“ The Mailbox / Wharfside Street / Birmingham / B1 1XL / Tel: 0121 632 1000 / Email: email@example.com. „
I went to the MailBox last night and had a great evening. The mailbox is basically a shopping centre by day and gateway to bars and restaurants by night. I went to The Gormet Buger Company for dinner, and then HaHa bar for many cocktails afterwards. As it was a saturday night most of the restaurants had been fully booked! Although it wasnt our first choice of restaurant it was very good and luckily we got a seat at the bar in HaHa. The centre is based around the landscaped canal, its very pretty at night time and is well lit, busy and happening. There seemed to be a professional type crowd around this end of town, Im guessing that the students dont really come down here. The shops are all high end boutique style like Karen Millen etc. They were all shut when we got there at 8pm, but the centre is layed out very stylishly and is super clean. If you want a night out in Birmingham and dont fancy going clubbing but rather dinner and drinks then this is a great spot to head to. Everythings in a small area so your high heels wont be hurting. Theres also a taxi rank straight outside to get you home. We had a great time.
For the most part of summer 2005 I was based in Birmingham, and my lovely bosses picked the Malmaison hotel to be my home away from home. Of all the places I have been fortunate enough to stay in this has to be one of my favourites. Location: I was told this hotel was located in the mailbox, which instantly confused my dopey head. A hotel in a mailbox? Only the mailbox is a designer shopping mall home of Hugo Boss, Bang & Olufsen, Armani and DKNY to name a few. (You always know a highbrow shop when they don't put the prices in the window.) This sets the tone for this hotel. As soon as you walk through the door to this place and enter to dark wood and leather sofas this place screams class. Apparently the name the mailbox comes from its origins as a Royal Mail sorting office in the 60's. It is about a 10 minute walk to all the main shopping, eating and drinking establishments in Birmingham. Checking in: At the reception desk I never had any trouble checking in. The staff were friendly, informative and told me about things like coming back in at night. (They have added security at night, meaning you have to swipe your room key to get back in the entrance.) The room: I have stayed in a number of these rooms now and they are all beautiful. The calming brown and beige colour scheme, large beds, thick wooden doors and white bathrooms are perfect for relaxing in. The rooms come with coffee making facilities, a bath and shower, sky tv, cd player and room service. The room was always immaculate when I came back to it in the evening. The restaurant: The meals in the restaurant are absolutely lovely. They are about £15 to £20 for a main course and I recommend anything from the chargrill menu - the steaks are delicious. The bar offers some scrummy cocktails and is well worth a night in testing them. The facilities: On site there are boutiques, a spa and a gym. The spa is the most relaxing place in the building - the scented candles and treatments are worth a look if you have had a stressful day. Cost: The rooms vary from about £90 to £250 per night. The malmaison range does offer a number of special offers so if you can get hold of one of these it can be worth going. Overall: As I said above I really enjoyed this hotel. It is in a prime location for Broad Street so even if you don't want to eat in the restaurant, you aren't ever far away from a good place to eat. The rooms are spacious and relaxing with great facilities. I wouldn't suggest using the tea making facilities - it is about £4 for a cup of tea! With the town centre location it is good to know they employ added security measures. The only real problem is that with it being in the middle of Birmingham parking is very expensive. You must park in the Mailbox which is £15 per 24 hours. If you don't need you car I would suggest getting the train and using taxis. This is a lovely hotel, that isn't pretensious and has a great range of people in it. The staff are lovely and always happy to have a chat. I checked out of the hotel one day and had left my mobile phone in the room - the cleaners had rung my home number to leave a message and were prepared to post it to me - I did realise and go back before I had driven all the way back to Lincoln though. The hotel is 4* and I would recommend any of the malmaison range from my time staying in Birmingham.
We take a few trips out a year as a department and invite ex colleagues along as well. We have dined all over town but have a soft spot for the Mailbox area. This was our first visit to Pennyblacks and we won't be back as a group (although who would have thought that 12 people is so unmanageable). It may be fine for small groups or couples but there were not that many in so it was hard to gauge. We booked by e-mail (but called to confirm) and were greeted warmly enough in what turned out to be a spacious and comfortable pub, mainly - but not exclusively - frequented by businessmen. We ordered, painless enough, then waited 45 minutes for the starters to arrive. In the meantime we attempted to order drinks for the table - and got so fed up waiting we wrote our own drinks list and took to the bar, which they got wrong in parts and missed other people out altogether. The food, when it arrived, was edible but nothing spectacular. I know at £10 - £15 a main meal is not expensive, but when you consider the local competition it was still short of value for money and hardly inspiring; especially when compared to a similar-priced and stunning meal at Peppers the night before. But by all means go, the atmosphere was okay, the pub was lovely, the staff were, erm, there but toilet roll was not - it also appears that you have to take your own or, as some in the party did, go to neighbouring pubs....
I have now been working pretty close to the mailbox in Birmingham for over a year and when we recently had to move offices, we all dreaded moving away from the place. You see many people cannot see why we love it here because there is nothing but designer shops that hardly anybody can afford but people do not realise just how many bars and restaurants are there and how wonderful it is to go there on a warm day and just reflect on life. Here I will attempt to explain to you just what a great place the Mailbox really is and why it is fast becoming the place to go in Birmingham. ----- What is the Mailbox? The Mailbox is quite a new development in Birmingham city centre. It houses many designer shops selling everything from clothes to cards and then to cheese (I know it sounds strange but it is a great cheese shop). Then at the back of the mailbox is a great selection of bars and restaurants offering great views over the canal. ----- How to get there: The Mailbox is situated at the following address; Wharfside Street Birmingham B1 1XL There is car parking in the complex but this can work out expensive so I recommend going somewhere else in the city centre and then walking to the Mailbox. There is disabled access in the Mailbox. ----- Appearance: Finding the Mailbox is extremely easy indeed, you see what the people have done in the city centre is signposted it very well and then painted the building a nice bright maroon colour so it can be easily spotted. Also as you are walking to the Mailbox you may see colours on the pavement coming from lampposts (it makes sense when you see them), if you follow these colours you will be led to the Mailbox. When you look at it you can see what an impressive building it is. It is huge with very large windows on many floors. You can see Harvey Nichols on the windows in hug letters and there are steps leading up to the entrance. Through the windows on the bottom floor you can see some nice window displays from the Emporio Armani so as you can imagine they look very nice indeed. To the right you will see Mal Maison which is a very up market brasserie and it looks very posh indeed. As you walk through the Mailbox you can see how clean the place is. There are stairs and escalators leading to all floors so you can choose what to take. It is all painted beige and you can walk straight though the centre with all the shops on your sides. As you walk up to where the bars are it is quite good as there are pink stand up lights which kind of reminds me of an runway at the airport. As you walk outside you will see more bars and restaurants and also the canal. At the moment they are building a stage just out here so you will be able to see some live music while having a drink which will be lovely. ----- Shops: The shops in the Mailbox are very up-market and to be honest I go in to have a browse but I never actually buy anything from them as I simply cannot afford it. Each shop is immaculate inside and because they are quite posh all of the displays are perfect and some of them are quite interesting. For fashions you can choose from quite a few designer stores. Emporio Armani is the first one you come to and honestly some of the clothes just look amazing and you could imagine a celebrity on the catwalk wearing them. Harvey Nichols is the Mailboxs biggest shop and it spans over three floors. Lots of great fashion is available here including things like make-up for women and then sunglasses. There is also a café here which is nice and I have eaten there once and the food was lovely. Other popular well known shops include DKNY and Hugo Boss. If you fancy a little fashion that is unique ladies then try Emma Somerset which hassome strange designs but really funky. For great work shirts you can go to Pink for me and women which always looks great inside. For shoes for everybody there are quite a few shops including my favourite to look in, Belle Scarpe. The Mailbox does not do just fashion and you can find shops for furniture, phones and even memorabilia. For phones you can go to the massive 3 shop that is here and then if you fancy buying some DVDs or sound systems then you can go to the BBC shop or Bang and Olufsen which sells some unique looking stereos. There is a nice shop called Aga shop which sells cool cookers but my favourite shop just because I can afford some things is Parchment which sells cards and nice diaries. Another very funky shop is Paxton and Whitfield which is the cheese shop I mentioned earlier. It sells some nice cheeses in the cheese room and also some great hampers you can give as presents. There is a small café here too and they do the nicest paninis. ----- Restaurants: The Mailbox hosts some fantastic restaurants of all types of cuisine which is useful and despite what you may think the prices are not actually that bad at all. Zizzi is a great little Italian place and when you sit in there you can watch the food being cooked as there is an open plan kitchen and then this big wooden fire. I love it here as the surroundings are relaxed and the prices are average with a pizza being around £6. Shogun is the place to go if you like Sushi. The actual restaurant is clean and to me looks quite clinical but the food is amazing. The prices are a little above average but still affordable but I would say it is probably one of my least favourite places to eat. Santa Fe is situated on the top of all of the restaurants so offers some fantastic views over the canal and even to the Birmingham eye. The food is slightly Mexican so is quite fun and they do lots of special menus which change so you have to keep checking what they are serving. Inside it is very funky with lots of seating for food and the prices are spot on. My favourite place to eat in the Mailbox is bar Estillo which is a specialist in tapas dishes which I love. The prices are average and they have a great bar in there so you can get almost any drink you can think of. The surroundings are very stylish and modern and this is one of the most popular places to eat so I recommend booking up before you go. There is though an Indian restaurant called Lazeez and the Oriental which is a Chinese / Cantonese restaurant. There are others but I have never been tot hem so I cannot recommend them as of yet. ----- Bars: There are a few bars in the restaurants so you can go to Santa Fe or bar Estillo and just enjoy some drinks there. My favourite place to go for a drink is Pennyblacks on the very bottom level. The drinks are quite expensive so dont go mad but there is a great view and the actual place is spotless and very modern looking. The staff are extremely friendly and there is some food served there so you can eat too. Another great bar is bar room bar which is very modern with its comfortable leather seats and funky atmosphere. It is very relaxed in the week but at a weekend it gets extremely busy and you have to be quick to get a seat. I think it has a very nice feel to it and the prices are not too bad. Bar Epernay also looks quite nice but I have never been so I cant really comment further. ----- Other: In the Mailbox it is worth noting that there are many places to get your hair cut including the expensive but worth it Nicky Clarke. There is also a huge beauty salon so you can go and get your nails done or have a facial. ----- Location: I have to say the location within the city centre is amazing because it is just a ten minute walk from the centre but yet it feels miles away. It is becoming ever so popular so you get a lot of people coming at lunch times and after work so it has a very vibrant atmosphere. Being right by the canal which means you get some very nice views and it is also a two minute walk away from Brindley place and the symphony hall which is nice. For people traveling to Birmingham there is plenty of parking nearby and the train station is just five minutes away. All bus stops are also just a five / ten minute walk away. ----- Verdict: Well I think you have realised by now just how much I love the Mailbox because it is so new, modern and funky with such a great, relaxed atmosphere it is wonderful. I think working by it is great as it means I can just finish work and then go for a drink in an ice place and just enjoy my free time. I have to say that although I cant afford any of the shops I still find them nice to have a walk around and I hope that one day I might be able to afford a pair of socks. I am quite happy just browsing but if you have accredit card I would not recommend coming as you run the risk of maxing it out with all the nice things you can buy. The restaurants really do make the Mailbox what it is though as they are so popular and with the standard of food and choice available you can see why. I have never been disappointed in one which is great and I would return to all of the ones I have been to. I would rather eat here than anywhere else in Birmingham for definite. In conclusion the Mailbox is getting a top rating from me for being the nicest place to visit in Birmingham just because of its appearance and what it has to offer. If you are in the city come and check it out because it is nice just to have a wonder around and then have a drink. Thanks for reading. xxx