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“Nice place but not worth the money”

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Malmaison Oxford Castle
Ranked #6 of 44 Hotels in Oxford
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 17 November 2013

This is one of the most expensive hotels I have stayed in, yet it was average in terms of service. A great idea & stunning conversion of this former prison (only closed in 1996). However not without its problems. The air con is on 24/7 as there's are no opening windows. If you like fresh air when you sleep then forget this hotel. Also our air con temperature control did not change anything! It was a continuous stream of cold air. The drench shower was more a trickle shower. The flow was pathetic. The lighting is all wrong in the rooms. The only place you could see your face properly was in the bathroom but the 2 lights either side of the mirror gave off too much glare so you could not see properly. We paid £430 for 2 nights room only! I have stayed in many hotels at half this price that were far better equipped and generally a nicer place to be. They did knock 10% off the bill when we mentioned the shower and air con which was a kind gesture.

Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
1  Thank adpbuildSkipton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this reviewResponded 22 November 2013

Dear adpbuildSkipton,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write your review.

I was pleased that you were able to enjoy the hotel despite the couple of points made where we could do better. I can assure you these points are duly noted and will form a part of any future works that take place in improving this fantastic hotel.

We hope to see you again soon.

Paul Watson

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1,753 - 1,759 of 3,058 reviews

Reviewed 16 November 2013

We recently stayed here for a one night mid week getaway. Firstly, it was a nightmare locating the hotel down various one way streets and bus lanes. My partner jumped out and went on foot to locate the hotel, the satnav postcode does not lead you to the hotel.

On arrival the receptionist was quick to take my card and charge me £50 for 'anything I use in the room' found this slightly odd but no real explanation given. Parking was pre booked and good to know the car was safe underground. The receptionist gave us a long list of directions to our room which turned out to be incorrect and we had to ask another member of staff for help. As previously mentioned by another reviewer, nobody offers to help with bags etc.

We had booked a house of correction double and the room was great, spacious and light. The room was very warm and we were unable to turn the heating down. Tea and coffee facilities, good mini bar selection, numerous towels etc.

We had booked to eat in the restaurant but cancelled having the seen the layout of the restaurant/bar, there was no separation between the two. After walking round the town we returned to the bar and had 2x coffees, we were surprised to get minimal change from ten pounds!!

Room was quiet, no neighbour noise or problems. The bed was slightly hard and lead to an uncomfortable night for me, my partner was fine. Breakfast was 'ok' a good selection of continental but the cooked options were not extensive or particularly hot.

On the whole a good stay, great for proximity to the town, great room and setting. Negatives; not worth £200 a night plus extra for parking, and then an extra put on the bill upon checkout for eating breakfast?! We had already paid for breakfast but then had to pay a surcharge? Another added extra we weren't aware of.

Would we return? Yes, but would wait for their to be a good deal on as cost does not equal what you get.

Room Tip: Don't pay over the odds for a cell room, the standard doubles in the house of correction are jus...
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Bournemouth88
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this reviewResponded 22 November 2013

Dear Bournemouth88,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write your very constructive review. I was very pleased to read that overall you enjoyed your stay and note some of the areas where we could do a little better.

We do have some incredible offers on the website so please ensure you keep an eye out here as we would love to welcome you back to the hotel in the future.

Warm Regards

Paul Watson

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Reviewed 15 November 2013

I have stayed here a few times over the years and really love the place. They have used great imagination with its design and it is full of character. The restaurant is really nice too with a really tasty menu - I had a chicken dish which was lovely. The bar (recreation rooms) is also really nice and they serve great cocktails!

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Harisa T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this reviewResponded 22 November 2013

Dear Harisa T,

Thank you for taking the time to write your review of the hotel. I was delighted to read how much you enjoy this hotel, it is clear to me we have you #lockedupforMalLife already, and as such I sentence you to another term in the hotel very soon!

Paul Watson

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Reviewed 14 November 2013

I stopped for lunch on a saturday and the location is really different but also convenient if you are visiting the centre of Oxford but want to avoid the other packed restaurants (we had tried 2 others but no tables available until 14:30). The restaurant was only about 1/2 full which sometimes is worrying but on this occasion I believe it is because not many people would consider a hotel for a lunch. I was glad we did - the servers were friendly and helpful, also knowledgeable about the menu which is not radical but jay has a few twists to make it more interesting than the usual run of the mill food. We shared starters and mains and they were very accommodating of all our requests. The food is not spectacular but well presented and for the price as expected. The place itself is the former gaol so whilst it's odd to think about the prisoners who were there before it was a hotel and restaurant.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank colebrooke1964
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this reviewResponded 22 November 2013

Dear colebrook1964,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review of our restaurant. I was very pleased to read that you enjoyed your experience and I hope that we see you again very soon. We do enjoy our guests who challenge us a little so Jay is more than welcome anytime with yourself!

Warm Regards

Paul Watson

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Reviewed 14 November 2013

Arriving at the Mal was seamless and pleasant with the staff taking care of the challenge of parking the car. Pre check ensured a speedy flow to the room but be warned - you need a map and good orienteering skills to return to your room.
The rooms are very good and should be at the price but I would recommend a cell room if you want to live the history of the place (ex prison). The design and ambiance of the hotel is outstanding and really cannot be appreciated unless you can coerse a knowledgible staff member to walk you through the place and highlight the history and memorabilia.
Cocktails are fantasic with a wide choice and the food is first class. Take the chefs recommendation for both food and wine and you will not be disappointed.
Sorry to go as it is the palce to stay when in Oxford and the staff, from General manager to Valet were courteous and professional - but so they should be at the price. Great value though.

Room Tip: The cell rooms are best.
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  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank WinkerCaunton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this reviewResponded 22 November 2013

Dear WinkerCaunton,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write your review.

I was very pleased to read that you thoroughly enjoyed your experience at the hotel and I was delighted to meet you myself during your visit. Please pass on my sincere regards to your family and I hope we see you all again very soon.

Warmest Regards

Paul Watson

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Reviewed 11 November 2013

We booked last minute on Saturday during half term and choice was limited as we needed a location very central and close to Oxford train station. The website was interesting and I liked the look of the bar so booked a standard double room in the new part of the building called the House of Correction for £205.00.

Well the whole building is amazing and it has won a recent interior design award. The location is great and we were able to dump our bags and head straight into the centre of Oxford to find a restaurant without much trouble. Next day we found the Ashmolean Museum to be under ten minutes walk away. So far so good.

The service and room were both under-whelming and I would be reluctant to pay this price again for the standard achieved in these areas. The service was modern in as much that no-one offered to carry our bags. Instead we were given our keys and a set of long instructions to find our room. This involved going through a couple of heavy doors, three flights of stairs and an outside public courtyard. It was dark and raining so it would have helped to have a member of staff lead the way.

The room itself was furnished in a modern, dark boutique style, but nothing spectacular. There was a gap under the door which let the light and breeze in. The lighting was quite dim. The bathroom was ok but it had an overhead shower head which was slightly awkward to use in terms of its positioning and the bath was grubby. There wasn't really enough space around the sink for toilet bags and toothbrushes. It did get a bit cold in the room later and it wasn't clear how the the air con and heating worked. If someone had offered to show us to our room then we could have asked about these things.

The handles to the wardrobe were made of leather effect and had probably looked lovely when new but were now crumbling and worn. The bed was very comfortable but was dressed with some very large woolen cushions that we both found quite itchy. We had to throw them off the bed after a short while when we realised they were causing us to scratch! Looking at them in the morning it wasn't clear how they could be cleaned which was slightly worrying. The room had a good flat-screen tv, a well stocked mini bar and an inviting light menu for the room service.

We had drinks at the bar later in the evening. It's a very lovely design and the music was great but again the service was quite patchy and disorganised. Tables weren't cleaned, glasses not collected, service slow though there were plenty of staff behind the bar. I had an earl grey style cocktail which was nice but small for the price and the bartender missed out an ingredient that was listed on the menu.

Earlier in the evening we approached one of the reception staff to ask about a good chinese restaurant but she wasn't able to help stating that she didn't eat 'chinese' herself. She did give us a map eventually and we figured things out for ourselves but we were left feeling slightly bemused. The impression was that the staff were quite young and friendly but not really trained in good hotel service. The company seems to be trading on the cool aspects related to the design of the building but not on the details that make guests feel really welcome and ultimately want to return. The next day we met up with my brother and children and we took them back to the hotel and took photos with them in the central part. They got the fun of the design for free whereas we paid for the privilege to stay in a room out the back. We won't be doing it again.

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank emeraldandgold
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this reviewResponded 22 November 2013

Dear emeraldandgold,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write your review following your visit to the hotel. I was very pleased to read that you enjoyed your visit, recognising the uniqueness of the property and care taken in renovating from a prison.

I have given much consideration to your observations where we can improve and I will certainly be utilising your feedback to make some very quick changes, as well as working toward a longer term plan.

I do hope we see you again to experience this yourself.

Warm Regards

Paul Watson

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Reviewed 10 November 2013

Really loved this stay. Superior room with balcony overlooking main courtyard and entrance. Asthetics cannot be faulted but our room was very hot (in November!) and no sign of air-con. At almost £300 you'd expect to have heating and cooling options. However, we didn't actually spend that much time in the room! Good size, gorgeous bathroom which was huge too. Fridge in room so some room to stash your own treats. Good job too as the cocktails were tiny and expensive for what you got. Having said all this, it's a striking building and they've really made the most of it. One for a special occasion for sure!

  • Stayed: November 2013
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1  Thank sam_pickles
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this reviewResponded 22 November 2013

Dear sam_pickles,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write your review. I was delighted to read that you enjoyed the hotel experience.

I do believe we are worth it, and hope that with feedback such as yours we can concentrate on improving the experience in the areas that matter most to our guests.

We look forward to welcoming you back for that special occasion.

Warm Regards

Paul Watson

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Additional Information about Malmaison Oxford Castle

Address: 3 Oxford Castle New Road, 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: £143 - £294 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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