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“Mixed review”

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Malmaison Oxford Castle
Ranked #6 of 44 Hotels in Oxford
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 6 January 2014

We stayed at the Malmaison in Oxford for two nights over the New Year and booked into the NY package for a room with dinner and breakfast.
Firstly the hotel location is great right in the centre by all the main shops, albeit we could not find the hotel on arrival and circled the block several times. The Hotel itself is charming, if not a little too dark. Check in and the reception area was a little erratic and there was always a wait. The staff were helpful and very polite and accommodating.
We chose not to stay in a cell, as i had some reviews on TA that these were super dark. Our room was spacious, clean and the bed very comfortable with a generous size bathroom and a roll top bath.
Our main and only complaint is the Hospitality/food/beverage area of the hotel. Our dinner which was included in the NY package was a complete disaster from start to finish. Every dish was poor and completely let the hotel down. We complained to the team in the brasserie who dealt with the complaint professionally and very swiftly but sadly as the evening progressed the matter got worse. We left the brasserie and spoke to the manager on duty that evening who removed the meal from our finial bill and also offered us a free cocktail in the bar. The bar/party lacked any atmosphere and we waited a good 20 mins to receive our drinks, which incidentally were the worst cocktails i have ever come across. Breakfast the next day was a total disaster, I understand the brasserie was full, but there was no system in place to cope, we waited 30 minutes for our tea/coffee and an hour for our breakfast. Every table was complaining as orders were late, some people were not being served. people were receiving the wrong orders and some tables just gave up and walked out.
It’s such a shame that the experience in brasserie and bar completely let down our NY break in oxford, the Hotel has such huge potential but they clearly are missing a trick in the Brassarie.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank ladybubble
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 8 January 2014

Dear Mrssy2,

Thank you for taking the time to write with your review. I am sorry that we let you down over the New Year period, we have spoken since with regard to your stay and have discussed the feedback in detail. I am sorry that your food and service was poor, the feedback of the night has been mixed with a large number of guests having enjoyed the food and cocktails, though I understand we really let you down.

The breakfast experience on New Years Day was an incredibly challenging morning for us. As can be seen by our other guest reviews, we normally offer a great experience however on this occasion with all of our guests choosing to dine at 1015-1100 the tea and coffee service and a'la carte breakfast food was slow to arrive, with 120 people to feed in this time period.

We have learned a lesson this New Year and will rectify the experience over the same night and breakfast next year, it has been discussed at the team Christmas debriefing, we have already planned the year to come including New Year 2015!

We do hope that this does not tarnish your opinion of the hotel and would love to welcome you back once again in the future.

Warm Regards

Paul Watson

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1,665 - 1,671 of 3,012 reviews

Reviewed 5 January 2014

Maybe because I am used to the hospitality service in London or maybe because I just came back from Vietnam where with a 25 pounds room you get laptop in the room, complimentary fruit basket and water and anything from toothpaste to razor and so on. Well, this "boutique hotel" does not provide the expected service and to me it looked very "provincial". On top of this their New Year's Eve package was misleading and an attempt to fool customers. I think Malmaison created a brand which is actually based on an abstract reputation. Also, I understand this is an historical building but the lighting is poor in every corner of the hotel. In the brasserie we could not see our own food. The cell rooms have small windows and I understand why. However, what will make me not to return is the fact that the promoted package was misleading. They suggested in the leaflet that there was a band during the dinner (false!, I think it was in the bar on another floor); they suggested that it was a great deal (false, according to my calculation probably the breakfast was free so I would have preferred they said "free breakfast" instead of "New Year's Eve package"); the celebration in the bar on another floor was so provincial that I did not see anybody enjoying it, not classy at all and the room half empty all the time; the brasserie layout did not provide the atmosphere of a celebration event, it could have been better going to a random pub really. Also, we received an email to choice our menu before going there but on the night the main course have been changed and my friend, who cannot eat gluten, struggled to find an alternative. What's the point of this online menu selection days before???? At the start of the dinner we have also been told that we had to free the table by 9.45pm which luckily did not happen. On top of our package cost we have been added a nearly 50 pounds service charge (probably for messing up our menu!) based on a price we were not aware of (dinner for four costed 460 pounds but since we were paying for a package we did not know the spit between room and dinner), luckily this additional service charge was removed from the bill upon our surprised reaction at the moment of checking out.
It is a shame this hotel which has a lovely (but dark) setting cannot provide an exception service. What's the point really of paying for an expensive room rate when in Oxford you can stay in better places and cheaper? Be warned, I think you just pay for the location and the fact that the building is historical. Up to you if you want to go there!

Room Tip: Non-cells rooms have windows and more light. Cell-rooms have tiny windows near the ceiling, lovely w...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled with friends
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Thank Xacca
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 8 January 2014

Dear Xacca,

Thank you for taking the time to write your review of the hotel. I am sorry that we did not meet your experience over New Year.

I am sorry you felt mislead over the period, since this was my first year in the hotel it is clear we could have positioned the entertainment better within the property and this is something we will be changing for next year. With regard to the hotel, the property is a stunning renovation of a working prison until 1996 for which it has won many national and international awards. I am sorry you were disappointed by this and found the lighting dim and the design and feel provincial.

We work very hard in the hotel to offer exceptional service and food, and as can be seen by the previous reviews we have been consistently delivering this over the last month. New Year is a one off special occasion and we will work very hard to ensure a real wow experience in years to come, utilising all aspects of the building.

I do hope that you choose to give us another chance.

Warm Regards

Paul Watson

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Reviewed 3 January 2014

My wife took me to this hotel on my birthday as were booked into our favourite Chinese restaurant just ten minutes' walk away. Although we live in Oxfordshire travel connections are non-existent at night in our area so the idea was to enjoy an unhurried evening with no worries about drinking and driving or alternative transport. We would have been happy to have had a clean room at a fair price but our expectations were greatly exceeded. The whole place has been beautifully designed and the rooms are absolutely first class - so different from some stuffy and tired long-established hotels nearby. As it is in an enclosed courtyard there is a complete absence of traffic noise. The staff were the friendliest and most attentive we have encountered in a long time. To add to the benefits, we were allowed to take our dog, which made the whole evening stress free.

Malmaison describe themselves as the hotels that dare to be different. In their case it has certainly paid off, and we can't wait to find an excuse to stay again.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Howard1943
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 8 January 2014

Dear Howard1943,

Thank you so much for choosing to stay with us and for taking the time to write a great review of your experience. I would love to know what that Chinese restaurant is called but it seems the chance has passed us by...

It gives me great pleasure to read positive comments about the team and I thank you for your kind words, they too will be delighted.

We do hope you pop in and see us again soon, or even stay the night once again.

Very Warm Regards

Paul Watson

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Reviewed 3 January 2014

Amazing hotel in an amazing location. If you can pay the extra to stay in the cells.
Very atmospheric, lots of the original details still there.
Yes it was expensive and some of the extras were too expensive but for a romantic weekend it was worth the extra money.
If you can try and leave the car at home and go by train.
Parking is a joke in Oxford and very pricey

Room Tip: Go for the cell if you can. does cost a lot more but worth it
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank 186336John_D
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 8 January 2014

Dear 186336John_D,

Thank you for taking the time to write your review, I was delighted to read you found the hotel stunning. We do hope we get to see you again very soon.

Paul Watson

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Reviewed 2 January 2014

I'm sorry to give this hotel just an average review as the service, the food, the proximity to town were all fabulous. However from the moment we checked in & couldn't find our room & so were wandering the corridors I was really freaked out - must have done a long stretch in a previous life! The room whilst luxurious was dark, with a fantastically comfortable bed & pillows, the ensuite was nice but impractical (shower was lovely but soaked the floor due to the screen not being big enough). The bar was really dark (we took our drinks to our room instead), I'm sure the subdued lighting was supposed to add to the atmosphere & my husband loved it but it wasn't for me unfortunately, I could have had a much more relaxed stay in somewhere normal.

  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank SHARONH8367
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 8 January 2014

Dear SHARONH8367,

Thank you for taking the time to write your review, I was delighted to read that you found the service, food and location FABULOUS! I am sorry that you were a little irked by the building itself, if only your boyfriend had wrote the review perhaps we would have gotten five stars?!

We have some great hotels throughout the country, if we cant tempt you back here maybe you can go and have another fantastic experience there - we know you want to!

Thanks again for your review.

Warm Regards

Paul Watson

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Reviewed 1 January 2014

I'm fascinated by prisons so I knew I'd like this place! We paid a bit extra to get one of the original cells to get the full experience. It was amazing! Authentic and quite surreal and worth every penny. Short walk to bars and restaurants. Breakfast was great and worth paying more for cooked. Bar was good. Would love to return again one day.

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Vicky2007
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 8 January 2014

Dear Vicky2007,

I was very pleased to read your review, thank you for taking the time to write it. The cells truly are a unique experience, as is the wing in which they are located. I was delighted that you enjoyed your breakfast with us and the bar also.

We cant wait to lock you up once again.

Paul Watson

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Reviewed 1 January 2014

We stayed at Malmaison Oxford Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. We cannot fault the hotel in anyway. Our room, one of the converted cells, was simply beautiful. It was very comfortable, quiet and cosy. It was very well appointed too. Quite why some people complain about the lighting is beyond me.

All the staff were friendly and attentive. Especially those who gave up their Christmas Day to serve us our lunch. Which was superb. What we particularly liked was not feeling hurried in anyway.

All in all this was a truly fabulous experience and we would like to say a very big thank you to everyone at Malmaison Oxford for making our Christmas feel very special.

Room Tip: Go for one of the converted cells!
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Thank ALM2772
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 8 January 2014

Dear ALM2772,

Thank you for taking the time to write your review. I was delighted to read that you chose to spend Christmas with us and that you had a wonderful time.

The lighting in the hotel is certainly a contentious issue, though I was pleased to read that you enjoyed it. It is very kind of you to recognise the staff that spend Christmas working, it is certainly an aspect of the job that shows the huge level of commitment the team have.

We look forward to seeing you again in the future and welcoming you back to our great hotel.

Warm Regards

Paul Watson

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about 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: £146 - £340 (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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