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“First rate”

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Old Parsonage Hotel
Ranked #2 of 44 Hotels in Oxford
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 26 May 2014

We stayed here for one night recently and wish we'd booked for longer. The hotel looks fantastic following the recent renovations and the staff continue to be first class. The rooms are stylishly decorated and the new residents library is a very welcome addition - an oasis of calm in quite a busy establishment. We regularly stay in Oxford and it's usually a difficult toss-up between the Old Bank and the Old Parsonage - think the OP now has the advantage. We're now thinking of an excuse to return!

Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank skiingarchie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 26 May 2014 via mobile

The location and setting are fantastic, the decor fitting to this building and the food and rooms were impeccable. My partner and I stayed the night and ate in the hotels restaurant. The service in the restaurant was absolutely awful. Having arrived for our 20:45 reservation we were unable to be seated until 2120. Once sat, no one introduced themselves, offered bread and water or took a drinks order for half an hour. The wine was nice and the correct temperature but we had to refill the glasses ourselves. I have no issue with this but when you are paying £100 per head the service should match the price tag. The service was unimaginably slow with massive gaps in time between courses. Once we had finished the wine with our starters and our mains finally arrived there was no one around to order drinks to go with our main course. No one checked on us to see if everything was ok and every single waiter seemed to disappear the moment anything was needed. I would most definitely not recommend the restaurant to a friend. For the price you pay the service is seriously lacking and the waiting staff need to be trained in basic customer service skills. A thoroughly disappointing end to a birthday weekend

  • Stayed: May 2014
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Thank lessthantom
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 May 2014

This small hotel is perfect. The location is great for any short visit to Oxford. This old hotel is oozing history, elegance, comfort, style, and friendliness. The bedrooms are gorgeous, beautiful toiletries and a cool Revo radio which was very welcome.
We were lucky to have stayed when the sun was shining and enjoyed breakfast and dinner in the gorgeous outside terrace.
Go if ever you can.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
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1  Thank Eat0n
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 May 2014

We visited Oxford for the first time last month. Wanting to stay in the center, we narrowed our choices and were torn about whether to stay at the Old Bank or the Old Parsonage. We finally decided that despite the additional cost from her sister property, The Old Bank, The Old Parsonage looked to be quieter, more charming and more of an 'Old World" experience. The photos on the website were inviting and the reviews of the hotel were across the board favorable, provided you were careful in your room selection. I asked all the right questions when booking our room and we were assured that some of the negatives the hotel received were being addressed in the new renovation which was ongoing but would be complete by the time we arrived. In fact, we even agreed to be upgraded in order to have a quieter room which did not face the Old Banbury Road traffic.

We arrived the weekend following their grand re-opening.

Upon arrival I was pleasantly surprised to find that the outside was indeed as charming as the photos had promised, with a lovely courtyard enclosed by an ivy and vine covered brick wall. With high expectations still intact we entered through the small,arched and antique doorway and found.... a rather dim and drab interior.

Most of the charm from the web photos seems to have been stripped out, painted over and generally erased in favor of the somewhat spare "mode povera" style of decorating found in the pricier, glossier and trendier interiors magazines which were artfully tossed on the sharp edged and uninviting bare surfaces. The patina of centuries of use, the wear and rounded edges, wormhole and wax have been replaced by a uniform coat of dull gray sparked with the occasional splash of old school burgundy and navy. Beautiful art saved the interior from actually being dismal and the photogenic fireplace has been retained.

The bar was inviting with room for perhaps 4 at the bar. The ubiquitous upholstered playroom cubes stood in for actual chairs at the tables in small bar area. Has anyone actually ever seen an adult sit comfortably at one of those?

As a guest you must still drag your baggage through the dining room to get to your room, excusing yourself as you brush by guests seated at the row of tables squeezed hard by the door. Woe is the person who actually agrees to sit at those tables.
The food was good, but not great. The breakfast buffet or a la carte menu was ample and varied.

The room itself was larger than most European rooms. Rather longer than wide. Being considered an upgraded room, it had the addition of several angular, mid century-esque chairs which could be labeled as a seating area, facing across the room a wall mounted flat screen which could not swivel to be seen from either the spare, sharp edged, steel and glass desk or the quite comfortable bed. Consequently the television was never turned on. A single-glazed window faced the bell tower of St Giles which while charming in theory, was less so when the bells rang continuously for very early morning service. A double-glazed window would have been a thoughtful touch here.
Again, I realize that taste is all subjective, and I truly wasn't looking for chintz and twee, but the room was painted a uniformly dull and chalky gray which on a paint chip would look fine. But combined with very inadequate lighting and a heavily dressed small window, it made for a very dim and drab room. The lighting was so dim in fact that the bedside lamps were insufficient to read by unless you slumped over and held your book just so in order to catch a stray beam or two of light.
The handwritten note of welcome was a nice touch however.
The promised white marble bath was everything that could be expected. I'm not sure why but the English seem to have the most wonderful bathrooms.
One other very bright spot was the charming and helpful desk staff. While some were obviously still in training, they were bright, polite and engaged. The last a quality most welcome while traveling.
Oh, and the guest library upstairs was also a surprise. I could have quite happily whiled away an entire afternoon there.
In their defense, perhaps the renovation was not yet complete. Perhaps they hadn't had time to put the final touches on the rooms or public spaces.
But what is indefensible is the price, which must have been raised to pay for this very costly renovation. For more than $675 per night, you should look elsewhere for the finish and charm you would expect in a hotel of this caliber.

Room Tip: If you are able to arrange a reasonable discount, rooms facing the interior courtyards are quieter t...
  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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3  Thank 1KTraveler2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 May 2014

What a marvelous hotel Old Parsonage has become as a result of its renovation. The rooms are fabulous -- every modern convenience but without losing the character of the old building. Wonderful bathrooms and very comfortable spacious rooms -- some of the be hotel rooms we have experienced in the U.K. The hotel is in a very old space, however, so there are some inconveniences; for example, you have to go through the restaurant to get to the guest rooms, the check-in area is a bit small (but lovely, with a working fireplace), the corridors and stairs are very narrow, and there is no lift. But these were minor issues, and the staff was exceptionally helpful in helping us moving our baggage and in checking us into the hotel. Very nice if small restaurant and bar, although very expensive. We found the service to be highly personal and friendly, and we had a marvelous walking tour of the University and New College with the on-staff guide (thanks, Isabel!), who patiently answered the most basic questions posed by two Americans. The hotel is on the north side (I think) of Oxford University, but everything we wanted to see was a short walk from the hotel. Parking is very tight but the Old Parsonage had a parking space reserved for us, which was very convenient. Highly recommend.

Room Tip: Recommend a first floor room as there are no lifts. However, with staff assistance, we were fine wi...
  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank lllaroo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 April 2014 via mobile

My husband & I stayed here last week, it is undoubtedly a lovely place to visit, however if you are planning to stay here- check your room situation!! We were on the ground floor next to a linen cupboard and at 06.45 were woken by loudly conversing ladies outside our door!!
Fifteen minutes or so later the sound of sawing & hammering began! Tried burying my head in my pillows, earphones in etc., but to no avail. Finally succumbed & got up, not really a relaxing stay!
We did mention it to the reception staff who said they would pass our comments on.......
The staff were generally good , but I felt a little novice, especially the hovering gentleman in the foyer/ restaurant, every request we made- ( others too, I noticed) was met with a quizzical look whilst he processed what we had said. Perhaps this was just a language issue- nonetheless not quite good enough for a hotel of this rating.
The food is good but not great and the dining room position requires guests to walk though the diners to access the hotel bedrooms- not well thought through...
I visited the sister hotel The Old Bank for a coffee the following day. When paying for my coffee I was chatting with the desk manager ( I think he was ) & gave my views of The Old Parsonage and he didn't charge me!!!! Perhaps we shall stay there next time!
In conclusion, The Old Parsonage has the makings of a fine hotel, but a few issues need addressing & a more professional & confident approach by the staff is necessary.

Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
7  Thank aradLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 March 2014

This hidden gem has been having a massive refurbishment and opens again soon. We were regular customers for afternoon tea-wonderful or lunch-marvellous or for dinner -divine. We are looking forward to finding out how the place has been improved and what new offerings are on the menu.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Beckleyable
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Old Parsonage Hotel

Address: 1 Banbury Road, Oxford OX2 6NN, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Oxfordshire > Oxford
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Business Hotel in Oxford
#2 Luxury Hotel in Oxford
#3 Family Hotel in Oxford
#5 Romantic Hotel in Oxford
Price Range: £200 - £414 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Old Parsonage Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 35
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ranked as the best hotel in Oxford, the 17th century Old Parsonage is situated in the heart of this historic city at the end of the beautiful boulevard St Giles. The recently completed restoration combines the original charm and character of the building with the very latest comfort, amenity and technology available today. The Old Parsonage restaurant and bar, famous for its intimate, bohemian, clubby atmosphere, serves classic British food with a modern, light touch. Open every day of the year, breakfast, lunch, dinner and our famous afternoon teas can be enjoyed in the company of Oxford's academic and literary elite. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Hotel Old Parsonage

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