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The One to Watch: Malmaison

Celebrities will be larging it under the shadow of the Liver Birds when the Malmaison launches in Liverpool this weekend. But what's the story?

Published on January 26th 2007.

The One to Watch: Malmaison

Malmaison? Isn't that the uber trendy hotel chain? Yes and it's about to fling open its doors this Friday with such a glitzy party that OK! has bagged exclusive picture rights.

But hasn't Liverpool got dozens of hotels already? You are so out of step. You can never have too many places to go when "you-know-what" is just around the corner.

Do you mean the Hollyoaks crowd? No, no, no! 2008. European Capital of Culture year. People will be flocking to the city in droves. The whole world will want a hotel room. Liverpool will be the new hub of western civilisation and...

Calm down will you! But the Mal – as we in the loop call it – isn't just a hotel. It's a swishy and successful brasserie-with-rooms operation with outposts in Edinburgh, Manchester, Leeds and a whole lot more. The brasseries and bars are a big draw for local in-crowds and overnight guests alike. Malmaisons are usually found in renovated, interesting buildings. In Oxford, a former prison has been transformed into the hotel. Although the Daily Mail says it's never been anything but a hotel.

Ooh, what else? Liverpool is the first purpose-built Malmaison. Some observers said it still appeared to be a building site just days before the launch, but management have oozed Krishna vibes from underneath their hard hats and have firmly insisted that it will be all right on the night.

Opening this Friday? Who's going to the do? Pete Doherty isn't, that's for sure. Mr Kate Moss was banned from the Malmaison chain after taking the Babyshambles “brand” too literally with a £4K trashing of a suite in the London branch. Think well behaved sporty stars and WAGs a-go-go instead.

Wasn't Malmaison the name of the Empress Josephine’s chateau? Yes, but even she didn't have her own in-house barista – that's a coffee expert before you ask – nor a multi-decorated chef like Manchester's Mark Bennett slaving over a hot stove.

So no scouse on the menu? Not just yet. However 70 per cent of the staff are from Liverpool and its two suites are called the Kop Shop and the Toffee Shop. That's keeping it local.

Can you cop off in the Kop Shop? Yes, but don't expect sticky moments in the Toffee Shop. The Kop Shop has a massive teak bath for World of Sport style after-match frolics and his 'n' her showers. Thinking about it, the Liverpool FC suite seems to be the bigger of the two and no expense has been spared.

An interesting take on real life then? You might say that, I couldn't possibly comment....

Do say: “It's goodbye to liver birds and hello to culture vultures.”

Don't say: “Is the roof on yet?”

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