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“very pleasant”

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Malmaison Oxford Castle
Ranked #6 of 44 Hotels in Oxford
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 21 February 2009

A very enjoyable experience overall for our Valentine's day / night, but beware the long walk to some rooms - the old prison gives some interesting atmosphere, but the new wing rooms are neatly and impressively appointed. The dining room was an enjoyable experience for dinner, as it was for the following morning's breakfast. Certainly good, if not absolutely great.

  • Stayed: February 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank Richardpukimak
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 31 January 2009

This hotel is a triumph of style over substance. It looked absolutely great but was just unusable as a machine for living.

The hotel is a conversion from a Victorian prison and the cell block lived up to billing – straight out of Porridge for UK TV fans. Our room consisted of 3 cells – 2 forming the bedroom and a third the bathroom. It looked very smart, but a bit gloomy.

But –

Impossible to turn the heating down. The only way to get a reasonable temperature was to turn the aircon up – very environmentally friendly.

Lighting was far too dim. Very heavy lampshades on a lights. It was difficult to read anywhere in the room. The only way to read a newspaper comfortably was by putting it on the bedside table in the pool of light cast vertically downwards from the bedside light and leaning out of bed. There was a dimmer switch two inches off the floor near the bathroom door but this did not do anything.

Very hard bed

Nice shower, but towel rail on opposite side of bathroom door from shower. Nowhere to hang towel in shower, so ended up with a puddle in front of the bathroom door.

Nice butler’s sink with big mirror with two bright lights – unfortunately at eye level for anyone over six feet tall, so couldn’t see in the mirror. Also no magnifying mirror for shaving and makeup, and could not get near enough to the main mirror to see any detail because of the nice butler’s sink.

Nice roll top bath – no grab handles

Nice toilet roll holder – toilet roll leapt off it at the slightest touch

Cunningly placed bright halogen light in the floor in the middle of the main doorway. The door is small, so anyone over 5’9” has to bow their head to enter the room - getting an eyeful of megawatt light bulb. End up seeing stars to complement dim light in room.

After we’d been in the room for a couple of hours, they checked someone else into it too!

On leaving the room for dinner we were assailed on the landing outside by a Japanese tourist who asked if this was the castle, and when told it was a hotel insisted on taking our pictures and pictures of the room – not unpleasant but an interesting security feature

They tried to charge us for a breakfast we didn’t eat.

However the food in the restaurant was reasonable. The bar was very gloomy though.

I did post this in Malmaison’s feedback box on their website. As they have neither acknowledged or replied to it, I assume this is a fairly normal experience.

  • Stayed: December 2008, travelled with family
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4  Thank BazzaHerneBay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 January 2009

managed to take advantage of a special offer of £64 a night for a superior double and was not disappointed. the hotel used to be a prison and has a special atmosphere all of its own. room had everything you needed and was very plush, bed was comfortable and room heat ok. staff very friendly and bar and restaurant very nice, did not have breakfast as it was £12.95 went down the road and got the same for £5. oxford is a nightmare to park and the hotel has a resticted amount of places at £20 a night , it was easier to leave the car in the park and ride (no cost) and get a bus in and out. would definatly recommend but maybe not at the full rate of £230.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank bob13159
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 January 2009

Walking through Malmaison doors, you are greeted by a beautiful chandelier, candles burning and Orchids on the desks. Three checking in desks cut down waiting time, mobile number taken to let you know when your room is ready. A lovely start to your stay. All staff impecably dressed and friendly. Brilliant atmosphere. Luxury rooms with flat screen TV. CD/DVD player . Fluffy, warm towels, Big bottles of shower gel, body lotion etc. Good flavored coffee sachets. Powerful hairdryer. Comfy bed. Room temperature fine. Ambling around the hotel, we enjoyed seeing the visitors room and the original cell. Evening meal in the brasserie very enjoyable.Candles lit on every stair lovely touch.Good wine. Generous cooked breakfast and plenty of time to enjoy it. Lovely break. Would love to go back. Very well placed for walking around Oxford. Yes parking expensive and limited but we knew that before we booked. Clearly shown on website.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Jaspertravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 January 2009

This hotel is magical ... we stayed 1 night and only had 2 complaints really 1/ lack of carpark resulted in paying a £25.90 fee at the multi-storey (no concession made by the Hotel) and 2/ given the cost of the room (£190) breakfast was not included.

These comments have been raised but whether anything will come of it I don't know.

The staff were friendly, helpful and professional. The room was in C wing (no. 211) and this overlooked the old exercise yard. No complaints with the room, it was spacious and the window opened a fair way to get some fresh air.

The decor is very tasteful given what the place used to be and landings have the wow factor.

Jamie Olivers Italian is only a 5 minute walk away and there is a Krispy Kreme outside the hotel which is also a bonus!!

As mentioned the car parking charges are steep and it would be nice to have breakfast included. All in all though we had a fab time.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank Jeavnick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 January 2009

The Oxford Malmaison does the extras well but stumbles on the basics.

The extras are pretty special, it has to be said. The setting in a former prison is clever and interesting, although I personally prefer the rooms in either the C wing (identified on the hotel website as having "views of the former exercise yard") or the "former House of Correction" to the rooms in the actual old cells. As my girlfriend put it, the novelty would wear off quickly, and after that you just have a rather dark and poky hotel room. Also, if you have vertigo, try to avoid a top floor room in the main building: prisons weren't built for the faint of heart, and navigating the walkways could be hairy.

As for the rooms, they're certainly plush: plus points for the DVD/CD player, the posh bathroom supplies and the free wired internet (wireless in public spaces as well). The location's also excellent: very good for the railway station (don't even think about driving into Oxford: you'll get lost and then pay £20 a day for parking) and only 10 minutes to most bits of the city that matter; there's also a good range of food places by the hotel, rendering its own expensive restaurant largely irrelevant.

However, the two basics of any hotel are sleeping and washing, and this one trips up on both. I like firm beds, but these are verging on rock solid, even with the mattress pad. Likewise, the air in the rooms is bone dry and always too warm, no matter how much you fight with the controls.

But worse was the plumbing: the shower, while impressively big, failed to drain at any more than a trickle, and at times running the tap for 10 minutes (on the advice of the front desk) was needed to get hot water. Posh toiletries are no use when you've got only a cold shower. The front desk at check out did promise to get the problems addressed, but the original advice (and other reviews here) suggests it's something of an endemic problem with the building design.

Overall, this isn't a bad hotel, and in the overpriced hotel hell of Oxford you'll do little better without going well out of the centre; it certainly compares well with any of the other high-end hotels in the city centre, all of which have their issues (mostly down to their age). However, given what this hotel has to offer, and the potential offered by being a recent development in a very old city, it's a crying shame that for this sort of money Malmaison can't deliver perfection on the basics as well.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Radinden
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 January 2009

Stayed at the Oxford Malmaison for 2 nights having enjoyed a similar stay two years ago. This is a different and atmospheric hotel, it really does have a special feel about it. We had a fabulous cell room with a roll top bath and monsoon shower, and enjoyed a high quality (HUGE) breakfast each morning. We found the staff to be helpful and welcoming, and did not experience any of the "snootiness" that other reviewers reported. we ate in the restaurant on the one of the evenings using a 2000 &wine voucher sent to us by email by the hotel. This was a 2 course meal, bottle of wine to share and coffees for £29 in total, a great deal with great food.
we left our car in the Thornhill park and ride, £3.60 for the whole weekend, and the bus stop was very near the hotel. Beat paying £40 for 2 nights parking at the hotel!
We really enjoyed our stay, and would return for a 3rd time if possible! It really felt like we had a pampering experience in this stunning building.

  • Stayed: January 2009, travelled as a couple
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Thank vag73
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

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: £114 - £288 (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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