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“Lovely hotel, bad management tainted our experience though”

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Vanbrugh House Hotel
Ranked #4 of 44 Hotels in Oxford
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 25 November 2013

I stayed at this hotel for a wedding, as part of a group of 6 but also as part of a larger wedding party. In spite of our emailing a few days before the wedding to confirm our booking, when we arrived, we were told that there were only 2 rooms available and the rest of the booking was lost. Luckily we had proof of all stages of the booking. We waited over 1 hour for this to be sorted out and the whole time the manager stayed in the back and the front desk staff had to go and keep asking for management approval. The manager never came to see us to apologise once. The staff on the front desk were great in the circumstances.
When finally checked in and all was sorted, we were pleased with the rooms and had a great time at the wedding.
We returned at just gone midnight with a family member who had a small child. The child had been sleeping peacefully at the wedding and on the journey back but just as we arrived back at the hotel woke up and was crying. It was great to see the member of staff on the front desk come running to help (as the family member had to get the buggy and crying child up to the top floor) but we were astonished to find that no, he was actually looking for a credit card to hold the booking it having not gone through earlier... He wouldn't let the family upstairs until they had come and sorted this so my husband and I used our credit card and sorted it instead. This was completely unnecessary - the card payment could have been sorted after the family had gone upstairs or alternatively could have been left until the morning.

The breakfast was pretty poor and we left the hotel very disappointed with our experience, mainly due to the poor management of the hotel.

Stayed: October 2013, travelled with family
5  Thank Jackster79
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vanbrugh House H, General Manager at Vanbrugh House Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 27 November 2013

Dear Jackster79,

How extremely disappointing it is to read your review of your recent visit to Vanbrugh House. As the General Manager of the hotel I cannot help but take these comments personally, of your opinion of the bad management of the hotel. It is of the upmost importance to myself and the team, that all our guests leave happy, having enjoyed their time spent here.
I truly thought our mistake with the rooms was dealt with quickly and effectively and I am sorry that I did not apologise personally. You were being dealt with by the duty manager, and It is certainly not my intention to upset any guest.
In regards to the taking of the pre authorisation, we were certainly not trying to be difficult. On check in we did not take it due to the baby crying, and the parents wanting to get to the room and we completely understood the situation. It was only on your return late in the evening that we asked because it is required that our guests fully check in before their nights stay. This was certainly not meant to be taken as insensitive in these circumstances.

Regards

David Robinson
General Manager

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586 - 592 of 737 reviews

Reviewed 20 November 2013

This is not a large hotel but it packs a huge punch when it comes to quality and service. Right from the moment I was looking to book a room until we checked out, everything was just so good. The staff are always helpful and willing to offer advice and guidance and they do everything with a smile on their faces - a real asset to the Vanbrugh. A glass of something sparkling when we first arrived set us up perfectly for our stay and we enjoyed every minute there. The breakfasts are very good and although we did not have an evening meal in the hotel we certainly will next time.
This is the complete package for anyone wanting to stay in the heart of Oxford in accommodation that reflects this fine location.

Room Tip: Speak to the staff when booking to discuss any requirements or thoughts, they are so helpful and wil...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Sunlounger99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vanbrugh House H, General Manager at Vanbrugh House Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 21 November 2013

Dear Sunlounger99,

Thank you so much for your review. It really pleases me that the service you received during your visit to Vanbrugh House was of a high standard . We take great pride in our customer service and it is pleasing to hear that it was received as intended. I will pass your comments on to the team immediately.

We look forward to welcoming you at Vanbrugh House again soon.

Kind regards

David Robinson
General Manager

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Reviewed 19 November 2013

Stayed here recently with my mother for 1 night. We really loved the hotel, very luxurious and in the most perfect of locations! Staff is very helpful and considerate, they held our bags for us when we got there a bit early and worked with us to make sure that our stay there was very nice. Loved the location of the hotel...it is a short walk from the bus station and there are adorable homes, churches, shops, restauarants, etc all around the hotel or within a short walk. Absolutely adored Oxford...so charming!!

We had the John Vanbrugh Suite (I think), basically Room #1 on the first floor. The suite was of a good size, nice sized main room with large-ish queen-sized bed and a small sitting room and an ensuite bathroom. The bathroom is really the star of the suite, as it has a huuuuuuuge free-standing tub and a large rainfall shower. Plenty of hot water, good pressure, my mom loved the rainfall shower. The bed was big and comfy, good pillows, wonderful sheets. Room temperature was comfortable. The suite was on the street side, and we didn't hear much noise from the street until early the next morning. There were really good drapes to block out the light and sound of any people on the street. Free internet was also a plus.

The included breakfast was hit or miss from our perspective. My mom had the full english breakfast and was disappointed that the eggs were not cooked to her standards (both times, as she sent back the first order of eggs). She requested them over easy, with runny yolk and they came back completely fully cooked. I had the continental breakfast and found it to be a good value. Plenty of orange and pear juice, nice selection of meats, and the croissants and pastries were very soft and delicious. We also had tea for before dinner in the downstairs restaurant and enjoyed it, although as noted the restaurant is very very very tiny. If you wish to have dinner elsewhere though, different choices about throughout Oxford and are all within an easy walk of the hotel.

Overall really enjoyed our stay at this boutique-style hotel. When we return to Oxford we plan on staying here again! A bit pricey, but for downtown Oxford charm and style it is so worth the extra money!! A big thank you to the staff during our stay!

Room Tip: Front rooms have the potential for street noise, John Vanbrugh Suite was worth the extra money, more...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Kiki_19
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vanbrugh House H, General Manager at Vanbrugh House Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 21 November 2013

Dear Kiki_19,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a glowing review. It really pleases me that you and your mother were looked after well by the staff, and the hotel and its location were to your satisfaction.
I must apologise regarding your issue at breakfast. Our cooked to order breakfasts should be wholesome and of the highest quality, so I am sorry we let you down on this occasion.
Once again, thank you for your 5 star review and we look forward to welcoming you at Vanbrugh House again soon.

Kind regards

David Robinson
General Manager

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Reviewed 18 November 2013

This was the perfect hotel for us as we wanted to be in the centre of Oxford close to shops and restaurants. The hotel is a beautiful Georgian stone building which has been renovated to a very high standard managing to retain the character whilst offering the best quality furniture and fittings. The staff were all very friendly and welcoming - especially Natasha who booked us in and gave us loads of local information on the best jewellery shops! The reason for our trip was to meet up with our daughter to celebrate her 21st birthday and Natasha was kind enough to bring a complimentary bottle of sparkly to her room which was very well received - thanks! We look forward to visiting again and would thoroughly recommend the Vanbrugh Hotel as the perfect place to stay.

Room Tip: Room No 18 isn't huge but makes up for that with loads of character having an inglenook fireplac...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with family
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Thank Mandy1Hampshire
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vanbrugh House H, General Manager at Vanbrugh House Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 19 November 2013

Dear Mandy1Hampshire,

Thank you so much for your 5 star review. I am really pleased that Natasha looked after you well. The team take great pride in their customer service and I am glad this shows.
Thank you for your comments on the building and its décor. Being a grade 2 listed property, we were very conscious in keeping Vanbrugh House true to its period features whilst bringing it up to date with a contemporary interior design.

We look forward to welcoming you again soon.

Kind regards

David Robinson
General Manager

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Reviewed 13 November 2013

This relatively small hotel opened just over a year ago - a conversion of two large town houses (no lift) in central Oxford, near Carfax and the High Street, so convenient for city buses. There's no parking, but a city car park nearby (expensive). The staff we met were all young and very eager to please. Our room, the Trellis (so named because it looks over the hotel courtyard garden fenced with trellis...) was comfortable and pleasantly decorated, with a spacious shower room up a small step. Nice large towels and good toiletries. Biscuits accompany the tea and coffee making facilities, and there's a small fridge with fresh milk, complimentary water and some snacks. Breakfast is served in the basement restaurant with a door opening on to the courtyard (nice in summer) and the English breakfast was freshly cooked and the ingredients of good quality. Overall I'd strongly recommend this hotel, which was reasonably priced in comparison to other hotels of similar quality in the city.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Swanaround
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vanbrugh House H, General Manager at Vanbrugh House Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 17 November 2013

Dear Cambridge,

Thank you for your detailed review, I am really pleased you would strongly recommend us to others. In regards to your comment on parking, I would recommend the Oxford park and ride service. The buses run at regular intervals throughout the day and overnight parking is for as little as £2.00.

Thank you for your comments.

Kind regards

David Robinson
General Manager

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Reviewed 12 November 2013

I lived in Oxford for 4 years and never knew this hotel existed. It's a lovely place hidden away down a side street right in the centre of Oxford. The reception is really cosy with lovely comfy chairs and sofas - not huge but it easily fitted us 6 girls, relaxing after afternoon tea while waiting for a lift, and a few other guests.
The dining room is downstairs and felt underground which surprised me but there was natural light from a glass door to the side and it was nicely decorated and had a good feel. It is quite small but didn't feel overcrowded. We were only a group of 7 though so I'm not sure they would fit much bigger groups.
The afternoon tea was reasonably priced and all the food was home cooked. On first glance at the well presented trays we thought we'd be left hungry but we were all struggling to finish off the last mouthfuls. Most of us persevered though as it was yummy!
The service was great and the staff were all lovely. Before the event I had been emailing the Brasserie Manager, Ivelina, who very thoughfully offered to source decorations for us and even went into Oxford town centre herself to buy them when the hotel supplier couldn't supply what we wanted!
All in all we had a lovely time. I would recommend this hotel for afternoon tea and would visit again.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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3  Thank Helen P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vanbrugh House H, General Manager at Vanbrugh House Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 15 November 2013

Dear Helen P,

Thank you so much for your review, I am really pleased you enjoyed your afternoon tea at Vanbrugh House. This is really popular at the hotel, with its homemade ingredients and a choice of interesting teas, makes it a must for hotel residents and non residents alike.
Please do and try and join us during December when our afternoon tea will have a seasonal twist!
I will pass on your comments to Ivelina and the team immediately.

We look forward to welcoming you again soon.

Kind regards

David Robinson
General manager

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Reviewed 11 November 2013

This hotel is in an unbeatable location, right in the heart of Oxford, in a pretty backstreet which is quiet while being in the middle of everything. It takes about 15--20 minutes to walk from the station to the hotel. The interior of the building has been recently renovated. We had a standard room with a comfortable bed and a good bathroom (toiletries were very nice), but we found the room was really small for the price we paid considering that breakfast was not included. There are not a lot of options if you want to stay in the centre of Oxford, so I guess that’s the price to pay.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank vmar3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Vanbrugh House H, General Manager at Vanbrugh House Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded 15 November 2013

Dear vmar3,

Thank you for your feedback on your recent visit to Oxford. I am sorry to hear that you found your room small for the price paid. Here at Vanbrugh House we really do try and offer 'affordable luxury' and are by no means as expensive as other hotels in the city.
It does please me however that the hotels location, décor and facilities were to your liking.

Thank you for your comments.

kind regards

David Robinson
General manager

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Additional Information about Vanbrugh House Hotel

Address: Vanburgh House 20-24 St. Michaels Street, Oxford OX1 2EB, England
Phone Number:
Region: United Kingdom > England > Oxfordshire > Oxford
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 44 Hotels in Oxford
Price Range: £153 - £295 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Vanbrugh House Hotel 4*
Number of rooms: 22
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