Yorks latest boutique hotel with a rooftop bar

Updated: Jul 7

Malmaison York

A chic rooftop bar lends an air of sophistication to this new city centre hotel.

Malmaison York is quite convenient for York Station, which is only a two-minute walk away. The former Aviva headquarters on Rougier Street are now home to the sky-high hotel. It's true that the cover isn't particularly attractive, but don't judge a book by its cover. If you arrive by automobile (which is not recommended in downtown York), there are only a few parking places and you may be directed to larger car parks nearby.

As you enter, you'll notice the Mal trademarks. Interiors in stark monochromatic, accent lighting, elegant lines, large windows, and some wacky accent materials.


Malmaison's premium suites feature striking contemporary decor - Malmaison

They number 150. The aesthetic is clean, modern, and slightly quirky. Deluxe rooms have low-slung chaise lounges, ample space for relaxation, and large televisions. There is ample space for desk work if necessary, as well as meticulous attention to detail in the hair drying area. Tick. Bathrooms are well-designed, with spacious showers and full bottles of amenities instead of overpackaged minis.

The roof-top bar is kept toasty by heaters. - Photograph by Archant KA

You've come here to fall in love with the sky bar. Ascend the seven-story golden elevator to the elegant martini and Asian tapas bar. Inside, the room is expansive, with windows overlooking York Minster and the captivating cityscape. Outside, the venue has a very cool look and feel — rhythms, burners, and lovely people. For the time being, this is a 'place to be seen' city hotspot; when we came (on a lovely June evening), the bar was buzzing with cocktails clinking, champagne buckets galore, and happy people. Cocktails, such as cherry blossom negroni, continue the Asian motif, while the champagne list ranges from a £69 Lanson to a £395 Dom Perignon rose for after a successful day at the races.

Time for feeding:

At Sora in York, Asian tapas is the house specialty. - Photographer: Tim Winter

The cuisine at Sora rooftop bar is focused on Asian tapas, featuring an outstanding range at a variety of price points. If sushi and sashmini are more your style, there are deftly prepared platters to share as well as nigri and maki sushi alternatives.

Because the menu is composed of tiny pieces, it is recommended that you order three or four per person. The Robata grill steals the show with a succulent Himalayan salt-aged sirloin served with salsa verde and garlic chips. We were pleasantly surprised by the vegetarian alternatives. The cheekily-named KFC was hot, crispy, and delectable, certainly not living up to its moniker - Korean fried cauliflower. Similarly delicious is the Robata-grilled aubergine with miso caramel and whipped tofu – silky, sweet, and surprising – a contender for my meal of the year thus far. While the miso cod and tempura prawns were adequate, the seared sesame tuna with avocado and wasabi was a must-order.

As tapas portions, they were reasonable in size and reasonably priced, ranging from £3.50 for Asian slaw to £14 for sirloin. The wine list is excellent — the Gewürztraminer, which is offered by the glass, is an excellent match for this type of dish due to its powerful flavours.

A room with a view at York's Malmaison - Malmaison

Everything is quite convenient and efficient. On the ground level, there is an on-site Starbucks, or if you're staying for breakfast, Chez Mal offers a continental breakfast or hots such as salmon and scrambled eggs (excellent and creamy), eggs Benedict to suit, or the full English and vegetable version. Excellent strong coffee.