This is a bit of a new area for me. I’m not really one to stay in hotels in the Capital at the weekend. Nor am I to indulge in spas and free macaroons. However, on Friday night this all changed! I am no longer a sceptic and a cynic about staying in posh hotels and using their spa facilities. I’m now very much a fan!
Friday. End of a busy, first full week at work since starting the new job. It was the boyfriend’s birthday. He was turning the big 2 8 (does kind of have a good ring to it!) And it was our first year together celebrating his birthday, so of course I had to go all out. I had to make it one to remember. And what better way than to stay at his favourite architectural building in none other than Shoreditch. He’s a civil engineer so he has this fascination with buildings so who am I to deny him the right to enjoy his birthday eve in a beautiful hotel room?
Check-in is normally around 2pm but after a busy day and a drink after work, I met the boyfriend, after he followed my lovingly thought out clues 😉 outside M at quarter to six. There he was. Stood so proudly and excited outside this contemporary modern architecture. His great big grin said it all. He was chuffed to say the least.
He grabbed my hand and after a quick embrace and kiss we strolled, or should I say skipped with excitement into the reception. To our right was a selection of bars and stools and an array of colourful armchairs. The variety and choice of all the various spirits was a beautiful sight to see. A shame that we were far too busy to experience this bar. Can always use this as an excuse to go back though, right?
We were swiftly met by a Bell Boy who politely insisted on taking our luggage whilst we queued to check-in. Whilst waiting, I clocked several touch screens placed within the mahogany coffee tables. The reception was the epitomy of elegant, modern and tasteful. The desk was black marble whilst the floor was shiny clean white. The most extravagant light in the shape of multiple 8’s entwined together sat delicately above. I could not quite believe that I was checking in. That I was allowed to stay and experience this masterpiece.
We were soon called over and up we trotted to the desk. I gave them my name but not before I was engulfed with an apology for the delay and a gratitude for waiting so patiently. I was taken aback. We had barely waited a couple of minutes and I was far too in awe of the building to ever consider that I’d been kept waiting for a long period of time. I handed over my card. The amount was taken. The keycard was given and we were officially one night residents!
The Bell Boy swiftly hopped to our side with our luggage, enquires after our room number and led us up to the nth floor in the mirrorless, black marbled lift. The doors binged open, we were greeted by the monochrome effect that was placed throughout the hotel. We walked through the doors and just to our right was our room. It had an electronic door bell, an electronic sign for room cleaning and even a digital do not disturb sign (We later found out this was all controlled via the iPads built into the wall in the room). So long to the days of the chewed up paper signs that were once hung upon the handle to ward off any disturbance.
The room. How do words do justice for this space? They simply don’t. The amount of technology placed throughout was extortionate. As one who isn’t keen on modern technology and has a track record of breaking several devices over the years, I couldn’t help but be amazed by the smart use of modern gadgets in the room. There were no light switches. Everything was controlled through an iPad placed next to the bathroom and one on either side of the bed on the bedside tables. You could turn the bathroom light on from your bed. You could change the colours of the mood lighting from blue to green to fuchsia! Turn the desk light on. Control the TV and Media Hub. Click on the AC and choose the speed of the fan and temperature. Gone are the days of the old fashioned thermostat awkwardly placed on the wall that no one was quite sure how to work. It wasn’t even necessary to get in and out of bed to open the curtains. This, again was all simply done at the touch of a button on the newly made buddy, the iPad.
As well as iPads, a TV almost the length of me was sat cleanly on the wall with a vast amount of channels to select from. The only niggle, is, my boyfriend claimed he couldn’t find a guide so had to individually select a channel to find out what was on (this was of very little nuisance to me. Just a male thing I think!)
The smell of the room was pomegranate which I selected at no extra cost when booking the room. I also could choose the pillows that our weary heads would rest upon that night. I opted for the hypo allergenic but the choice was numerous and quite a tough one to make. They accommodated to my request of that it was my boyfriend’s birthday. They originally offered complimentary pies and fruits. But both me and my boyfriend being gluten free, I politely declined the pies and said the fruit would be plenty. For M, the fruit would not be plenty. Instead they suggested and gave us macaroons (gluten free) with the fruit and a very cute balloon with Happy Birthday on in the corner of the room. It was very kind and generous of M to do this all complimentary. And the macaroons, well all I can say is, France watch out. M by Montcalm do the best macaroons on this planet 😍
After popping out to a Jimmy Carr stand up we were back to paradise. It was time to test out the shower. There was plenty of room for two (not that we tried) and the head distributed the water evenly and powerfully, (so there was no fighting over who would be under the water 😉).
In dire need of a cup of Rosie Lee, the kettle popped into action. This is where my one and only complaint makes an appearance. There was a variety of teas, ranging from peppermint to chamomile to English breakfast. Fantastic choice. However there were only two English Breakfast teas. Now this may not seem an issue to some but it posed a problem the next morning. After both of us enjoying the cuppa the night before we were stuck with nothing the next morning (I lie, I was okay as there was a very fancy Nespresso machine and four varieties of coffee pods brewed for your pleasure. This suited me very well the next morning, the boyfriend, not so much as he has a strong dislike for coffee). We did call housekeeping and were informed that it would be up straight away. We were on the top floor so we estimated 5 minutes to allow it to arrive. We each had our showers. I did my coffee. Dried my hair and still nothing. By this point there was no point calling and requesting again as check out was fast approaching. So we left on a bit of a low.
I’ve jumped ahead of myself but that’s what a lack of tea does to order. Back to waking up the morning after the night before.
The next morning, at half 8 (more like 9) we donned on our bathing suits accompanied with the fluffy white dressing gowns left with the M emblem neatly sewn. We shyly made our way to the lifts, after all this was the first time we had experienced a hotel this fancy and going to the spa. We weren’t quite sure if this was the correct protocol (later turns out it was, although we forgot the slippers).
We timidly walked up to the reception in the spa and despite the receptionist being on the phone, we were kindly told the direction to relaxation. We popped our heads in the changing rooms and what cleanliness and space. We bagsied a chair with our dressing gowns and warily climbed the stairs into the pool. Initially it felt cold but after a dunk it was pleasant. There was a giant tap at the end. A goddess on the wall and even cucumber and orange infused water in the fridges.
The steam too was perfect. I’m not a fan of steam especially for long periods of time but this was like no other. We stayed the maximum time before shuffling over to the sauna. 90°c heat greeted us as the door opened. Being typically British, the boyfriend and I lasted under 10 minutes. We showered under giant shower heads in a private cubicle before finally having a soak in the jacuzzi. Even with two other couples it was pleasantly comfortable. Just the right amount of bubbles and heat 👌
A quick chill on the chair with our infused waters and eyeing up the chillax room we decided we were running out of time before check out so headed up.
Showers had. Hair dried courtesy of the Babyliss hair dryer in the room. Make up on. Coffee stewed. I was ready for departure onto the next adventure. The boyfriend? Struggling to function without his side of tea that morning!
We checked out and as usual we were asked how our stay was. I couldn’t help but express my admiration for the place and the enjoyment, luxury and relaxation it brought but I had to also point out the mix up with the tea bags. I didn’t expect a place of this standard to be so stingy on this front. The receptionist? He couldn’t have been more concerned and apologetic. He offered to get us a drink at the bar Tonic and Remedy. Unfortunately we had to decline as our next destination and a spot for breakfast was calling us. I thanked him greatly and as hard as it was to decline a free bevvy, I felt that M had done all they could to rectify the problem. Yes, we never got the tea but a kind gesture was offered and I couldn’t ask for fairer than that.
It was sad to wave goodbye to this beautifully modern, technology based heaven behind. The luxury. The indulgence. It was everything I thought I would never want but after this memorable experience I will definitely try to treat myself to these experiences at least twice a year!
So how much did all this cost me?
I booked The M by Montcalm as a surprise. I booked it two weeks in advance and for 10% off their original price as part of their book early saver. I had looked at several hotels in the London area as I was convinced that the M would be way out of my bounds. I was wrong. Most hotels, even a bog standard Premier Inn cost around £115 a night and that’s not even in central London. M, the beautiful M cost me a mere £126. This might seem expensive to some but not to me. Not for near central London. In a beautiful building. Big rooms. The use of the spa facilities and just the general friendliness and accommodation of the staff. Yes, breakfast wasn’t included but most hotels these days don’t have all inclusive breakfast. But from what I saw a glimpse of on the way down to the spa, there was a vast variety for breakfast with picturesque views over looking the city.
Overall, M by Montcalm has set the bar high for any future city stays that come my way. I’ve been spoilt and greedily expect such luxury on a regular basis!
My rating: 4.5* out of 5.
*the tea bags really were the factor for the missing .5