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Malmaison, Leeds, Yorkshire
In a striking, red-brick Victorian building, close to the River Aire, the hotel is true to the Malmaison style of re-purposing an unlikely building - in this case, the former head office of Leeds City Tramways. The colours and style are typical 'Mal' with plenty of sober greys, blood-reds and dark chocolate, creating a rather masculine feel. Bedrooms, too, have a cool, uncluttered boutique feel with the Mal's trademark big bathrooms. The restaurant serves punchy brasserie-style dishes while the bar is famed for its cocktails and it's good value for a city-centre site.
Take the riverside and canalside path west, passing locks, ducking under bridges, and, within an hour, you'll find yourself amongst fields and woodland.
To soak up the local history, the Leeds City Museum is only a 15-minute walk from the hotel.
By car: around 2 hours 20 minutes from Birmingham and 4 hours 15 minutes from London or Edinburgh.
By train: there are direct trains to Leeds station from Sheffield (1 hour), Manchester Picadilly (2 hours) and London Kings Cross (2 hours 20 minutes). The hotel is a 5-minute walk from the station. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
The location and keen pricing make it a good choice for people who want a boutique-style hotel for an affordable city break - or business stay. The bar and restaurant are slightly below pavement level which gives an intriguing view through the windows of 'people-watching'.
Service & Facilities
Their encouragement to be 'greener' is nicely done: if staying more than two nights, you can opt out of room servicing and, in return, enjoy a free drink or the hotel will donate to the Burnt Chef (mental health) project. Dogs are allowed in a handful of bedrooms; beds and bowls are available. They're not permitted elsewhere other than the lobby lounge where owners can choose to eat with them.
- Pet friendly
- Free Wi-Fi
Rooms on the south side, such as standard room 208, overlook the river, but for a complete one-off experience - gold chandeliers, egg-yolk yellow wall panels, double bath - book the Surrealist suite. All bathrooms have a bath as well as shower - a rarity these days - and we love the black-and-white colour scheme and Arran Aromatics products.
Cosy, Standard, Standard Twin, Club, Club Twin, Club Deluxe rooms, Signature Suite
Facilities include: double bed, ensuite bathroom with shower and bath, free Wi-Fi, tea and coffee-making facilities
Food & Drink
Portions are hearty - including the side dishes; one side will feed two - so you feel you get your money's worth. The cocktail list is serious: the classics, a tailored gin and tonic menu, and signature concoctions; we recommend rhubarb triangle from the latter...
Chez Mal Brasserie: French and Thai classics. Open daily for breakfast and dinner. Mains from £14.
Chez Mal Bar: cocktails, champagne and small plates. Open Mon-Thur 4-11pm, Fri 3pm-1am, Sat 12pm-1am, Sun 12-10pm.