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Issue 49 - A bit of originality

Scotland Magazine Issue 49
February 2010


This article is 8 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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A bit of originality

The Editor heads to the one that started it all, the original Malmaison in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh looked like the jewel of the East it is reputed to be as I crested the hill on the A702, the city sprawling out before me.

I had never taken this route in before, but what a road for a motorbike, twisting and turning with some great views from Abingdon. But having travelled most of the country to get to my destination I was ready for a good night’s sleep.

My accommodation was truly of the highest order, and something worth looking forward to – the original Malmaison in the regenerated docks area in Leith.

Docklands have always been slightly problematic areas for councils to deal with since the steep decline in ship building and transportation.

Often these derelict strips earned the reputations for being no go areas, especially after the heavy industry left.

However in the past decade these areas have seen massive investments and improvements to become desirable places to live, work and stay. The centre piece really for Leith is Malmason.

The Edinburgh Mal is a truly gorgeous riverside property, which has seen many colourful goings-on over the years. It’s been a Seaman’s mission and even a house of illrepute for ladies of the night.

Nowadays the hotel and bar attracts a far more salubrious crowd. When you wander through the doors you’re met by a grand staircase, slinky sofas in the lobby and the doorways to brasserie and bar nirvana.

If you’re looking for hotel luxury in Edinburgh, then you’ll definitely enjoy the look and feel of this place. It has masses of period features and a resplendent central clock tower.

One thing I am always grateful for is a hotel that offers bathtubs, especially after a long ride. The baths in Mal are something you can almost swim in, and the bathrooms themselves are something to behold.

Nothing says luxury and tranquility than a decent bathing area.

The rest of the hotel lives up to this facet as well and is a great place to stay. Sumptuous wallpaper is a theme through out the building in lush colours and the staff are always attentive without being over bearing.

Whether you’re a serious shopper, theatregoer or 24hr socialite, the Edinburgh Mal has something to offer you.

And if you’re a whisky lover, the Scotch Malt Whisky Society has one of its venues within walking distance.

But if you feel like not wandering that far, then the hotel’s own fantastic brasserie and well-stocked cellar and bar, which serves some perfect cocktails, is a good place to occupy an evening.

If the weather suits, you can even enjoy some alfresco dining or drinking on the heated terrace and relax.

I decided to dine in the restaurant with a friend of mine after a couple of whiskies at the Society, and as the menu changes regularly I will not go into great detail, save to say that the food was of top notch quality with the waitress matching food and wine perfectly. The evening finished with a dram or two on the outside terrace watching the Leith nightlife wandering past.

The next morning I was up early and the hotel had arranged an breakfast basket stuffed with jam, croissants, fruit and tea that certainly set me up for the day ahead.