First, the three bars – one outdoors, full of light, majoring in champagne; another a pewter-topped affair boasting a 600-strong wine list; and finally, a low-beamed, sofa-lined snug. You can also enjoy your drink in a large courtyard, and relish a habano in the Cigar Bothy.
Next, the restaurant. The relaxed Bistro du Vin excels in seasonal French-British dishes, with classic options like navarins (ragouts) of mutton or grilled octopus. The sommelier is always on hand to suggest wine pairings from that tome-like list of tipples, including the delectable cheese trolley. Of course you can also choose to take lunch alfresco in the courtyard.
Unforgettable Festival: Most visitors flock to Henley in early July for its annual five-day Royal Regatta rowing extravaganza, an unapologetic exercise in upper-class British pomp and finery, which this year turns 180 years old.
Tickets for the public-access Regatta Enclosure, home to an open grandstand and dining area, sell out in advance, especially on the weekends. Just take note of the formal dress code. The same applies to Fawley Meadows, where pleasure cruises and live music are promised.
Malmaison’s 16 city-centre properties in the UK are housed in iconic buildings with stylishly eclectic rooms that promise mood lighting, delicious bites and as expected, great wines.
The brand is also associated with other luxuries, such as 24-hour room service, and complemented by vibrant MalBar cocktail dens and inventive brasseries.