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“Nice but lacks sparkle”

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Malmaison Oxford Castle
Ranked #6 of 44 Hotels in Oxford
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 27 April 2014

Great location and lovely design. Nothing wrong with our superior rooms at all. The car parking was full so we had to park round the corner (once we navigated the one way system and sat nav!)

But......bar service was painfully slow - bar staff busy but waitress smiling nicely staring into space. Post dinner nothing improved and our liqueur coffees and latte were returned as cold and bitter tasting. We were not the only ones with issues on their drinks. All the hen parties made it feel like a large student lounge rather than a private residents bar.

Check out systems down when we left and our fears that the bills would be incorrect were fulfilled - despite leaving written instructions these were ignored. Staff are nice just not got that sparkle of efficiency and understands that you'd expect from a hotel of this level.

Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
1  Thank Lisa 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 3 May 2014

Dear Lisa D,

Than k you for taking the time to write us. I am sorry that we let you down with our service on this occasion. There is no excuse for poor service in the bar and I have spoken to the bar team to understand and remedy the issues you experienced on that night. It is unusual for us to have large parties in the bar and this seemingly was the challenge for our other patrons that evening.

The issue with the computer system was a global issue that affected many hundreds of hotels in Europe that utilise the system to manage the room aspect of the hotel. They are the largest provider in the world. Unfortunately this was out of our control and I am sure you can understand, when out for over 16 hours is exceptionally challenging for every hotel team. Most businesses, when faced with such a large issue would cease to run until the issue was resolved. I am very proud of my team for the way in which they handled this time, though understand completely that we failed to deliver on our promise to you. If there are still any issues outstanding please don't hesitate to contact me directly at the hotel and I will personally resolve this for you.

I do hope you choose to return in the future.

Paul

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Reviewed 27 April 2014 via mobile

Poor accommodation - mould in room - loose bathroom fittings,dangerous electrical appliances in room .
Brasserie food very poor - over priced rubbish - and then to cap it all they try to overcharge and refuse to refund - disgusting service from a chain that thinks it has arrived ..... Avoid at all costs

Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
4  Thank Graham H
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 3 May 2014

Dear Graham H,

Thank you for taking the time to post your review, I understand that you have already had a follow up from my Operations Manager following your stay at the hotel.

It is unacceptable that there might be mould in the room for a hotel of any quality, let alone our own. I can assure you that the bathroom fittings are safe however I have directed your concerns to our Health and Safety Director and Head of Maintenance for the group for their feedback also.

Our Brasserie food normally receives rave reviews - as can be seen from the many other pieces of feedback on this site alone, I am sorry it was not to your taste and there was seemingly confusion with the bill.

It really is a great shame that you were not pleased with the hotel and I truly hope that you one day choose to return. When this time comes, please don't hesitate to contact me directly so that I can input your reservation personally to ensure you have a great time with us at the hotel.

Warm Regards

Paul

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Reviewed 27 April 2014

Located right in the centre of Oxford, this unusual hotel certainly gives you a few stories to tell when you return home!

The former HMP (prison) only closed it's doors to its last inmate in 1996. The prison was then purchased (for a minimal sum!) by the hotel group who have now resurrected it into a multi-million pound designer hotel.

All the rooms are in the main, former cells. The room within main block we stayed in was three cells knocked into one modern hotel room now with all the trimmings expected. Only one whinge....the room was far too warm as the aircon (if any!) didn't work very well and for some reason they didn't fit opening windows in its previous life!

Restaurant is good and breakfast was very good.

Lots of history linked to all the rooms within the hotel. Read up on it before you go!...... And recommended you take advantage of the prison tour next door if you have time (discounted to hotel residents)......but beware, there are plenty of steps to climb!

Room Tip: Valet parking worth booking in advance if you stay for the weekend. Check internet for offers...
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  • Stayed: December 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank _forevergreen_Uk
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 3 May 2014

Dear _forevergreen_Uk

Thank you for your great review of the hotel, I was delighted to read that you had a good time with us.

We hope to see you again soon.

Paul

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Reviewed 24 April 2014

I have stayed a number of times at the Malmaison in Reading and it was my first visit to the Oxford for my wedding anniversary and i was not disappointed
the reception staff were very good and we could check in straight away.
We had booked a Sunday stopover which is great value and we had a standard room.
This was a nice room but unfortunately you cannot open any windows and the air conditioning did not work but they would very good and moved us to a room which used to be one of the old cells in the main block which i would recommend although you still cannot open the windows so did get stuffy.
Another thing i noticed is that the toiletries was not replaced on a daily basis
The restaurant overall was very good and the food was of good quality but the first night we were there the service was slow but being Easter Sunday i think they were struggling with staff but the next night was better.
The hotel is in a ideal location and there is a Prezzo just outside and a fab little cocktail bar just outside and also just round the corner to a square which has quite a few restaurants around it and near the shops.
ideal to go by train as the parking is about £25.00 per night and it is only about a 10 mins walk away.
I would recommend and will be back

Room Tip: if you want to be able to open the windows then i found out they are in the main hotel on the ground...
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  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank sharon s
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 3 May 2014

Dear Sharon S,

Thanks for taking the time to review the hotel. I am pleased that overall you enjoyed your stay though apologise that the service you experienced was slow.

We hope to see you again soon, we always have great promotions direct on our website so please look out for these.

Warm Regards

Paul

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Reviewed 23 April 2014

We stayed here on Easter Sunday. The hotel is visually very very impressive & a real treat awaits but there were a few things which individually are trivial but when you add them up on one visit made quite a difference and unfortunately disappointed us. We stayed in an impressive 5th floor 3 cell room, lovely appearance & a great bathroom, however the bed was so hard we hardly slept and there was a continuous noise which we assumed was from some form of air conditioning which we were unable to identify & therefore couldn't control. We booked to eat in the Brasserie, the staff were friendly & we were seated quickly. The staff were all busy and rushed around non stop taking away a relaxed atmosphere you would expect when eating out. Both our starters were expensive for what arrived, small portions minimal additions such as bread & salad. Our main course took forever to be served with the staff eventually apologising for the delay explaining that the kitchen was very busy. We were served standard frozen chips with our steak although we'd ordered hand cut chips & got charged £8 for two portions - mega mark-up, we didn't complain as we were too hungry to wait for anything to be changed. On checking out we were asked if we had enjoyed our stay, we confirmed the hotel was impressive but that we hadn't slept well, we received an apology but no acknowledgement that our comments would be looked in to. Should the management team of Malmaison Oxford take the opportunity to consider some of these comments I would suggest that with a little focus and greater attention to detail and importantly their customers, the first impressions given on entering this wonderful building could so easily make a good experience an exceptional one.

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank BACNAC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 April 2014

We stayed on the Sunday Stopover Deal which is great value. As others have said if you can stay in a cell room as they are really what this hotel is all about. The only issue I had with the room and it is quite a big one is that the bed was so hard. It was impossible to get a decent nights sleep as could not get comfortable we thought the old prison beds would have had more give in them than this.
The restaurant was pleasant but service was slow and there was no attention to detail. Lots of little things add up to make it spoil the occasion. Things like forgetting to give us the specials menu, No side plates for the bread board, oil and vinegar missing with bread, no spoon with spaghetti dish and then the wrong main course arriving so one of us had just about finished our meal when the other arrived.
Breakfast good but again just needed a bit more attention to the little things - coffee was not great looked like it had been left brewing for too long, quality of bread for toast poor, no teaspoons for the yoghurt and slow clearing plates from tables.
If they sort out these simple things this could so easily have been a great stay instead of just ok. That said when we checked out and asked about our stay they did remove the charge for the room upgrade from our bill to apologise but to be honest I would rather have had a great stay and paid the extra.

Would I recommend this hotel to others, yes if only for the fact that the conversion from prison to hotel is so well done and it is a nice hotel just needs to sort out the beds and the attention to detail in the restaurant

Room Tip: Pick a cell room
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  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled as a couple
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Thank Anne-Marie F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 22 April 2014

This was my second stay at Malmaison Oxford and it wasn't planned.

A friend of mine was visiting from the south coast and we'd decided to have lunch at the brasserie. It was a great meal; super friendly service, great food and even better cocktails. They didn't have our favourite cocktail on the menu but it didn't matter-they made them anyway and never let us have an empty glass on the table.

My friend really wanted to stay (we were celebrating some good news) so on the off chance we asked at the front desk if they had any rooms. Check in was quick, efficient and one of the warmest welcomes I've had at any hotel. The lady (Lauren, I think) was brilliant and even gave us a complimentary cocktail voucher as she knew we were celebrating! Such attention to detail!

The room was beautiful with a great view of the gardens which used to be the exercise yard. There were some fabulous features; natural brickwork, well fitted-out bathroom and the MOST comfortable bed EVER! We loved it!

Breakfast was equally fab - please, please try the eggs benedict. They're the best I've ever had. And, again, brilliant service.

All in all - this hotel is a 5* establishment and worth every single penny we paid. I can't recommend this hotel highly enough. Bravo Malmaison.

My friends comments: "quirky, unique, and every bit as luxurious as you would expect and more. The original cell is a must see and who wouldn't want a girls night out that ends in the place they filmed 'Bad Girls?!'"

  • Stayed: April 2014, travelled with friends
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1  Thank Sam P
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 3 May 2014

Dear Sam P,

Thanks for popping back in to stay with us and for taking the time to review your experience. I am very pleased that you have been able to comment on our continued improvements in the hotel and hope you experience the same the next time you come.

Warm Regards

Paul

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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: £145 - £321 (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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