just any weekend away, Stuart was running the Brighton Marathon! It’s not often, since having children, that we get to enjoy a weekend away, child free, so I wanted somewhere that was special. One of our very first dates, 9 years ago, was dinner at Malmaison in Reading, and we both remember it fondly, so when I saw that there was a brand new Malmaison hotel in Brighton I was really pleased that it was nice and close to the centre.
| Malmaison Brighton |
Boasting modern décor, stylish furnishings and perfect ocean views I was really excited to book and see what Malmaison Brighton was like in the flesh. It was the most perfect sunny day to visit Brighton – although I was worried about the heat for the marathon runners the next day. (Stuart ran the London marathon 10 years ago and it was the hottest day of the year back then too, ironically!) The hotel, located in the marina area, was around 2 miles from Brighton along an easy and scenic beach path. It was visible this area had been given a big facelift and the whole ambience felt like we’d popped down to the south of France for the day! The hotel itself had undergone a £5m transformation and had recently opened as the 15th boutique hotel in the chain.
The first impression I got of the hotel was the amazing outside bar. We walked in and immediately I knew it was totally stylish. It had beautiful views over the marina. We sat and had a drink before checking in, something we just don’t get the chance to do with our young children, certainly not in peace, anyway! The atmosphere was so friendly and people were in such a good mood – unsurprisingly considering it was a balmy 19 degrees and everyone sat enjoying their delicious cocktails and crisp cold beers overlooking the boats. I only wish that we had had longer to be able to test out some of the cocktails and soak up the sun – but we had to rush out to register for the race.
The rooms themselves were so light and airy with uber cool and contemporary style. Our room was overlooking the marina – we had the luxury of a lovely little balcony where we sat and watched the world go by. Our room had all the modern amenities including an absolutely huge TV, WiFi, fancy coffee machine and the most comfortable bed with beautifully soft sheets and luxury feather bedding.
After we had spent our day exploring Brighton and registering Stuart for the race we headed back to Malmaison to slowly get ready. I don’t think it’s possible to fully appreciate having time to yourself to get ready until you’ve had children! We called the boys and had a chat about their day. It had been incredibly hot in Brighton and we actually felt pretty exhausted. After a gorgeous “rain” shower I wrapped myself up in one of the fluffy robes and sat on the balcony watching the sun go down. I must have said to Stuart about 5 times that I just felt like I was on holiday, or on a cruise liner! I felt so relaxed and happy. I was enjoying myself so much, watching the sunset over the marina, listening to the sailboats clinking away and the hum of the chatter from the below restaurants was so peaceful and calming.
We had to be up and out early the next morning, so we booked into the brasserie downstairs for dinner. Having seen the beautiful cocktails coming out of the bar earlier in the day I knew that we were in for a treat when it came to dining and I was so pleased that we had chosen to eat there. The restaurant itself was stylish with characteristically dark decor and low lit lighting creating an elegant and chic atmosphere.
Hopefully the pictures do our meal at Malmaison Brighton’s Chez Mal brasserie justice because it was just so delicious. The style of cooking I would say was a mixture of French/British cuisine mixed with contemporary Asian fusion food. I began the meal with a Malmaison Fizz – Maison Champagne, Finlandia Grapefruit, Kamm & Sons Ginseng, Belvoir elderflower and it was refreshing and delicious (supportive wife, I know – Stuart had tea!)
For starter I had the tuna tartare which was a beautifully melt in the mouth texture, personally I couldn’t get on with the flavour from watermelon accompaniment but the avocado & wasabi sauce was perfection. Stuart chose the parfait which they had unfortunately just run out of. Our waiter went through some possible alternatives, none of which Stuart liked the sound of but he kindly offered something from a different menu which was perfect – Spring lamb Benedict – Slow braised Dorset lamb shoulder with American glaze, brioche and mint Béarnaise.
A palate cleanser of sorbet and champagne poured at the table.
For mains I chose the Lobster risotto with Mal house side salad – I always choose fish when we dine out, I guess because I don’t cook it as often for myself at home and I just love fish. Stuart (predictably) went with the Pan roast Black Angus New York strip steak served with a creamy garlic mash and beautiful bearnaise sauce -which I have to say I had total food envy over, it was cooked to perfection!! To my dismay we were both too absolutely full to order pudding – a first! But they all looked delicious, I think I would have chosen the Valrhona dark chocolate fondant with Peanut butter ice cream & sesame brittle, had I not already been ready to be rolled out of there!
We were served by the lovely Colm who had also looked after us when we first arrived at the bar earlier in the day. He was so interested in talking to us, despite the usual pressures of serving a busy restaurant, and made us feel really welcomed. All the staff did actually, especially the lovely lady who checked us in, we found everyone to be so friendly and helpful. The only slight negative from our whole experience was breakfast the next day. The hotel had several marathon guests staying, and they had attentively arranged for the breakfast to be laid on especially early to accommodate everyone, which was really great. Runners nervously hurried to fuel up for the day ahead, but perhaps the hotel didn’t realise quite how many people they would have to serve and it ended up in quite a restless queue full of anxious people needing to wait a period of time and then rush through their breakfast to get going for the day. I think the main problem was that everything was table service and cooked to order, perhaps on this occasion it may have been better to organise a hot breakfast buffet which people could help themselves to, or perhaps have more staff serving.
Having said that, the breakfast was delicious and of course normally this would not have posed a problem at all. I eventually had the smoked salmon and scrambled eggs while Stuart had eggs and maple bacon – I actually think it was rather kind to start the breakfast so early for everyone.
We had the most perfect stay and I am so pleased we were able to stay at the brand new Malmaison Brighton, I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone looking to stay in Brighton and I really hope we can come back to visit another day – ideally when we didn’t have a marathon to have to fit into the trip!
Malmaison Brighton kindly invited us to stay at their new hotel but all views are my own and I would honestly love to go back again one day soon.