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“Good enough but something is missing”

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Malmaison Oxford Castle
Ranked #7 of 44 Hotels in Oxford
Certificate of Excellence
Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
74 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Good enough but something is missing”
Reviewed 5 June 2012

Was really looking forward to coming here; a renovated Victorian prison should be an amazing hotel experience and we'd promised ourselves a stay for ages. In general it was ok but somehow we left rather underwhelmed. The staff, in particularly at front desk, were all excellent though. The rooms, made from three former cells with an authentic cell door and whitewashed walls, we're great, as were the prison walkways on each floor. The outer building was of course very impressive too. But something is missing. Firstly, it's getting tatty and worn now and must be due a refurb. The standard of cleanliness isn't as good as it should be at this price point - we changed room because of it. The in-room toiletries and refreshments are a bit low rent too. And there is an odd atmosphere in the place - sterile, bland almost. Odd in such a charactful building. Things like the faux brick wall painted on hardboard near the entrance dont help - just plain tacky. And finally checkout took forever, as did getting our car back from the £20-a-night park - don't count on a quick exit. We wanted to love this place but if Disneyland did a prison-themed hotel it would probably be like this. Fun on the face of it, good staff but lacking in real quality and atmosphere. The Malmaison in Leeds was better.

Room Tip: Go as high as you can! Don't go for a basement room. Very dull and dark.
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  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
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Thank TheRichens2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Canterbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 4 June 2012 via mobile

We stayed for a weekend and found the hotel to be a perfect base for exploring Oxford. We left the car at home for a change as the hotel is a short walk from the train station and the city centre. We booked last minute so stayed in the Govenor's House and not in one of the cells in the main prison wing. This must be the first hotel we've stayed in which we wanted to tour and marvel at the skilled conversion. All the room facilities were of a high standard, quality teas and filter coffee, and excellent shower pressure. Bed was a little too firm for me but thick walls and heavy curtains meant a good nights sleep. Didn't try the breakfast, went to Maison Blanc instead! All in all have no hesitation in recommending this hotel - try book a cell if you can to add to the atmosphere!

Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank TQ1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Gloucestershire
Level Contributor
12 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
Reviewed 31 May 2012

Spending a couple of days in Oxford recently, the Malmaison Oxford Castle was well recommended to us by family members who had previously stayed there - although it's important to point out that a cell room in the main wing should be booked to fully experience the individuality of this hotel.

The ambience of both the hotel and the 'cell' bedroom did not disappoint. Imaginatively converted some years ago, the low lighting and retention of original features creates an interesting and unique atmosphere.

On arrival, and although everything we expected, we unfortunately found our room to be terribly cold on a very hot day, and subsequently discovered that the heating system wasn't working as it should.
However, having alerted staff, on returning to the hotel from dinner in the evening, and with the problem unresolved, we were 'waylaid' at reception as we came in, and were informed we would be given alternative accommodation, and that if we didn't mind moving rooms, we would also be upgraded to compensate us for the inconvenience.

Staff were courteous, pleasant and dealt well with our concerns regarding the lack of heating.

Although not inexpensive, we elected to reserve parking when booking our room, and our car was garaged safely underground on arrival. It was well worth having it nearby and under cover.

The position of the hotel is central and very convenient for walking to most places of interest, and having had a comfortable stay we look forward to a longer return visit in the future.

Room Tip: Be sure to book a 'cell' in the main wing to fully appreciate the experience.Life
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank CountryKiwi_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bury St Edmunds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
24 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed 30 May 2012 via mobile

Lovely night's stay on Sunday. Staff were friendly and efficient. The air con in our room was broken so the staff moved us to a better room, no questions asked, without hesitation or inconvenience. Comfortable and atmospheric, good breakfast, central location.

  • Stayed May 2012
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Thank christhomson1964
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
1 review
Reviewed 28 May 2012 via mobile

A truly unique setting that retains the character of the buildings past whilst delivering effortless indulgence throughout. First class customer service that uphold the standard of this hotel. Not priced for the feint hearted, but we thoroughly enjoyed our stay and plan to tour the other Malmaisons!

  • Stayed May 2012
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Helpful?
Thank dbnads
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oxford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 28 May 2012

An utterly charming hotel; they have kept the spirit of a gaol whilst wrapping you in luxury. Very efficient staff who are friendly and charming at the same time. Well worth just wandering around once you have checked in, there are extraordinary crevices well worth poking your nose in. Don't miss a drink in the visitors bar, expensive but oozing character. We had room 101 and fortunately not a rat to be seen, the only fault being a faulty sink plug. It's not cheap but worth eery penny and check out their website for deals.

Room Tip: Rooms on the lower ground floor are dark, it is a prison and there is nothing they can do about dung...
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  • Stayed May 2012, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Sally363
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sydney
Level Contributor
22 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 May 2012

Spent a weekend here in May 2012. Had previously stayed here and was a bit underwhelmed having been put in the modern annex building rather than the main cell rooms.

This time we had a cell and it made a world of difference. The room was lovely, with lots of character and nice little touches. The cell/prison theme is played on but quite subtly and not in a gimmicky way. Decor and design all excellent.

The main bar is also lovely and the food significantly better than last time. Also service from everyone there was first rate.

All in all it is a fantastic place and well worth staying there if you are in Oxford (just make sure you get a room in the main building as it makes all the difference). I will be back.

  • Stayed May 2012
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank Beard3894
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Malmaison Oxford Castle

Property: Malmaison Oxford Castle
Address: 3 Oxford Castle, Oxford OX1 1AY, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Oxfordshire > Oxford
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Business Hotel in Oxford
#6 Luxury Hotel in Oxford
#9 Romantic Hotel in Oxford
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££
Hotel Class:4 star — Malmaison Oxford Castle 4*
Number of rooms: 95
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
If you're tired of doing hard time in run-of-the-mill hotels, it's a completely different story at our former gaol, Malmaison Oxford. Instead sip the coolest cocktails in the free world at MALBAR and enjoy an eclectic mix of classic dishes with a twist at the Brasserie, from freshly caught fish to the famous Mal Burger. Good behaviour will get you privileges like free Wi-Fi, drench showers, plasma TVs and and even toiletries that are just begging to be nabbed by light-fingered guests. This is one hotel in Oxford city centre where you'll be happy to get a long stretch. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Malmaison Oxford Castle Hotel Oxford
Malmaison Hotel Oxford

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