The thing about McMaison, oops, Malmaison is that as a British chain in 12 cities, you know what you’re getting, which certainly includes the hotels in London – a good thing to some people, not to others. But for all its homogeneity, what the ‘Mal’ sets out to do – namely, affordable chic – it does it well. Like all the other casts of the national mould, its 97 rooms feature dark minimalist design with ‘moody’ spotlighting, plus entry-level luxuries of Egyptian cotton bed linen, fluffy robes and techy toys (the hotel has a free DVD and CD library for in-room entertainment). Its biggest danger is its safety: monochromed this, slate-floored that, and lilac, dove and earth tones sitting politely in muted harmony – to ‘rock’ it up, there are antique Napoleon and Malmaison portraits (Chateau Malmaison being his grand residence outside Paris – the chain’s original reference point for ‘iconic style’). For that, just look out of the window: housed within the shell of a Victorian redbrick nurses’ residence for St Bartholomew’s Hospital, it overlooks a private park in the quaintly cobbled square – be sure to ask for a square-facing room.