My partner and I were coming to Oxford to see a concert, and on searching online for hotels close to the venue we decided on Malmaison as a treat, because the one-time-prison-now-boutique-hotel appealed to us. We arrived shortly after 4pm, it would have been sooner if we hadn't driven past it twice as it is tucked away. Not a major problem, but perhaps better signage is required? We were greeted by a very friendly valet who offered help with our luggage before parking our car. Inside, on first impression it is very dark....I understand this all part of the ambience, and the lighting was obviously well thought of to emphasise the buildings interior, but even on a sunny afternoon it was a little too gloomy for me. The girl on reception was very polite on check in, and directed us to the corridor that led to our room, but neglected to mention we would need to take the lift up four floors to get to it, so we did wander around for a few minutes before we managed to work this out. Again, not a major problem, but the receptionist could have been a little more specific. Our room was very nice, spacious (we were in the New Road rooms) with a super king size bed and had a small balcony. On going out onto it we discovered we were directly over a bar, and I was relieved it was a Monday and mid October, not a warm summer Friday evening when potentially there would be a lot of people directly below our bedroom window! However the doors were very thick and blocked out a lot of noise, not sure if I could say the same for the sound proofing qualities of the floor though. I must say the mini bar in the room was very well stocked, and not ridiculously overpriced like some other hotels. It did take a while to locate the hair dryer, which was sitting in its own little bag at the back of the wardrobe. The bathroom was lovely, with the largest bath I've ever seen and a shower with a head the size of a dinner plate! Needless to say, I took full advantage of both during our stay! The toiletries were a decent size and smelled lovely too! We did have a couple of tiny problems however, that was the bedspread had a dubious mark on it, so we took it off the bed and left it on the floor. Also the duvet could have done with being bigger, as it barely went over the sides of the mattress. As we were going out we decided to order room service instead of going to the restaurant. We ordered two salads which arrived within half an hour and were very tasty.
On returning from our concert venue, we went up to the third floor bar for cocktails. Again this room was too dark for me, I couldn't help wondering if people trip over the furniture! We were served promptly by the barman, and our cocktails were lovely. There is a TV on the wall in the bar, and while we were there, the channel showing was 'Fashion TV' this is not a channel I have seen or even heard of before, but they were obviously showing the lingerie section. I hope this doesn't sound too prudish, in fact I found it quite amusing, but it was bordering on soft porn! The barman soon changed the channel to a music one. We ordered another cocktail each and went back to our room, where we ordered more room service. Again this arrived in good time and was tasty.
After a restful night's sleep we went down the brasserie for breakfast. The first thing I noticed was BBC Radio 2 playing over the stereo....fantastic! More places should do this, it is so much better than the usual stuff you hear in restaurants! I was almost dissappointed we hadn't come down earlier as we had just missed the Chris Evans breakfast show! Anyway, we were seated by a very pleasant young man who took our tea and toast order, and showed us where the continental breakfast buffet was, which had a very good selection. We also had a hot breakfast each, my partner going for the full English while I tried the waffles with bacon and maple syrup. Not something I've had before, and I was impressed when it arrived, an enormous waffle with three rashers of bacon and a tiny copper saucepan full of maple syrup....very cute! Couldn't help wondering how many of those have gone walkies! (I didn't pinch my one, though it was tempting! It didn't say 'take me home we dare you' on it like the toiletries do, which of course I had to oblige, it would've been rude not to!) the experience was made all the more enjoyable by a particularly cheerful waiter singing along to 'Fame'! I nearly choked on my tea!
On checking out, again staff were friendly and the same valet brought our car round for us (lovely chap, didn't catch his name though).
Overall, a very good experience. We would come back, but would like to try one of the cell rooms next time.
- 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