Monday, 15 May 2017

Malmaison: An Aberdeen staycation

It's not often I decide to take on the role of a tourist in Aberdeen. So often I get to experience the exciting things going on within the city and  regularly visit some of our much-loved landmarks, however its clear to me that I guess I've never truly appreciated just how great our beautiful Granite City really is.

The hotel industry is one of the biggest in Aberdeen with numerous incredible establishments located across the City and Shire. It's very rare for me to visit one of these brilliant hotels, so when Malmaison Aberdeen invited me to check out their humble abode located a stones throw away from my home, I accepted at haste and booked my best friend and I in for a sleepover.

A staycation is not not something I've experienced before really, but it's definitely something I would do again after staying at the hotel a few weekends ago.

To me, it was obvious that as soon as we'd stepped into the reception area that this was a weekend we were truly going to enjoy....

Front of house was busy, and I could hear laughter filling the bar located just to the left of the reception area. Welcomed by two extremely friendly faces, they swiftly checked us in and directed us to our room.

One floor up we meandered through the stylish corridor passing over the brassiere on the ground floor and fell into our room and straight onto the bed. It was comfy, too comfy, and we just lay there in a heap relaxing and gossiping. 

I was pleasantly surprised at how big the room was. It was modern, beautifully decorated and had hints of tartan throughout which I very much enjoyed. There was a mini bar, a snacks rack, great storage space and plenty of mirrors - ideal for two girls sharing - not to mention the chocolate which went down a treat.

As well as the room being very spacious, the bathroom was really big too. It boasted a four-piece suite with an amazing power shower which I could have stayed in all day, a number of Malmaison toiletries and big fluffy towels which were perfect for wrapping ourselves in whilst we got ready for our night in.
Located on Queen's Road, its ideally located and is just a short walk away from the city centre making it a great hotel to stay in if you're looking for something central but not bang in the middle of the busy centre. With 79 bedrooms in the establishment, the building is quite deceiving form the outside and what's truly fantastic, is that it's got complimentary parking to the front and rear of the property.

Where comfort meets style we slowly got ready in our trendy room prepping ourselves for our evening meal. Trying out the new spring menu we had the appetite for it it and we were really excited to get our teeth into it.

Heading down to the Malbar for a cocktail or two, I questioned the knowledgeable bar staff about which drinks to try out, what was popular and what I should try be adventurous with.  A few cocktails later, we were invited through to the dining area, passing the  cute whisky snug as we ventured through to the brasserie for dinner.

Having launched the spring menu a few weeks ago, I was looking forward to trying it out. Featuring everything from spring lamb Benedict to fresh spring vegetable and wild garlic risotto, not to mention grilled masala spiced mackerel, we were spoiled for choice.

Opting for something light to start it was the fresh burrata with creamy mozzarella cheese and heritage tomato salad with yellow and red tomatoes topped with a herb puree that caught my eye. My date - Lauren - decided on the spring lamb Benedict which included slow braised Dorset lamb shoulder, American glaze and mint BĂ©arnaise on a thick slice of brioche bread. The salad was extremely delicious and was bursting with flavour. Lauren's lamb was succulent and cooked perfectly. Partnered with a generous slice of brioche bread the savoury dish had a slightly sweet hit to it which she absolutely loved.

For mains we had both eyed up the chicken milanese, however Lauren changed her mind at the last minute to the fresh spring vegetable and wild garlic risotto. It came with pea shoots and extra virgin olive oil to finish the dish off. 

My flat breaded chicken breast was accompanied by a Burford Brown fried egg, delicious, heavenly truffle mayonnaise and rainbow chard - the whole dish was utterly scrumptious and the egg was perfectly cooked so when the yolk was burst, it oozed across my plate. On the side came a plate of anya potatoes with chive vinaigrette which we shared. They were beautifully cooked.

Turning to dessert, we held off ordering for a while to give ourselves a breather. After all, there was a chocolate brownie with my name on it.

Trying hard to order different dishes, it was merely impossible for the both of us to turn down a chocolate brownie, so two warm Valrhona caramel chocolate brownies with brown butter pecan ice cream it was. The rhubarb trifle and seasonal fromage slate sounded divine too but in the end we just couldn't resist the sweet taste of chocolate. Coming alongside the brownie was a jug of warm melted chocolate sauce which we doused our brownies in. No words can describe that dessert - it was lovely and creamy, and just gorgeous. Rich in flavour and texture it melted in my mouth.
Throughout dinner we ordered a few cocktails off of the spring drinks menu, with the grapefruit and lychee collins and the rhubarb and basil gimlet being firm favourites. The grapefruit cocktail had Finlandia grapefruit vodka, lychee liqueur, grapefruit, lemon, sugar, elderflower tonic and cranberry bitters in it - it was refreshing and quite sweet even despite having grapefruit vodka in it.

A gin lover, of course my cocktail was going to include the juniper-based spirit. With Brockmans gin, Chase rhubarb liqueur, lime, sugar, cranberry bitters and a basil leaf to finish it off it was the stand out cocktail for me.

On the menu there was a selection of Maltonics which included numerous premium spirits paired with the best tonics which had been carefully selected by the bartenders of Malmaison.

The brassiere was busy, and although there were many big tables in, the staff looked completely composed and made us feel relaxed. The high ceilings and the stunning decor in the restaurant is something I've always loved about the space, and the fact there's a partly open kitchen area for diners to watch the chefs in action boasts another tick in my book.

Heading back to our room we got into our pyjamas and did what most best friends would do when sleeping over - we chilled out with a box of chocolates (with very few touched) and talked the night away. A couple of bottles of prosecco, one too many laughs and a sore bottom after somehow missing the bed and landing in a heap later, we headed to sleep to get a good nights rest.

The beds were so comfortable I didn't want to move, and the curtains hid the sun beautifully ensuring we we weren't woken up too early. We decided to spend the morning in bed flicking through our favourite magazines discussing the latest fashion and beauty trends - or more to the point, how impressed we had been with the hotel.

Malmaison Aberdeen had been an excellent experience and the idea of a staycation has really spurred me on to find out more about the different services the hotel offered. From popular afternoon teas, to relaxing and therapeutic spa packages to romantic weekend away packages and outstanding dinner and drinks options, there's something to suit all tastes at the contemporary, stylish hotel.

With Sunday brunch booked for later on in the afternoon we headed to reception saying our farewells to our gorgeous room. And just like that we were sat in the lounge area, raring to go on our next Malmaison adventure...

P.s If you love brunching, then you'll want to check out my next blog post on Malmaison Aberdeen.

  For Now...

Just Julia

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