I love Maldon. Having grown up just 20 minutes away, I’ve always had a fondness for the town and have spent much of my life here: I’ve enjoyed hundreds of dog walks and ice creams in Promenade Park, many family meals out and I reckon I've sampled the lattes (and let’s be honest, the cake too) in most of the coffee shops.

I still live just down the road, which means that although I love an evening out in Maldon’s lively High Street, I've never had the need to stay overnight before. Why would I, when I can drive home or hop in a taxi? Well, having just spent a couple of nights in the incredibly opulent D’arcy Suite at Staycations Maldon, I can confirm it is a million times more enjoyable and memorable than grabbing a cab.

Charlotte and Alex in the D'Arcy SuiteCharlotte and Alex in the D'Arcy Suite (Image: Charlotte Austen-Hardy)

Staycations Maldon is a collection of five unique apartments, all with their individual quirks and charm. The Grade II Listed, 16th century King’s Head Centre, just off the main High Street, houses three of these luxurious apartments. The centre has been lovingly restored over the past 30 years by owner and director James Mann, who has created beautiful apartments, with a dash of quirkiness and eye-catching antique furniture thrown in.

My husband Alex and I stayed in the D’arcy Suite, located right above one of my favourite Maldon haunts, the Continental Café. It's on the top floor, meaning the suite ceiling is lined with chunky oak beams, giving it a really cosy, oldie worldie feel. The beams are not just for decoration: with the building dating back to 1552, they are a little glimpse of its history, which only increases the feel of are staying somewhere really special.

READ MORE: Why you should visit Maldon in Essex

The beautiful D'Arcy SuiteThe beautiful D'Arcy Suite (Image: Charlotte Austen-Hardy)

We were met in the courtyard of the Kings Head Centre by Staycations Maldon Manager Shannon Shergill, who showed us up to the D’Arcy Suite and talked us through all the facilities before leaving us to take in the incredible room. I will admit, I had a sneaky peek at the website before we arrived, but the suite is so much bigger than I was expecting and even more stunning than the photos.

The most opulent of all the suites, the D’arcy Suite has multiple sparkling chandeliers, a huge, freestanding copper bath on a raised plinth and an enormous super king, four poster bed. Now, when I say enormous, I really do mean it. Being only 5ft 2", I felt genuinely tiny – I had to climb up into it and could barely reach from one side to the other! The duvet and pillows were so cosy that before we left, Alex and I were hunting for the labels so we could look them up to order some for ourselves.

The huge, freestanding copper bathThe huge, freestanding copper bath (Image: Charlotte Austen-Hardy)

The copper bath was incredible, with and a handy cocktail trolley and ice bucket well within arms reach - perfect for a cheeky glass of bubbly while you soak in the bubbles! Snuggly white Staycations Maldon bathrobes, fluffy mats and slippers complete the set up and I kid you not, it was so lovely that I had about five baths in the two days we were there.

Opposite the bed is a 65” flatscreen television, perfect for those who like to snuggle up in bed in front of a film. A tip is to pop on the fireplace video on Youtube, which really added to the atmosphere.

That was another pleasant surprise as I had the impression that we would be staying in a studio flat style apartment, but in fact the main room is divided into two distinct areas, the bedroom and the living area. The living area is no less special, with an original fireplace, French style sofa, another flat screen television and an amazing table which has legs created out of intricate carved wooden elephants. You can hear the church bells throughout the day, too!

The dining areaThe dining area (Image: Charlotte Austen-Hardy)

Whether you plan to cook up a storm, prop up the amazing copper top table with a glass of fizz or enjoy a wine and cheese night, the kitchen has everything you’d need, including a variety of cocktail and wine glasses, mugs and matching copper and navy appliances. I was also delighted to see a Nespresso machine and we had a selection of coffee, teas and breakfast treats to choose from too.

Being on a busy high street, we were warned about late night noise, but as we are night owls anyway, it didn’t really bother us at all - we would suggest ear plugs if you are a light sleeper though!

The kitchen has everything you’d needThe kitchen has everything you’d need (Image: Charlotte Austen-Hardy)

It was great fun “being a tourist” in our lovely local town: we made the most of the local pubs and enjoyed a stonkingly good breakfast at Mrs Salisbury’s Tea Room. We partook in a glass of champagne and malbec in the pretty Deli and Fizz, also in the Kings Head Centre, and, as we had planned to do a cheeseboard for dinner, were delighted by their range of fantastic cheese to take home. We ended up with homemade truffles and a cheeseboard that I'm sure would realistically feed at least five people (and yes, we did eat most of it).

We had such a wonderful time in this hidden gem and it definitely shows the beauty of the staycation. You really don’t need to travel thousands of miles for a special weekend away.


Relaxing surroundsRelaxing surrounds (Image: Charlotte Austen-Hardy)